My experience with heaving to is very limited. I only did it about a dozen times. My Catalina 30
, Southern Cross
, with a fin keel
and a standard rig was easy to heave to in the relatively moderate conditions we sailed in.
We hove-to with good effect during an Edgewater Yacht Club Sea Dog Race
in October on Lake Erie about six years ago. It was approximately a 12 mile race
that started with winds around 10 to 13 knots and waves around 2 to 3 feet. A series of cold rain squalls came through that raised the wind to 28 knots. There were gusts to 58 knots, according to our fleet captain's wind recorder. Wave height rapidly grew to 6 to 8 feet with very square faces and short intervals. Two of us on our boat put on ski googles so that we could look forward into the driving rain and spray. We were glad we set out the jacklines
and tethers before the race. We wore PFDs with built-in harnesses. We reefed as the wind rose.
My recollection was that there were 75 boats on the starting line. In our JAM fleet we had 13 starters. One by one boats retired with blown-out sails
, damaged rigging
, and battered crew. A crew member
on one of the smaller boats was swept overboard
but she was quickly recovered. On Southern Cross,
my crew were losing their enthusiasm for the race. My wife curled up in a fetal position on the cockpit
floor with fear.
It was a good time to heave-to. Southern Cross
hove-to with no trouble. We only "parked" for ten minutes but it made all of the difference. It was like magic. Crew morale went up. My wife's anxiety went down.
We re-entered the race and came in second in our JAM fleet behind a 40 footer. 11 others in the JAM fleet retired from the race because of conditions. Overall, if memory serves me right, 25 boats dropped out.