Heaving-To versus Bare Poles
I've been debating the merits of heaving-to versus taking all the sails down and going bare poles in extremely heavy weather. What's your opinion of which is better in the scenario below?
Scenario: You're daysailing in smallish (25'-30') outboard-powered sloop about 2 or 3 miles offshore and nasty squall/front/storm rolls in with the potential for 50mph+ winds. What would you do?
My inexperienced thoughts tell me that the boat would heave-to in those conditions, or that something would break if you tried it. However, I've read stories of vessels on bluewater passages riding out storms for days at time while hove-to. Perhaps heaving-to is better suited for taking a break from sailing or stopping the boat in an emergency rather than waiting out heavy weather?? Or perhaps you should heave-to in heavy weather when it's too dangerous to be in the cockpit and you need to stay below and know that the boat isn't going to wander too much??
The problem I see with taking all the sails down in a small outboard-powered sailboat is that you'll have no control over the boat because the wave height will likely render the outboard useless.
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