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Problems going straight, fighting the helm

Laska

New Member
I'm a pretty green sailor and I just recently got my first Laser. I was out the other day in about 8-10kts of wind and 1-2 foot waves. When on a reach I was having to fight the tiller to go straight. I tried moving my weight forward, then back and not much was helping. Can anyone tell this newbie what the heck I need to be doing to make the boat go straight without pulling on the tiller? If I recall, the dagger board was slightly up, kicker, outhaul and cunnimgham fairly tight.

Thanks,
 

49208

Tentmaker
Re: Problems going straight

Sounds like the kicker was much too tight, next time ease it about halfway between full on and full off (set the top batten to just twist a bit off from the boom)

Also need to keep the boat flat to reduce helm. Try to use body weight to steer (heel to windward to head down, leeward to head up)
 

Merrily

Administrator
Re: Problems going straight

I'm a pretty green sailor and I just recently got my first Laser. I was out the other day in about 8-10kts of wind and 1-2 foot waves. When on a reach I was having to fight the tiller to go straight. I tried moving my weight forward, then back and not much was helping. Can anyone tell this newbie what the heck I need to be doing to make the boat go straight without pulling on the tiller? If I recall, the dagger board was slightly up, kicker, outhaul and cunnimgham fairly tight.

Thanks,
You may have had too much kicker on. You need just a touch when reaching. The battens should be parallel to the boom.

If you have to pull on the tiller, that means the boat is trying to head up to where you've got your sail set. To stay on the same heading, let your sail out.
 

Laska

New Member
Thanks guys, seems unanimous. My kicker was almost for sure too tight and I do have a little trouble keeping the boat upright. I'm on the lower limit of a regular rig (150lbs). I'll try what you say next time. My sail trim needs a little work too.
Thanks.
 

49208

Tentmaker
If you are on the light side, even less kicker (more twist) will help keep it flat when reaching..
 

Sailorchick

Member
Did you mean a standard or radial when you said regular rig. Hopefully you meant radial as you are way too light for the standard rig.

As everyone else has said, keep it flat, the rudder is only small so doesn't work when not flat.
 

Laska

New Member
I meant Standard. At least I assume it is. It's a 1979. If I had the choice, I'd have a radial but there isn't exactly a plethora of used boats to choose from, especially not radials in my price range.
 

janderson99

New Member
I agree sounds like the mainsheet is too tight. You need to balance the boat's heading with the tiller and adjust the mainsheet so there is minimal pressure on the tiller - healing may also be an issue as this tends to increase weather helm.

This free manual may help http://www.findseedo.com/lasermanual.html

see chapter on reaching
 

Laska

New Member
OK, Lossen the kicker, let out the mainsail, hike out harder or get a radial rig. Got it!

I'm going out Sunday, albeit on a calmer lake, but I'll put it all in to play.

Seriously considering buying a Radial rig though. I was going to buy a new sail anyways, so I would only need a new lower mast section too. hmmm.... Either that or I start pounding back some doughnuts.

Thanks again to everyone for the advice.
 

WestCoast

New Member
as they say, 'flat is fast'

With the mainsheet comment, you might know this, but you can let it out until a bubble develops in the luff (front part of sail parallel to mast) and then trim in a bit.

That's an easy way when you are learning the boat to figure out correct sail trim.
 

dwb

New Member
Hi All;

This is probably a dumb question, but what is the "kicker"? Is it the boom vang?
 
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