Re: steering while sailing solo-proper fore/aft balance

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Posted by Ed Kiser on November 08, 2004 at 18:17:10 from user Kisered.

In Reply to: Re: steering while sailing solo posted by Jonathan Labaree on November 08, 2004 at 16:34:17:

One of the mysteries of design about any sailing vessel to me is how one determines the proper place for the mast. Just how far forward should it go. What happens if it is to far forward, or too far to the rear. There is a need for a kind of trim balance here that once that mast position is constructed, does not leave a lot of room for additional adjustments as to its position. That mast "socket" does not slide forward and back as needed to adjust the trim. Never have understood what a boat builder uses to determine the proper location of that mast, but if not done correctly, can greatly adversely affect the handling of that boat. And of course, the design of the sail has its effect on the determination of the proper position of the mast. Just wonder how this mast position is made properly. Guess that is one of the skills that makes a boatbuilder a professional. It can also make a would-be boat builder hobby come up with a real bear to try to sail with that mast position not being done properly.

There is also a similar concern in the design of a sailboat in the proper placement relative to the forward/aft position of the centreboard as this becomes the fulcrum, the pivot point about which the turning is done. Placement of this is like determining where to put the plank on a seesaw (teeter totter) so that the loads at both ends are properly balanced. Depending on the location of the cargo which may differ from time to time, it may seem that there may be times that it would be nice if that centreboard could be moved a bit forward or back to conpensate for that shift in the center of gravity. Of course in a small dinghy, that balance of cargo is a matter of where to put the crew which can greatly compensate for any unbalance introduced by an uneven placement of cargo.

I have noticed that in the Ransome stories, that there are times a shift of the crew fore or aft is necessary to affect its sailing properly, thus shifting the center of gravity. In sailing WITH the wind, especially a strong wind, there is a tendancy of the force of the sail to push the bow down into the water, so Roger had to give up his look-out position before the mast and come aft, to help lift the bow up to counter this diving tendancy. But then, the loss of the look-out in his original position does fail to report the nearness of Pike Rock in time.

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