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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 08-11-2010
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Hove-to in tidal current?

This morning in light winds (about 5mph) I just could not hold the boat hove-to in the tidal Delaware. I have hove-to before just not at peek current and with a little bit more wind.

Is it possible to heave-to in current?
I have a full keel which may be part of the problem, catching the current flow when not in line with the flow.
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I would think you should be able to hove to but it depends on a lot of things as does everything else in sailing. I think your problem is that the winds were very light and it is likely that the force of the current was stronger than the forces produced by the boat/sails in the hove to position. If this were the case you would drift to the current and not be able to keep the of the boat up towards the wind. in light winds you might be able to adjust the rudder or sails to help.

Michael
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Thanks Micheal.
The current was running west to east and the breeze was out of the east-north-east. Same location previously with no breeze I have controled drifted at 2 to 3 kn, and once at 3.5 kn SOG.
I was watching a test flight of a new Chinnock at the Boeing plant and just could not hold position.
With headsail back winded I was pointing north-north-east swinging to east-south east.
Eventually gave up, rolled in the the head sail, sheeted in the main and pointed to wind, controled drift at 2kn SOG in direction of current west to east.
Thinking about what the boat was doing, maybe I should have relaxed and just let the boat settle in to a swing between NNE and ESE, but mud flat to the ESE.
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Last edited by Ulladh; 08-12-2010 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 08-12-2010
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When hove-to, a yacht is essentially "still" in the water (although some may fore-reach a tad). With that, the yacht will drift with the current as does a leaf or any other floatsom on the water's surface. If you cannot make headway, stear to the edge of the channel, anchor and have cup of coffee until the tide turns or the wind returns.
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Not counting the effect that current has on waves and how an e.g. 2 knot current can add or subtract up to 2 knots from the apparent wind... Current does not affect a boat's abilty to heave-to, unless there is a shearing of current in the water. If the current was consistent along the length of the hull, then there is no effect.

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Old 08-12-2010
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Heaving-to is a kind of sailing. If you had found it difficult to get your boat to stay close-hauled in 5 mph winds, would you be surprised?

Heaving-to relies on a balance between power in the sails and power in the underwater foils. If the wind is light, it's likely one or both of those sets of foils isn't powered up enough to do its job, and instead of driving forward, the boat just spins in place. That's typically my experience when trying to heave-to in very light winds.
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