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 Post subject: 2015 AI Steering issue
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 10:16 am 
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2015 AI Steering issue

I've sailed a ~2012 for years and never had this issue. Several times now I have been out and had serious steering issues - weather helm, etc. I was convince a had a broken pin it was so bad. I set the rudder downline firmly like I always did on the older boat. I got off the boat in deep water to check the rudder and it had inches of play fore and aft. I finally realized that setting the rudder downline firmly with a clunk is not enough anymore. I had to pull it as hard as I could to get the steering near normal.

Has anyone else noticed a difference on the new boats - is something else going on?

Thank you!


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 10:20 am 
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There is no latch holding the rudder down. You may hit the housing and rebound causing some slack in the system. Pull the down line and hold until the rudder is seated in the housing... then cleat.

Also... Do this without sailing loads on the rudder. Head to wind and stopped if possible.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 11:21 am 
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I made a post entitled "Sailing the AI 2 (2015 AI)--Overpowering the rudder." You can see the post here, http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&p=256156&sid=ad47095c516c0f7b2b24d4e248754b3c#p256156 Scroll down until you come to the post--immediately before the post on "Keep out lines for my AI 2".

In that post, I noted that in strong winds, I thought the rudder was being overpowered by the sail. It was not a good feeling because the other times I found that to be the case was with my 2007 AI using the long-discarded Twist-n-Stow rudder. Unfortunately, it seems the AI 2 has taken a step back into the past in this respect: a great sail/mast system but it can't be used to full advantage because of the rudder.

Keith

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 11:31 am 
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Beyond the rudder coming up a bit (most likely)... Dagger position, sail size (furled or not), and crew / cargo weight all effect rudder feel. Too much weight forward would cause this, heading upwind close hauled and the boat is over powered too.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 11:59 am 
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mmiller wrote:
Beyond the rudder coming up a bit (most likely)... Dagger position, sail size (furled or not), and crew / cargo weight all effect rudder feel. Too much weight forward would cause this, heading upwind close hauled and the boat is over powered too.

Of course you can assign the problem to a variety of causes, maybe, but it doesn't change my conclusion:
Chekika wrote:
...Unfortunately, it seems the AI 2 has taken a step back into the past in this respect: a great sail/mast system but it can't be used to full advantage because of the rudder.

Keith

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 12:52 pm 
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Chekika wrote:
Of course you can assign the problem to a variety of causes, maybe, but it doesn't change my conclusion


Hi Keith

Off topic:

Well said! Keep your position and avoid the mist.

About the link you referered to:

viewtopic.php?f=70&t=7276&p=256156&sid=ad47095c516c0f7b2b24d4e248754b3c#p256156

I found myself lost in all those crisp and beautiful photos, I must ask, what camera do you use?

BR
Thomas


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 1:21 pm 
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Not Jim's experience, but I'll ask him again.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 6:16 pm 
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I recently participated in the Florida 120 with my 2015 AI. I was sailing on a close reach in strong winds aiming for the lee shore about a half mile away. I was doing 4.5 knots on my GPS and aimed towards shore. Unfortunately, I wasn't getting any closer to shore. Fortunately, as I reached the end of the bay, the winds were less intense and I made into the river at the end of East Bay. I also noticed that as I reefed the sail, my ability to point was degraded. I assume that the reefed sail disrupted the airflow of the sail. I had my rudder and dagger board fully deployed.

I'm now wondering if the wind was overpowering my rudder since my velocity was actually sideways and parallel to shore. My GPS tracks show a track parallel to shore. I know I was pointing at shore. I thought the reefed sail was my issue. It might be a combination of the two.

I'm new to the AI so I know I have lots to learn. But it was disconcerting to watch shore slide by in front of me. Reminded me of the old saying... Don't confuse motion with progress!


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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 8:01 pm 
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@ Matt--Jim's experience is important, but I hope to hear from others. I didn't experience it just once, I felt my AI 2 sail was overpowering the rudder regularly sailing close hauled in high winds. I haven't had a chance to see its behavior when running downwind under strong winds. As I say, I know the feeling when that happens because it was common with my 2007 AI.

@ Kal-P-Dal—Hi Thomas. My land pictures are with a Canon SX60 hs (previous to my capsize I used a Canon SX50 hs, but it was lost when my deck mounted dry bag floated away.) On water, I use a waterproof Nikon AW100. To be completely open here, all my published pictures are also resized and touched up with Photoshop Elements, v13. This digital touchup is minimal, but it is very helpful if the original image is too dark. I also sharpen images but you have to be careful about sharpening people’s faces—generally, they look a bit better when they are left with softer lines. Many cameras will do touch up/sharpening automatically, if that feature is turned on. I prefer to do these things from within Photoshop Elements.

Keith

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 10:18 am 
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The condition described is called "crabbing". When you are heading close to the wind... close hauled... and speed is reduced, sailboats begin to slip sideways as the water flow over the dagger and rudder stalls. This is the same on all sailboats. It is very common when you are trying hard to reach a point at a high angle of attack. You have to bear away to gain some speed and water flow over the dagger and rudder to regain control. Then gently bring the boat back up. You have to recognize the condition and be ready to turn away from your intended heading a bit. It is often faster and more efficient not to "pinch" to close to the wind, but head a little lower and throw an extra tack or two to get to your destination.

On the islands you can also start pedaling a bit to get some hull speed.

You might try retracting the dagger a bit too. The fully deployed dagger board can also add to the issue. We do the same on catamarans and windsurfers.

As I mentioned before, heavier loads in the boat and weight forward add to the issue.

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 12:48 pm 
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Yakmandu's experience might be called "crabbing." I certainly would not describe my experience as "crabbing." When you are sailing to wind with the rudder turned as far as it will go, and the boat responds by turning the opposite direction and into the wind, I call that "weather helm." Like narwhal, I never experienced that with my 2011 AI with the vertical rudder. I did experience it many times with my 2007 AI and the Twist-n-Stow rudder. With the AI 2, my response was to furl the sail a turn or so--a draconian measure at best--I know, I know, you may be able to make better time with the sail furled a turn. Perhaps, but, instinctively, I hate to furl the sail in the absence of pending severe weather conditions. Maybe some subtle adjustment to the centerboard will help. I did not have much weight forward, so can't change things there. Again, these adjustments were unnecessary with my 2011 AI. I do always cleat the rudder down hard.

In answer to narwhal's question, "Has anyone else noticed a difference on the new boats - is something else going on?" It seems the answer is a clear: "yes!"

Keith

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"Don't kid yourselves, sharks are everywhere in the Everglades" Chekika

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 6:40 am 
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Quote:
When you are sailing to wind with the rudder turned as far as it will go, and the boat responds by turning the opposite direction and into the wind, I call that "weather helm."


That is also what happens when the rudder stalls. I actually have almost never had that happen on either my 2010 AI (twist and stow rudder) or my 2015 TI but mostly see if with my big sailboat when I am trying to dock it. This usually happens at very low speeds and if you look at equation for lift from a foil (like you need from your rudder in order to turn), the lift force is a function of angle of attack and velocity square. When velocity gets very low, the rudder angle has to start increasing a lot to get necessary lift because "velocity square" is falling off so fast for low speeds. The high angle of attack causes the rudder to stall and lose lift and what is described in the quote happens.

To prevent this simply keep your speed up a little - which I do using the pedals and I think a really nice option to have.

To the OP, one time I went out without the rudder on my TI all the way down and had something similar to what you describe happen. Does your problem go away if you insure that the rudder is all the way down?


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 7:14 am 
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I don't know much about the AI's (never sat in one), but on the TI to lock that rudder down you typically need to pull harder on the down line than most people feel comfortable with. Also it helps alot to not try and lock it down while underway. I usually lock mine down before opening up the sail(s). Also when sailing really close hauled it makes a huge difference if you pedal lightly all the time (keeps your forward motion and enough water passing past the rudder for it to work.
Just my experience
Bob


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 12:15 pm 
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Walt & Bob,

You have 3 fellows here commenting on weather helm and the rudder being overpowered by the sail on their new 2015 AI. I and narwhal are very experienced AI sailors. I always lock my rudder down hard at the beginning of a day sailing. I don't believe there is anything new about the rudder on the 2015. Pull the down line as hard as possible & cleat it. When I noticed my severe weather helm, I was not traveling at low speed. I was probably doing 4 mph or better. Yakmandu says he was doing 4.5 mph during the Florida 120--a 120 mi cruising challenge when he noticed the problem. On my 2007 AI, which I sailed for 4 yrs under all conditions, the Twist-n-Stow rudder was easily overpowered by the sail in strong winds. I had the experience many times when the rudder no longer controlled the boat--the wind was controlling the boat.

I don't think you can explain away their observations as due to inexperience. I'm looking forward to comments/suggestions by other 2015 sailors.

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 12:35 pm 
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Bigger sail, Bigger mast, same rudder. I would expect more weather helm at a lower wind speed than the 2014 and before AI's with the same rudder. I just appreciate the extra sail in lower winds and reef down to 2014 sail size or less as necessary as the winds get stronger.

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