470 Weather Helm

Thread starter #1
Hi,

I have a mackay 470 from year 2000-something that has a strong weather helm.

I tried it in quite strong wind and it really required a lot of hand force to keep it from turning up to the wind. Any ideas how to reduce this effect? New boat for me, and not really skilled in sailing unfortunately :)
 

LaLi

Active Member
#2
Välkommen ombord ;)

You're either tuning the boat very wrong or handling it very wrong. The 470 should have very little weather helm even (and especially) in heavy conditions because you 're not aiming for height but speed - you want to keep it planing as much of the time as possible.

Some things to check:
  • is the rudder all the way down? It should. Leading edge vertical.
  • is the centreboard all the way down? It shouldn't! Raise it a little bit, try it with the trailing edge vertical. Top sailors actually adjust this according to wind strength.
  • are you keeping the boat flat? You do it with the mainsheet. In and out with the gusts. You really aim for zero degrees of heel.
  • is your basic tuning (mast rake/bend/rig tension) ok? I assume your sails are relatively new and there are tuning guides available for them. Your mast may be too straight and raked.
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Thread starter #3
Välkommen ombord ;)

You're either tuning the boat very wrong or handling it very wrong. The 470 should have very little weather helm even (and especially) in heavy conditions because you 're not aiming for height but speed - you want to keep it planing as much of the time as possible.

Some things to check:
  • is the rudder all the way down? It should. Leading edge vertical.
  • is the centreboard all the way down? It shouldn't! Raise it a little bit, try it with the trailing edge vertical. Top sailors actually adjust this according to wind strength.
  • are you keeping the boat flat? You do it with the mainsheet. In and out with the gusts. You really aim for zero degrees of heel.
  • is your basic tuning (mast rake/bend/rig tension) ok? I assume your sails are relatively new and there are tuning guides available for them. Your mast may be too straight and raked.
_
Tack!! :)

Tuning very wrong and handling very wrong could both apply I think :)

Rudder is all the way down, leading edge vertical

Ah, yes I should try raising the centreboard a bit! Thanks!!

Well, no not really flat... We had quite a bit of heel - not too experienced with the trapeze so could not get all the way out... balanced the heeling by letting the mainsheet out and/or steering upwind when we had gusts. Didn't know heel caused weather helm - thanks!! But is a perfectly flat boat the fastest way of sailing? I don't gain speed by keeping the mainsheet in a bit and allowing some heel?

My basic tuning is most likely not right. Yes I do have tuning guides - for my first couple of rides I was not familiar enough with the boat or sailing in general to make any use of them...but should try again now! One thing I don't really understand is the mast rake. How is that typically controlled? And how is it that different to controlling the mast bend? For the mast bend I believe it is controlled by the side shrouds and by tension of the jib.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#4
no not really flat... We had quite a bit of heel - not too experienced with the trapeze so could not get all the way out... balanced the heeling by letting the mainsheet out and/or steering upwind when we had gusts. Didn't know heel caused weather helm - thanks!!
Found your problem pretty fast! In light-to-medium winds you indeed head up a little in gusts, but when you have upwind planing conditions, you need to go the opposite way and let out plenty of mainsheet... and pull it all back in at the end of the gust to keep the crew out of the water :D

is a perfectly flat boat the fastest way of sailing? I don't gain speed by keeping the mainsheet in a bit and allowing some heel?
As I said, you aim for zero degrees. Heeling works in keelboats and even to some extent in boats like the Laser, where you go for a compromise because there's a practical speed limit upwind. An upwind-planing boat like the 470 on the other hand basically goes just faster and faster, and any heel will only slow it down.

One thing I don't really understand is the mast rake. How is that typically controlled? And how is it that different to controlling the mast bend? For the mast bend I believe it is controlled by the side shrouds and by tension of the jib.
I think of shroud position adjusting the rake, spreader angle adjusting the mast bend, and then to make it all happen you pull the jib halyard so that you have near-zero jib luff sag (and that's something like 150 kg on the jib luff wire). But those three don't work independently, so you have to measure several combinations of settings, and the tuning guides give you the numbers for those.

Var seglar du din båt? Och kan vi se bilder? :cool:

_
 

LaLi

Active Member
#6
That's a really interesting jib cleating system! Never seen anything quite like that. The traveller/mainsheet bridle is pretty cool, too. Took some time to figure it out, though :D

Are you missing some trapeze and spinnaker equipment?

_
 
Thread starter #7
Hehe,imagine the time it took for me to figure it out - beginner and all..but anyhow got the grips on most of it now!

Supposedly (the previous owner told me) it is someone from the Swedish national team that sailed it.

No, for the trapeze at least all is there, but not in the picture - further to the bow.

I haven't yet tried spinnaker but I think everything is on, but to the aft. Lots of ropes, some pump system. Will for sure be a post or two on this forum when I try to set that up :)
 
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