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Old 08-19-2006
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Jeff's comment about proper trimming to achieve hove-to is right on. If the boat wants to turn with the wind, you need more boat speed to give the rudder more bite, thus trim the main for more speed. If the boat wants to cross the wind and resume sailing, you may have over trimmed your main and need to slow the boat.

My comment about staying out all nght, if necessary, is a lesson I learned from the old sailor's saying, "If in doubt - stay out". A few years ago, three sailors lost their wives when they tried to enter Cleveland harbor in a blow. They missed the channel and wound up on the rocks. The men managed to dig in but their wives were washed away. They would have been safer to have stayed out in the lake, possibly hove-to.

As Jeff said, not all boats hove-to easily. I believe that all boats can be brought to hove-to but with some, the balance between backed jib and rudder is so delicate that they won't stay balanced for more than a minute; like balancing a half-hull on your finger.

An illustration about the importance of practicing how to hove-to is this. One cold and windy November night, I tried to get my little Macgregor 21 to hove to so I could take a moment to read the charts and sort out the lights of the fairway into Chance on Deal Island in the Chesapeake. It just wouldn't happen. I spent the night washed up on the beach becuse I didn't know of the unlit dogleg turn after the last light because I couldn't read the chart because I couldn't get the boat to hove to. I later practiced and finally learned the precise formula for getting that boat to hove-to.
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