Snap Weather Helm?

This occurs when suddenly hit by a puff when beating, and the boat violently tacks without one’s being able to prevent it.

Has it occured to anyone? What is the rational behind this? How to prevent it?

BTW this is my boat on the water:


The more I practice, the luckier I get.


Could be balance issues. If you move the mast foward toward the bow, if you can, it might help. Might also help to ease the main and sail it with the jib, but you shouldn’t have to do that. Weather helm is a common occurence especially with tall rigs that swing the boat into the wind when heeled because the center of effort is off to the side when heeled. Just like rowing with an oar on only one side. Also check to make sure your rudder and servo are correctly linked so there isn’t any “Play” fromside to side. This means if you hold the rudder with your fingers and wiggle it, without moving the servo, does the rudder wiggle. I had a boat that did this the other day and it was wiggleing all over the place.

Good luck-

(Nice boat too.

[:P]Marino, I agree with John, it is a balance problem. [:-timebm]
You should try all that john suggests.
Some more details would be of help.
What class is your boat?
What design?
Is it a kit, or from a plan?
Are there any others of this design in your area?
If so, do they have the same problem, if not, then what differs?
So many questions, so little time.[:-tophat]
I have linked to a page from an earlier post to do with Footys but the principals are the same.
(Hope it works)
No, it has given the whole page, never mind spool down to postings from myself and BRETT from Jan 29. they should be of some assistance.
Do it NOW before it`s too late.

In IOM’s, “snap weather helm” can happen if the shrouds attach fairly high on the spar. If you are sailing along with a nicely shaped main and a puff hits, the middle of the mast pushes to leeward and the portion of the spar above the hounds leans to windward. This hooks the leach of the upper sail, increasing its drive, increasing your heel, and up to weather you go. In IOM’s you can get around this by lowering the hounds. This allows the tip of the mast to lean to leeward in the puffs, decreasing drive and eliminating ‘snap weather helm’. Sort of like an automatic transmission or a good crew on the vang! It worked well on my Cockatoo and TS-2. Good luck

Precision Park West:
Neurosurgery & Light Hauling


How high (in percentage -%-) are your shrouds attached? That makes sense… My mast is farily short (102 cm), but would like to compare…


The more I practice, the luckier I get.

I was very interested to see this topic. Lester Gilbert has made a stab at it in his IOM site. I sail a Victoria, and I have experienced snap helm. I have come to the conclusion that it is a function of the center of effort of the rig over the center of lateral resistance of the boat, the relative trim of the jib boom, the tension on the leech of the main, and an “x” factor which I think is wind instability on the water. The wind instability is major shifts that last an instance – just long enough to get your boat completely unbalanced. I have had success in combating snap helm by easing my vang. This is the last thing after you have the rig balanced (fore and aft rake) and getting your jib boom positioned as these might account for the problem. If the problem persists, you might try the vang.

i found out a great way around it for my victoria, i use three shrouds the top one gets about 4-5 inches from the top of the mast. also the top section is made of a flexible graphite. so when it gets puffy i ease my upper shrouds which allows the flexible top section to flex in puffs effectively dumping air out of the sail and preventing snap tacks/luffs. IMHO my three shroud system is overkill, i think it could be done with 2 shrouds on a larger boat with a thicker graphite section. FYI sections of fishing pole work great for this provided they slide easily into your carbon/aluminum lower section. This isn’t BS either it works, puffy or not with this rig my vic is stable enough that on an upwind beat i can trim the sail and leave the controller alone untill i feel like tacking.[:-censored]i love it

Victoria “t” no longer a one design, and dedicated express 27 foredeck