Our trailer-sailer won't point!

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Mariachi, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Mariachi
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Location: New Zealand

    Mariachi New Member

    We recently bought a 20' "Dancer" trailer sailer with a swing keel. We have sailed it twice now in 10-15 knots. On our first outing the mast was raked back excessively so that the boom hit everyone. By the second outing we had rectified the rake and brought the mast back to vertical. However on both days the boat would not point in to the wind. The lee helm was extraordinary and when boat speed dropped there wasn't much we could do till the boat was reaching.
    We think it might have something to do with the swing keel. I dived down at the end of our second sail and saw that the keel was about 2/3 down (60 degrees from horizontal). We couldn't persuade the keel to drop any further but we are suspicious as the mechanism is v stiff and rusty.
    What are the effects of the keel not being vertical (all the way down) on a boats ability to sail into the wind?
    What factors usually impact a boat's ability to point?
    I have found a few diagrams on the web of swing keels and some of them don't swing fully down to vertical, Is this common?
  2. dna
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    dna New Member

    if the keel is meant to be more vertical the effect of it being only partially down will be to move the CLR (centre of lateral resistance) further aft. This means that your bow will continually get blown downwind and you will not be able to point all that well. When the mast was racked back that probably helped because you moved the centre of force on the sail back as well and it was more in ballance. with the CLR too far aft you should have experienced lee helm, needing to constantly push the tiller away from you to keep tracking straight. Try to get a line drawing of your boat to see if the keel should be down further. Old worn sails will also prevent you pointing well as would pinching, or trying to sail to high without first building a bit of boatspeed.

    dsigned likes this.
  3. Mariachi
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Mariachi New Member

    thanks for your help. You confirmed our thoughts, we're just going to have to get that keel down properly. Tomorrow is another testing day!
  4. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    tspeer Senior Member

    And a 60 degrees from the horizontal, the drag due to lift of the keel is 1/3 greater and the leeway will be greater. That doesn't help the pointing any, either!
  5. Atomic sail
    Joined: Mar 2018
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    Atomic sail New Member

    hi there
    Rick here
    Trying to get any info on a dancer 19
    Can you help ?
  6. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    And one more thing that may have a considerable influence on your pointing ability is the condition of the sails. If the sails are not trimmed, vanged, downhauled, outhauled, in an ideal fashion or if they are old and blown out of shape..................the boat will not be willing to go happily to windward.

    The board position is the first thing to fix. After that, tinker with the sails to find the best set of adjustments.
  7. Shunda77
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    Shunda77 New Member

  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If this is the boat I think it is, the leading edge of the centerboard should be vertical when closed hauled in normal wind strengths. In higher wind strengths it may be necessary to raise the board a bit to ease the helm.

    The board may be it, though more often it's the skipper, sail set and rig that need adjustment.
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