Join Date: Sep 2003
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
heeling, weather helm and rudder control
I am trying to better understand some of the mechanics of sailing and would appreciate it if someone could help enlighten me concerning a situation that is probably typical in sailing.
I know that all boats perform a little differently, so let me state that I am sailing on a Beneteau 235.
Here is the situation: I am sailing close hauled in moderate winds of 5-10 knots, plus or minus, with a large genoa and full main. A puff of wind gently builds up. The boat starts heeling a little more. My understanding is that one of the turning forces on a sailboat is the shape of the hull, and that heeling causes a turning force to windward. I don''t know if this is what is meant by weather helm, but in any case, the boat does start coming up toward the wind. Naturally, I pull the tiller toward me slightly (I''m on the high/windward side of the boat) to counteract this and maintain a constant course.
The wind picks up a little more, the boat heels, continues to tend toward the wind, and thus the process continues, while I pull the tiller further and further. I look over the back of the boat and I can see that water is flowing over the rudder in a wild rush.
At a certain point, I have the tiller seemingly about as far as it can go, the boat is heeled pretty far over (maybe 30-40 degrees) and all of a sudden she rounds strongly toward the wind and comes back flat.
I am trying to figure out what exactly is going on here. It is clear I have lost control of steering the boat. What is happening with the rudder in counteracting the other turning forces?
With the boat heeled so far over, it seems that I am trying to turn the boat down into the water. Is this the limitation?
Or is it that there is not enough rudder in the water (a good bit of it is clearly visible near and above the surface) to be effective?
Or have I essentially stalled the rudder, having too high an angle of attack to have lift and so it is just acting as a large brake?
Or have I just run out of room and have no way to turn the rudder further?
Any assistance in helping me to better understand the mechanics of this situation would certainly be appreciated.