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:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
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

GG17-SAONA47-DX0796

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

Here’s a riddle: What is less than 50ft long, has two hulls, three big cabins and four decks? Answer: The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47. In fact, it may even be five levels if you count the large engine rooms. This boat is a “space craft” in every sense of the word.DESIGN & ...read more

RichardBennettMIDNIGHT-RAMBLER3249x202

Storm Sails: Do you Need Them?

Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.It doesn’t help matters when we hear from seasoned sailors ...read more

IntheWater(1)

Boaters University Unveils Rescue Course

Boaters University has just announced its latest online course, Safety & Rescue at Sea, taught by Mario Vittone, whose name you might recognize from the pages of our sister publication, Soundings Magazine and his Lifelines blog.Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue ...read more

IMG_20170920_132819

How to: Installing New Electronics

I had been sailing my Tayana 42, Eclipse, for a few years without any installed electronics on board. I’d gone pretty far up and down the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts with paper charts, the Navionics app on my Android phone, a hand-bearing compass and the ship’s compass. ...read more

02-Douglas-Adkins---Coriolis---Orcas-Island-KevinLightPhoto

A Phoenix-like Concordia

Cutting a fine wake on the cobalt-blue waters of West Sound on Orcas Island, Coriolis sparkles like a diamond. Her lovely silhouette is offset by emerald forests that frame the ocean, within spitting distance of the border with Canada. Seen up close, this Concordia yawl is a ...read more

IMG_1051

The Latest Boat Trends from Dusseldorf

The world’s biggest boat and watersports show, held in Düsseldorf on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River each January, is the place to scope out emerging trends in the boat design and building.What would be the new trends for 2018 and beyond? Hint—sophisticated electronics figure ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGood ConnectionsI wish I’d had a dollar for every time I’ve cobbled together an electrical fitting with a “that’s good enough” shrug. An old shipwright once taught me that “good enough is not good enough” ...read more

tides2

Gear Test: Tides Marine Sailtrack

Gravity is an important force at work on a sailboat. It keeps the boat upright, it makes the anchor drop to the bottom, and it makes the mainsail slide neatly down the mast to be flaked and put away at the end of the day… until it doesn’t.In the case of dropping the mainsail, the ...read more