I am really surprised about how many posters selected parachute anchors. I think these must be catamaran
owners. I have little knowledge about cats but hear that this is their best option.
For mono hulls there is only 1 rule
: keep sailing, for god's sake, keep sailing! We found that an angle 50 degrees true to wind
and waves works best for us, selecting a sailplan that will barely move us forward but doesn't move us to leeward either. We are a ketch
and do well with a reefed down main. Have done full main with 40 knots gusting 50 and have 3 reefs
to reduce further. This was on the Mona passage
during tropical storm Claudette in 2003, with the DR east coast
a lee shore. The weatherfax 4 hours earlier only mentioned a "weak tropical wave with max. 20 knot
winds". We learned about the named storm after arriving in PR... 3 boats went missing that night.
shouldn't be a problem for any yacht out there; the waves are the problem. The factor then becomes waves against size of boat. We have had bigger waves later but on the stern which is easy compared to our Mona passage storm. I estimate the waves were 16-18' high, some breakers and every wave would brake under us as we went through it (we caused that). Some must have been much higher but we never saw those in the dark before breaking over the boat. After an OMG first 30 minutes, one adjusts to it and we listened to loud rock music
until sunup without changing a thing. But we have 64' in the water
... I think yachts down to 45' would have been easily able to do the same in those conditions. The only green water
was before the main mast
except a couple of waves that reached the pilothouse... exactly when I peeked around, hitting me full in the face; something my wife still laughs about 6 years later, my timing was excellent ;-) I think the reason was that I felt something was different which turned out to be the big waves... maybe sound or a flatter spot right in front of these waves.
Now the waves go up to 20 foot with higher ones (30') now and then like the topic of this thread. I think 50' and up can still make way at a 50 degree angle. Heaving to would be the alternative, changing to sailing whenever thinking it is possible.
Using the engine
instead of sails
is the motor-boat version of heaving to. Fishing
boats on the North Sea do that all the time and I imagine it isn't different elsewhere. However, for a sailboat, this creates even less comfort so heaving to under sail is better. Just hope you have sails
small enough because you can't use a furled jib
and only a reefed main when it is designed for it (only ketches can do that I think). Our main is 1/2" thick hydranet (spectra reinforced dacron) at the top. The luff is 55' so it isn't very tall.