Weather helm occurs when a sailboat is over powered by the wind. The bow wants to head into the wind and the rudder wants to follow it. This puts pressure on the tiller or wheel. It takes strength and determination to keep control of the boat. To reduce weather helm, one reduces the main sail area by reefing it--on Speakeasy, we ease the main halyard and tighten the jiffy reef line.
The winds in Chicago have been high this spring and early summer due to near-daily storms from the West. While the wind clocked at about 70 mph was wreaking havoc on an art fair a few miles north in Evanston, we were sailing in 30 knots, more or less, away from the storm. Without a reefing system it would be impossible to control Speakeasy in these winds. With all of the recent weather, we've grown confident in the system and have reduced our weather helm.