Author Topic: Weather helm on CSY 33  (Read 3585 times)

Michael Briggs

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« on: October 02, 2009, 11:53:39 AM »
My problem is: I have pretty severe weather helm on my 33 and have not been able to reduce it. Every sail increases it.
The jib is actually the worst. I think its about a 120% genoa. I made sure the forestay and jib halyard were good and tight.
When reaching she is constantly heading up, then takes a lot of rudder to bring her back on course and then she falls off.
Any one sail (jib, main and even staysail) will cause weather helm as will any combination.
I have some load forward, but only 55 lbs worth of anchor and 60ft of 5/16" chain on the bow, plus some provisions and parts. Based on the waterline she does seem a little heavy by the bow, but there is no room to store more goods aft.
The lazarettes are full to overflowing including lots of line, extra batteries and two big steel scuba tanks, so I don't think I can add any weight back there without relocating the fuel tanks.

Any ideas?
I'm in Merritt Island, FL and would love to take someone with more experience for a sail or sail on another CSY 33 to learn something.

Peter Roach

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 03:47:38 PM »
You mentioned "back on course and then she falls off". Are you sure this is weather helm and not "Griping" (old English term - I am not sure what they call it now). Griping occurs when you have too much weight forward. It can happen on power boats as well as sailboats. What happens is the boat constantly tries to turn from one side to the other. Often times when a boat is griping you will have to start reacting before the boat starts turning by itself and the boat does not quickly answer the helm. This trait will drive the autopilot (and biopilot) nuts when steering for a long period of time.

 A good way of determine if your boat is griping is to check if you have problems holding a straight course while under power and no sails?

If you find griping is causing your problem - To correct griping you have to move stuff out of the bow. You would have to add a lot of weight to the stern to correct the problem. The best way to view all weight on a sailboat is using foot pounds from the mast (assuming the mast is designed correctly and is in the correct place). One pound one foot away from the mast is 1 foot pound. One pound 20 foot from the mast is 20 foot pounds. If you look at the weight that way you have a 55lb anchor and 60' of chain (5/16 is about a pound a foot) let's say 15' from the mast. This means you have 1725 foot pounds in your bow. Every foot you can move your chain back is like taking 60 foot pounds off of your boat. Some people even try to run the chain down into the bilge to get it out of the bow (I have never had much luck with this - works for racing boats that rarely anchor). Any supplies in the bow also need to be considered.

Oddly enough most boats are not nearly as sensitive to weight behind the mast.
I tried having a bad day once but I did not like it

Rhapsody

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2009, 12:53:34 AM »
I have plenty of stuff in the bow and chainlocker, but griping is not the problem, weather helm is..

Let the main-sheet loose and if you still have severe weather helm, then tune the rig and the mast.

I am so used to it now that it does not bother me much, but trimming sails will solve most of the problem..

Michael Briggs

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2009, 01:25:19 PM »
Thanks for your analysis Peter.
I'm pretty sure its not griping. Under power it is easy to keep it on course when at the helm. Of course, as soon as I leave the helm she will head towards either shallows or the most dangerous or expensive object nearby.
It falls off because as I point away from the wind the weather helm force drops dramatically.

I will try some "weight management" before loading it all back up and see if I can get it to work better.
I don't think I want to bend the mast forward. Mainsail draft is good now and bending it forward would not be good. Since its keel-stepped I can't rake it forward significantly. I'd probably have to get a jib with a shorter luff too.
Letting the sheet out does little. As I said, I can drop the mainsail and still have bad weather helm.

I don't want to get used to it. I want to fix it. A rig you can't balance seems like a bad rig.
Does anyone have a 33 that is well balanced on all or most points of sail in fresh winds?



Rhapsody

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2009, 07:57:46 AM »
Quote
As I said, I can drop the mainsail and still have bad weather helm.

Seems like you have a uniqe problem then..The mainsail is what causes the weather helm, at least on my boat..

Quote
I don't want to get used to it. I want to fix it. A rig you can't balance seems like a bad rig.

Let me know what you find out and how you "fix" it.

Jonathan

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2009, 03:29:25 PM »
...Just out of curiosity, do you have a dodger/enclosure or stern arch, or anything else that might be adding significant windage out back?

Michael Briggs

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2009, 11:54:47 AM »
I have a big bimini, and it occurred to me that it might be pushing the stern leeward. I folded it up last voyage and it did not seem to make a significant difference, but winds were light so weather helm was not extreme.

RosalieAnn

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2009, 12:23:05 PM »
Charlee Poindexter reported a severe weather helm problem on her 33, and I think one of the guys said it was because of a too large headsail.

Soggy Geek

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2009, 06:04:47 PM »
I found this on the old Topica site:

As a new 33 owner I'm interested in how other 33 owners balance their boat under sail. I'm hoping to shorten my learning curve on the handling of this boat,

(For the last 25 yrs I owned a sloop with hanked on genny, jib, stormjib, and twin shoal draft keels. It had it's own characteristics....)

My 33 has a RF genny (not sure of % yet), stays'l on a removable stay, and asymmetrical spinnaker in a sock. What combinations do you use in what circumstances, particularly balancing for easy a/p effort?

I queried Max, currently in the Azores, and he sent me the following which I post with his permission:
-----------------------------------------
As far as sail balancing, it is very difficult to get any real balanced helm on the boat. It doesn't bother me too much since I always use the autopilot and a weather helm tends to make an easier job for it.

Whenever the wind is aft of beam, I take the staysail down. It blocks the headsail and causes it to luff. I always sail with it up otherwise. Not because of the extra power it adds (which is minimal) but I use it as a storm sail. Too much sail - roll in the jib and poof - storm rigged.

Offshore, I am very conservative these days. I got tired of fixing things that break when you stress them trying to get an extra knot out of her. Here is how I sail:

Full rig - Main, Stay, Head. I sail that way until enough wind to heel 20 degrees. When I am heeled over more than 20 degrees, I reef the main. Reef Rig - Reefed Main, Stay, Head.

When I am heeled over more than 20 degrees with the Reefed rig, I roll in the jib. Storm Rig - Reefed Main, Stay. When the rail starts to bury while storm rigged (around 30 degrees of heel) you are in a gale. Time to take down the main and

(1) heave to by taking the staysail traveler all the way to windward, cranking down hard on the staysail sheet, and locking the wheel trying to point the boat into the wind.

(2) run under staysail alone. Heaved to, the boat points about 60 degrees off the wind and loses ground to the lee about 2-3 knots. You can run at to about 130 degrees off the wind and up to about 8-9 knots boat speed.

When staysail alone is too much sail, you pray. Then, you have to go on the foredeck and take the staysail down in the sea state that 45-50 knots of wind give you. The best I hope for is to be able to drop it on the deck and lash it down without either getting hurt or thrown overboard. Under bare poles you can either (1) lie ahull - like heave to but without any sail or (2) run with the wind. I have only gone this far twice in 8,000 offshore miles. Fortunately, my destination both times was generally downwind, so I was able to run with the wind.
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Soggy Geek

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2009, 06:23:09 PM »
And excerpts from a follow-up discussion...
-------------------
Regarding the rudder, is there a shape that would be more appropriate (I'm not planning on hacking mine, just wondering).

My copy of the survey which listed the new sails is down on the boat so I don't know the size. But I do know that it is brand new, like the main. (During delivery I used the old sails, which were still in pretty good shape, IMO).

I've been watching some great videos. Brian Toss has two: "Inspecting Your Rig" and "Tuning Your Rig". And North Sails "The Shape of Speed". Very good! Even after owning a boat for 25 yrs I am learning a lot. Wish I had seen them long ago. Bought them all for less that the cost of one hour with a rigger.

-----------------------------------------

I'll start off by saying Max is pretty accurate about a few things. One area he fails to bring up is the rudder. The barndoor rudder is subject to a lot of rudder loading. It's easy to think it is weather helm as you need to pull pretty hard on the wheel. You'll notice you get it when heeled over a great deal on any point of sail. Reducing the heel always reduces the loading. It's just a side effect of the rudder and you can't control it except with the heel angle. There is a plus side though - you shouldn't see lee helm much if ever.

You'll find you have trouble pointing closer than 50 degrees without a great reduction in speed. A bigger genoa would help there too. Shadowfax suffers from a high yankee except in winds over 20 knots when it works better than a full genoa. I have flown all the sails in 25 knots on a close reach going across the bay to Cape Charles from Yorktown. The boat laid over more than 30 degrees but she flew. It made easy work crashing through the waves running 4 - 6 ft. It's the one time the short frequency waves of the bay won't really vex your progress. The short chop on the bay is maybe the worst stuff you can have and if going directly into it motoring is not easy.

I would invest in a good sized genoa. Not a big deck sweeper but small enough it does not cover the stations. For light air Shadowfax isn't well equipped. For us running on the main or the genoa was about the same due to the small nature of the jib. Having a small one is of course a good idea too for any off shore trips as it would be safer. As with Max I have flown just the head sails when it gets blowing hard and on a beam reach to a broad reach it makes it a lot easier to handle because it reduces the heeling a LOT and takes the load off the rudder.
 
Reefing the main early will help due the same thing too. Max is a real staysail fanatic that's for sure. Not sure if you heard about the trip to the Azores this fall. I think he went most of the way on his staysail. It didn't get blessed with good weather either.

It's taken me a long time to figure the issue of the rudder loading and I never really understood why until we got the Gozzard. The ones before 1997 have a similar barn door rudder and so have some of the same CSY 33 rudder properties. More head sail helps maintain power and a little less main will lessen the heel.

Play around with the staysail it's a great tool and is easy to manage when it gets ugly.
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Rhapsody

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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2009, 08:11:57 PM »
Good point on the rudder.

I had a new rudder made and with a different shape than stock CSY.

That could have helped on the weather helm issue.

David Boyd

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2010, 12:55:01 AM »
I also had considerable weather helm on my 33.

Rhapsody

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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2010, 08:39:08 AM »
Quote
Around 12 years I added approximately 16 or 18 inches on her keel on the aft side,

Did you close the gap between keel and skeg?

Was the boat more reluctant to do sharp turns after the mod? (Like maneuvering in
a marina or a canal)

How did you do the nuts and bolts of the mod? Glassed in plywood or what?

Got any pictures?

Thanks

David Boyd

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2010, 11:55:05 PM »
Dag,

I left enough space for aft lifting slings to support the weight of the hull.

Rhapsody

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Weather helm on CSY 33
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2010, 05:53:17 AM »
Thanks, good info.

Not sure I want to go that route, growing lazy by the minute and that seems like work to me..  ;D

When we bought "Rhapsody" 11.5 years ago the weather helm was quite strong and of concern, but now we learned how to cope as far as sail-trim, auto pilot use, etc so it does not seem like a big deal.

Also we use the boat more as a motor sailor than a sail boat as I am a working stiff with limited days off, and to get somewhere, we run the Perkins a lot of times rather than sail.

I may try to improve the sailing part of the picture when I get more time on my hands and will keep your modification in mind, thanks again.