Originally Posted by TomMaine
But I think this thread was started (from another thread), simply to hear exactly how people do heave-to.
For someone that has never done it. I think what they want to know is; what sail(s), what rudder angle(s), etc., in the wind conditions that they're likely to try it in.
I think even in moderate conditions, this knowledge could save some people from problems that can crop up quickly for coastal sailors(fatigue).
Heaving to shouldn't be thought of as just a storm tactic.
Exactly... I feel with more modern boats, heaving-to has far more utility for other purposes than it does solely as a storm tactic - such as standing off a harbor entrance to wait for daylight, or as a "getting some rest, some decent food prepared, and the boat battened down BEFORE the storm tactic..."
With most boats out there today, once the seas start breaking, all bets are off... Unless one is somehow able to maintain a relative head-to-wind position, and stay within the slick, you can suddenly find yourself in an extremely vulnerable position to a breaking wave strike, and more active measures will have to be taken...
Furthermore, heaving-to is unlikely to remain the preferred tactic for the entire duration of most storms
... As a low pressure system passes by or over your position, wind speed and direction will change far more rapidly than the wave train, and it is so often that as the breeze begins to diminish, 'the beginning of the end' of a storm offshore becomes the most dangerous time... A wind shift of 30 degrees, for example, can suddenly place a 'properly' hove-to boat in a very dangerous orientation to the wave train. On the other hand, simply tacking might actually far improve your heading into the seas... But, as a general rule, whenever conditions begin to moderate after a real blow, I think you want to try to get the boat moving or sailing again - even if it's only fore-reaching - as soon as possible...