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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 03-07-2006
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Heave to?

So I'm a little confused. Is there a basic difference in technique between "heaving to" and heading up into the wind? Are you trying to backfill the jib and counteract with the main?
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Old 03-07-2006
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Heaving to

Heaving to is, like you suggest, backwinding the jib and leaving the main pulled in tight. The jib pushes the bow down until the main catches the wind, then that pushes the bow up into the wind until it starts to luff and the jib catches the wind and pushes the bow down again. The exact trim of each sail depends a bit on the boat and the wind. Every boat and every breeze is different, and you have to do what works in your particular situation. The wheel or tiller is also tied off so that the boat balances nicely between the two headings, and you can go below to dry off or sleep, or whatever. The boat (theoretically) moves gently along, "fore-reaching" at perhaps a knot of speed, but not really going much of anywhere and not putting big strains on the sails or rigging, even in strong winds. Heading up is simply turning the boat into the wind, possibly so far as to make the sails luff. In a strong breeze, the wildly flapping sails can be damaged. The boat slows and stops, perhaps even being pushed backwards by the wind and waves that it is heading into. Getting pushed backwards by a big wave can damage the rudder, which was designed to deal with forces coming from forward, not aft. Hope this helps.
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Old 03-08-2006
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Paulk's explanation is a good one. On my boat, a 32 footer, I have to use the wheel to maintain a hove-to. I first head up to lose boat speed then cross the wind without touching a sheet. Once the headsail is backwinded, I steer back to the other side as if I had changed my mind. My boat won't hove-to without putting the wheel over.
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Old 03-09-2006
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My boat, a Pearson 323, is smarter than I am. My autopilot went haywire on a close reach in about 20-22 knots and jibed the boat. The main sheet caught me and threw me down against a winch, knocking the wind completely out of me and incidently breaking a rib. When I was able to breathe again and take in my surroundings through a haze of pain, she was perfectly hove-to, bobbing like a gull, waiting for me.

Last edited by garyp; 03-09-2006 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 03-09-2006
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Very scary story, brken ribs are VERY painful. I take it that it has a happy ending, the boat hove-to and you made it back to port safe and sound? Right?
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Old 03-09-2006
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heave to

I backwind the jib on a starboard tack. this gives me the right of way. I throw tiller handle to leeward and slack the main. you cannot go to sleep . you are technically still sailing so someone has to stand watch. you will travel to leeward quite nicely in 15 mph winds. gene
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Old 03-14-2006
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safe & sound

Yes we made it back and the ribs have healed. My wife and her sister graduated a crash course (no pun intended) in docking the boat with full honors, and I'm now trying to trace the short that drains my batteries. I didn't trust the auto pilot for some time, until I realized the fault was a lack of power.
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