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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 06-05-2009
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Heaving to downwind...anyone?

Alright, this is the situation.

I was sailing way out past Monhegan island recently and it was night, quiet, gentle swell rolling...
I wanted to take a nap. I sail alone. So I figured out a way to heave to sailing downwind, in the general direction. I let out the main and rigged a preventer. I sheeted in the genoa on the opposite tack. The wind was broad reach. Tiller tied in the center. The boat found it's balance and sailed slow and easy for hours. The main and the backwards genny making a sort of triangle, finding equilibrium between them.
It worked. Does anyone have any other ideas. My boat is a 30' double ender.
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Old 06-05-2009
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This isn't heaving to. It's self-steering. Technically, I think it's problematic that you are underway while sleeping. You would be doing better to heave-to to windward in the normal fashion, if only to lessen the impact of hitting something while you were unable to keep a watch.

I would avoid this in any kind of coastal night sailing, personally. The odds are significant, in my view, that a wind or current shift could either send you someplace you didn't want to go, or into fishermen, other sailors, etc.

You wouldn't "have a nap" driving a car, would you?
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Old 06-05-2009
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A self-steering setup would be a doused main and two headsails out wing and wing, as it were, and both sheets lashed to the tiller -- 1950s-style. Or am I wrong? Maybe I"m mistaken, but what Zalia is describing is sailing wing and wing with the rudder locked... at night, on the coast, while asleep... I agree with Valiente... a negative 10-4 to that, good buddy.
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Old 06-05-2009
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I'd second what Valiente has said. You're not heaving to...you're self-steering without keeping an adequate watch—which is a hazard to you and everyone around you. If you really must take a nap—find a protected cove, drop the anchor and put up the daymark and turn on your anchor light. If you were in the middle of a trans-oceanic passage, doing this and napping for 15 minutes might be acceptable, but in crowded coastal waters, near land, it really isn't safe.
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Old 06-07-2009
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Sounds dangerous to me too.

Heaving to by definition means stopping the boat. Fore reaching at less than 0.25 kts is about it but if you can get the yacht to stop and drift sideways, then you are hove to.

Technically the vessel is not under command as per the colregs.

You also mention that the vessel sailed like this for hours.... were you asleep for hours, at sea, in costal waters???
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Old 06-07-2009
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Not a good idea, too much can happen with no watch. And I'd be really scared and nervous if Hawg called me good buddy.
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Hey stuffit "Get a life"
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Old 06-08-2009
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A boat that is hove-to is not qualified to be considered Not Under Command by the COLREGS—it is considered to be underway and as such responsible for keeping a proper watch and responsible for obeying the COLREGS in their entirety.

From the COLREGS:

Quote:
(f) The term "vessel not under command" means a vessel which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.
Taking a nap or sleeping is not an EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCE, nor is the boat unable to manuever... merely releasing the jib sheet or turning the tiller will generally allow it to resume sailing normally. Please do not post wrong information about the COLREGS.

Also, I'd point out that most modern boats will not heave-to and come to a complete stop, but will forereach at about 1-1.5 knots as a general rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mokusiga View Post
Sounds dangerous to me too.

Heaving to by definition means stopping the boat. Fore reaching at less than 0.25 kts is about it but if you can get the yacht to stop and drift sideways, then you are hove to.

Technically the vessel is not under command as per the colregs.

You also mention that the vessel sailed like this for hours.... were you asleep for hours, at sea, in costal waters???
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-08-2009
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Yes; technically you are still underway when hove-to. Sails are up and the boat is not tied to the bottom so you are under sail and underway.

The best thing to do if you have adequate room is to heave-to on starboard tack (windward side is the starboard side). Since you are on starboard you are privileged over any other sailboat that is on port tack or windward of you; so your only concern for sailboat traffic would be a leeward boat approaching on starboard.

Of course you are still burdened for vessels with restricted maneuverability, commercial fishing vessels, and ship traffic who generally don't change course for small boats.

You still are responsible for keeping an adequate watch; and the only way to do this while I can think of while singlehanded is to set a Radar with proximity sensing capability/alarm (MARPA) to do a sweep every 5 minutes or so to check the area for approaching boats or ships.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
...You still are responsible for keeping an adequate watch; and the only way to do this while I can think of while singlehanded is to set a Radar with proximity sensing capability/alarm (MARPA) to do a sweep every 5 minutes or so to check the area for approaching boats or ships.
Too many recreational powerboats and sailboats would not show up on the radar for my comfort... at least in a coastal situation, since many of them do not fly a radar reflector, and fiberglass boats—both power and sail—are notoriously bad radar targets.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
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Old 06-08-2009
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Apologies for misleading, I was incorrect about the NUC situation in colregs, it has been an ongoing discussion / dispute with friends. The regs were written with commercial shipoping, not yachtsmen in mind.

The vessel is still underway and making way so you are obliged to maintain a lookout, our dispute has arrisen over the circumstances for NUC. I personally believe that under the regs a single hander is unable to maintain that lookout and therefore a NUC situation is in effect, however I have never been able to find a definition for Exceptional Circumstances.

This is down to interpretation and application. The MCA reports vessels claiming NUC is in effect when awaiting permission to enter a port. They heave-to outside waiting to enter. They still have the ability to manouver and are maintaining a propper lookout. NUC in this situation is in clear breach of the regs.
A single hander cannot maintain that look out and is therefore in breach of reg 3 as soon as they leave the breakwater and go below to check a chart.
Heave to with a crew and you should maintain a lookout.

If you are going single handed, as we are all human and cannot stay awake indefinitely, you must make a judgement call on when you should or shouldn't sleep.
Fast cat ferries can be over the horizon and then on top of you in the time it takes to make a cup of tea below. prudence is required.

Oh, my vessel is a 33ft, long keel, steel cutter, and will basically stop once hove to properly. This will change in varing sea states.
Fin and skeg will not stop in the same way.
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