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Puzzle: Whether Helm or Not, 2

Posted in Puzzle, and Uncategorized

Some cruising sailors entered a local race series, and to improve their chances they decided to lighten ship. They took off their diving gear, books, extra clothing, and all the other stuff that tends to accumulate on a cruising vessel. They even offloaded their chain rodes and anchors, figuring they wouldn’t need them to go around the buoys, sent down some spare halyards, and retuned the rig.

The boat was definitely faster after all this, but the sailors were shocked that what had previously been a significant amount of weather helm had suddenly become an alarming amount of lee helm. What factor or factors might have caused this?

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Photo courtesy of Robert Perry


In other news, if you haven’t seen the “Parachutes” story yet, scroll down in the Blog to see both installments. This has been our most-read article here, by a good bit, and I hope you will join in the fun.

This coming Friday we’ll tell the Depression-era tale of the schooners “Commodore” and “Vigilant,” and how they unintentionally thrilled America in a voyage from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest.

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  1. Kelly Leber
    Kelly Leber

    Removal of the anchor and chain caused the CLR to move aft of the CE.

    February 28, 2018
  2. Rich Shearley
    Rich Shearley

    Removing weight forward moved the CLR aft…

    February 28, 2018
  3. Steve Hulsizer
    Steve Hulsizer

    A combination of removing weight aft and retuning the rig probably sent the mast forward which will tend to make a lee helm. It doesn’t take much to move the sail draft too far forward

    February 28, 2018
  4. Jamie Stapleton
    Jamie Stapleton

    Lowered CG + polar moment of inertia being amidship rather than at the ends of the vessel.

    February 28, 2018
  5. Off hand, I’d say if their ground tackle was stowed up forward and they cleared it out; that would lighten and raise the bow… tending to increase lee helm.
    Removing anything aloft would reduce heel which would also increase lee helm.
    And if, in retuning the rig, they did anything to bring the rig , sails and sail power forward, that too would increase lee helm. Crew seize, weight and position could be a factor.
    Mostly, I’d guess that the weight of all the beer stowed in the lazarette for the race was the culprit.

    March 4, 2018

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