Discussion about steering problems


This summer i sailed several times with my Vindo 40 in a firm wind (5 >bft) and with waves coming in with an angle of 45-70 degrees from the back of the ship on the "IJsselmeer" in Holland. It is always a bit hard to steer in this conditions, but i thought the
longkeeler would predict a more stable course. I now have a tough job at the steering wheel to keep a straight course. What are the experiences of other Vindo sailors? Does anyone have a steering pump with a lower gear which makes less revs of the wheel and if so, is it not heavy steering then. On my ship the wheel has to make 5 revs to move the rudder from left to right, and this goes quite light.
I would appreciate your experiences.
Taco Bruin


When I first bought "Tucana" five years ago I had no experience with a full keel sailboat and I too expected that the boat would track straighter than it really does in a seaway. I find in rough seas that steering the boat is more
work than I expected. I really love the boat and love taking care of her but this aspect is a bit of a
dissapointment for me.  I too would love to hear from others on this topic.
Joe Murli
V65 "Tucana"


I have the same problems thought it was due to wheel steering as previously tiler steering on long keeled
yachts was not such a problem, I find it so bad that even when tacking to come back on course requires one
to think ahead of position and counteract heading to keep steerage as neutral as possible


The sails are one factor that could worsen this situation. The long keelers are generally more stable, but going downwind the Vindoes and other long keelers can be and are difficult. When the wind increase the long keelers do want to round up to windward and could get really heavy on the helm Reducing sail helps. Going downwind, reduce on mizzen and main before genoua. For the Vindø 50 I have heard that somebody think rudder is to small
and I have heard that some have added some area at the stern of it. I do not
know how that worked out. One thing is very clear - old and baggy main will make things worse for the
steering in a blow.  
S/Y Isabella.


what about replacing the original steering by a teleflex with only 3 turns lock to lock? Maybe then we could get more feed back from the rudder. Swanti (v40) has two push-pull cables from the the steering head to the
tiller arm.
Is that standard? Did anybody replace ist?


This is not an uncommon situation with long-keeled boats sailing with the wind aft of the beam. It usually only becomes a problem when the wind and seas get up (force 5 and above). In which case, reef the mainsail first and keep the genoa full. The second reef should be rolling in the genoa a little, or changing down to a smaller headsail. The third reef should be in the mainsail. In this way you keep the centre-of-effort of the sails well forward which will help the steering - although it will not completely remove the problem.
It also helps to anticipate the boat turning into the wind as the stern begins to lift with the new wave, by starting to steer in the opposite direction before the boat begins to turn into the wind.
Peter Firstbrook
V40 Svea


Hello Joe
I use that as a general rule, on my V50, Isabella. Even on a gentle day when I know I'm going with the wind, I do not bother to hoist the mizzen. 

S/Y Isabella
Reducing the main before the genova sounds like good advice,  The V65 is ketch rigged.  Should I take down the mizzen sail before the main when the wind is aft of the beam?


Hi Joe
You will certainly find that dropping the mizzen will reduce weather helm when the wind gets up, and this might well be the most comfortable configuration with the wind aft of the beam. However, if your boat is tracking well in strong winds on the beam or ahead of the beam, you might find that dropping the main completely and sailing with reefed genoa and mizzen (perhaps with a reef) will give you a nicely balanced rig which is easy to reduce further if you have to. It's worth playing with various combinations in different winds to find what is best if you have a ketch - you have so many more options.
Kind regards
V40 Svea