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NC33 Mk 2 sail balance

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    Roger Sturge

    I have had my 33 (my first experience of a ketch) for 6 years now but I still don’t think I’ve mastered its sail balance. It is a 1977 Mk2 with no “bowsprit” I find it very difficult to eliminate strong weather helm, especially if I raise the mizzen. Does anyone else have that problem? I’ve wondered whether it would be possible/advisable to increase the sail area before the main mast. I’ve seen a 33 with a retro fitted retractable bowsprit (see photo – sorry I can’t attribute to the owner – I saw the boat in Limehouse Basin) which would make it possible to fit a larger area Genoa, or possibly a staysail. The latter would require additional halyard and winches so would be a substantial operation.

    Does anyone have advice on any of these possibilities?

    Trevor Rose

    I had a N33 for 5 years and I could never balance 3 sails.The only time the boat balanced was with2 sails,Genoa and Main or Genoa and Mizzen.Plus with that Hull shape giving such superb internal space,any degree of heel and the underwater shape changes giving weather helm.Its a trade off

    One for Bob Gosling .On my 2002 Boat both tanks have ,dirt out ,with hand pumps.The yearly result is worthwhile


    I have the same problem with my NC33 mkII 1988. I discovered this problem during the initial miles in 2011 when I found only two stables positions (wind on the side or wind on the back) and enormous difficulties to change from one position to the other.
    My conclusion is that the boat should never bear too much sails, should never tilt on the side (humm, french is ‘giter’), 40 squera meter is sometime too much :-<
    Latter I also came to the conclusion that the helm (the steel plate at the back of the boat) is very badly shapped (profiled ?) for a sailboat. I remember that Joel Rogale in Cherbourg did change it to a NACA profile (airplane wing profile).
    Under conditions (not often by chance) with wind between side and back (135°) and light sea I cannot keep a track unless I force more water to run on the helm plate (read : I turn on the engine and run at 900 rpm).
    Thus I will read your advices on this forum with extreme interest 😉
    Who said ‘magic’ ?

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