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Old 23-02-2015, 02:41   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver
Boat: True North 34
Posts: 37
Sometimes less is more.

"Palindrome" is a cutter rigged, full-keeled, 26,000 lb displacement double-ender from Stan Huntingford. She's a True North 34.

I've read a number of posts about dissatisfaction with the amount of weather helm this boat experiences. I never found it a massive problem, however, I did feel I was probably losing some speed by the braking effect of the massive rudder and even a moderate amount of weather helm gets wearing after a while.

My main is old and tired and the sail draws further aft than it would if new. I visited my sailmaker and asked him to remove the roach and battens, convert the main to a loose foot and generally patch it up.

He wasn't impressed.

I explained why I wanted the changes and added it was an old sail anyway and better to experiment with that than a new one. He reluctantly agreed to do the best he could.

What can I say, she's a different boat on all points of sail. She has completely neutral helm from a close reach to hard on the wind with about 1/4 - 1/2 knot speed increase, despite losing some square footage off the main. No battens makes reefing easier and the sail will probably last a lot longer without the chafe on batten pockets. The new sail to these specs will also be about 30% cheaper than the original.

Here's a video of Pal sailing herself with a completely free swinging tiller. The Admiral is having a well-earned snooze in the cockpit.


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Old 23-02-2015, 07:27   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Noank, Ct. USA
Boat: Cape Dory 31
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Re: Sometimes less is more.

Glad you found the recipe for success. It's not often things work out exactly as planned.

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Old 23-02-2015, 09:51   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Boat: Valiant 40 (1975)
Posts: 4,064
Re: Sometimes less is more.

My boat is 2000#s lighter and 6 feet longer, however when I bought her I had the same problem. The foot on my main was 20 feet, I shortened it to 16, put full lenght battens and now she is balanced on all points of sail with the staysil and main. With the Main only up she used to overpower the rudder and head up, now she will sleeply head up on main alone when hit by a gust of 30 knts.
Will sail by her own for hours. Most I have had without touching the wheel is about 4 hours on the Pacific off the coast of Washington.
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Old 23-02-2015, 10:41   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver
Boat: True North 34
Posts: 37
Re: Sometimes less is more.

Thanks for the kind comments guys. I have to admit, the difference in how Pal handles is way beyond my expectations and I'm looking forward to see how she behaves with my brand new sail in the spring.

A friend of ours on the marina, has a 42 foot ferro-cement cutter, which has completed many thousands of miles of blue water cruising. He's a Kiwi and made the trip from NZ to the PNW in one hop. He tells me his loose-footed, roachless main is 40 years old and still going strong!

Clearly, this isn't a solution for racing buffs, but then again, racing buffs probably won't be sailing full-keeled, heavy displacement double-enders anyway. lol
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