Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Heaving To"
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Post: "Heaving To"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Jill Upchurch & Bruce Bird

Hi, We have had heaps of heaving to practice this season in the South Pacific (I'm writing a book called "Around the World Hove-To") and after a lot of experimentation we would definitely agree that you need sail aft. Depending on windstrength we would heave to under double-reefed main and staysail up to 35 knots, then double reefed main (only because we didn't get a third reef until late season in Vanuatu - big mistake not leaving with one)and storm jib up to 40 knots, and then trysail or third reef and no sail forward after that. We found that using the mainsail only made it easy as a) the staysail was self-tacking, so that involved double-tacking (and in those conditions trying to get her to come about under reduced sail & huge swells usually needed the motor) to secure the sail and b) we could winch the severely reduced main into the central position without tacking and then lash off the helm a-lee with some rope.
Our worst time was three days hove-to in a 45 knot plus (wind indicator gave up) gale off the north of New Zealand with 6 metre seas. That was before we had the third reef/lots of reefing experience, so we were under double-reefed main & storm jib, which was too much for the conditions, so we fore-reached a bit but we never felt unsafe at any time. I can really recommend heaving-to: it takes the stress out of the situation and gives you time to think properly. We also used it to sit off islands waiting for dawn when we had made landfall at night. Cheers, Jill

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