Handling under Bare Poles - SailNet Community
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Handling under Bare Poles

In your column on surviving the Sydney-Hobart (Lessons from a Sailing Disaster), you stated that Atara handled well under bare poles in 75-knot winds after the storm trysail was damaged by a running backstay and had to be doused. This sounded like the beginning of the end to me, but it was apparently handled successfully. I would like to know what the crew did with its boat under bare poles—neither running off nor lying ahull sound like good options, and no sea anchor was mentioned.

John Rousmaniere responds:
Thank you for your comments. Those are excellent questions to which my source report had no answers except that a drogue or sea anchor was not deployed aboard Atara. It's a reasonable guess that in such a blow, the angle the boat kept to the seas for the short while she lay ahull, without any sail set, varied from moment to moment. In another column that I published here at SailNet, I reviewed a number of storm sailing techniques that may or may not have been applied by the crew. You may wish to check those out (What is Heaving-to).

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