Wooden Boat Fittings
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Australian Capital Territory
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CD, if you''ve missed stays, come head to wind, and stopped, then (apart from cheating) to slacken off the mainsheet if it''s not already, and back the headsail -- pull it up to windward with its sheet. This will cause the bow to fall back on the same tack, and the boat itself to start going backwards.
(If at this point you were to tighten in the mainsheet and put the helm down (to leeward, so that the mainsail is trying to drive you fdorwards while the foresail is trying to drive you backwards) you would have "hove to" -- very useful, as you make very little headway and only moderate drift, which is great for making a cuppa.)
With the mainsheet still slack, though, and the boat going backwards, the rudder has the opposite effect, so put the helm down and wait for her head to fall off properly. Then reverse the helm, tighten the mainsheet, and you''re sailing as you were, ready to try tacking again.
Also, see JeffH''s comments further down on Tacking.