Author Topic: Weather Helm  (Read 114 times)

Adnaan

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Weather Helm
« on: June 27, 2019, 09:37:44 PM »
Hey all, I bought a 323 in San Francisco recently, and have been sailing her 3-4 times a week, all over the bay. Her rigging was in good condition when I purchased her, so I haven't really touched much, other than to replace a sail slide and tack attachment that broke when I gybed too fast.

The boat has quite a bit of weather helm, and I'm constantly fighting her whenever the wind picks up above 15kts or so, and by 25kts I have the helm hard-over to lee. It's hard on the helmsmen and the boat alike. She carries a 110% jib, I believe, and I usually keep the foot of the main pretty tight. I've read that tensioning the mast more for'ard may help... What steps should I take, and in what order? Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide.

Dolce_Vita

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2019, 10:39:00 AM »
The 323 likes to sail "on her feet" rather than heeled till the rail's in the water. My answer is to reef the main much sooner than usual. First reef at 15 kts,  second reef at 20 kts. You'll still make hull speed (~7 kts) and be much more comfortable.
@(^.^)@  Ed
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with rebuilt Atomic-4

Adnaan

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2019, 01:49:40 PM »
Right. I'll test that out this weekend and report back. I have a 140% Genoa stowed belowdecks. Would you think that putting that up would help move the Center of Effort forward?

Alma

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2019, 07:28:47 PM »
It would but only if it is not blown out and the wind is light.
If you're sailing past Cape May give us a shout-out!

selene

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2019, 03:21:12 AM »
Having sailed in the SF Bay for around 10 years now, I cannot imagine a 140% would help with the winds we normally see (although they have been light this year). I find when the wind hit 15kn, with a 100% jib, I am overpowered.  If I am alone, I reef; if I am racing, I depower the main just shy of luffing. 

As the winds nears 20kn, I move to my 90% jib. Makes things easier to handle. The P323 is a very headsail driven boat; in fact, in heavier wind I have had pleasant sailing under jib alone! DOn't knock it until you have tried it :-)

As Ed (Dolce) said, the 323 like to "stand up" - with such a shallow keel, if you heel to much you tend to end up with a lot of leeway.

Is it possible you are overtrimmed? I tend to find my boat sails better with the sails a bit "fat". People from racing boats often overtrim, slowing the boat down and creating more heel and weatherhelm than necessary.When Selene was new (to me), I often had weatherhelm, and most of it was caused by - and resolved through - the sail trim.

Hopefully some of these ideas help. Good luck!

Dolce_Vita

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2019, 01:47:44 PM »
... The P323 is a very headsail driven boat; in fact, in heavier wind I have had pleasant sailing under jib alone! DOn't knock it until you have tried it :-)  ...

We often sail on jib alone when on short trips or in tight spaces.  The roller furling allows for quick shifts between motoring and sailing.

And, even though roller furling is NOT roller reefing, when we're overpowered, or have the main reefed, I'll often "reef" the jib by furling in ~ 2 ft of sail.  We have a foam luff, so it helps the sail keep its shape, but its not doing any real kindness to the jib, as I'm sure its stretching it unevenly.  But we're cruisers, not racers.

...Is it possible you are overtrimmed? I tend to find my boat sails better with the sails a bit "fat". People from racing boats often overtrim, slowing the boat down and creating more heel and weatherhelm than necessary.When Selene was new (to me), I often had weatherhelm, and most of it was caused by - and resolved through - the sail trim.

Me too.
@(^.^)@  Ed
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with rebuilt Atomic-4

Stuart Farrell

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Re: Weather Helm
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 07:07:40 PM »
I sail a lot in SF bay during the summer. I usually reef at 18+ winds, and I skip the first reef spot and just do the 2nd reef right away (I'll eventually have to do the 2nd reef anyway!). I also have a roller furling self tacking jib that is about a 90% sail. With winds 20-22 knots, the boat sails well without a lot of stress on the rig.

One things that eases the weather helm while sailing upwind when the winds get heavy is to keep the jib tight, and ease the 2x reefed main to where it just luffs.

At 25+ winds, I have a  way to reef the jib to about 50% size. But, it's complicated and takes a lot of effort. But it does work, and once I do it I am always glad I did!