On our Mk3 RL24 (464) 'Touche' we have two possible positions to step the mast. For over 20 years we have by default used the stern position. Any idea what effect moving the mast step to the front position 30mm + forward might have on boat performance? We suffer from weather helm on occasion and I'm hoping that moving the centre of effort forward might ease this problem?
Hi Peter. Moving the mast forward should have the effect of reducing weather helm. It kind of depends on how bad the weather helm is. If it's only "on occasion" you might create a situation where you experience "lee helm" instead, which is worse. I'd give it a go but in fairly benign weather to see the effect. You can always go back.
In pure terms, neutral helm (or no helm) is fastest but some skippers prefer to have some small resistance at least to give them a steering reference point. It makes them feel more comfortable. But any helm force is acting as a bit of a brake on the boat so its reduction will always make you quicker.