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Heaving to while reefed?

1823 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Barquito
So I was out this weekend in fairly string winds (for my lake), steady 17-18 knots, gust to 22-23 or so. So I started with the one reef in my main and a small jib (60-70%?) up front.

I wanted to try heaving to, which I have done before in lighter winds with my number 1 (130% or so) and had no problems. However, on this day, I could not get the boat to stop moving forward no matter what I did with the main. So I thought I would throw it out here to see if anyone has suggestions.

One thought i had is that since the jib was so small it wasn't getting the clew sheeted in far enough since normally it would be past the mast but this small of a jib when when backwinded is really just sheeted in really close. Might have to try doing that to point higher.

The other thought is that with the reef in the main I wasn't getting enough weather helm to put the nose in the wind although it did come up in gusts so not sure if that is entirely it.

On a good note, it did balance very nicely and sail a really nice close haul into the wind. The picture below is to show the jib, but I did take the reef out of the picture.

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Different combinations of sail size can act very differently hove to.. I gather the photo is under sail, not hove to?

You say she wouldn't settle no matter what you did with the main? including sheeting it in some to prompt the bow up a bit? I'd have thought with such a small jib you'd have trouble avoiding rounding up into irons rather than the other way round...
It's a common situation that I've learned to live with. It stops perfectly with the #1 but not with the #3. In my experience this is not the fault of the reefed main. It is the fault of the smaller head sail. Although we love stopping dead in the water, keep in mind that the purpose of heaving to is to slow the boat down rather than completely stopping. In fact some would insist that you don't actually want to stop the boat completely because you loose way and loose control. When people speak of heaving to to ride out a storm in the open ocean, they are not speaking of stopping dead, just slowing down to the point of riding over the waves in comfort.

Give a try to letting the main sheet out completely (so the main is just flapping) and lock the tiller in the correct direction, pointing somewhat to leewards, to get the boat as close to dead in the water as possible. With the main completely out you will not be pointed as high into the wind, but you will be very comfortable on a reach.
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That makes sense. And yeah, the picture is under sail not when I was trying to heave to. If I had thought about it I would just have taken a movie to better demonstrate what was going on.
Stopping a boat with a small jib is more difficult but very doable. I usually instruct in a Colgate 26 which has a working jib and they dont want to stop.

In general you should fully ease the main when beginning your heave-to exercise. Once you tack to heave-to, you need to keep a tiller position that holds the boat holds about close-hauled, and be patient for the back-winded jib to stop the boat. You can test for whether the boat is stopping, by putting the tiller down a bit to leeward, if the bow responds (starts to turn closer to the wind), the boat is still moving. When the tiller goes all the way to leeward without a response, the boat is stopped and you are hove-to. You can trim the main a bit to adjust how the boat sits to the wind if you wish, if you trim the main too close, you will tack the boat.
When people speak of heaving to to ride out a storm in the open ocean, they are not speaking of stopping dead, just slowing down to the point of riding over the waves in comfort.
Is there anything to the theory that staying is the slick, by not having forward movement, will prevent waves breaking? ie, if you are moving forward you will be sailing into disturbed waters.

Sorry, momentary thread drift.
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