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Old 08-18-2006
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Nice Writeup Fox.

No, I don't see anything you missed. It was well covered. I will comment that every boat heaves to a little differently and should be practiced on a good day, not bad.

We marked reef point on our reefing line (Jib) to coorelate with the same for the main. The point is a fairly balanced boat. Of course, this is done in controlled conditions, not the otherwise, so would not have helped you then. Just hindsight.

Now, my humble little opinions:

If you are running in a sea, be VERY cautious about a broach. Very dangerous. If you have any concerns about it, try altering your course or pointing into the seas until the storm passes. It can sometimes be tough on the passengers, but I typically like to take the seas head on where possible. It will break around the bow, in general. If you are digging into the trough, reef a little more and/or head off some.

Storms are great ways to teach us what we know, what we don't know, and what we thought we knew... and now you are the better sailor b/c of it.
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Old 08-18-2006
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Broaches are very dangerous...especially in heavy seas and winds... I'd also say that running downwind is generally a bad idea, unless you're very far out to sea...which is not the case for most people.... as you will eventually run out of room and then you're really screwed.

Most boats can take far more punishment than the people aboard them. As an example, one boat was recently abandoned in the Gulf of Mexico, and about two months later the boat was found floating, with lots of sea birds aboard.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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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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