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Old 06-28-2010
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Reefing and Heaving to.

Just got in from a really good day of sailing. I finally got around to setting up a simple reefing system on my Catalina 22 and while I was out there, I practiced heaving to. So, I figured I would post my observations along with a few questions.

First off, call me stubborn, hardheaded or a non-believer....I have to learn things the hard way. I would have never believed how well reefing works unless I witnessed it with my own two eyes. I know that sounds crazy but follow me on this one. Being that the Catalina 22 is such a light boat, I had resolved to myself that she was too light for anything higher than a calm day out on the ocean. Every time the wind picked up past 10-15mph she became a handful. Now me being as stubborn as I am, I had settled on the idea of "that's just the way it is...". Well, today we had a nice 15-25mph steady wind with higher gusts and I decided to do what EVERYONE told me to do...I simply took two 2' long piece's of line, ran them through the reefing eye's at the "new" foot and clew, lashed the sail down tight to the boom (after loosening the main halyard a bit), ran the bitter ends through the gooesneck and the other end of the boom and guess what.........the sail was reefed and the boat magically became docile and balanced. It was like the wind fell off to 5-10mph.....go figure.. I now have it set up so i can reef in about 3 minutes. I will never hesitate to reef again.

Next up was the act of heaving to. In the same conditions, while on a starboard tack, close hauled, I tacked, left the jib sheet alone and as soon as the bow came through the wind, the jib back-winded. She stalled, i pushed the tiller to leeward and guess what.....the 4-5' waves almost dissipated. There was a really neat looking turbulent slick coming off the beam to windward and she slowed to .5-1 knot...I sat down in amazement and had lunch. The boat became so calm I may have been able to stack marbles. Well not really but it was a huge difference. I can think of a million and one uses for this. I went from beating 5.8 knots into 4-5 foot waves with white caps, spray flying over the bow to drifting peacefully and mostly level in about 20 seconds. I have to take the girl out with me to show her this magic....

Anyways, enough about magic. To anyone learning to sail- This stuff really works and it would behoove you to learn it now. Don't wait until you need it but can't do it like me. I am a glutton for punishment. Practice reefing and heaving to when the conditions are manageable. You will thank yourself for it. Its better than the first time you saw color TV.

Now my questions;

While hove to, she kept slowly outrunning her slick. It was barely noticeable but the majority of the slick seemed to be amidships and aft. Forward motion was unnoticeable to the eye but not to the GPS. Is this normal? Is it the result of the shallow hull design of the C-22? I tried playing with the jib sheet and main sheet, easing tension here, tightening it there, but the result was the same.

When reefing, my boom seemed to lift higher than the goose-neck. Tightening the mainsheet had no effect. Sail shape remained pretty good. Is this normal? What effect did it have? I tightened the luff until it was as straight as it would go and the boat seemed to be fine. I have nothing to compare it to so that is why I am asking.
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Old 06-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanr77 View Post

While hove to, she kept slowly outrunning her slick. It was barely noticeable but the majority of the slick seemed to be amidships and aft. Forward motion was unnoticeable to the eye but not to the GPS. Is this normal? Is it the result of the shallow hull design of the C-22? I tried playing with the jib sheet and main sheet, easing tension here, tightening it there, but the result was the same.
Yes that is normal. I seldom been able to get a fin keel boat to not make some headway when hove-to.

Quote:
When reefing, my boom seemed to lift higher than the goose-neck. Tightening the mainsheet had no effect. Sail shape remained pretty good. Is this normal? What effect did it have? I tightened the luff until it was as straight as it would go and the boat seemed to be fine. I have nothing to compare it to so that is why I am asking.
Yes that is common, reefing often has three effects:
  1. The sail area is less.
  2. The sail is flatter.
  3. The boom may be raised slightly.

All three reduce heeling and weather helm.

BTW - I recommend heaving-to from a port tack;this puts you on a starboard tack, making you stand-on to more vessels.

Jack
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Last edited by jackdale; 06-28-2010 at 10:28 PM. Reason: BTW
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Old 06-28-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanr77 View Post
While hove to, she kept slowly outrunning her slick. It was barely noticeable but the majority of the slick seemed to be amidships and aft. Forward motion was unnoticeable to the eye but not to the GPS. Is this normal? Is it the result of the shallow hull design of the C-22? I tried playing with the jib sheet and main sheet, easing tension here, tightening it there, but the result was the same.
This is called fore-reaching, and is pretty common among more modern designs, which don't heave to quite as well as older designs did.

Quote:
When reefing, my boom seemed to lift higher than the goose-neck. Tightening the mainsheet had no effect. Sail shape remained pretty good. Is this normal? What effect did it have? I tightened the luff until it was as straight as it would go and the boat seemed to be fine. I have nothing to compare it to so that is why I am asking.
Yes, this will happen because the reefs are cut to keep the boom higher, since you can't often tighten down on them as much as you can on the full sail.

The main reasons that reefing the sail reduces weather helm and heeling are simple—by reefing, you've moved the center of effort lower and further forward, since you've moved the material of the sail down and forward.

Flattening the sail does help reduce heeling a bit, since it depowers the sail. Reducing the sail area obviously helps reduce heeling, especially when sailing upwind or a beam reach, since the wind doesn't have as much to push on. The boom being raised doesn't do a damn thing for weather helm or heeling.
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Old 06-29-2010
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When you heave-to; ease the main out until it just begins to luff. You don't want it flogging; but you also don't want it to produce any drive. With the main luffing your forward speed will drop down and you will stay in the "calm zone" better.

Also; if you need to reduce sail you can reef down the main while you are hove-to. But you will need a cheek block at the end of the boom and a cleat near the gooseneck so the reefing line through the clew can be tensioned while the mainsheet is eased. You want the reefing line to be pulling both downward and aft so the foot of the reef also gets adequate tension to help flatten the sail. Set up your padeye and cheek block so the reef line makes a 30-45deg angle with the boom centerline when it is tensioned.

I would not heave-to in anything more than 8' swell in a Catalina 22. Waves that are taller and/or breaking could capsize or roll you.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 06-29-2010 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 06-29-2010
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A good rule of thumb when hove-to is to ease the boom so that the boom and the mainsail point to the wind ( luffs)

You said you reefed and then Hove-to. You could have done that in reverse.
Heave-to...and then reef as KeelHaulin states. It's much easier to reef from the calm platform.
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I wrote that incorrectly. I reefed while hove to. If the are 8' swells and they are breaking;

1) I will not be out in a catalina 22.
2) If I get caught in them while out I will be actively sailing to survive.

I think I understand the dynamics of the sails a little better now. Let me run this by anyone to see if I am right;

Catalina 22 with Mainsail and 90 working jib.

As the wind increases, the mainsail overpowers the jib shifting the point of effort aft. This causes the boat to try and round up into the wind (weather helm) and makes it impossible to balance. By reefing the main, the mainsail more closely matches the power of the jib, allowing the boat to balance. Furthermore, the luff is shorter and therefore lower, shifting the power producing part of the sail more towards the lower, center of the boat.

It would seem that the #1 word regarding sailing is balance. So, at what point is a storm trysail used? What balances against that?

I understand why modified full keel boats like Tritons, Albergs and such heave to more efficiently than a fin keel, or in my case a swing keel. The shear mass of what is below the waterline would dictate a larger and more effective slick. I am actually suprised that my C-22 heaves to at all given the small amount of hull that is actually under water. I think with a big enough outboard this thing would actually plane.....
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Old 06-29-2010
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Alanr77—

On many boats, the storm trysail can be used alone, since it will often keep the COE very close to the CLR. Storm trysails are tiny. On some boats, you'd need to balance the storm trysail with a storm jib, preferably on an inner forestay or solent stay.
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Old 06-29-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
BTW - I recommend heaving-to from a port tack;this puts you on a starboard tack, making you stand-on to more vessels.

Jack
Now THAT'S a great tip! I hadn't thought of that one before. Thanks Jack!

As for the other stuff, I too have been amazed at the effectiveness of reefing - and especially heaving to. We've work on the latter as a MOB technique and have gotten fairly good at it.

Granted, I always reef "late", but it does make for some mellower sailing when I need to squeeze another lime into my D&S.
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Old 06-30-2010
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SD commented about forereaching which I tried after reading "Sailing in Slow Motion" by Beth Leonard in the Dec 2005 issue of Cruising World.

She didn't describe forereaching as a type of hove-to. The jib never crossed the wind in her version.

Good article if you can find it.
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Old 07-07-2010
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I highly recommend this book on heaving to in modern sailboats:

Storm Tactics Handbook: Modern Methods of Heaving-To for Survival in Extreme Conditions
by Lin Pardey, Larry Pardey

I've found that with a 110 jib on my C22, the backwinded jib overpowers the main, and pushes the bow too far off the wind for proper 45-50 degree angle from the wind. My C22 will heave to better under the main alone, but I don't have a small 90% jib as you do.

It seems like fore-reaching becomes a problem when winds are too strong. If the C22 is fore-reaching, perhaps get a deeper reef installed in your mainsail, and a smaller jib (or no jib).

A parachute sea anchor rigged with a pendant line will also prevent the boat from fore-reaching, and make it possible to heave-to under bare poles for severe weather:

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