This is an article I posted on our NauticEd blog
this week so thought I'd share with this group as well.
What are they and what’s the difference? These two terms were established when vessels were fitted with tillers rather than wheels and so the term weather helm refers to having to pull the tiller (helm) “to weather” in order to sail in a straight line. Lee helm is when you need to push the tiller (helm) “to lee” in order to sail in a straight line.
Pulling the tiller to weather (or towards the windwind side of the boat) means that the boat left by it self would tend to turn into the wind. And conversely, lee helm would mean that the boat wants to turn down wind.
Now on a sailboat with a wheel, weather helm is turning the wheel away from the wind and lee helm is turning the wheel to helm in order to hold a straight course. This is because the wheel is opposite the rudder. Don’t get confused here - if you have to go back to fundamentals to work it out each time then just remember that sailing was invented thousand of years ago before the put wheels on boat. “Weather helm is rudder turned to weather”.
These phenomenons can be fixed quite simply by <...remaining article at http://www.nauticed.org/?p=376>