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weather helm


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friends bought very well worn mari cat and I helped them sail it yesterday. In the 20 Kn winds the weather helm was almost impossible. Ended up with both rudders sheared off and yours truly hanging off the back as a human sea anchor/rudder to get home! While the spectators enjoyed it, we would like to get the thing tuned a little better - any hints? I think its a 14ft and has a jib.

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Weather helm can be a combination of factors including mast rake and rudder angle

the main one being that the rudders when locked down must be as far forward in their housings as you can get them and where possible at 90 degrees or angled forward under hulls.

is the mast vertical or angled back?

as the more rearward angle the greater pressure on the rudders with weather helm.

were the rudders fully in their housings or angled back? .. if not at 90 degrees you feel like pulling your arms out with the weather helm.

were the rudders the long deep f/glass ones or the circular shaped ones which don't go muchh deeper than the hulls? When the wind comes up the shallow rudders don't help keep the boat straight.

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Ask around your local sailing clubs or elsewhere on this site to see if any mari owners have any old rudders lying around.

If you have the cash, (who does at this time of year?), you can get new but if you are only sailing socially see if you can get an old unused set. If you want to get competitive then buy new.

you will find the correct 'deep' fibreglass rudders make a huge difference. Ideally you should be able to hold the tiller between finger and thumb on just about any point of sail. Get newish rudders and then adjust mast rake and rudder angle and sweep under the sterns.

the more mast rake the more reverse angle on the rudders may be required.

I had a sail on my latest cat today and had huge weather helm so I too have some adjustments to make.

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