Rake and bag

Pat Connolly, of Chatham, Massachusetts, asks: "My 23-foot sloop has weather helm. I replaced the hanked-on jib with a furling headsail, but after the furler was installed I had to tighten the backstay to get the sag out of the furling system even though the new forestay was cut to the same length as the old one. The owner’s manual says there should be a mast rake of about
Author:
Updated:
Original:
RakePhoto1

Pat Connolly, of Chatham, Massachusetts, asks:

"My 23-foot sloop has weather helm. I replaced the hanked-on jib with a furling headsail, but after the furler was installed I had to tighten the backstay to get the sag out of the furling system even though the new forestay was cut to the same length as the old one. The owner’s manual says there should be a mast rake of about 7 inches, but when I ran a line with a plumb bob from the top of the mast to the deck, I saw that the rake was about 18 inches. What can I do to reduce the weather helm?"

Win Fowler replies:

While many factors affect helm balance, mast rake does play a big role. If the rake is more than it should be, the center of effort of the sailplan will move aft and increase weather helm. One of the best ways to reduce weather helm is to shorten the forestay to bring the mast to a more vertical position. Wire will stretch when it is first put under load, and that might account for some of the sag. Still, if the new forestay is the same length as the old one, I’m sure that sag doesn’t account for the additional 11 inches of rake, which you do need to eliminate. Some furling systems can be adjusted for length; if you can shorten yours, I would start there first.

Next look at your main and jib. If either one, but particularly the mainsail, is full in the midsection with a leech that hooks to windward, that shape can also produce significant weather helm. To check your sails, get on a close-hauled course with your main and jib properly trimmed. Position yourself under the boom, midway along the foot, and look up; do the same thing with the jib. You’ll be able to see where the draft is in the sail and whether the leech is hooking to windward. Better yet, take a photo with the luff on one side of the frame and the leech on the other. Take the photos to your sailmaker, who will be able to confirm whether the shape and trim of your sails is contributing to your weather helm.

Related

pirate-marlin-logo

Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament

This Spring has felt a bit like a slow day of fishing but it’s almost time to time to Bait…and Switch. The Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournaments offer something for every member of your crew. Exceptional fishing, fun times with family, old friends and new. Our run is short, our ...read more

Tusk.00_00_16_21.Still001

Tusk by Spyderco

Spyderco's Tusk knife combines a blade and marlinspike to create a multitool perfect for marine use. Made with corrosion resistant materials like titanium and LC200N steel, a nitrogen alloyed steel, and Spyderco-exclusive locking mechanisms, this knife is one of the toughest ...read more

IY11.98_fTaccola©DJI_0200

Italia 11.98 Performance-cruiser

This past winter, SAIL principal editor, Adam Cort, check out the new Italia Yachts’ new 11.98 performance-cruiser at the boot Dusseldorf show in German, and says he can attest to the fact it’s a boat more than worthy of the attention of North American sailors. Available in ...read more

01-LEAD-2017_IDALEWIS_0219

Racing: Doublehanded

I was born in 1955, and although I was a tad young to actually follow the first Observer Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, I grew up in the age of the pioneers of solo offshore sailing—Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnson, Alec Rose, all Knighted for their singlehanded ...read more

newport-400c-updated

Spectra Watermakers

The world's quietest and most energy-efficient watermakers. Our product line ranges from hand operated desalinators that can make 6 gallons a day to our largest system that produces 20,000 gallons of fresh, potable water per day. Spectra Watermakers has the complete package: ...read more

CAPE-COD---Under-sails

Boat Review: Cape Cod

The concept of “daysailer” has grown ever broader over the years. These days the label can be pasted on a boat as small and simple as a Sunfish, as fancy as a 40-footer with a nice big cockpit and plenty of brightwork, or any number of concoctions in between. This Cape Cod ...read more

C-1002-600px

Sirius Signal

Be seen with the brightest SOS Distress Lights Available C-1002 Two Color Distress Light Flag & Whistle The Sirius Signal model C-1002 SOS eVDSD (electronic visual distress signal device) is the first product to be engineered to the new RTCM standard 13200.0 — accepted as ...read more