Do you want to be informed on new Posts on this Thread? (members only)

Sail & Rigging - Weather helm, Genoa v Yankee
12 July 2014 - 15:48
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Weather helm, Genoa v Yankee
I am due to change my Genoa which 135%. As I often sail shorthanded I have set up a cutter rig I am thinking of going for a Yankee as a replacement hesadsail.
The mast rake is set up correctly at 11 inches including a small amount of pre bend. Yet I still have a lot of weather helm in anything above 18knts. I remember Olin saying that anything above two spokes of the wheel as weather helm was not good. Yet with the high aspect ratio mainsail, and with the mast quiet along way forward in the yacht and the power coming from the genoa I still often have to fight the yacht for straight line control if I want a sensible passage speed.
Would the Yankee fix these problems?

13 July 2014 - 17:27
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 461

Hi John,
I am always having the same problem with my 411 and I attribute it to the fact that my boat was built before the change in the design of the keel which, to-date, I did not retrofit.
She is soft and tends to heel a bit too much; it is a well known fact that this attitude makes a boat luff. I wonder if your boat has got the modified keel.
I solve by diminishing the sails but I had the chance to test another 411 with the modified keel and it does make a substantial difference.
Daniel, 411/004

13 July 2014 - 22:00
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Daniel and John,

Avista is hull #010, so she should have the modified keel (the modification has been done from hul 009), John, can you confirm?

Fair winds!

matteo (38/067 Only You)

14 July 2014 - 00:02
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

John, an interesting question and I guess you don't want to change the keel!
My understanding is that weather helm comes from two main sources: the hull lines distorting as she heels and/or the centre of effort too far aft in the rig.
Can't remember what your sails are like, but on Tigris we have now got low stretch Gatorback sails and not too much draft in them high up. Our old baggy Hood sails which had done 65,000 miles created a lot more heeling effort and then weather helm.
As far as a yankee is concerned, I have gone the other way and tried to get the genoa power lower and closer to the accelerated air over the deck. I think Guido is putting the clew on my 140% genoa at half boom height. That said, we don't use a cutter rig.
Good luck, Gavin

14 July 2014 - 09:38
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

I am no expert on yacht design, but the mast being so far forward on the 411,it has the highest aspect ratio main of all S&S Swans combined with large genoa is a combination that is difficult to manage as winds strengths increase. I am told that we should reef the genoa first, but I find this does not work, what works for me is too reef the main first. The main is newish and flat.
This leads me to the conclusion that the mainsail has more impact on straight line control than the genoa, which is crazy given its size and position. So my thoughts on a solution is too reduce the rake of the mast, and consider a more balanced and manageable sail plan at the front. Yankee and Staysail.

14 July 2014 - 10:06
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 461

the tendence to luff comes from another important factor introduced by heeling only: the horizontal displacement of the centre of pressure of the sail with respect to the centre of pressure of the hull produces a torque.
It is interesting to notice that such luffing torque appears even if the sail plan is perfectly balanced with the hull (not considering the heeling torque, of course).
Daniel, 411/004

14 July 2014 - 21:01
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Daniel, my rudder is the deeper version. Balancing the CE with the CLR is easier if the pivot point is central to the length. This is not the case with our 411s.

As we know our yachts rarely sail upright, but over at 20+ degrees when going upwind and often more. My rule is to avoid the toe rail getting wet as this is going too far over. Result is Leeway and rudder fighting for grip and yacht rounding up.

Maybe a combination of reduced mast rake and trying to reduce the rig weight would improve things. Does anybody have a carbon mast fitted to a 411?

14 July 2014 - 22:39
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

John, carbon masts are great but very expensive if you include all the rigging bits as well. I don't know of a 411 with a carbon rig but the owner of Formula Spars did his Lymington based 41 some time ago and it looked very good and went well - he also moved the halyards aft.
My gut and bank balance would tend to getting the mast vertical as you suggest and then making sure theta the sails are perfect for the job as the wind increases.

16 July 2014 - 12:19
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Hi John, I am not familiar with the 411, but I reckon it is difficult pinpoint the precise effect of overall changes to rig and sails, and for what it is worth - our carbon mast and new flatter mainsail has reduced weather helm significantly. This in turn has focussed our attention more on trim - where there are plenty more gains to be made. It seems to me that when you start tuning up, more subtle factors come in to play- and they have a distinct order to them.
Sarabande 47/029

16 July 2014 - 14:15
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Rob, I was passing through Mylor last week and saw Sarabande on her mooring with her carbon mast and boom, very impressive. From what is being said by Daniel I think part of the problem and solution lays with heeling over and the change to the balance of CR/CLR. So taking more weight out of the rig and reducing the mast rake could produce some improvements. A carbon masts is not an option. Do you reef your main or head sail first?

16 July 2014 - 15:54
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Hi John,

We can hold a full mainsail in higher winds with the new rig. We have a large deck sweeping No 1 Genoa which over powers the boat when the wind gets to 17kts apparent so we now reduce foresail area first, but with a more general purpose sail say 125% then it could be either.

Adding the carbon rig has changed the feel a lot - more responsive, more upright and less weather helm.

Sarabande 47/029

16 July 2014 - 19:52
Join Date: 12 November 2011
Posts: 14

We have changed the sailplan of our swan 47 ( ZEEDUIVEL) last winter.

The Dutch Yacht designer Frans Maas has drawn the plan

New taller carbon mast

New longer carbon V Boom

I---20.30 meter above 0 datum

J---6.03  meter

120% LP    7.20 M

OPP. LUFF---20.30 M   73.00 m2


P---19.30 M

E---5.50 M

OPP   58 m2

Result is fantastic;

Less weatherhelm

Pointing higher

Less pitching

We only start reefing with 28 knots App; with the old rig reefing the big Gen between 20-25 knots



27 July 2014 - 21:15
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66



Just returned from a 3 week cruise on Hierro and was interested in the comments from you and the other 411 owners.

We have previously reefed in approx 18-19 knots apparent, mainly to reduce the heel rather than weather helm, which has not been a problem. However we have replaced the mainsail this season, and during this trip found that at 21-22 knots the boat was happy with full main, with the boom on the centreline, and would have probably taken more before reefing. we put this down to the much flatter, (less worn), cut of the sail. both the old and new are fully battened, however the new sail gives another half a knot at least to windward with higher pointing ability.The genoa we cruise with is a roller reefing, 135%, which we only reef over 25 knots apparent. I think the cut of the sails have often much more effect than the size.


Paul Bond.  Hierro 411 042

27 July 2014 - 23:47
Join Date: 02 February 2007
Posts: 126

We have just had our new genoa delivered to Tigris this week. We didn't have the weather helm issue, but I was aware that there was more heeling force than there should be, going up wind. Hopefully, will the right shaped sail and low stretch Gatorback 295 cloth, it will hold its shape as the pressure increases. We have also gone for a lower centre of effort than before when it was a yankee shape. My first sail with it will be next Sunday when we start our summer holiday in Croatia from Split.

Sail hoisted in flat calm in the marina

29 July 2014 - 19:45
Join Date: 16 May 2009
Posts: 252

Paul -

Curious as to what main you bought - who made it, what is it made of?

My boat came with a North trilam full batten main, which was too heavy for my general use.  I bought a UK Halsey partial batten main, tape drive silver powerhead 2, which was inexpensive but has been a very nice sail - now 3 years old, but used lightly, it still has the same shape as when new.

I'm getting ready to maybe buy something a little tougher, but not as heavy again as the North trilam, so am seeking input in that regard - anything you can share would be appreciated.


Geoff, Corazon, 411 #41

31 July 2014 - 11:15
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66


I find sail choice very difficult, with all the different materials and sailmakers.We have used Sanders sails in Lymington for all our sails for Hierro, as some of the ones that came with the boat were excellent and importantly one can speak to Peter Sanders for advice and visit the loft to inspect the sails being made.(in UK not China)  The new sail is in Bainbridge CL Diax CFG which has carbon ribbon reinforcement and should give good durability, (not cheap!) It is tri¨radial cut with 5 full battens, I think certainly for cruising I would not go back to partial battens as the cloth seems to be better supported and it does definately extend the sails useful life. The secret with fully battened sails is the batten end cars. With the previous Dacron mainsail I could fully raise the main without the use of the winch as we had Fredriksen `Ballslide` batten cars.I reused these on the new main which makes hoisting it easy.



31 July 2014 - 11:27
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Hi Paul. I am amazed that you can fly a 135% with 25 knots apparent wind.
You must have water over the rail all the time. What mast rake do you have set up?

31 July 2014 - 21:37
Join Date: 19 July 2007
Posts: 66

Hi John.

25 knots is the top end for the full genoa. I try not to reef the sail to windward as the shape and pointing ability are ruined when more than a couple of turns are on the furler.The sea conditions make a considerable differance we can only get away with it in flat seas, we are probably "pinching"a little and letting the main down the track at this windspeed however we dont let the rail go into the water as this obviously slows the boat.

I am not certain of the actual mast rake however when Avista and Hierro were alongside each other in Lymington the rigs looked very simlar in rake. we however have a replacement spar with 3 spreaders, which is much more  flexible than the Nautor original and the mast bend is more pronounced.  When Im next on board I will drop a halyard down and give you an approximate figure.

Regards.  Paul

  • Threads : 1701
  • Posts : 10214
  • Members: 820
  • Online Members: 4