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Puzzle: Whether Helm… or Not, the answers

Posted in Puzzle

Last week’s Puzzle gave you two chances to win. Here’s how it went:

Name at least two running rig components that, in normal use, can have a distinct effect on helm balance (inducing or reducing weather helm).

Second way: name at least one running rig component that, in normal use, can not have a distinct effect on helm balance.

As many of you realized, almost every running rig component, in normal use, affects helm balance  This is because most running rig components exist to control and shape the sails, and those sails are, of course, a primary determinant of helm balance. With some lines, like the main sheet or outhaul, this is a given. With others the effect on balance is not as obvious. For instance, the running backstays control forestays’l luff sag, and the main boom topping lift (or the quarter-lifts on a gaffer) can shape the mainsail by lifting the boom in light airs. Thanks for that catch, Carol Hasse.

There are not nearly as many answers to the second question,  at least for a modern Bermudian rig; I only came up with two lines: flag halyards and lazyjacks. But Anna R, in her entry, also listed jib downhauls. Doh. Yes, lowering the jib affects helm balance, but the downhaul is just an optional securing device, taking the slack provided by the halyard and sheets. Any other possibilities? There are certainly some more that you square-rig sailors could have listed…

For a while, I wanted to include, for all applicable rigs, the lazy sheet for the jib or other staysail, but eventually realized that any running rig component, when not in its intended use, has no effect on helm balance.

With all that said, the randomly-drawn winner is … Lee Youngblood! In his entry, Lee wrote, “…It’s all the same system! You do this all the time!  Catch me with the quick answer, outhaul & traveler, but in reality all lines from vang to halyards, and even over-sheeting or easing are part of the balance, all the running rigging, and even the forestay, shrouds, backstay…” That is true, Lee. And your revelation has won you a “Fair Leads” T-shirt. Be in touch with a size and a mailing address

Congratulations to all of you who qualified for the drawing. Next week you will have another chance to win, in a Puzzle about breaking things on purpose.

In other news, you’ll see a new article here on Friday, February 9th. It’s about codes, the kind that keep us from being electrocuted.

We are just back from the grueling 9-day boat show in Seattle, and busy reassembling the shop. When that is done, we will commence scheduling rigging jobs for the Spring. Call us to get on the calendar.



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One Comment

  1. Vern

    Congrats Neighbour!

    February 7, 2018

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