Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Eastern Ontario
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Re: Heave To
For me one concern with snotty weather for a short handed sailor is hypothermia. You don't need storm force winds to be hypothermic. Any kind of cold wet and windy will do the job. One solution: heave to. If you have a cabin or doghouse. Go inside to warm up. If you don't, lay down in the bottom of the boat with something over you.
Of similar concern: exhaustion. You don't need storm force winds to get worn out. The hot sun is enough to do it, but its also a potential in snotty weather. You need to eat, drink and rest. Heave to.
Seasickness. This is very rarely an issue for me and never to incapacitation. However I have seen people incapacitated by it. Can't sail the boat because you're puking. Heave to.
Need to pee in snotty conditions? Heave to.
My original post showed a 17 ft boat heaving to on Lake Ontario. I was sailing a 23 inch wide unballasted boat in 25 knots of wind and building seas. I can asure that those are snotty conditions for that boat. To sail the boat effectively in those conditions I need a hand on my skeg control and ideally one on my sheet. My goal was to have a drink of water and eat a cliffs bar. In order to accomplish that heaving to seemed like the best option.
Heaving to might be less essential for boats with inboards and autopilots, but for the rest of us, I am pretty convinced its a good strategy for dealing with the effects of snotty weather; eat, drink, warm up, pee, puke, rest.