Weather Helm vs Lee Helm - SailNet Community

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Old 03-16-2009
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Weather Helm vs Lee Helm

This is a blog I wrote this week about Weather and Lee helm so I thought i'd include it for all here.

What are they and what’s the difference? These two terms were established when vessels were fitted with tillers rather than wheels and so the term weather helm refers to having to pull the tiller (helm) “to weather” in order to sail in a straight line. Lee helm is when you need to push the tiller (helm) “to lee” in order to sail in a straight line.

Pulling the tiller to weather (or towards the windwind side of the boat) means that the boat left by it self would tend to turn into the wind. And conversely, lee helm would mean that the boat wants to turn down wind.

Now on a sailboat with a wheel, weather helm is turning the wheel away from the wind and lee helm is turning the wheel to helm in order to hold a straight course. This is because the wheel is opposite the rudder. Don’t get confused here - if you have to go back to fundamentals to work it out each time then just remember that sailing was invented thousand of years ago before the put wheels on boat. “Weather helm is rudder to weather”.

These phenomenons can be fixed quite simply by <...continued article on weather helm and lee helm>
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Old 06-22-2009
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If you are going to offer a site that bills itself as the "worlds most advanced online blog" then you should at least try to get things closer to right.

Lee and weather helm really do not have anything to do with the helm type, but with the tendancy of the boat to turn to windward or leeward. A boat with weather helm mans that the boat wants to turn to weather and a boat with lee helm wants to turn to leeward. The use of the word 'Helm' in the description means that it requires steering input to offset those tendancies.

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Jeff
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Old 06-22-2009
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Oh I see your point - you're right it could be misunderstood. Lee helm is not when you have to push the tiller to leeward side to sail a course - lee helm is when you feel the need to push to leeward to sail a straight course.

Thanks for the elaboration and very constructive criticism.
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Old 06-22-2009
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I'd also point out that you need to be aware of and follow the full disclosure policy for marine-related businesses, which you can find in the boat buying forum, since your website appears to be a marine related business.
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Old 06-22-2009
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Actually the bit about the naming is the same story I heard from my instructor. It's whether helm when you have to push the helm to weather to maintain a straight course. Otherwise, if it was named after the direction the boat tended to go, it would be "weather bow" or "weather heading" or "weather bias" or something.
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