Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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You can, of course, simply "drift" at night. But, it might not be the best thing to do, because if there's any sea running the boat movement might be uncomfortable, even severe.
So, you'd probably want to keep some sail up. "Heaving to" is an easy way to stop a boat at sea. Requires only trimming the headsail aback, putting the helm over, and making minor adjustments to be sure she stays that way. Most boats will heave to easily, and will forereach a little. If you do this on the offshore tack, you will be carried slowly away from danger. Or, if you're a long way from land, you can make some useful progress toward your destination.
Depending on your point of view, singlehanding is dangerous, foolhardy, illegal (since you can't maintain the mandatory watch), etc. Or, it can be a thrilling, adventurous, brave thing to do. I kinda subscribe to both camps, depending on my mood of the moment :-))