SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Learning to Sail (
-   -   Dinghy Heave to question? (

W3ODF 10-14-2012 10:59 AM

Dinghy Heave to question?
Is it possible to heave to in a 12' centerboard dinghy?

The reason I ask is because its something I have never done and when I have been to sailing schools the instructors seem reluctant to do as well (not sure why?). So I have this practice dinghy that I have been putting considerable time and effort into before i look for a bigger boat and I want to try to heave to. Mind you I don't think I'd try to ride out storm conditions in a light boat this size.

All info appreciated.

floridajaxsailor 10-14-2012 11:48 AM

Of course you can~ you can heave to in any boat w sails

When I was an instructor we use to teach the method a bit~ further, I even taught backwards sailing to the fun-minded, wiser more careful students

Though, for obvious reasons, they want to keep things simple in sailing schools as it also can be dangerous in high winds or coming out of the maneuver, thus for safety reasons and with all the lawyers in this country...

I'm not sure where you took your sailing lessons

Just like anything amid dinghy sailing go out and try in a light wind!- you won't kill yourself~ well let's hope
not... just wear a life jacket after completing some thorough reading on the techniques- as there are some great resources right here on the Internet regarding sailing

good luck

pdqaltair 10-14-2012 01:29 PM

Re: Dinghy Heave to question?
Heaving to can be an excellent way to capsize a small dingy on a gusty day. It is NOT a strong weather technique applicable to unbalasted boats. It works with a keel boat because they will lean but not capsize. Also, it only makes sense when sail has been reduced.

That said, on a no-wind day it can be an excellent way to park and eat a sandwich. Simply tack without releasing the jib, let the main out a bit once you are through, and then when the boat is nearly stopped, push the tiller away and leave it down (the boat will not tack as it is going too slow and the jib is backed). The exact steps and angles depend on the boat.


FYI, there are generally only 3 ways to ride out a bad thunderstorm in a small boat:
* Get on a close reach, sheet the jib in tight and the traveler all the way down and feather. Move only enough to steer. The sails, particularly the main, will flog a bit.
* Take everything down and point down wind.
* Capsize. Not as crazy as it sounds. Just wait until the storm passes (don't try to right her during the storm) and pop her back up. This will also slow your drift. I did this intentionally during one particularly bad hail storm. I was being driven somewhere I didn't want to go (extensive concrete docks and a jetty) and that stopped the drift. This assumes you have strong righting skills.

nolatom 10-15-2012 12:28 PM

Re: Dinghy Heave to question?
you have a jib on that dinghy? Hard to heave-to without one.

I see the kids in the Flying Scots doing it all the time between races. If you're waiting around for whatever reason, it's much easier on the sails to have them filled (mostly) than luffing, and easier on the people to not have to keep steering all the time.

The Scots, though, are pretty stable for a centerboarder. Agree it's a light-air thing unless you have a keelboat.

Barquito 10-15-2012 02:15 PM

Re: Dinghy Heave to question?
Some call it safety position. On some cat-rigged boats, you can let the sheet out most of the way, heel the boat to leeward, and put the tiller to leeward.


* Capsize. Not as crazy as it sounds.
I love that! I wouldn't have thought of that. Use your boat as a sea anchor. OTOH, if there is lightning in the area, you may not want to be in the water.

W3ODF 10-17-2012 10:14 PM

Re: Dinghy Heave to question?
Hey all, thanks for the great comments! Yes the dinghy, an O'Day Widgeon, has a jib. Glad I consulted first rather than doing it the other day (because it was gusty and I had a passenger).

SchwarckT 10-24-2012 09:26 AM

Re: Dinghy Heave to question?
Here's a good explanation of heaving-to:

How to Heave To - Heave-to a Sailboat

My 15' centerboard boat doesn't really heave to very well, but my '22 has a shoal keel/centerboard and heaves to very easily.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:50 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome