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Old 06-30-2013
CRITERION CRITERION is offline
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Re: Heaving-To versus Bare Poles

There really is no "versus" here. It all depends upon the conditions and destination location. There comes a point when you can no longer remain heaved to, and all sail must be lowered. Assuming you are talking heavy gale conditions (what most people call storm) and not survival conditions (which is very subjective, depends upon vessel type and size), then which tactic used would depend upon whether your destination is to leeward of not. If yes, the bare poles with a free flowing drogue like a Galerider on a bridle would be the best choice. If your destination was not to leeward, then heaving to would be an option until it became too violent, then you would be back to bare poles and a drogue off the stern. (BTW, the Galerider deployed from the bow while heaved to, allowing your vessel to remain hove to much longer than without, and with less sail exposed). If you had no sea room to lose, then heaving to would be an option, conditions allowing. If conditions did not allow, then the series drogues become a practical option to "park" the boat with about a knot and a half of leeway. Look at the series drogue as being similar in leeway as heaving to would be. They are just such a pain to retract, so heaving to would be preferable until conditions overpowered.

Again, is is not one or the other; both are different tools for different jobs, and there is too much disinformation by people who have never experienced either.

".....I hove-to for many of the reasons discussed: to rest, to wait for dawn before entering a new port, to make repairs, to let a ship pass in front or back, to wait out a short lived squall, or in the case of a "Southerly Buster"off the coast of New South Wales, Australia to ride out 45 to 60 knot blow for three days."

Did that once. About 25 years ago was leaving Coff's Harbor (NSW), waiting for this big southerly buster the locals were telling me about, to ride it all the way north to Southport (which is against the prevailing winds and current). About 10 yachts were to leave that morning, one by one each dropping out as it got closer as WX reports had it "busting" it's way up the coast, until we were left all alone when it hit. We bare poled it almost all the way, and despite carrying drogues, were still overpowered in the extreme wind-against-current conditions which raised vertical seas not much more than 100 feet apart well offshore of Danger Point lighthouse. Heaving to would have been impossible, as would a parachute, as would bare poles alone without towing drogues. Even a series drogue would have been too slow and caused damage from boarding seas. Only running before under bare poles with drogues while hand steering would have worked there. Point is, it is not a "versus" decision... it is using the right tool for the job.
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