Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Weather Helm"
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Post: "Weather Helm"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Chip Wheeler (Guest)

Dear Bud,

I am having trouble with weather helm on my W32. No, it's more than that. Let's say I am having problems with the hydrodynamic forces on the rudder. When sailing close hauled or on a close reach, since the tiller is heavy, I can tie it off to the stern mooring cleats and the boat will steer herself.

However, when sailing off the wind, more active steering is necessary. This August, returning from Molokai on a broad reach in fresh trade winds and quartering seas, we had to wrestle with the helm with both hands...and neither helmsman is a featherweight, I assure you. I suspect that part of the cause of the problem may be in the sheer massiveness of a rudder with so much surface area. It certainly will not stall as rudders will on many modern boats.

Everyone says that the sails need to be balanced. I have sailed many miles with ample foresails and two reefs in the main. It does help, but it doesn't eliminate the problem. My tiller is only 5'7" long. A longer tiller is a longer lever. Has anyone fabricated and used a tiller 7' long or longer? Or, am I barking up the wrong tree? What is your advice?

Chip Wheeler
Westsail 32, Hull #32

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