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Old 12-07-2013
orthomartin orthomartin is offline
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Re: Heaving-To

Couple points. First wind strength is the secondary issue, it's sea state, sea room that generally drive the decision. Also of course it's what would be the AWA if you continued on course. For example if you are heading downwind and on course you might choose to deploy a drogue first so as to at least continue to make some headway. Only problem is you are in the wx a little bit longer as you are moving with it. Going to weather, forget it and heave to.
A fin keel/spade rudder will not heave to without some forereach, but that's ok, in fact with a possible lee shore making even a knot to weather is good. You don't get the nice windward slick seen with a full keel boat but you are still way better off than beating yourself and your boat going hard to weather.
In general I do not heave to until seas are steady over 20-25ft and force 9 winds forward of 100 AWA
I find heaving to is the best first method of dealing with really big seas and strong wind to rest and allow wx to pass. Also of course very easy to resume sailing as opposed to trying to recover drogue or chute.

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