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Hi All- I just bought a sailboat after a 10 year hiatus and had a question. I recall that every other boat I sailed would always automatically steer into the wind when the tiller was released. However the boat I just purchase (a Vineyard Vixen 29) does not. I'm wondering if its just a quirk with this boat, or due to a slightly stiff rudder resulting on some recent work done to it. Any thoughts?
 

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Corsair 24
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yawl or sloop rig?

a little reserach shows this is a modernized version of the hereshoff rozinante

the rudder work, what was done? looks like a spade on a smallish skeg...

really nice boat btw
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. Its a sloop rig and there was some fore and aft play in the rudder. The previous owner had it fixed so I'm not sure what was done, but I don't think it is stiff enough to overcome the force of the wind
 

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like a handlebar adjustment on a bike or motorcycle if its waaaaaaaay to tight(stiff( the steering will veer to either side and keep going

are you saying your boat rounds DOWN or simply keeps tracking straight? i.e wont round up into the wind...
 

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Endurance 35
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Are you sailing with just the head sail or do you have the main up? If you're just sailing with the head sail try putting the main sail up to balance her.

Also, if you were motorsailing maybe there is enough prop walk to cause her to stay neutral?

Just ideas....

Dave
 

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yup...

you have a semi balanced rudder as the skeg on your rudder doesnt go all the way down...

this is assuming you have balanced sails and tuned rig and mast rake correct etc...

if no to any of the above messing with the rudder wont do anything.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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While your description is not all that clear, it sounds like the boat has 'lee-helm', which means the boat tries to turn away from the wind in a gust. That is a relatively dangerous condition compared to weather helm which tries to turn the boat towards the wind, thereby reducing heeling.

This may be a matter of sail trim, or the choice of sails for the day. It might be the result of a blown out headsail and a properly shaped mainsail. OR it may be a rig (tune) adjustment issue.

If it is a rig adjustment issue, as Snotter suggests, if the lee helm is pretty mild, you can ease the forestay perhaps a 1/2" to an 1" (and forward lower shrouds a little) and then tighten the backstay, which will rake the mast further aft. Make sure that you adjust the shrouds to be properly tight when you are done.

Jeff
 

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its interesting to note the big sister the vixen 34 has a full skeg hung rudder.

Id play with rig tune and sail adjustments first before dealing with the rudder, unless of course its extremely stiff to move.

I too was trying to see if it was lee helm or simply that it didnt round up...

cheers
 

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The rigger in me says to check the mast rake. Do this by using a plumb bob (or heavy wrench) off of your main halyard and measure the distance from that point on the boom and mast. It should be 5 – 6 inches (I’m guessing here, not knowing your specific boat). If you have some rake and still have lee helm, check your sail trim (helpful comments in the other posts). If you have good trim, rake and still have lee helm, rake the mast a little more by easing the headstay and tightening the back stay the same number of turns. Note that you will also need to adjust your lower shrouds in order to keep the mast in column. New sails or rudder modifications are expensive, a turn or two of a wrench on a stay is cheap. Do the cheap stuff first.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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The rigger in me says to check the mast rake. Do this by using a plumb bob (or heavy wrench) off of your main halyard and measure the distance from that point on the boom and mast. It should be 5 – 6 inches (I’m guessing here, not knowing your specific boat).
George,

While I am basically in agreement with you on the rake issue, I would suggest that the actual rake actual dimension that the boat currently has does not matter at all.

It sounds like the boat has mild lee helm, and if that is the case, and there is nothing unusual with the sail trim or sails, or the rudder being warped, then the rake adjustment should be basic incremental increase in the rake (moving the masthead aft). I am concerned that starting from an arbitrary 5 to 6 inches measured with a plumbbob could mislead the OP into making a larger adjustment than is necessary, or to make an adjustment in the wrong direction.

Jeff
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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As Jeff noted, you likely have lee helm which can be caused by a number of things. It IS a dangerous condition. It's also not typical, especially for a Hereshoff designed boat, so something must be considerably out of whack. In a gust, instead of rounding up (weather helm) which will quickly decrease the amount of wind in the mainsail to zero, the boat will do just the opposite and increase the wind bearing on the sail. If you're not quick enough popping the sheet and the boom hits the water, over you go. Would be good to see more specifics.
 

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I have found that a suprising number of boats that have zero rake at all. Instead of doing a little rake adjustment for excessive weather helm, they take all of it out and turn their boats into pigs. For boats in the 25 – 30 foot range, rake will be 5-6 inches depending upon the rig’s aspect. It takes only a couple of turns on a stay to bring the rake in or out a half inch (we call that fine tuning). The OP could to an internet search for the precise rake number or he can pay a rigger to do the calculations. He will still be doing fine adjustments as part of the dynamic tunning stage. IF the owner has zero rake, (I’ve even seen forward rake :eek:) no amount of sail trimming is going solve his tacking issue. And I would look at rake long before investing a couple of kilo bucks into new sails only to find that that doesn’t fix the problem.

All in all, we are in pretty close agreement.
 

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The OP never said the sailboat falls off when the helm is released. Maybe the sail plan is perfectly balanced?

My little Privateer 26 schooner will balance to the point where I can let the tiller go and it will track straight for miles, as long as the wind stays steady.
 

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The OP never said the sailboat falls off when the helm is released. Maybe the sail plan is perfectly balanced?

My little Privateer 26 schooner will balance to the point where I can let the tiller go and it will track straight for miles, as long as the wind stays steady.
I agree, he never said anything other than it did not turn to wind when he released the tiller. Maybe the rig is tuned perfectly and he is a great trimmer. Need more information.

IF he has lee helm, lots of good answers here.
 

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I have found that a suprising number of boats that have zero rake at all. Instead of doing a little rake adjustment for excessive weather helm, they take all of it out and turn their boats into pigs. For boats in the 25 – 30 foot range, rake will be 5-6 inches depending upon the rig’s aspect.
Won't the intended rake depend on how the boat was designed? I have less than 2" of rake on my mast with a light amount of weatherhelm. I'd be worried that increasing rake to 5-6" would make for a large amount of weatherhelm.

Both jibs and main are less than a year old.

alex
 

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yup giving rake advice in general terms is pointless...all boats and masts are designed with specific tune in mind...

looking at the sloop rig of the vixen its very traditional masthead, straight up, no prebend...no noticeable rake...in fact in some pics I can see a reverse bend to the mast which in general terms is not good but it means at the dock its straight up masthead.

http://www.boatshop24.com/us/-vineyard-vixen-29/Sailboat/264514

I too am waiting for the op to specify wether he indeed has a perfect balance when letting go of the tiller or of indeed he has leehelm

the reason is Ive had a few boats who could be perfectly tuned...

most noticeably my marieholm folkboat on which I often used a bungee too simply keep on track...thats mostly from the underbody design, but the rig was really good.

I could let go of the tiller for quite some time especially on a beat.
 

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True. I assumed the boat fell off without a hand on the tiller. This redesigned Hereshoff (Hall) has an aft mounted rudder which probably gives it much better balance than the keel hung Hereshoff original. The problem with most of the keel hung boats like mine is generally weather helm on gusts, not lee helm.
 

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Let’s see if I can remember my rigging formulas correctly. Weather helm is when CE is aft of CB and lee helm is the opposite. Cruising type rigs have a rake in the range of 1 – 2 degrees whereas racing rigs more like 5 degrees plus. After that, it is all trigonometry. Five to six inches is a good starting point guess for the OP's 28" boat. So, to determine your rake in inches on the boom, you need to know your “P” dimension. For a boat that is about 28’ LOA (and not knowing "P"), two inches on the boom would indicate to me that the rake is about a 1/3 degree. As I stated before, once you got it statically tuned, the do the dynamic tuning which is sail the boat, tweak the rake, sail again. Repeat the process until you are happy with the results.

My basic assumption in suspecting that rake is the problem is: 1) OP is proficient in sail trim and 2) he said that he was using a non-overlapping headsail. Another possible reason for not being able complete a tack would be too large of an overlapping headsail. (You guys on the east coast actually tack with those 150 and 170 headsails? Wow.)
 

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where does he say he is not able to tack?

he says when he lets go of the tiller the boat wont naturally round up..like his past boats....leaving us in a bit of a quandary since that could mean its perfectly balanced and keeps going straight...
 
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