The account of Satori in the 1991 "Perfect Storm" might help illustrate lying ahull in heavy weather, at least a bit.
SATORI @ Ed's web site
As bad as the conditions were, Satori was in about a Force 8 or 9 storm (Quote from the article: From the Coast Guard incident reports: "Seas 30 Ft., Winds 015/40 [knots] with gusts to 55 kts. [knots]". There were no 50 or 60 foot waves during the evacuation.) Having been in two Force 10 storms (and lots of heavy weather less than that), I can tell you that heaving to will never cross your mind in 30 foot seas and if you are in anything less than a XXX-ton Westsail 32 or Alajuela 38 you aren't going to lie ahull either - you are very likely to broach in those conditions - even if you aren't in danger of a knockdown, when you look up at those seas, you'll believe that turning across the storm is impossible. If you have sea room, your first and best inkling will be to run before the storm. If you are near a lee shore in an offshore storm you are going to try to claw away from the lee shore, trying to motor at an angle (maybe with postage stamp size storm headsail) into the storm - not a pleasant thought. This kind of heavy weather is hard on you and your boat - I did about $3,500 in repairs to Paloma after the March storm.
s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Last edited by johnshasteen; 07-30-2008 at 02:07 PM.