How do you heave to with main sail alone? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-16-2013 Thread Starter
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How do you heave to with main sail alone?

Could someone please explain how you heave to with a main sail alone?

I've read a number of confusing and contradictory explanations in a few sailing books.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-16-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

The few times we've tried that we ended up near head to wind, sheeted hard, rudder locked and the boat would pinch up a bit stall fall off and gentle round up, sat there doing very slow scallops at minimal speed.. But serious wave action would likely upset that delicate balance and I imagine that some boats won't do it well... Trial and error will tell.

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-16-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

I was out yesterday in 15-20 and I sheeted the main hard and let the tiller go and swing freely. I would head up and tack, then weather healm would build up in the other direction, I would tack back... and so on. Back and forth. Seemed to work well. But there wasn't much wave action....
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-16-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

Faster's method is what works well on my Pearson. I haven't had luck heaving to with the jib up, but I haven't tried since having working jib reefing (my previous system couldn't reef).

Fin keel boats with spade rudders generally don't heave to as nicely as a full keel boat, but they can do it. You just need to experiment.

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post #5 of 12 Old 03-16-2013
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How do you heave to with main sail alone?

I thought when you use the mainsail alone it's actually fore reaching.
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

Brokesailor-
You are probably right... can you explain fore reaching?
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-16-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

I've done forereaching with just the main and you just barely creep forward sheeted tight almost stalled out pointed into the wind. Almost in irons.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-16-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

If youre forereaching when hove to only with a deep reefed main ... you'll need to pull the traveller more to windward until you counter balance the forereaching. Too much traveller to windward and you'll start a stern-way, too little and you'll forereach ... slowly drifting forward. .... If 'perfect', you want to be able to develop a 'turbulence slick' in the water to windward which will 'pre-dump' / cause oncoming breaking waves to 'trip themselves' in that 'turbulence slick'.

Yup, a long keeled boat will do better with being hove to on only a deep reefed main than a fin keeler.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-17-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

If you get a copy of Hal Roth's " Handling Storms at sea " there is a whole chapter dedicated to Fore reaching. (No affiliation!)
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-17-2013
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Re: How do you heave to with main sail alone?

I am a novice sailor and I am going to try to heave to this summer.I have read a lot about it ,and appreciate your posts. They are very helpful.
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