Join Date: May 2008
Location: Port Angeles, WA
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Heaving to on just the mainsail
I continually read how sailors heave to by flattening the foresail (and staysail) against the rigging, sheeting in the main and setting the rudder to head up. While I have been on a 37' Endurance Cutter when the captain did this, it is anything but comfortable. The boat maintained a strong list as waves broke over the rails.
A day later, while still in a 50kt blow, with the captain sick and me needing sleep, I decided to try something different. I rolled up the head sails, set the rudder 10-15 degrees to head up, and sheeted out the main until the boat was lying 45 degrees off the wind. This allows for an amazingly gentle rocking as the boat rides each wave while maintaining a fixed position (or according to the GPS, a 0.1kt drift) and absolutely no heel.
My problem is that I have yet to read this maneuver anywhere. Because this way is so much smoother, what's the reason for heaving to the other way? Between these two maneuvers, I refuse to use the former. Am I missing something?