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Sail trim angle

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    Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 12:42am
Hi All,

When the sailing in winds I'm guessing 12 Knots+ I often find I'm leaning hard on the tiller to keep on course.
This is hard work on my arm and also make the dinghy feel rather unstable!!

I've been watching Steve Cockerill


If I can set the sail as a 'happy sail'  (and hike when nessesary- {I love hiking}) will I be able to lessen my reliance on the tiller ?

I suspect I also need to learn more about detecting wind direction as I often struggle on parts of our reservevoir where the wind direction gets a bit 'shifty'



Edited by Jumps - 21 Jul 19 at 12:46am
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423zero View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 9:32am
This is called weather helm, need to know what boat you sail ? They all have various ways to counteract this.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 9:37am
Basically, yes. The more flat the boat, the less weight there is on the rudder. Hiking, spilling wind or reefing can all achieve this, depending upon what your sailing aims are.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 11:33am
Depending upon the boat, if it has a rotating centerboard, rake it back a bit, until the helm feels balanced (lighter).  Unjust the kicker and more Cunningham and shelf out the mainsail foot.  Sail flat, but you don’t need to grunt it ... spill wind by easing sheets and you will accelerate rather than broach up into the wind.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Brass Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 12:12pm
Hang on, if we're having to lean on the tiller, that's lee helm, not weather helm.

Usual causes are board not all the way down and/or jib on and not enough main.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 1:06pm
Fair comment ... would be good to know the type of dinghy
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Post Options Post Options   Quote A2Z Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 4:11pm
Need to understand if “leaning” on the tiller is you having to push it or pull it.  

If you are having to push it that is quite uncommon, especially if it is a high load, and symptomatic of a badly set up boat.  Is it the right rig for the boat?  Is the mast leaning a long way forward?  Is the centreboard down?

It is more common to have to pull hard on the tiller to stay on course and this is usually the result of too much heel to leeward (I.e. not keeping the boat flat enough, hike harder or ease the sails -especially the main), or the rudder not being fully down.  If it the rudder is up only a little (just a few degrees off vertical) it can begin to feel quite heavy. If you have a centreboard rather than a daggerboard raising it slightly can help reduce tiller pull too.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jumps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 7:43pm
Hi all,

Sorry, mostly learning in a Laser, 
(Club boats - so not always at peak maintenance levels) some of the rudder downhauls are a bit slippy and the rudders rides up - Thanks will keep a closer check on this !

 I feel pretty safe with the 4.7 sail in even up to 20 knots but much prefer the Radial (right for my weight and more fun) - I just need to up my skill a bit to cope with it - so trying to work out what to concentrate on improving next

I'd say its mostly weather helm, 
When I say leaning on the rudder I'm not 100% if I'm pushing or pulling  (I can't remember - too busy trying not to swim LOL ) 
I do know I'm using too much and causing a lot of drag and feel like I'm fighting - hence my question, maybe I'm sheeting in too much and could I be pointing better being more aware of sail angle. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote A2Z Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 7:59pm
Ah, if it’s a Laser you’ll be pulling (weather helm) almost certainly as a result of not being flat enough, not having controls pulled on tight enough and/or the rudder not being fully down.  

There are some very comprehensive ‘sail by numbers’ books for the Laser specifically, which are a useful way of learning how to use the controls etc on all points and in all winds. Tim Davison is the author of one I think, but there are others.  Well worth the money. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SoggyBadger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 19 at 8:41pm
You don't say how much you weigh but I suspect most of your problem is down to not having enough kicker on when the wind picks up. The "ideal" is to have the mainsheet traveller/horse/thingy set as tight as possible whilst still allowing allowing the mainsheet block to pass over the tiller and have the aft end of the boom over the edge of the transom. You use the kicker to flatten the sail just enough so that you can keep the boat flat by hiking.
Best wishes from deep in the woods

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