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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 07-07-2010
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I need a rudder that won't drive me crazy

Like the song says, I need a lover, I mean rudder that won't drive me crazy. Put my new to me boat in the water for the first time today. I have no idea why this boat has a rudder. It doesn't work. There were times that I had the rudder turned as far as it would go one direction, and the boat would just turn in the opposite direction. I was definitely moving forward, but the boat had a mind of its own. The only way I could steer the boat was to unpower the jib.
Its been since high school that I have sailed a boat with a jib, but I never remember having such difficulty steering a boat. I sailed my HobieCat for years, and of course it is very responsive. This boat might as well not even have a rudder. I messed with the traveler position, the boat was unsteerable with the traveler all the way up. I could only gain partial steering with the traveler all the way back. Even then, I had to have the jib sheet fairly loose. There no tell tails on the sails which doesn't help either. Part of the problem was, I was sailing on a puddle of a lake that the wind changes direction every 15 seconds. I really felt like an idiot for a long time until I finally figured out what the boat wanted. Still, something isn't right. When I dropped the jib all together, I seemed to be able to steer much better. I would have thought if the sail was misbalanced, with the jib down, it should be misbalanced the other way, but it didn't seem to be.

I also found this boat will not sail upwind at all. I was trying to get to one end of the lake, and it was just an impossibility. The boat would just stall out. It is also VERY slow. While I'm used to the Hobie, this boat just seems unbelievably slow. I think the next time out, I'm going to try the Hobie sail. Its 6" shorter, but is 115 square feet, compared to 85 square feet on this boat. Hopefully that will also help my steering some. I wonder if some of the steering problems are a result of the boat being so slow.
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Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2010
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What was the wind velocity?
What kind of rig?
Do you have a loose footed main?
Do you have an outhaul?
how are the sheets led?
Does the rudder kick up?
If so, was the rudder fully dropped?
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2010
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Thanks for putting that song in my head man. Now I can't get rid of it.

Hmmm what kind of boat is it??
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Old 07-08-2010
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I'm assuming the AFC 2+2 in my sig doesn't tell you much, so here is the boat - pics from today:


Sheol keel w/centerboard. 300 lbs ballast, 950 displacement. 17' Sail area specs are 85, 69, but I really wonder if the main is really 85. It looks smaller than the jib.

To answer the specific questions, I think there may have been one time when the wind was around ten knots, but otherwise it was more like 5 and eventually less. The slower the wind, the worse the steering. The main is in not loose footed. Yes, there is an outhaul - was fairly snug. There is a traveler on the main sheet. Most of the time it was near centered. The rudder does not kick up - well maybe it does, but you have to remove a bolt, so yes it was fully down.

Sorry about the song, just thought if I couldn't get it out of my head, why should I let you get it out of yours.
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AFC 17' 2+2 (sold in 2012)
Hobie 14'
Sunfish project boat

Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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Old 07-08-2010
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What boat are you talking about??

How was the boat rigged—what sails did you have up, and how were they trimmed?

What was the point of sail you were on?

What was the wind speed?

Does the boat have a centerboard or daggerboard? If so, was it down or up?

Can you post photos of the rudder?

WTF do you mean with the traveler up???

Quote:
This boat might as well not even have a rudder. I messed with the traveler position, the boat was unsteerable with the traveler all the way up. I could only gain partial steering with the traveler all the way back.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Traveler up meant forward. Sails are what is shown in the pic, boat only has jib and main. Pardon some ignorance to terminology, haven't used/needed terminology for 25 years, as most of the time, I sailed alone. I have forgotten the technical names for stuff. Trying to review. Not sure how to describe specific rigging - not sure what other options there would be, as the boat seems typical compared to anything else I've seen. I know that is a bad answer, but not sure how to describe it in a way to answer the question.

While getting the boat to move forward seems to be a problem by its self, I've just never seen a boat so unresponsive to the rudder. While there seems to a logic behind a balance fore to aft on sail power, one big problem I ran into was as I approached the shore on a reach, just ready to come about, the wind direction would turn so I so I would be pointing, but rather than the boat just staying straight, the boat would turn and maintain a beam reach even though I tried to correct or turn the opposite way to tack. A couple of times, I just gybed, to avoid hitting the shore. One time the boat gybed on its own, even though I was trying to turn into the wind. This was all with light wind, forecast said 3 -5 mph. But the boat had trouble in heavy wind as well.

I hope to go out Saturday again. I'm tempted to try sailing just on the main and play with the set up to see if I can get some power out of it. Single handed, one can only do so much by themselves. It may also help to be on a large lake, where the wind should be more constant and I won't have to tack every 200 feet so I can study the sail shape.
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RL 24 NEW to me April 25th 2014
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Hobie 14'
Sunfish project boat

Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Sounds like 1 of your sails is overpowering the rudder. Usually..... if the jib is overpowered you will have a lee helm meaning the boat will want to fall off down wind. If the Main is overpowered you will have a weather helm meaning the boat will try to round up into the wind. Step 1 is to find out which is happening then work on why with sail trim. One way would be to let one of them just luff with the rudder centered - what happens ? ....... maybe you could figure it out and work it out that way.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveinet View Post
Traveler up meant forward. Sails are what is shown in the pic, boat only has jib and main. Pardon some ignorance to terminology, haven't used/needed terminology for 25 years, as most of the time, I sailed alone. I have forgotten the technical names for stuff. Trying to review. Not sure how to describe specific rigging - not sure what other options there would be, as the boat seems typical compared to anything else I've seen. I know that is a bad answer, but not sure how to describe it in a way to answer the question.
The traveler is what is generally used to move the mainsheet side-to-side and is normally athwartships, not fore-and-aft...and as such, has no FORWARD position. Are you talking about the genoa fairlead car position on the genoa car tracks???

Quote:
While getting the boat to move forward seems to be a problem by its self, I've just never seen a boat so unresponsive to the rudder. While there seems to a logic behind a balance fore to aft on sail power, one big problem I ran into was as I approached the shore on a reach, just ready to come about, the wind direction would turn so I so I would be pointing, but rather than the boat just staying straight, the boat would turn and maintain a beam reach even though I tried to correct or turn the opposite way to tack. A couple of times, I just gybed, to avoid hitting the shore. One time the boat gybed on its own, even though I was trying to turn into the wind. This was all with light wind, forecast said 3 -5 mph. But the boat had trouble in heavy wind as well.

I hope to go out Saturday again. I'm tempted to try sailing just on the main and play with the set up to see if I can get some power out of it. Single handed, one can only do so much by themselves. It may also help to be on a large lake, where the wind should be more constant and I won't have to tack every 200 feet so I can study the sail shape.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-08-2010
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Start with the easious; Ease your sails until they are just filling. How does she steer?
Adjust the traveler for the course you are on with the main just filling. How does she steer?
The same method with the Jib.
Then you have to get into the more envolved methods of mast adjustments and so forth.
And is that the Orginal rudder? or one built to spects?
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Old 07-08-2010
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Quote:
Are you talking about the genoa fairlead car position on the genoa car tracks???
Yes, thank you Didn't realize there was a difference between a car and a traveler.
Note to self: enter term fairlead car into personal glossary.

When the wind died, I could easily out paddle the rudder with a small paddle on one side of the boat. (turning rudder was not enough to compensate) I had to use a J-stroke (like done in a canoe) to paddle the boat straight. Rudder appears to be OEM. The aluminum section below the water line is ~1'X2' flat stock (no foil shape) I'll edit this when I get to different computer and can upload a pic.
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RL 24 NEW to me April 25th 2014
AFC 17' 2+2 (sold in 2012)
Hobie 14'
Sunfish project boat

Sailing a large boat on a small lake is very tacky.

Last edited by Daveinet; 07-08-2010 at 07:02 PM.
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