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Rudderless

Our sailing season here in South Africa starts in about 6 weeks time......I can't wait to start ........
So, in order to improve my sailing I want to learn to hike properly and to be able to sail by feel. I want to practice sailing rudderless. How should I go about this.... I sail in an inland lake which is known for it's constantly changing winds..........
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
'Rudderless' sailing is a great exercise. Just tie a bungee (shock cord) around the strap and the front of the tiller to hold the latter in the middle position.
Leave the rudder blade down.

Move your body in and out, fore and aft while sheeting in and out as required. Now try to tack and jibe without ever touching the tiller.

I have had only one (very recent) opportunity to try this in medium winds (5-10 mph), and under supervision of a coach, so I can't say anything about other conditions.
 

jeffers

Active Member
Rudderless sailing is very difficult in an Una Rig boat because one of the main tools for turning is using the jib and main to assist. Jib helps you bear away, meain helps you head up. This along with using your bodyweight (leeward heel to head up, windward heel to bear away) means you can effectively steer a boat with a well balance rig without the rudder. Most modern racing dinghies are not well balanced though so this is difficult.

With a bit of practice though you can use your bodyweight and sheeting of the main to help minimise your rudder movement. Do expect to swin though, especially on the bear away ;))
 
This is so counter-intuitive to me. Why would it be better to design a boat that isn't "balanced"
It's for speed - the "plaining hull" style of modern designs doesn't have much in the water, and the hull doesn't split the water consistently down the centre of the boat all the way to the back. This lowers the hull-to-water resistance and promotes plaining.

It's like modern fighter planes. They can hardly fly (they cannot glide safely to ground with no power) but this gives them amazing manuverability.
 

chrisrock

Member
I don't recommend sailing rudderless, as everyone else has said, it is very difficult to do with just a main sail. For learning feel with your laser there is a lot more things you can do. When I used to work on that, I would pull into close hauled and go upwind with very little or no tiller movements. This is the best on a choppy day with medium wind so your are medium hiking. This way without tiller at all, you will be created all your speed with your body movement or no body movement for that matter.
 

Nipper

New Member
Our sailing season here in South Africa starts in about 6 weeks time......I can't wait to start ........
So, in order to improve my sailing I want to learn to hike properly and to be able to sail by feel. I want to practice sailing rudderless. How should I go about this.... I sail in an inland lake which is known for it's constantly changing winds..........
There was a thread a couple of moths ago about rudderless Laser sailing, and as Jeffers has said, it is enormously difficult in a Laser, and I cannot see you will learn much. The general census before is that it is best to leave the rudder on, and tie it off in the middle of the boat.

Personally at a club racing level, I would not bother with that either.

My recommendation is to practice tacking and gybing until you can do it smoothly in all wind strengths, as this will benefit you far more when racing on a shifty lake, than anything you will learn when sailing without a rudder.
 
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