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labatt 07-31-2007 07:59 PM

Heaving to with just the main?
I've always heard that you can heave to with the main down and just a small bit of your jib out (if you have to), but a book we're reading - "Storm Tactics Handbook" by the Pardee's - talks about heaving to with just the main. I guess you sheet hard on the main and then basically stall the boat upwind. You lash the tiller or wheel to the point that it keeps your boat stalled. They don't recommend using this in heavy winds - just moderate. I'm thinking it puts you in a pretty precarious position. As soon as you get that gust that gives you enough forward motion, the boat will tack and you'll be doing a 360. Has anyone used this technique? Any comments?

ollie820 08-01-2007 07:36 AM

Every boat is different so you may have to experiment what works for you. I do not think you can make a statement for all sailing vessels. I have seen their storm tactics video and they explain that roller furlers may provide enough windage to hold the bow down without unfurling any but they also explain that ketches, yawls, sloops, etc all perform differently and you need to practice in different conditions to get it right.

tomaz_423 08-01-2007 08:04 AM

It really depends on the boat. I could not heave to well with my Bene Oceanis 423 unless in really low wind (where heave to is not that important anyway). Than I realised that my bow is relatively high - so I used much less jib than main. In more wind just main alone (reefed of course) was just good and I needed no head sail.
My fin keel & spade rudder boat does not heave to as good as some full keel boats. She is also moving a bit faster (2 to 3 knots SOG were usually observed on GPS). It helped me on a few occasions where I had handicapped (seasick) and/or inexperienced crew, so we could rest a bit and made something to eat. But it was 25 - 30 knots max at that time.
Later I read a boat review in Blue Water Sailing magazine and they also recommended heave to on main alone for a 423.
Your Passport have a bit shallower but longer keel and skeg rudder - so it may behave differently. Experiment, but note the what works in 20 knots may not work at 40.
I never had a problem of my boat to tack. There was just not enough speed. It did "dance" a little in a gust, but never did the speed build up enough to enable the tack. I had my rudder hard over (all the way) in most occasions, only once it felt better with a bit less than all the way over - can't explain why.

labatt 08-01-2007 10:29 AM

We can easily heave to on our Passport with at least a little of the genoa showing. Standard forces are at play - genoa pushes you down, rudder keeps you up, boat balances and is hove to. I've just never done it with just the main and I was curious how well it works.

nolatom 08-01-2007 03:28 PM

Your next-to-last sentence expresses what I'd be afraid of--getting kicked up too high on the wind, and ending up either in irons and thrown backwards by the seas, which is hard on you and your rudder, or aback and crash-tacking. No one formula fits all boats, but to me the backed jib is a big safety factor, ensuring you remain on the same tack throughout.

foxglove 08-02-2007 04:02 PM

I read an article in Cruising World earlier this year (or maybe last year) about forereaching. It's done under main alone. I tried it on our 32' Pearson recently in 25 mph winds and it worked fine.

I pointed the boat into the wind with main only then steered off slightly when the boat came to a near stop. I expermented with the helm until the boat would fall off slightly and pick up speed. As soon as the rudder got a bite on the water, she would steer up into the wind again and repeat the cycle. I locked the wheel and let the boat run itself for about half an hour.

You make a liitel headway and lots of leeway.

sailingdog 08-02-2007 04:12 PM

Many boats will forereach when hove to, since many more modern designs will not stay hove to properly.

jboatjack 08-06-2007 03:59 PM

Fifteen years ago I knew of a Jboat that broke its mast with only a reefed main up in 50-60 wind. I had the same brand of mast. I talked with the manufacturer of the mast and he told me that without some jib the mast contorts and whips and can fatigue.

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