Just another Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Thanked 356 Times in 336 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Weather helm - is the tendency of a boat to turn up into the wind if the tiller or wheel is let go. It's a function of balance and design and it's considered safer for a boat to have weather helm, as if left unattended suddenly it will come up into the wind and slow/stop or at worst autotack and end up "hove to" with the jib backwinded. A boat that exhibits lee helm will bear away and likely into an uncontrolled jibe if the helmsman lets go.
However, excessive weather helm forces the driver to hold an extreme rudder angle to combat it and maintain a course.. this leads to drag, slowing the boat down and fatigue for the poor person fighting this load all the time. Boats with balanced rudders will be easier to handle than those without. Carrying enough weather helm to require a 5-10 degree rudder angle is often said to help a boat's ability to get upwind.
A Tender boat is one that heels (leans over) easily with relatively little breeze.. this is a function of the hull form and the amount of ballast. Some boats with rounded sections but decent ballast will heel easily at first, but "firm up" as the righting arm of the ballast comes into play.
A boat that "points well" is able to maintain speed and power at a closer angle to the true wind, and therefore will theoretically get to an upwind destination sooner than a boat that doesn't point so well. Pure pointing angle, though, like so many scenarios in sailing is only part of the picture.
I've probably given you more terms to wonder about, so keep 'em coming!!
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Last edited by Faster; 12-19-2009 at 05:05 PM.