How I Reduced My Laser Weather Helm

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by andyatos, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    Here's some qualifiers...

    - If you race, you can't do this
    - Yes, if you can always keep the boat completely flat, your weather helm is minimal

    Here's a short video of what I did.

    I mainly did this for high wind, beam and broad reaching conditions. Here's my rambling thoughts on the subject.

    In strong wind, beam and broad reaching conditions, I've found that if you sail with just a bit of heal, the centerboard will bite a bit more, lift a bit more of the boat out of the water and reduce your wetted surface drag. Which means more speed. We do this when windsurfing. It's called, "Riding the Fin".

    Only problem is when you heal the Laser a bit, the shape of the hull wants to push the boat into wind. But you want to keep sailing straight so you steer to compensate. Now you're creating unnecessary drag with the rudder. So you sheet out a bit to flatten the boat. Which decreases your power. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

    This Laser weather helm scenario reminds me of when I'd start feeling strange, extra weather helm on my 470 in strong wind, beam and broad reach conditions. Only to discover that the rudder, that's normally in a vertical position, had raked back a bit (like a Laser rudder) because the rope that holds it vertical had come loose. Re-set it to vertical and that 470 weather helm went away.

    Anyway, the first day I sailed with my Laser rudder vertical like this was my recent Sunrise Sail... where I ended up on the water for 8 hours. I could feel a big difference. I also did this with a Sunfish over 30 years ago and it worked like gangbusters.

    Again, just rambling... :)

    - Andy
     
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  2. CaptainAhab

    CaptainAhab Active Member

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    Another option is to pull the dagger board up a couple of inches. This will reduce the righting moment and allow you to keep the boat flatter. The key is as you noted to keep the boat as flat as possible.

    Once you have weather helm the problem becomes worse. The rudder is generating no lift only drag. If you very quickly center the rudder for about one second the flow will reattach and Viola! you can steer once again. The other reality is if you consistently get weather helm its time to depower big time.
     
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  3. chemprof

    chemprof Member

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    Andy, have you gone through with us what you did to your rudder and the rudder assembly in order to make it able to be adjusted to vertical? I'd like to know. -- Ed
     
  4. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    Hi Ed,

    I'll do a short, over the shoulder video of what I did with my rudder and post it here. BTW, during the modification process I was even thinking that, if I was into racing as well as high wind and distance sailing, I'd just get another class legal rudder, sail with that for racing and sail with my modified rudder the rest of the time.

    Cheers,

    - Andy
     
  5. Jaap Schellekens

    Jaap Schellekens New Member

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    Apart from modifying your rudder keeping the boat flat and sheeting out in gusts helps a lot.
     

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