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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Heaving to.....what gives.
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Thread: Heaving to.....what gives. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-14-2011 06:43 PM
travlineasy Omatako,

The best response I have to your questions is to purchase the book. The authors answered all of your questions, address the debate pertaining to sea anchors and when to use them, plus provide information from a host of veteran ocean racers, nearly all of which were extremely knowledgeable about heaving to V/S trying to outrun storms. Obviously, there is no one size fits all in the scheme of things. If this were the case no one would every get into trouble during a storm. And, if you could accurately predict a storm's path, there are some folks at NOAA that would be willing to pay you some big bucks, especially during hurricane season.

Good Luck,

Gary
05-14-2011 04:46 PM
Yorksailor I heave to to make dinner and catch fish...in severe weather I put the wind on my quarter and try and make 4-5-6 knots and as much as possible get in sequence with the wave train.

Don't confuse heaving to in moderate-to-bad conditions with survival storm techniques.
05-14-2011 04:33 PM
TSchwarck My O'Day 22(shoal keel/centerboard) heaves to very well with the main sheeted in(not luffing).
05-14-2011 03:48 PM
Omatako Whilst I am never going to suggest that I have superior experience or knowledge to the Pardeys, a few questions/comments on my own limited experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
In some instances they didn't put put a sea anchor or drogue, even it horrendous winds. When they did put out a drogue it turned out to be much more difficult to retrieve than the sea anchor.
First question is when does "heaving to" become "lying to a sea anchor"? Seems to me the distinction has been lost in some of the examples given.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
The main point that made more sense than anything else is that it is very foolish to try and outrun a storm. In almost every instance, boats trying to outrun ocean storms were severely damaged, many crew members were injured, some were killed and there were a fair number of boats sunk.
When does "running with" turn into "trying to outrun" a storm? I have only been caught in one bad storm (70 gusting 80 with 30 - 40ft, occasionally breaking seas). We sailed at 9kn under bare poles and the boat was threatening to surf, pitch dark, I decided to heave to. We got slammed by a huge broken wave (white water) and then by a wave that actually broke against the side of the boat with enough force to knock cabinetry off the walls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
When you are trying to outrun a storm you are going in the same direction as the storm itself, thus exposing yourself and crew to longer periods of nasty conditions.
So I decided to run at an angle to the weather and to slow the boat down with drogues to about 3 - 4kn. Using the age-old Ballot & Buys rule, we estimated the position of the storm centre then sailed away from it. It was that successful that this is now my stated policy on heavy weather management (with due respect to the Pardeys). I don't own a sea anchor.

Another thing that bothers me is when I watch systems moving across the Pacific to the immediate north of us, they sometimes take several days to move relatively small distances. In the infamous Queens Birthday storm north of New Zealand some years ago, boats were hove to and stayed in horrendous weather (80kn +) for three or four days while the system "parked" over them. Some of those boats were lost.

So like all things, heaving to is not the silver bullet that keeps one safe when things get really tough (IMHO).
05-13-2011 08:23 PM
Tempest Tommays,

I teach on J-24's , They do settle in pretty nicely. I have to tweak it a bit because of the hudson river current, but once I get it tuned in they perform nicely.

I'm not sure why they are such a popular teaching boat with the sloped cabin top and tight cockpit ( for 5) But they are fun in a breeze.
05-13-2011 07:36 PM
tommays Even the J24 does it well under reefed mainsail as we have done it during some big storms that passed between races
05-13-2011 07:33 PM
Tempest It's probably not necessary to point out.

While heaving-to can be a successful storm tactic, I regularly heave-to to set a reef in the main, it gives me a much more stable deck.
I use it, when I have room, to stop for lunch rather than break out the anchor. I'll heave-to on a starboard tack to maintain stand-on status ( a trick I learned here)
I heave-to, all the time to catch fish!! When a fish is on, I immediately heave-to leaving the fish to windward, and try to bring it over the beam.

I find It a useful tactic under many circumstances.

I would probably not heave-to in a short duration squall..I prefer to be more proactive.
05-13-2011 07:00 PM
travlineasy I agree. Try heaving to in winds of about 10 knots or less in an open area during mid day when you have lots of room around you. Learn the ins and outs of the procedure, then work your way up to somewhat higher winds with gusts. The question most often posed to the authors of the book is "When should I heave to?" The simple answer to this is "Before you think it's necessary to heave to."

Good Luck,

Gary
05-13-2011 03:48 PM
Barquito Being a day sailor, I have never been in a severe storm. I would imagine it would take a lot of confidence to 'stop sailing', and heave-to in a near survival storm. Just seems like my first instinct would be to keep actively managing the boat. Obvioulsly, this is why this sort of stuff should be practiced in more mild conditions first.
05-13-2011 01:41 PM
travlineasy In some instances they didn't put put a sea anchor or drogue, even it horrendous winds. When they did put out a drogue it turned out to be much more difficult to retrieve than the sea anchor. In the book they also did comparisons of sea anchors and drogues and showed methods of deployment that were pretty amazing. They talked a lot about triple-reefed mains, storm sails, and even sailing on the poles. The main point that made more sense than anything else is that it is very foolish to try and outrun a storm. In almost every instance, boats trying to outrun ocean storms were severely damaged, many crew members were injured, some were killed and there were a fair number of boats sunk. In boats that hove to, damages, if any were often very minimal, crew injuries were usually not severe or life threatening, and most of the time the storm blew itself out in a day or two at most. When you are trying to outrun a storm you are going in the same direction as the storm itself, thus exposing yourself and crew to longer periods of nasty conditions.

One of the neat things I discovered about their sea anchors was that most were war surplus parachutes measuring just 8 feet in diameter. And, the use of a trip-line was discouraged because it constantly wrapped around the chute lines, which eventually resulted in closing the chute.

Lots of information in the book, and like I said, it's one that should be kept onboard at all times as a reference manual.

Cheers,

Gary
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