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Wish to remind you I’m only talking about Beaufort 7 and up as this is usually referred to as heavy weather

Beaufort number Description Wind speed Wave height Sea conditions Land conditions Sea state photo Associated warning flag
0 Calm < 1 knot 0 ft Sea like a mirror Smoke rises vertically. Beaufort scale 0.jpg
< 1 mph
< 2 km/h 0 m
< 0.5 m/s
1 Light air 1–3 knots 0–1 ft Ripples with appearance of scales are formed, without foam crests Direction shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes. Beaufort scale 1.jpg
1–3 mph
2–5 km/h 0–0.3 m
0.5–1.5 m/s
2 Light breeze 4–6 knots 1–2 ft Small wavelets still short but more pronounced; crests have a glassy appearance but do not break Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; wind vane moved by wind. Beaufort scale 2.jpg
4–7 mph
6–11 km/h 0.3–0.6 m
1.6–3.3 m/s
3 Gentle breeze 7–10 knots 2–4 ft Large wavelets; crests begin to break; foam of glassy appearance; perhaps scattered white horses Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended. Beaufort scale 3.jpg
8–12 mph
12–19 km/h 0.6–1.2 m
3.4–5.5 m/s
4 Moderate breeze 11–16 knots 3.5–6 ft Small waves becoming longer; fairly frequent white horses Raises dust and loose paper; small branches moved. Beaufort scale 4.jpg
13–18 mph
20–28 km/h 1–2 m
5.5–7.9 m/s
5 Fresh breeze 17–21 knots 6–10 ft Moderate waves taking a more pronounced long form; many white horses are formed; chance of some spray Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters. Beaufort scale 5.jpg
19–24 mph
29–38 km/h 2–3 m
8–10.7 m/s
6 Strong breeze 22–27 knots 9–13 ft Large waves begin to form; the white foam crests are more extensive everywhere; probably some spray Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty. Beaufort scale 6.jpg Gale pennant.svg
25–31 mph
39–49 km/h 3–4 m
10.8–13.8 m/s
7 High wind,
moderate gale,
near gale 28–33 knots 13–19 ft Sea heaps up and white foam from breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind; spindrift begins to be seen Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind. Beaufort scale 7.jpg Gale pennant.svg
32–38 mph
50–61 km/h 4–5.5 m
13.9–17.1 m/s
8 Gale,
fresh gale 34–40 knots 18–25 ft Moderately high waves of greater length; edges of crests break into spindrift; foam is blown in well-marked streaks along the direction of the wind Twigs break off trees; generally impedes progress. Beaufort scale 8.jpg Gale pennant.svg
Gale pennant.svg
39–46 mph
62–74 km/h 5.5–7.5 m
17.2–20.7 m/s
9 Strong/severe gale 41–47 knots 23–32 ft High waves; dense streaks of foam along the direction of the wind; sea begins to roll; spray affects visibility Slight structural damage (chimney pots and slates removed). Beaufort scale 9.jpg Gale pennant.svg
Gale pennant.svg
47–54 mph
75–88 km/h 7–10 m
20.8–24.4 m/s
10 Storm,[7]
whole gale 48–55 knots 29–41 ft Very high waves with long overhanging crests; resulting foam in great patches is blown in dense white streaks along the direction of the wind; on the whole the surface of the sea takes on a white appearance; rolling of the sea becomes heavy; visibility affected Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage. Beaufort scale 10.jpg Storm warning.svg
55–63 mph
89–102 km/h 9–12.5 m
24.5–28.4 m/s
11 Violent storm 56–63 knots 37–52 ft Exceptionally high waves; small- and medium-sized ships might be for a long time lost to view behind the waves; sea is covered with long white patches of foam; everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into foam; visibility affected Very rarely experienced; accompanied by widespread damage. Beaufort scale 11.jpg Storm warning.svg
64–72 mph
103–117 km/h 11.5–16 m
28.5–32.6 m/s
12 Hurricane force [7] ≥ 64 knots ≥ 46 ft The air is filled with foam and spray; sea is completely white with driving spray; visibility very seriously affected Devastation. Beaufort scale 12.jpg Storm warning.svg

Storm warning.svg
≥ 73 mph
≥ 118 km/h ≥ 14 m
≥ 32.7 m/s
References: Met Office,[8] Royal Meteorological Society,[9] Encyclopædia Britannica[10]
 

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Discussion Starter #62 (Edited)
Personally I would define heavy weather in relation to the boat. If force 7 is selected as heavy weather for a 28000 pound outbound, it hardly seems fair to select the same figure for a 61 pound sailing Kayak.

I own a 900 pound sharpie, a 350 pound beach cat and a 61 pound sailing kayak. Force 7 open ocean is not really a reasonable measure for any of them. I can't really recognize that definition for any of my boats.

Especially for my Sharpie, which carries 175 square feet of sail area, has a 6.25 ft beam and carries absolutely no ballast. The Kayak and Beach Cat have pretty decent wind thresholds, so maybe in that neighborhood. But its the principle of designating one sea state as heavy weather for all craft on the water.

Keeping in mind that "small craft wind advisories " are usually in the low 20s.
 

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What you must do with the mainsail, on a sloop, can be rather variable, when trying to heave to. I've experienced everything from sheeting it in on a close haul and leaving it there to blowing the mainsheet altogether.

My first attempt would be do keep it sheeted in. If she tries to round up, it needs to be eased off.
Very good point.

I was teaching heaving to on a Capri 16.5 Tuesday evening. It has a tiny, tiny jib and heaves to best with the main completely loose and flapping in the breeze. My boat wants the main sheeted in fairly tight, not quite close hauled, but getting there.
 

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Respect your point of view. However, the various authorities, meteorologic societies, governments and common usage take a different point of view. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a 28’ Bristol Channel cutter or a 54’ Hylas. The scale is the scale.
Logically your position is correct and it makes sense to sail the boat in accordance to its behavior. However, as stated we are at different points in the bell shaped curve of the sailing world. You’re involved in a very intense and demanding activity. Have huge respect for what you do. It’s truly an extreme sport.
I’m trying to have a conversation with those sailing 36-55’ boats being used recreationally. I’ve been on a friends Flicka (20’) in 9’ seas and 25 gusting 30. He felt no need to resort to heavy weather tactics. Just reefed and carried on. My continued involvement in this thread is to try to induce folks to think whether hoving to is their ultimate heavy weather tactic or if there are better choices. For that purpose although acknowledging you rational point of use will use the term heavy weather as accepted in common usage.
 

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Last summer, I crossed the Gulf of Maine in 30 kt winds and 7-9 ft seas, which were 5 seconds apart and just behind the beam. I guess that's Force 7 wind, but not quite the defined sea state.

I was running on a deep broad reach with just the genoa up. No main, but no reef in the genoa.

I did no other storm tactics, other than puke around 1am. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #66
Sorry, I just wanted to post a funny phrase.. :) I do actually have a pretty good idea, had to heave to in ASA 101.

edit: and FYI I have a 23 ft sloop. Tiller with a tiller clutch, so locking it off is easy. I should practice heaving to next time I'm out, this was a good reminder!
Tiller cclutch? I am intrigued. Sounds useful.
 

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Tiller cclutch? I am intrigued. Sounds useful.
I'm guessing it's similar to my Tiller Tamer

(stock image, not my boat — I installed mine on the underside of the tiller so it so lines won't snag on it)

It puts an adjustable amount of friction on the tiller. I set mine so that the tiller stays where I leave it, but is still easily moveable. Makes it easy to single-hand because you can step away from the tiller and tend to other things.

I'm taking off in a couple minutes to go sailing. The friend that's joining me hates the Tiller Tamer because it reduces the feel, so he unhooks it right away. To each their own.

It's 18 knots gusting to 27, I'll be sure to practice heaving to :)
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Very shippy looking.

For some reason I assumed a boat of your size would have a wheel. Do you have autopilot/tiller pilot?
 

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Thanks. Our best compliment was when we were sitting at a dock and a five-year-old girl exclaimed: “Oh Daddy, look at the pirate ship, the Pirate Ship!” Loved it :).

When we were buying this boat the tiller actually gave me pause, but it was love at first helming. She is very well balanced, and easy to drive. And as you know, the tiller puts you in immediate contact with the forces at play.

We do have a tiller pilot; the biggest Raymarine TP I could buy at the time (SPX-5GP). It’s still under-rated for our boat, but we only use it in light airs or when we’re motoring.

Our main self-steerer is the Aries windvane, which you can kinda see in the one pic I posted.
 

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Always preferred tillers. Think that it’s unfortunate that other than the Dystra designed boats they’re not commonly seen on boats in the 45-55’ range.
An interesting wrinkle is to have the tiller pilot control the windvane. I bought my Hydrovane off another Outbound. It came with a tiller pilot and the fittings to attach it to the vane. We also had a RM below deck AP from the get go. So never rigged the tiller pilot. Still an interesting concept. Suspect the tiller pilot would use less wattage than the below deck unit. Wonder if anyone has experience using a tiller pilot on a windvane?

Agree many cruising boats will be continuing to be actively sailed in force 7. (We would and have). However was trying to define the term “heavy weather” for general usage.

Now returning to the scheduled program.
 

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http://www.wavefrontmarine.com/

Yes similar to the above; "poor man's autopilot". It's real nice, made of solid feeling metal. Simple to set up and use. Makes it easy for me to tack, without making my wife put her wine down..
That is a "Rich man's 'poor man's autopilot'" . A real poor man's autopilot is simply made of a heavy length of shock chord (or an old bicycle inner tube if you are really poor) stretched tightly across the cockpit. To engage the 'autopilot', take 2 or 3 wraps around the end of the tiller. To fine tune adjust the 'autopilot' rotate the turns around the tiller slightly one way or the other until the boat balances with the sail plan. On old boats with lots of weather helm the 'autopilot' can be set so that it pulls the tiller to windward and takes some of the load off the helmsman.

Jeff
 

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Didn’t slocum tie the sheet to the tiller to achieve the same thing. There wasn’t an AP on Spray.
 

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That is a "Rich man's 'poor man's autopilot'" . A real poor man's autopilot is simply made of a heavy length of shock chord (or an old bicycle inner tube if you are really poor) stretched tightly across the cockpit. To engage the 'autopilot', take 2 or 3 wraps around the end of the tiller. To fine tune adjust the 'autopilot' rotate the turns around the tiller slightly one way or the other until the boat balances with the sail plan. On old boats with lots of weather helm the 'autopilot' can be set so that it pulls the tiller to windward and takes some of the load off the helmsman.

Jeff
Sure, fair enough. But in the sailboat world $70 is basically zero..
 

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Didn’t slocum tie the sheet to the tiller to achieve the same thing. There wasn’t an AP on Spray.
Sort of. Sheet to tiller steering is a bit different from what I understand. More of a poor man's wind vane? Too complicated for me to bother figuring out
 

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The Tiller Tamer was the best $35 gadget I ever bought. With the sails balanced, I could go quite some time without having to tend to the helm. A great boon while I was single handing; I could set the helm and go forward to raise or lower the main, go below to hit the head or get a drink or something to eat. Or just hang out.

And even though I've only recently swapped my tiller-steered Oday 23 for a wheel-steered Catalina 28, I do miss some things about the tiller. As someone here mentioned, there's that immediate feedback from the rudder. No wheel gives you that. I also miss being able to raise the tiller completely out of the way while just hanging out in the cockpit. There's a lot of room to be had that you will never get with a steering pedestal and wheel in the way.

On the other hand, I no longer impale or goose my passengers while steering....
 

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I can (and do) heave to in my Catalina 22. It tends to oscillate back and forth, so even with my main sheeted in the boat will often be beam to the wind, so I don’t think I’d want to use the technique in large waves.

I have found our C22 heaves to best with no jib, just a main. Believe it or not. I discovered this by accident one day when the wife was changing headsails while we were hove to in 17-ish knots.

The boat presents her bow quarter to the seas rather than her stern quarter, creates a better slick, and moves much slower. Makes no difference in benign conditions of course, but definitely better in a blow.

Sorry if you already knew this. :)
 
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