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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Pacific Seacraft > PSC-Specific Heavy Weather Tactics
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Thread: PSC-Specific Heavy Weather Tactics Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-13-2011 10:38 AM
Lansdowne Yeah, I agree with both the heave to with or without the staysail; and any time you need to take a break, does not need to be heavy weather.
And our 34 falls off a wave with a resounding thunk! Again, and again..without complaining louder than my hollering
12-18-2008 09:35 PM
DaveMancini Keith,

Never met Jim and Heather. Big marina.

I know what you mean about how solid the Pacific Seacrafts are. I don't miss that feeling that you're sailing a plastic bag.

Dave
12-18-2008 12:17 PM
mondofromredondo
This old boat

Dave,
This old boat has truly changed my level of confidence in nasty weather. My previous boat was a Cal 34' which was a joy to sail but never had the solid feel that my PSC has. When I was being launched off of a swell with a hard crash in my Cal I use to hear every part of the boat creak and groan like I do when I get up in the morning. The PSC can launch and drop hard with hardly a sound coming from the boat. Dave, did u know Jim and Heather aboard a 50' Catamaran in Ventura? I just bought property from them in Mexico.
12-18-2008 02:16 AM
DaveMancini MC1,

Before I answer the running off question, I just want to mention one thing about heaving to under main alone: the technique is to sheet the main in hard, then SLOWLY put the helm down to avoid a luff. In other words, do not let the boat tack. The boat will lose way, then stall. The main will then stay full without luffing and the boat will ride steady.

Heaving to with some sail up is a tactic that only works if the boat will bear having sail up. And, like I mentioned, if I can keep sail up, I'd rather be sailing. There comes a point, though, when the boat becomes over pressed, where you just can't keep sail up anymore because it's too tough on the sail(s) and rig. Believe me, you will know when that point comes. At that time the boat will ride easier with no sail up at all (the 34 certainly does). The wind in the rig will be enough to steady the boat.

Most modern designs (excludes full keels), including the 34, will lie ahull beam on or slightly closer (helm down). It's fairly comfortable. But, if the wind and seas continue to increase, even this position can become ugly. Seas start to break heavily and the boat starts to get knocked down occasionally. That's when I usually decide to run off. This only works, of course, if you have plenty of sea room. This tactic returns control of the boat to you. If you don't have sea room, or the seas become too large to maintain control while running off, it's time for a Jordan series drogue or some other stern set means of radically slowing the boat down to prevent being overwhelmed. I'm not a fan of anything that proposes to keep the bow of a modern design into the wind, but that's only my opinion.

We lay ahull once for 12 hours in darkness with the 34 in 40+ knots of wind and 20 ft. seas. We might have been able to sail (destination was a close reach), but it would have been a battle. We were beat and we were able to get some good sleep this way. In the morning, the wind eased a bit and we resumed under reefed main and stays'l.

I have had to run off under bare poles once in another boat, but never in the 34. On that occasion, north of New Zealand, we did five knots under bare poles, plenty of speed to maintain control. I am sure the 34 would handle similarly.

Again, conditions that require running off or drogues, etc. are rare in the experience of most cruisers who don't sail routinely in high latitudes. Hope this helps.

Dave
12-18-2008 12:16 AM
MC1 Dave, thanks for the tip regarding heaving-to with only the reefed main. I've done a lot of reading on the subject and haven't come across any mention of someone doing that, so I probably wouldn't have thought to try it. Its interesting also that you recommend running off as it gets rougher, I had wondered if the wineglass hull would permit staying hove-to, but perhaps you'd also need a para-anchor for that?
12-17-2008 05:42 PM
DaveMancini Keith,

Of course I remember you. Charity Rose is a beautiful boat, one of the best kept 34's I've ever seen. It's good to hear you are using and enjoying her the way PS's were meant to be.

Hope to see you again upon our return.

Dave
12-17-2008 09:44 AM
mondofromredondo Dave,
Good info. I've printed this to keep on Charity Rose to give a try.
Not sure u remember me but I met you in Ventura the night I purchased Charity Rose from Mike. I was having problems unfurling my jib and u came to my rescue. You and I exchanged a few emails in the past shortly before u set sail. At any rate she's turning out to be a great / safe companion on the water.

Keith
PSC 34
S/V Charity Rose
12-16-2008 07:32 PM
DaveMancini MC1,

When you try heaving to, also try heaving to with just the main (reefed to appropriate wind speed). I have found the 34 has enough windage forward of the mast to allow it to fore reach with main alone (helm down). It won't gather enough way to tack and will actually ride higher to the wind that way. The main should be sheeted in fairly close. This also saves wear on the stays'l.

If I can keep sail on her to heave to, I will usually keep sailing, but sometimes you just need to rest (cook or whatever). If I can't get any sail up, I lay ahull. By that time there's enough wind in the top hamper to keep the boat fairly steady, although even with the helm down the boat will usually lay no closer than 70 or 80 degrees to the wind (keep the foredeck clear). I don't know whether that would be the case with roller furling (which I don't have) because of the increased drag forward when it's furled.

When the seas start throwing the boat around, it's time to think about running off. Of course these kinds of conditions are rare.

Dave Mancini
PSC34 #305 "Swan"
12-15-2008 09:23 AM
mondofromredondo
Heavy Weather

Havent' tried heaving - to as I haven't found my self in the position to actually need to. But I definetly need to learn this technique. So for now the only heaving on my boat is my freinds when they get a little green around the gills

Keith
S/V Charity Rose
PSC 34'
12-14-2008 10:29 PM
MC1 Good to hear you echo much of the sentiment I've heard Keith that the PSC's do a nice job of taking care of the crew. My PSC 34 is new-to-me, so I haven't tried heaving-to with her yet; have you tried this with Charity Rose, and if so, how'd she do with that?
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