The importance of sail trim

The effects of poor sail trim are equally detrimental to both types of self-steering system. Poor trim for an autopilot means more pressure on the main rudder, more taxing operating conditions (because more forceful rudder movements are needed) and, as a result, increased power consumption. The system's reserves of power and travel decline and yawing movements increase; the autopilot loses control sooner.

Poor trim similarly reduces the power and travel reserves of a windvane system. Poor sail trim means weather helm - sailing with the hand brake on.

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