Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 Old 08-31-2016 Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

Hi, all.

I recently purchased a Sabre 28 MKII and have noticed a bit of odd behavior: When I am on a port tack I have a fair amount of weather helm, but when I am on starboard tack I have lee helm. Does anyone know what might cause this, or if this a known characteristic of the Sabre 28s? I have also noticed that the tiller feels heavy when motoring. I am worried that the tiller may be bent or, even worse, the keel.

Thanks so much,
swinchen is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
midwesterner's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 532
Thanks: 6
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Hmmmm, just brainstorming here. Does the Sabre 28 have that off center Drive Shaft and prop that other Sabre models have? Does it have the same type of prop that came on the boat?

Sail trim can affect helm. Does the boat have the original sail configuration or has a previous owner changed the size of the sails, the mast, or the boom, or the configuration in any way?

Can you correct the weather helm and lee helm by reducing either the main or jib?

Do you experience it in all levels of wind?

I would think that it would be hard to bend the keel without there being leaks.

If the rudder was bent you would still correct for that with the wheel. The only thing that would change would be the point on the wheel that would be the center and cause the boat to go straight.

I am no marine engineer so that is the limit of my thoughts on the subject. But I am very interested to hear what other, more experienced and knowledgeable people, have the say and to learn what you find out.
midwesterner is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: St Lawrence
Posts: 1,230
Thanks: 70
Thanked 63 Times in 60 Posts
Rep Power: 1
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

How is your mainsheet set up. Is it on a traveler, and if so, is the block off set to either port or starboard? If you don't have a traveler, is the main sheet centered? It sounds more like a sail trim issue than some kind of bent keel. I'm guessing that sail trim issue has to do with how your mainsheet is configured.

I have a strange no traveler set up, with a block kind of out board on either side, and I do need to adjust my main sheet every time after tacking

Bay Hen 21, Prindle 16, Walker Bay 8
Arcb is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
JimsCAL's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Glen Cove, NY
Posts: 3,771
Thanks: 3
Thanked 149 Times in 141 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

Having lee helm on one tack and weather on the other is unusual. Have you checked to see if the mast is centered in the boat? You can use a halyard to do that by pulling it tight at the port and stbd shroud bases and seeing if they measure the same. And the suggestion about checking that the traveler is on center is a good one.

As to the tiller being heavy when motoring, if its OK when sailing, then it's most likely not bent or anything like that.
RichH likes this.

S/V First Tracks
1985 Cal 33-2
JimsCAL is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: (sail mostly on) Lake Belton, TX
Posts: 170
Thanks: 1
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 2
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

Bent rudder effect would vary with speed. Depending on the bend it might require quite a bit of effort to hold it to maintain a straight course and it would be worse at higher speed.
Yes that could be seen as what you describe as lee helm on one tack and weather helm on the other... but you would also notice needing to hold the helm always to the same side, regardless of tacking, reaching or running.

Bent tiller would be visible and mainly a cosmetic issue.
Turnin Turtle is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 1,327
Thanks: 16
Thanked 77 Times in 75 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

It's been our experience that many boats are better on one tack than the other, remember that the molds were likely hand built, and anything may not be symmetric. But going all the way from weather helm on one to lee on the other is more than I've seen. Here's the potential easy fixes:

- The mast is not centered port/starboard - you can check this with a halyard and adjust your stays
- The weight is not distributed evenly port/starboard - is the thing listing, are there tanks on one side empty and other full, have you got heavy stuff on one side not the other.
- You are trimmed funny. Traveller, jib leads, something different one side than the other. You are trimming the jib in to tight on one tack, and the main on the other. Jib trimmed in will tend towards lee helm (pulling the bow down wind), main trimmed in will tend towards weather helm (pulling the stern down wind).

Hard fixes:

- Rudder not in the middle, not shaped the same on both sides, bent shaft
- Keel not centered, bent, etc.
- Hull shape from the factory not symmetric
- Mast not in the middle of the deck

It is not unusual on any sailboat to feel some side pressure on the rudder from propeller I wouldn't worry about that.

Try the easy fixes first Sabre's have a good reputation, I'd be surprised if this was a factory defect.
capecodda is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 384
Thanks: 3
Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

I owned a Sabre 28-II for 20 years- great boat. Weather helm on one tack and lee helm on the other was never a problem so it is not an inherent problem with the design. As others have opined my guess is a bent rudder shaft. I know of at least one other S28 owner who had a bent rudder shaft. Good news is that the rudder is only held in with 2 bolts. Bad news is that access is through aft lazarette and is tight. Too tight for me but not for my wife. The bolts can be frozen and can be an absolute pain to get out the first time.
Sanduskysailor is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Cumberland, Maine
Posts: 52
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 1
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

I saw this thread and thought, "Man, how many people can possibly have bought a Sabre recently that had lee helm?"

I'm far too inexperienced and ignorant to be able to offer anything that these folks or Kyle and Tyler haven't already speculated on. Just wanted to pop in to say that I hope you get it straightened out (pun intended, of course), and hopefully it won't prove to be a heinously costly issue. Great to meet you last night, and good luck with the boat!

- Walker

Current Boat: TBD
Currently Crewing: 22' Pearson Ensign (Wednesday Night Fall Racing)
Sailing Area: Casco Bay, Maine, USA
Landwalker is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 12,480
Thanks: 7
Thanked 189 Times in 185 Posts
Rep Power: 13
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

Rashly assuming you had a survey done before the purchase, and that the boat was hauled and you and the surveyor both looked under it, there were no damages or repairs seen on the keel or hull?

If it wasn't hauled, it should be, to confirm that. If it was surveyed and no problems mentioned, I'd put that last.

This could be a good time to get a rigging guide, either a book, some web printouts, or to visit a loft (Any chance the sails on your boat come from a loft that has a local branch? they'll gladly talk with you.) and pick up a 50-100' steel tape measure aka surveyor's tape. You should start an annual tradition of checking the entire rig to make sure it is centered, that the mast rake is correct, that everything is tuned properly. Not hard or expensive overall, and the performance differences can be huge.
Sometimes, you can even ask nicely and the loft will send someone out for a sail with you. One never knows.

Odds are that something is out of whack, but the best way to make sure you are fixing the problem (and not masking it or adding another one) is to start with the basics, make sure all the things that need to be aligned (mast & rigging) are, and only after you've eliminated all that stuff, to worry about hauling it and checking the bottom. Sabre (new or old) have a great reputation and unless someone seriously dented the boat, the keel will be properly aligned.

The rudder is something else again. Rudders have been known to fail from internal water damage and if that turns out to be involved, it can be a major project. Worry about that after you've done the easier stuff.
hellosailor is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 19 Old 09-01-2016
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
Posts: 3,236
Thanks: 10
Thanked 137 Times in 131 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Re: Sabre 28 - lee helm on a starboard tack

Something is seriously wrong. It could be the rig (most likely and hopefully) is poorly tuned, the rudder is bent or attached off center, the keel is cockeyed. Or there is a serious sail trim imbalance, not just a little bit off but if this is it I would think it would be visible from a picture 200' away.

If I had to bet I think you mast tuning is all messed up, with the base off center, the partners off center, and the top way off center.
RichH likes this.

Stumble is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Port tack is faster than starboard tack? Why? matthewwhill General Discussion (sailing related) 23 06-05-2015 12:47 PM
Why port tack gives way to starboard tack eagles_dare13 Learning to Sail 28 11-24-2013 03:49 PM
Weather helm on starboard, lee helm on port donlofland Gear & Maintenance 3 01-17-2012 05:49 PM
Port tack faster than starboard tack, same point of sail? zAr Learning to Sail 28 09-06-2011 05:57 PM
Weather Helm vs Lee Helm grantheadifen Learning to Sail 4 06-22-2009 05:23 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome