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Old 05-08-2012
peterchech peterchech is offline
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Issues with heaving-to

I have been heaving-to quite often recently, mostly for practice but also as a tactic for reefing and for untwisting the jib sheet in stronger (15-25) winds. It is a wonderful tactic, but no matter what I do the boat will always settle within 5-10 degrees of being exactly beam-on to the swells.

I was sailing Sunday in some fun conditions on the bay, about 15-17 knots wind strength with a 3-4' short swell/chop. Had the full main up, with working jib (100%). The wind was blowing against the ~3 knot current, creating the swells. I hove-to several times for practice, and after initially heeling way over the boat balanced into that almost magically calm position of being hove-to. No matter what I did, playing with the mainsheet, traveller, and rudder, I could not get the boat to heave-to in any direction other than almost exactly beam-on to the swells. Now these swells were big enough to surf down when running, and splash us occasionally when beating, but when hove-to the boat was almost completely calm, barely even bobbing. So the technique does definitely work.

BUT... what about in something much bigger than 3-4'? It only takes a breaking wave of about 8' (1/3 loa), beam on, to roll my boat. Being hove-to settled down 4' waves, but would it settle down 8 footers? Or more?

Is there any way to get my boat to heave-to at a 45 degree angle to the swells, or at least closer than beam-on?

PS As many of you may know my boat's a Cherubini Hunter 25 masthead sloop, shoal draft fin keel (no cb) and spade rudder. It will not move under main alone, no matter the wind strength this boat simply won't move without slot effect of the jib. The boat also has far too much weather helm, you have to nearly flog the main upwind to keep the boat balanced and once the wind is over 8-10 knots you still have to keep pressure on the tiller to keep the boat from rounding up. Not sure if this may have something to do with the heaving-to issue...
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