"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
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