SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Seamanship & Navigation (
-   -   Heaving to - describe it please? (

mwrohde 06-21-2007 07:44 AM

Heaving to - describe it please?
I have, at best, a rudimentary understanding of what heaving to is. Please help me by giving a more complete description.

Under what conditions can you/should you heave to?

What is the condition of the boat when hove to? Where is the wind? Where are the sails? Where is the rudder? Does the boat continue to move?

Finally, how the heck do you do it?


sailorjim99 06-21-2007 10:18 AM

Heaving-to is simply stopping your boat from going forward. You can use it to take a rest, make a coffee or get ready to weather a blow.
All sail plans are different and so are boat hulls. You will have to mess around with yours to see what works for you.

Basically, in moderate winds, up to say 30 kts, you just back your forsail/jib and reef your mainsail. Turn your rudder about 10 to 15 degrees to windward and take it from there.

That is where you start the experiement.
What happend next depends on your boat and sailplan.

You should end up about 50 degrees off the wind and be stopped or at least drifting no more than 1 kt per hour.:confused:

Make sure you wont drift into the beach or rocks.;)

This works most times for me but I am on a full keel type boat.
When I am on a fin keel and spade rudder boat it wont work as well.

Other guys will have different ways but that is it simplified.:rolleyes:


sailortjk1 06-21-2007 10:27 AM

Try this link. Its just liike Jim said.

Seamanship, Heave To Technique |

btrayfors 06-21-2007 10:29 AM

Heaving to is a very useful technique, especially on a cruising boat. As noted above, it can be used for several purposes. I've used it several times on different boats in the Caribbean when, having run my distance in overnight sails and approaching a darkened island, I'd heave to on the offshore tack to await daylight.

I did this several times in the era before GPS, and once with GPS aboard where there were some chart discrepancies and we didn't want to take any chances in very stormy weather.

For many boats, heaving to is a very simple procedure: just harden up to a beat or close reach, then come about but don't touch your jib sheet. This will leave the jib sheeted to the now windward side, it will blanket the main somewhat, and if you turn your wheel or tiller so that the rudder is slightly to windward the boat will quickly assume a very quiet and comfortable condition.

All boats behave a bit differently, so you need to experiment in various conditions, under full sail, under reefed sails, etc.

The ability to heave to confidently is a wonderful thing. You can actually stop the boat -- for all practical purposes -- and rest or cook or wait or whatever, all in relative comfort.


mwrohde 06-21-2007 10:48 AM

Fantastic! Thank you. I'll practice this evening.

Valiente 06-21-2007 11:17 AM

Practice it in 10 knots, then 20, then 30. You will soon find the sail set and rudder angle that will accomplish heaving-to in differing conditions.

Some modern designs don't heave to very well, or have a narrow "sweet spot". Others, like performance cruisers or racers, might do better to run off the wind. Some boats that CAN heave to should sometimes run: sea state, wind and proximity to the shore will dictate this. A GPS that can calculate XTE or "drift" is a big help here, because you can see if you are likely to forereach into danger given an expected wind range.

About the only technique that I think has been largely discredited is lying a-hull. Nobody seems to do it anymore, although it was once considered a valid "pit stop" technique.

sailingdog 06-21-2007 11:56 PM

Just be aware that not all boats heave-to as well as others.

IIRC, the boats with a full-keel tend to heave-to a bit better than newer designs. The newer designs tend to fore-reach, rather than come to a near-complete stop as the older designs do.

bestfriend 06-22-2007 01:33 AM

I am not sure if this is proper, but I have also been aboard a boat where the main was let out so that the boat was on a beam reach. It seemed to work pretty well.

dorourke 06-22-2007 01:58 AM

This vidio shows the manuver well enough to understand it. From the US SAILING orginization. It tought it to me and I've got one thick skull.

Heaving To Video - WMV

capttb 06-22-2007 02:03 AM

If you are the visual sort there's also a good video of heaving to at the US Sailing website.
Heaving-To Video

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:48 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