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The strongest winds in which I hove-to were about 60 knots. I once ran before 80 to 100 knot winds in a nasty squall in the Indian Ocean. It only lasted 45 minutes but blew the sea flat and scared me big time. After all the adrenalin dissipated I felt so exhausted that I went below and slept till dawn.
Before I cut the dock lines to go cruising, I also often practiced heaving-to while day sailing in winds under 20. As you know, both the Tayana and Hans Christian have cut away fore foots which allows them, among other things, to come about easier. When heaving-to, however, the cutaway fore foot allows the bow to fall off faster than say a boat like a Bristol Channel Cutter where the full keel runs straight to the bow. When practicing, I soon learned that back winding my big headsail pushed the boat beyond 50 degrees to the wind. I then learned that the boomed out staysail had to be flattened with the outhaul and tied down to the rail, which I did before tacking and back winding it.
After back winding the staysail and adjusting the main and rudder as needed, I give the boat time to find its neutral spot and then make whatever adjustments needed to reduce as much forward motion as possible. I discovered in lighter air that our boats have a tendency to crab slowly forward in a zigzag course no matter what we do. So don't worry...sounds like you are doing everything right. In wind above 40, I prefer having my trysail up along with the staysail. In heavy weather conditions our boats still swing between 40 and 50 degrees, but average 45 degrees to the wind. What is more important, however, is stopping, as much as possible, all forward progress. When that happens, the boat slides down wind, which, as you know, creates a slick to windward that dissipates breaking waves.
During my seven year solo circumnavigation I hove-to many times…to rest, to make repairs, to check my position, to wait for a tidal change and, in rare instances, to wait out a blow…it worked for me and my full keel cruiser. Fin keel owners and other cruisers need to practice heaving-to in lighter airs to learn how their boats handle. Only then can they decide the best action to take in strong winds and seas.
I hope, Lance, that this is of some help to you.
California's Channel Islands
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Last edited by Cruisingdreamspress; 01-30-2009 at 04:13 PM.