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09-06-2004 06:03 AM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

One minor point, I would like to comment on your note, "at all angles the rudder is nothing more than a brake". Strictly speaking, that is not true except on a dead run. All boats make a small amount of leeway (1 to 5 degrees being quite typical on a beat). That side slip is necessary to allow the keel to have enough of a incident angle to permit it to function as a wing and create lift resisting sideward motion. If the rudder is aligned with the centerline of the boat, then it is actually at an angle to the flow of the water. As counter intuitive as this may seem the helm would actually need to be to leeward to not act as a brake.

But that is only a small piece of the story because a little bit of weather help is actually a good thing from a performance basis. In the case of a boat with an attached rudder, a little bit of weather helm angle helps to make the keel act as an assymetrical foil and provide lift to windward slightly more efficiently. In the case of a spade rudder, a small amount of weather helm angle helps to provide lift that is in addition to the lift provided by the keel and therefore reduces leeway was well. Of course in either case that additional lift comes at the price of additional drag so there is a point where the losses due to drag offset the gains due to reduced leeway.

09-03-2004 01:57 AM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

Excessive mast rake can also increase weather helm. Conversely, too little rake can increase leeward helm, which is dangerous. Rake is a fairly easy adjustment to make provided you have a sail plan. Hang a weight just off the deck from the main halyard. Measure the distance between the halyard and gooseneck.

Note the sailplan does not show the underbody of the boat; it shows the designed float line. Using a square, place one side of the square on the float line and the other on the backside of the mast head. Using dividers, pick off the distance between the side of the square and the gooseneck. Scale it up and you have the designed rake. Adjust accordingly.

Remember, at all angles the rudder is nothing more than a brake.

You have received excellent advice from the other posters. My post may or may not be one element toward reducing weather helm on the First. It is worth checking.
09-02-2004 07:23 PM
Randolph Bertin
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

...forgot to include the address of the Beneteau owner''s forum:
09-02-2004 01:51 PM
Randolph Bertin
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

To address the rudder problem, you might take a look at a couple of websites devoted to the First235 (the first of which has a link to an article discussing various rudder issues and modifications):

And there is also a forum specifically for Beneteau owner that you could pose a question about how to firm up the screw contact with the rudder.

08-23-2004 05:30 AM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

I''ve one rudder problem, it has a vibration and there is too much play in it, the nylon screws don''t press enough to keep it on it''s site.
I wont know if some think can be done to be confident with this important part of my First 235 I''ve just bought.
06-04-2004 08:20 AM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

Thanks to all on comments for reducing weather helm on a gaff-rigged boat... I tried out the suggestions at the end of last season, reefing the main before dropping or reducing headsails worked like a charm... I haven''t tried the trick of easing the peak halyard to quickly depower the sail, but I will at the next opportunity...
12-04-2003 04:44 AM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control


Hauling the gaff to windward will only increase your weather helm. The fact that the gaff natrually falls off the wind helps reduce weather helm. To reduce it further, add fore sails; don''t reef them first. If you have done that, tighten them further to flatten them and let your main out a little, even if it starts luffing--that will reduce your helm. A further reduction would be to pinch up closer to the wind if you have to. If the tiller is far over and there is lots if weather helm, than it''s time to reef the main first. That should ease the weather helm and reduce heeling. A second reef scenario would be to then reduce the fore sail (s) to some extent.
11-25-2003 05:27 AM
Randolph Bertin
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

For my part, I was looking for a bit of detail, and received some valuable help--I don''t know that anyone could really answer the question exactly as it is fairly complicated and may have to do with the specifics of my boat geometry/performance. For instance, I found on-line a review of sea-trials for four boats that included the Beneteau F235, which had the following to say:

"Unlike the Schock, which doesnít mind much it you put its rail down, the Beneteau displays unhappiness in a hurry. Heel this boat a degree too far, and itíll round up so fast that all the rudders in France (or South Carolina, where the boat is built) wonít help."

Anyway, maybe one of the problems with the Message Boards is that "Learning to Sail" indicates it is "a great place to meet other beginners if you are new to sailing," which implies it is aimed toward novice sailing questions. The beginner may feel intimidated or confused with too much technically advanced information. So, perhaps I posted my question in the wrong place.

However, there doesn''t seem to be a forum, where advanced sailing questions/answers would more naturally fall. And of course, no matter how much sailing one does, it seems, at least in my case, that I am always "Learning to Sail" as there is always more to learn. Is there a need for a different message board geared toward "Those who would like to know/discuss more in depth but are not new to sailing"??
11-23-2003 07:26 PM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

Dear cmanto,

Randolph Bertin asked for help in "better understanding the mechanics of sailing", and said he is "trying to figure out exactly what is going on". I think that''s what most posters were trying to respond to. There probably isn''t a simple, straightforward answer to the question "why do I have excessive weather helm" any more than there is a simple, straightforward answer to the question "why won''t my engine start?" For example, some responses on this topic over the years deal with changing the amount of sail area you have (main vs. jib) on a sloop rigged boat, but this doesn''t apply to a catboat rig, for example. Some responses talk about raking the mast (angling it back or forward), but this obviously won''t work for a boat like a Laser which doesn''t have this capability.

Randolph mentioned angle of attack, so most responders probably assumed he knew or could look up on the internet the meaning of any "technical" words (like stall, drag, torque, etc.) used, and the responses offered look like they give a mix of more technical answers with "bottom line", straightforward advice that doesn''t rely so much on the "why" but gets right to the "how" of dealing with the problem.

I''ll bet a lot of people have posted basic sailing questions on this board in search of answers in simple layman''s terms (what brand of Champagne should I christen my boat with?), and hopefully what they ask for is what they''ll get. Hopefully, Randolph got the answers he was looking for.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA
11-23-2003 04:38 PM
heeling, weather helm and rudder control

why do we have to get answers to basic sailing questions like what to do when we encounter weather helm in such dramatic ways..just say it in simple terms.. we''re not all circumnavigators nor have 30 years of sailing experience. i realize we have a tendency to overdramitize. we just want answers to basic sailing questions in simple laymans terms..thx for understanding....
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