Latest News: Forums Technical Lee helm

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  • #4363
    Westwind
    Member

    My wooden Wayfarer has a problem with lee helm. A few years ago, I bought a new suit of sails. The problem possibly stems from that time. I should add that certain improvements to the boat and rigging took place shortly after the acquisition of the new sails, so I cannot say with certainty if the problem of lee helm existed after the acquisition of the new sails but before the improvements or not. What I can say is that before the new sails were acquired, I had a suit of rather shabby sails which I had acquired with the boat itself but I was not aware of there being a problem before the new sails. The new sails were supplied by a sailmaker and the improvements were carried out by a boatbuilder, both of whom are highly regarded. I am a little vague about when the lee helm problem cropped up because of an absence from sailing the Wayfarer for a couple of years and I have just recently returned to the sailing the wayfarer.

    I have tried to rectify the problem by moving the mast aft, raking the mast aft or a combination of the two. There seems to be a lessening of lee helm but not a complete eradication of it. The problem with the mast at deck level is that any movement is limited by the mast pivot pin – so I don’t seem to be able to move or rake the mast back far enough. Any thoughts or suggestions on what I should try next would be most welcome. There may be a tendency on the part of the mast to “rock” forwards when trying to rake the mast backwards. Would tensioning the shrouds some more be worth trying to ensure the mast remains raked backwards?

    #10399
    Swiebertje
    Participant

    Have you checked the magic numbers?

    #10404
    Westwind
    Member

    Thank you very much for suggesting the numbers check. In most respects, the rig set up has been checked according to the guidance, although with the mast up last week and being short of time before a race, I did not drop the mast and check spreader length, span and deflection, all of which looks visually ok. Point 4 of the rigging guide refers to tensioning the shrouds if the rake is too little and I propose to try this, this coming weekend. I can’t help thinking that some more fundamental problem is causing the lee helm problem and I shall hopefully post a report during next week. Thanks again

    #10405
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    New sails have a much tighter leach than old worn out one’s.

    Could be that with the leach standing to windward more your pulling the kicker on the same as you used to and its over working the leach.

    This being aft of the pivot point that is the centreboard is giving you more lee helm than your used to.

    Try easing the kicker to see if it reduces or work the mainsheet more with the boat flat.

    CP

    #10407
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    I think I have this wrong, I have given advice I think for weather helm, ie your having to pull the tiller towards you more to keep the boat from luffing into wind.
    You say in your text that you are moving the mast aft, ie, more rake. That I think is to reduce Weather Helm not Lee Helm.

    Also when raking a mast aft, the heel needs to go forward as your pivoting about the pin

    Maybe you can say what your finding your having to do with the helm and we could then work out which helm you have.

    Could also be that I am going off my rocker,but lets not get the shape of the keel into this!!
    CP 😕

    #10410
    Westwind
    Member

    To keep the boat tracking straightahead, I need to push the helm away from me (the bow is falling away from the wind – surely this is lee helm). If the centreboard is the pivot point for the boat, it appears to me that too much sail is forward of the pivot point and this is the reason for raking the mast backwards or physically moving the mast backwards, in its track. The frustration appears to be that my room for manoeuvre is limited by the mast pivot pin itself. I feel like leaving the pin out altogether, in order to drop the mast and more of the sail to the stern side of the pivot point (the centreboard) but I expect the rules say that this is a no no.

    #10411
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    Yep! Thats Lee helm and you were right.
    Think your right in what you are doing with the mast but you say you want to move the heel aft?
    With the pin in the mast and the mast needing to be raked aft to reduce your lee helm, the heel will have to go forward in the mast step and the top of the mast aft by shortening the shrouds.
    One thing I would ask is, have you put the tape to the top of the mast on the halyard and fixed it at a length of 19ft 3in at the black band at the goosneck.
    Then the rake is measured at 23ft 6in I think, to the underside of the mainsheet track on the transom.
    If your pin is in the right place in the boat, your tape is in the right place up the mast, your on the right track to get the right rake and hopefully the right helm feel.
    Hope that helps?
    CP

    #10412
    Geof
    Member

    Have you checked easier things as well? Is the jib car too far forward causing the jib to have too much power. This would bring the centre of effort forward. Are you sitting far enough forward in the boat?
    Sitting further back such that you drag the transom (or having an outboard on the back) will tend to move the centre of resistance aft.

    #10413
    tempest51
    Member

    I just can’t see the problem as being so technical to fix. The problem has to be too much sail on the genoa in comparison to the main. Is there any way you can measure your sails against another boat? I’m assuming that you do not have a reefing system on the genoa, as by putting in a roll or two would fix the problem. I’m wondering if one of the sails is not the correct sail for the boat? You certainly want to find a solution as lee helm can be dangerous, an ideal setup should point the boat into the wind if you let go of the tiller and not away (lee helm), and that applies to racing and cruising.

    #10414
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    Another Idea, is the centreboard going all the way down to the 83deg point.
    As for reefing the genoa, Westwind is trying to balance the rig when its full sails are up for racing from how I read his mail, so something is not right with the boat or rig to give him that wrong feel in the helm.
    CP

    #10424
    Westwind
    Member

    Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately, I did not see your posts until after the weekend. Why does it take so long to fiddle and make small adjustments on race day ?! On Sunday a goodish breeze was blowing in Shropshire and sails and rigging a bit tighter than the previous week. I again tried raking the mast back and tightened the shrouds. The mast pivot pin came into contact with the mast, when the genoa was raised. I raced with the pivot pin not completely loose, although it could be turned (I can already hear the howls of anguish). I was finally experiencing some weather helm, rather than lee helm. I propose to carry out a further tweak to the rake this weekend and in doing so, completely free up the mast pivot pin and I will also bear in mind your other suggestions.

    #10431
    Colin Parkstone
    Participant

    If you don’t already, remember to have the jib luff wire take the weight of the mast with the shrouds, not the forestay and shrouds. The forestay must be slack and falling to one side of the genoa when beating.
    Also put your rig tension to the class tuning guide, around 360 lbs in high winds.
    CP

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