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post #21 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Couple points. First wind strength is the secondary issue, it's sea state, sea room that generally drive the decision. Also of course it's what would be the AWA if you continued on course. For example if you are heading downwind and on course you might choose to deploy a drogue first so as to at least continue to make some headway. Only problem is you are in the wx a little bit longer as you are moving with it. Going to weather, forget it and heave to.
A fin keel/spade rudder will not heave to without some forereach, but that's ok, in fact with a possible lee shore making even a knot to weather is good. You don't get the nice windward slick seen with a full keel boat but you are still way better off than beating yourself and your boat going hard to weather.
In general I do not heave to until seas are steady over 20-25ft and force 9 winds forward of 100 AWA
I find heaving to is the best first method of dealing with really big seas and strong wind to rest and allow wx to pass. Also of course very easy to resume sailing as opposed to trying to recover drogue or chute.
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post #22 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Originally Posted by barefootnavigator View Post
Just a quick note, if the boat is for-reaching you are not hove to you are sailing very poorly.
Or, perhaps sailing very smartly... Fore-reaching can be an extremely effective, less passive tactic, and one that might still permit one to make good some progress towards a destination, or away from a lee shore... As a storm tactic, it can be a very viable one - it's how many of the crews in the 1998 Sydney-Hobart chose to deal with those exceptional conditions, after all...

Originally Posted by barefootnavigator View Post
As a storm tactic for-reaching defeats the whole point of being hove to. Main only, my full keeler will heave to very nicely.
There's no One Size Fits All to this stuff, what works fine for you may not necessarily work for the rest of us... It is extremely difficult to get most modern split underbodies to heave-to without at least a bit of fore-reaching, or to maintain a 40-50 degree attitude to the wind/seas without a modicum of forward motion, especially as the wind and seas build... At some point, the only way to attempt to keep the bow up on one of today's boats featuring high freeboard and a shallow/flat underwater profile, might be to employ a clever use of a drogue described by John Harries - that of streaming a Galerider off the bow, to weather...

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post #23 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

OK, may as well re-post my recent thoughts in a more 'appropriate' thread :-)

Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
This is great information and advice. How about some specifics for us aspiring offshore sailors who might get caught offshore in snotty conditions?

So, at what angle to the waves should we try to assume?

What if the prevailing wind and waves are at different directions?

What sail configuration for the gale-force conditions in the SDR, deeply-reefed main and storm jib, or trysail and storm jib, or storm jib alone, say for a late 70s/early 80s IOR-influenced fin keel design with a wheel?

(My greatest concern with being hove-to is setting the boat up to be hit broadside by a large breaking wave and suffering a knockdown/roll.)
Sorry, but the only good answer to all those questions is - "It depends..." :-)

Every boat, every situation, every crew - they're all different... Sailors simply need to experiment with this stuff, try to assess what works for them, and what doesn't... Even the most seasoned voyagers are likely to learn something new every time they resort to a tactic like heaving-to...

When I refer to heaving-to, I'm not necessarily thinking of it as a storm or survival tactic. Indeed, there will be many times where one might have to resort to something more active, or 'drastic'... My point is to simply highlight the value of parking the boat simply to take a break, have a decent meal, get some rest, settle down an anxious crewmember, whatever... Much as Tom describes in his excellent account above, sometimes you just need to pull off the interstate into a rest stop, for a while...

There's tons of far better advice out there than I can possibly give here... Steve Dashew's writings are among the best, his SURVIVING THE STORM is an awesome resource, probably the single best I've ever found...

All I can say is what my boat (with an underbody/sail plan probably not too much different from yours) seems to like, at least in winds and open ocean waves up to about 35 or so. Deep reef in the main, sheeted near centerline, no headsail, with the tiller not lashed, but steered by the windvane... technically, she's more forereaching than hove-to, but still making very little headway... The key is having the vane do the 'driving', it prevents her from wanting to tack, or from falling off, and gaining too much speed... As is so often the case, one of those things I discovered 'by accident' in the Stream, beating back up towards Key West from Belize. After furling the headsail, and getting ready to set a backwinded bit of staysail, I realized "Hey, this works fine", and I was able to get 4-5 hours of much needed rest... Sometimes, all you really need to do is basically slow the boat down, that alone can make a world of difference...

Without question, one of my biggest concerns about many modern boats I see today, is the potential difficulty of setting them up in such a way that they will take care of themselves - and, the crew - in such situations... Modern designs with flat bottoms, high freeboard, etc... I'm not sure where one begins with setting them up to properly heave-to, and I would guess many such boats can only be made to do so with the assistance of the massive amount of excess windage aft that stern arches, dinghies on davits, and so on, can afford :-) But I'm afraid that for many of today's boats, the only way to get them to 'behave' properly when trying to park them for a bit in heavy weather, may be to fire up the engine...

So, the only way to figure this stuff out, is to go out and start playing. However, what works fine in 25 knots will not necessarily do so well in 35-40, due to the exponential increase in the force of a rising breeze... The most serious blow I've ever experienced on my own boat, was years ago at the north wall of the Gulf Stream on a trip out to Bermuda... In that instance, amazingly, simply lying ahull worked fine... Of course, that approach is widely considered the most dangerous approach of all, but in that particular situation, and with open ocean waves of a long period, my boat simply slid directly sideways in her own slick for about 6 hours, hardly ever taking a drop of water on deck, it was amazing... But that was a very rare circumstance, indeed...

These are the boats I've had more experience with offshore than any other single design - the Trintella 47 & 50...

Absolutely magnificent sailing machines, but a real challenge to park in a good blow... With their huge rig, and massive amount of windage forward (one real downside of the increasingly popular Solent-style double furling headsails) there's no way to keep the bow up, and maintain a 50 degree angle or thereabouts to the seas... In that instance, I would think a very creative technique described by John Harries on MORGAN'S CLOUD - that of streaming a Galerider from the bow, to windward - might work wonders in keeping the head up, and from forereaching off at too great a speed...

How to Stop Wave Strikes While Heaved-to in a Sailboat Offshore in a Storm

Needless to say, Morgan's Cloud is another superb resource...

Finally, one technique that is widely discussed, but I cannot personally endorse or recommend, is the vaunted Pardey Bridled Para-Anchor... Frankly, I just don't see how any of us mere mortals get that setup to work as they describe... :-) I'm guessing their success with it has a LOT to do with the Lyle Hess design they sail, and is less applicable to most more modern boats...

Evans Starzinger explains why, far better than I'm able to:

Seamanship FAQ.
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post #24 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Originally Posted by lancelot9898 View Post
I have a full keel with a cutaway forefoot and when I "heave to" I tack and back wind the yankee, lock the wheel to steer upwind and adjust the main. No matter what I try I am close to being beam on to the wind whereas I want to be around 50 degrees from the wind. Because of the cutaway forefoot I can probably get closer to the wind with the main only with the rudder over hard and not worry about tacking through. I single hand a lot and heaving to is what I use when putting a reef in the main.
That's exactly my experience with 2 full keel cut away forefoot boats. They'll heave to perfectly with main and backed jib, riding broadside to wind and waves in the center of a big gently boiling slick formed by the hull siliding sideways, at about a knot, dead to leeward.

That works for fair weather heaving to and I use it often. A yawl is particularly handy for this lieing like a duck under sheeted mizzen alone(but the boat is broadside to wind/waves) It's how I often douse my main.

But when winds are in the 30's to 40 knots and seas could be a problem, I've found the only thing that will bring my bow up is to reduce or eliminate any headsail area. Then the boat may fore reach a bit, stall, heave-to, but the bow stays into the wind. The wheel is then the best way to adjust the boats ride.

I'll take hove-to as the best ride on my boat. But I would think there's a limit to the slicks effect to calm cresting seas and when they're breaking a bit over the boat, I want the bow more to windward than heaving-to achieves.
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post #25 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Jon , as usual, gives great advise. I'm just learning my new boat and have to agree every boat is different and technique is highly dependent on sea state and wind strength. So far in anything up to 35-40kts just reefing down and sailing the boat at the most comfy angle to the seas seems to be best. Think for most modern boats actively sailing the boat is safest. If the boat is properly reefed and balanced have not had a problem letting the autopilot do the work. Hunker down under the hard dodger with the remote and things are fine. Think one the potential mistakes I see on the way too many modern boats are set up is the absence of a true stormjib. We are fortunate in having had the attachment point for a removable dyneema stay installed when boat was built. Before heading out I can deploy this stay, tension it and leave stormjib hanked but in bag on deck. I have soft shackles for the stormjib it self. Think depending on your rollerfurling head sail (even if its a solent or a staysail on a cutter) may lead to unexpected excitement. The stormjib also moves the center of effort aft. Most modern boats drive on the main. The mast maybe forward of the center of lateral resistance of the boat. Many will sail nicely with just storm jib or jib and triple reefed main. For me the survival technique will be a Jordan series drogue on a bridle aft. The Fastnet was referred too earlier. Boats using this technique all survived.

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post #26 of 42 Old 12-07-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Heaving to with one sail - main or head - works well, depending on your boat. I routinely heave to with just my head sail on my Helms 27.
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post #27 of 42 Old 12-09-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

From reading this thread, it seems as though I have no idea of what heaving to is all about.
If heaving to is to maintain position in good weather or to survive a storm in bad, then what is fore reaching?. Isn't the idea NOT to make way through the water?
Heaving to is not something I generally do in winds less than 40 to 50 and it is something I have done in 60 to 80 knots with some effectiveness; we were not capsized, nor did we drift ashore or onto a reef!
I have always used the smallest jib available to heave to (reefed staysail or storm jib and a storm main trisail, only if necessary) but never the main, and have never had a problem with getting a boat to do what it should, though I have not tried it on a fin keel/spade rudder boat, I'll admit.
Some cloth set in a particular way, the rudder set in a particular way; boat making as little way as possible. It just isn't rocket science, unless, as I said, I really do not understand something you all are trying to convey here.
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post #28 of 42 Old 12-09-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Saying a boat is hove to while its actually for-reaching is like saying my plane fly's really well it just wont get off the ground A boat is either hove to or it isn't there is no middle ground. For-reaching is not hove to its for-reaching They both serve a very specific propose just like a chainsaw and a butter knife but I wouldn't use a chainsaw to butter my bread
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post #29 of 42 Old 12-09-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
OK. I am motivated. I need to heave-to more! I am going to make a list in my log book. It will start with 5 kt, and go up to 35 kt by 5 kt increments. I am going to try to heave-to in as many conditions as possible next season, making note of what configuration worked.
Yours will probably heave to about the same as ours does (CD27).

I've found it pretty easy in our boat, we basically go from a close haul and tack, but let the main out and don't tack the jib. We heave to before cranking up our motor and dropping the sails, so we do it a fair bit, I've never had an issue with it in our boat.

I have never tried with the main alone. It would be nice if it worked though, that'd be an easy way to make headsail changes. I'll try it next time we go out and see how it does.
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post #30 of 42 Old 12-09-2013
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Re: Heaving-To

To heave to...you need to balance several forces acting on the boat. The first is the main sail adjustment which is trying to force the boat into the wind, the second is the backed foresail which is keeping the boat from tacking and the final adjustment is the rudder which is trying to turn the boat into the wind. Now if hove to is defined such that there is no forereaching then I question why the rudder is even necessary, since there must be movement through the water for the rudder to have any effect. You need the rudder to hold you in the hove to position. That movement through the water is a combination of leeway and forereaching, but there is some forereaching never the less.
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