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post #11 of 11 Old 06-17-2009
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A good analysis, Jeff. Everything I've read, plus everything I've attempted on two rather different boats, suggests that you must trim the sails to the keel, so to speak, to achieve a balance of forces if you wish to have as "natural", by which I mean unforced, a circumstance for self-steering as possible.

This suggests that self-steering without external aids, such as windvanes, is in fact possible on most boats, but not on all points of sail and not in all conditions of sea and wind, and at times at a cost to sailing efficiency and even comfort/seakindliness.

In this sense, it seems to be a mirror of the ability of various boats to heave-to effectively.

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