Wouldn't heave to in 25 knots of wind. - SailNet Community

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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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Old 08-10-2011
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Wouldn't heave to in 25 knots of wind.

The other weekend winds were increasing so I wanted to heave-to in order to reef the main. They were gusting about 25 knots.

So I simply let the boat tack without tacking the jib - coming through the wind slowly then letting the jib fill progressively. But rather than heaving-to nicely, the bow began to spin around so that the jib was totally taken aback. At this point the angle of heel began to get worrying so we cast loose the jib sheet.

Reefing was done then sailing on the jib, close hauled, with the main sheeted out so luffing slightly. This seemed to work fine, but it wouldn't work single-handed, at least not without an auto-pilot!

I really want to get this boat to heave-to. What did I do wrong?

This boat has a large fore-triangle, so the jib is pretty large. I wonder if this is the problem, that the main can't balance out the force from the jib. I had the jib furled to about 100% at the time. Maybe it should be furled smaller before heaving to? I also wonder if I should have had the main sheeted in more - it was sheeted almost fully out.

Any advice would be helpful and will be tried out this weekend!
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Old 08-10-2011
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Hard to say for sure, what happened. Certainly, you don't want to heave-to with anything more than 100 % since the sail will chafe on the spreaders or shrouds.
Perhaps it was too much sail for the wind.

I don't usually ease into the tack, I just roll up the furler to about 90% and then do a quick tack, leaving the jib. Once I'm through the wind, I let the traveler out all the way and turn the wheel to windward..( Rudder to Windward). Sometimes I may have to ease the main a little more..and adjust the rudder if I'm in a current..

Did you remember to put the helm over?

Every boat will behave a little differently.

I do this all the time to take a reef, shake one out, have lunch, catch fish...etc.

I would just continue to practice in varying wind conditions and sail shapes, you'll find the sweet spot eventually.
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Old 08-10-2011
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I can't remember what boat you have.
Each boat will react differently to heaving to in different wind situations.
You probably had too much jib out. Next time try sheeting in the main as well to get the right balance. You are going to have to play with this to find the sweet spot.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebD View Post
I can't remember what boat you have.
Each boat will react differently to heaving to in different wind situations.
You probably had too much jib out. Next time try sheeting in the main as well to get the right balance. You are going to have to play with this to find the sweet spot.
It's a Bristol 31.1.
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Old 08-10-2011
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My Catalina doesn't heave to with even the 110% lapper up-with the helm down, it heads ~45 degrees off the wind, and happily sails on with the jib on the windward side. (This after quickly heading off the wind, giving rise to fears of an accidental jibe.)

If your boat does the same thing, maybe it's the same problem.

I bought a used ~70-80% foresail to use in 25-30 knots, in case I do want to heave to-but I haven't tried heaving to with it yet...
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Old 08-10-2011
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Sounds like just how mine behaves.

My last boat heaved-to wonderfully. That had a very small foretriangle, so that the jib was only 30% of sail area. I had a 90% jib, so I was down to even less.
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Old 08-10-2011
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Mark, just sail to weather, let the jib sail the boat while you ease the main sheet (make sure the vang is off), then commence with your reefing sequence. The main flogs for just a bit, but the reefing goes quickly and importantly, the boat keeps sailing smartly rather than flailing around out in the SF Bay ebb.
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Old 08-10-2011
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One question:

If you are trying to heave to withthe jib and main, how can you reef the main after you are succesful?
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Old 08-10-2011
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[QUOTE=celenoglu;760770]One question:

If you are trying to heave to withthe jib and main, how can you reef the main after you are succesful?[/QUOTE

The backed jib and the rudder are what allow me to heave to. Then I set the traveler over to take pressure off the mainsail. Sometimes it's necessary to ease the mainsheet. Basically the boom pointing toward the wind..so the main is in irons..then you can lower the main to set the new tack and clew.
The main doesn't need to flog around..just needs enough pressure off to ease the halyard.
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Old 08-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
Mark, just sail to weather, let the jib sail the boat while you ease the main sheet (make sure the vang is off), then commence with your reefing sequence. The main flogs for just a bit, but the reefing goes quickly and importantly, the boat keeps sailing smartly rather than flailing around out in the SF Bay ebb.
Thats what we ended up doing, and it did work very nicely. I'd still like to able to heave-to, for whatever reason including single handing.
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