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Old 06-01-2006, 10:13   #1
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Can cats be safely hove to?

I recently read on another board that "no cat owner in their right mind would ever heave-to." Is this true?

If so, what are the alternatives?

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Old 06-01-2006, 13:15   #2
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I don't have any direct experience, but here is a paragraph from the Lagoon 410 boat review and test on water sailing">Blue Water Sailing Magazine site

"Heaving-to is something all cruising boats need to do well and easily. We found that the Lagoon hove to nicely, testing the maneuver with 18 knots of wind with the wind swinging between 50 and 60 degrees apparent. We backed the headsail, furled to roughly 90 percent, and secured the double-reefed main with the traveler just to leeward of the center and three spokes of lee helm. The boat was as calm as any boat can be in a Force 5 breeze, with the decks staying dry. We slow-ly forereached at about half a knot, a very comfortable stance, and you could have played Pick-Up Sticks on the saloon table, such was the stability of the boat. We feel confident that this boat would heave-to in much greater wind speeds with the same alacrity."

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Old 06-01-2006, 15:59   #3
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We have hove to in both our 38' Prout and a 37' Privilege with no problems. Neither in emergency conditions, just to practice.

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Old 07-01-2006, 02:33   #4
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Certainly not safe in a catalac. leeway is excessive, and the boat charges forward and back nomatter what sail configuration or wind strength.

A series drogue is the safest system for a cat provided your cockpit can take an occasional wave. If not, you are constrained to a parachute anchor if you want to minimise your speed. A smaller drogue which allows greater forward speed (thus minimising the danger to the stern) is also an option if you have enough sea room.
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Old 15-01-2006, 15:06   #5
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we have hove to many times on our Lagoon 37. It did it very well and very easily
Denny and Diane
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Old 16-01-2006, 18:15   #6
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can you describe your hove 2 procedures. I have just purchased a 47' Voyage and will need to practice this skill. What kind of wind and seas have you performed that.

Thank you
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Old 22-02-2008, 21:26   #7
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Our Leopard 45 heaves to very well. I often reef that way.
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Old 23-02-2008, 06:44   #8
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I was able to hove to in 30 knots of wind my first night out on the cat. Same procedure as a mono.......
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Old 23-02-2008, 06:54   #9
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Heaving-to can be accomplished by most cruising cats, although it is generally not recommended as a technique for dealing with truly extreme conditions. I try to reef before heaving-to (and one would generally want to have reduced sail area, particularly on a cat, in advance of any need to heave - to). I have only heaved-to in winds up to about 35 knots and cannot speak to the technique in conditions beyond that. As I said, I would at least start thinking about other techniques, particularly as seas continue to build.

The maneuver itself is no different than in a monohull, except that I generally keep a diesel running in neutral in case I blow it and get stuck in irons. Tack, keeping the jib backwinded. After passing through the eye of the wind and starting to move towards a new course, rapidly reverse the helm (although not so rapidly as to stall the rudders) until they are facing in the opposite direction of your initial turn (kind of like using reverse-lock steering in a car with oversteer). Many boats will heave-to under jib alone. If so, simply keep the well-reefed jib back-winded and lock the steering at the reverse angle (to windward) that seems to keep the boat in balance (not trying to either head up, or off the wind).

If your boat does not heave-to under jib alone, you may be required to experiment with a heavily reefed main, sheeted well in, to counteract the force of the back-winded jib. Assuming your boat has some weather-helm, the main will luff if she heads up, allowing the backwinded jib to then pull her back off the wind. This, of course, is less than ideal as the sporadic luffing is very hard on the main. Of course, some cats actually have lee helm - for these the main will be absolutely no help at all if the jib is backwinded (as both sails will be working to move the boat off the wind).
Ineed, I can imagine a boat with lee helm that may be able to heave-to without a backwinded jib, using only a heavily reefed main to counteract the rudders.

Nevertheless, if your boat can do it, it is far better to find a balance between your steering angle to windwad and the area of the backwinded jib that will premit a constant heading without the use of the main. It is also iimportant to realize that there will generally be a preferred tack in relation to wind and sea state. Frequently, the wind direction will be at a slight variance to the direction of the waves and it is best to keep the waves hitting the windward bow off the front quarter. You NEVER want to be taking the waves anywhere near beam-on.

Other factors, of course, include the amount of sea-room and whether there is a lee shore that can determine whether you should be on a port or starboard tack.


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