Heaving-to in storms, yes or no
Fellow sailors have already offered good advice on this subject but like all things relating to boats we find differing opinions. My boat is full keel. Based on her sea keeping ability, and my own experiences, I believe in heaving-to. During my seven-year solo voyage around the world 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.
In the Red Sea, 50 knot plus winds forced me to run down wind with trysail and storm jib. The waves , however were 10 feet and under. Had they threatened broaches, roles or pitch poling, I would have hove-to instead. For cruisers, I believe that continuing a course down wind in steep breaking waves, whether under storm sails or bare poles is courting disaster.
Now can you heave -to in hurricane winds with sail up? Never tried it but I assume sails would shred. For that reason I carried a parachute anchor for the ultimate storm. I dodged several but never deployed my parachute anchor.
I am not yet sold on the series drogue tactic because it doesn't appear to create a wide enough slick to protect the boat from approaching waves and because it seems to me that it would hold the stern down just when it needs to rise to meet an approaching wave. To be fair, though, I have never tried a series drogue nor do I know anyone who has.
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Last edited by Cruisingdreamspress; 08-23-2008 at 01:00 PM.