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Old 23-01-2019, 15:34   #1
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Tartan 27

I loved living aboard my comfy and solid 1960's Tartan 27 sloop.

The extreme weather helm as seen here by the tiller angle was very tiring and felt like I was "rowing it to windward".

I could not believe Sparkman and Stevens could produce a design with such weather helm.

Also the mast would"pump" in a seaway for lack of paired lower shrouds.

Anyone out there find a solution?

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Old 23-01-2019, 19:01   #2
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Re: Tartan 27

I know on my S&S design (Columbia 29) the mast is supposed to be raked 8.5 inches. Perhaps your mast was supposed to have that rake (or maybe none?) and had too much; that would be my first guess. More of the main's area aft rudders the boat upwind (weather helm as you probably already know.) Also, how much heel did she have at the time? I know I benefit from reefing early enough that I keep the heel under 25 degrees.. really 20 being better. Too much heel and you're just using the rudder as a drag brake...
Oh and in that picture it looks like they are overpowered with that genoa going upwind. I know with mine I just get more drag and heel and not much power from the genoa and switching to a "working jib" I get the same speed and less heel. But more heel is more dramatic for the photos
Also my mast pumps too but it's just something to live with, unless you want add another set of lowers which a lot of folks do. I haven't yet. Someday I might, but the boat is 57 years old so maybe I'll get around to it one of these decades.

1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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Old 26-01-2019, 20:40   #3
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Re: Tartan 27

As for rake, the backstay broke due salty swaged fitting, which in turn allowed the mast to lung forward and bend at deck level. From then the mast had no rake and maybe even raked forward. This did not help with the weather helm. One time in strong wind the boat sailed to windward nicely with working jib alone. So reefing main and limiting heel as you say.
It is just odd that other boats I have sailed did not have such weather helm.
The Tartan 27 ain't no Swedish Tumlare or Harrison Butler , is it!!
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Old 27-01-2019, 01:14   #4
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Re: Tartan 27

We have the same boat... and the same issues. It has actually been on my mind recently as Iím about to put my mast back up and would rather add any improvements while itís horizontal. Iím no expert and have almost no experience sailing different boats but am really fortunate to be around people with lots of experience. So just last week I was shown a good solution to my mast pumping problem. I didnít want to go through the hassle of adding chain plates further aft for a set of lower shrouds so the suggestion was to just tie a piece of dyneema to the base of each spreader and have it run aft with an adjustable and removable block system to the aft cleats so that you can have the support when you need it.
As far as the weather helm goes, a 13.5 foot boom seems to be the problem, I always sail with the first reef in to balance it out. So next time I get a sail made the foot will be shorter and Iíll cut the boom down a foot or two. I had worried about doing this and having the end of the boom farther forward than the track but it might not be that unusual. The pic is an example of how I keep the main proportional to the jib. It is normally balanced enough that the self steering doesnít have a problem.
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Old 27-01-2019, 17:59   #5
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Re: Tartan 27

Most common cause on small older sailboats is old worn out sails. I was struggling with same issue on a Cape Dory 26. New main was a miracle cure. New sails are a significant percentage of boat's total value so tend to be resisted.
John Churchill Sanibel FL
NURDLE, 1979 Bristol 35.5 CB
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Old 28-01-2019, 14:20   #6
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Re: Tartan 27

Good solution to reduce the main area. The running backstays will be fine.

There is a small centerboard which I normally kept raised if in a lumpy sea for fear it would break.

I am still amazed and wonder if Sparkman and Stevens ever sailed the Tartan 27 to fight their creation's weather helm.

Model yachts that I built sometimes had this problem and ended up with bowsprit and flying jib and keel extension sternwards to move the center of lateral resistance aft.

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