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Old 04-23-2005
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helm pressure

The good ones say you want 3 to 5 degrees of weather helm to develop proper lift with the rudder, and they obviously know what they are talking about. However, it seems to me that if there is pressure on the helm (indicating lift is being produced) and it can be kept more fore-and-aft, that the required lift is being attained without the attendant drag produced by having it at a non-zero angle of attack. I usually ease the traveler until the tiller is close to a for-and-aft position with moderate pressure, and this feels fast to me - and it seems to work pretty well in compettion. Any comments?
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Old 04-23-2005
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helm pressure

If it works, do it! Having a little weather helm is useful because it makes turning into each wave easier, so you can work to weather more quickly without tiring out your arms. Having too much weather helm, as you suggest, creates drag and can slow you down.
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Old 04-23-2005
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helm pressure

I am not a seasoned racer, but have had moderate success in the last year and a half. With Harken''s windward sheeting car I can ease helm pressure and just about steer the boat with the traveler lead, rather than sawing the tiller. This seems intuitively more efficient, but I wonder if I''m missing something along the way.
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