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Old 29-09-2016, 15:59   #1
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How to heave to in a cat

Hi, this is a follow on from the heave to thread but differing in that this would be for protection if caught in a storm, everything from too rough to want to continue to surviving breaking waves. I'm happy that heaving to is the right practice for me in storms.

I noticed there seems to be a few different versions of how to and I was going to do some practice to see what works for me.

Can I ask a few questions.
  1. how do you set the sails and the boat up
  2. what are you looking for to know that the set up is right, I've heard you are looking for the "slick" or the flattened water trail from the boat?
  3. do you have to keep correcting your set up or do you just go inside and wait it out
Thanks
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Old 29-09-2016, 16:55   #2
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Dave, I'm not sure you should be deciding just yet what storm tactics suit you.
The other thread OP was asking about short stops to check stuff below for 10 minutes.

Read what Thinwater had to say. QUOTE

A better answer is no.

It is a non-functional heavy weather method. Possibly quite dangerous.
It is rough as hell. Cats hate beam seas, and they heave to more beam-on than monos.
Shallow keels makes the heading less stable.
Drift is faster.
Basically you can do it, but you never will because it sucks. Better to fore-reach (tiny jib in very tight, main way out) or to drift down wind under bare poles; cats do both of these well, perhaps better than monos, all things being equal.
UNQUOTE.

I pretty much agree except for the bit about lateral resistance. With no boards or keel in the water your bow will knock/blow to leeward at times presenting your beam to the breaking waves. VERY NASTY FOR A CAT.


Weather forecasts are so good these days your unlikely to need a survival strategy near shore,

Think about running off, bare poles, towing a drouge offshore.
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Old 29-09-2016, 20:59   #3
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Thanks,

I should have been more patent with the other thread, it seems to have come to a resolution and answered most of my questions since I posted this.

I only worry because I have no practiced response to storms, I just want to make sure if I do get caught that I have a plan and know how to perform it.

I chose heave to because of an article that had collated data from several major incidences in yacht races around the world, it may have been selective but with no experience of my own and all the variation in opinions I have to pick a response for now.

The report was from races that had resulted in multiple deaths, capsizing, de masting etc... so serious weather with serious crews.

The only defence to the weather in all events that were monitored that didn't result in one of the above was heaving to. All other responses apart from pulling out had produced an incident of some sort. So I feel with little to no experience of my own I would practice to heave to.


I like the idea of a drogue as well. I thought about the secondary line back to the winch to control the angle of the boat into the wind might make life more comfortable and safer as well.

Regards
Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaslug Caravan View Post
Dave, I'm not sure you should be deciding just yet what storm tactics suit you.
The other thread OP was asking about short stops to check stuff below for 10 minutes.

Read what Thinwater had to say. QUOTE

A better answer is no.

It is a non-functional heavy weather method. Possibly quite dangerous.
It is rough as hell. Cats hate beam seas, and they heave to more beam-on than monos.
Shallow keels makes the heading less stable.
Drift is faster.
Basically you can do it, but you never will because it sucks. Better to fore-reach (tiny jib in very tight, main way out) or to drift down wind under bare poles; cats do both of these well, perhaps better than monos, all things being equal.
UNQUOTE.

I pretty much agree except for the bit about lateral resistance. With no boards or keel in the water your bow will knock/blow to leeward at times presenting your beam to the breaking waves. VERY NASTY FOR A CAT.


Weather forecasts are so good these days your unlikely to need a survival strategy near shore,

Think about running off, bare poles, towing a drouge offshore.
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Old 30-09-2016, 13:33   #4
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Dave,

I was the OP from the other thread, and I stated I was asking about this technique not for storm tactics, but rather when sailing alone in the bay, and needed to leave the helm for a short period of time (check on some electronics, chart, etc.) and didn't want to leave the boat on AP going 7 knots in the bay with lots of other boats. This was for a 10 minute time frame in good weather, 10-20kts , 1-4' seas.

For storm tactics, it seems there are some detailed threads regarding drogues, running before waves, etc. that discuss various pros and cons.
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Old 30-09-2016, 14:37   #5
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbinbi View Post
Dave,

I was the OP from the other thread, and I stated I was asking about this technique not for storm tactics, but rather when sailing alone in the bay, and needed to leave the helm for a short period of time (check on some electronics, chart, etc.) and didn't want to leave the boat on AP going 7 knots in the bay with lots of other boats. This was for a 10 minute time frame in good weather, 10-20kts , 1-4' seas.

For storm tactics, it seems there are some detailed threads regarding drogues, running before waves, etc. that discuss various pros and cons.
Thanks, I didn't want to ambush your thread and I was off topic as you said.

There doesn't seem to be a consensus on best practice but I have had some clear advice from people who have been there done that and I think I will get a drogue.
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Old 30-09-2016, 15:09   #6
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Dave S:

Have you ever sailed a small cat and capsized it? Got caught in a thunderstorm? If not I highly recommend that you spend a few weeks sailing a beach cat in too much wind. It is all well and good to read what books and people say, but there is simply nothing like feeling a boat get overpowered to help understand the dynamics in play.

Every story I have read of a cruising cat capsizing had one common factor; they bought a cat because they heard they were stable and had never sailed small cats. A small cat sailor would never make the same mistakes. Instinct and conditioned response protects them.

For my money, ANY sailor that is serious about off-shore safety will learn to sail small boats first, multi or mono. That experience is more valuable than anything you can buy or anything we can tell you. Each boat will respond differently and every storm is different, so comments from a forum will vary. But the lessons you learn in a dinghy on breezy days and in a thunderstorm will stay with you forever.
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Old 30-09-2016, 15:13   #7
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
Thanks, I didn't want to ambush your thread and I was off topic as you said.

There doesn't seem to be a consensus on best practice but I have had some clear advice from people who have been there done that and I think I will get a drogue.
Practical Sailor is running a series on drogues based on a catamaran even as we speak. Some of the testing was flatwater, but some was gale-force.



How Much Drag is in a Drogue? - Practical Sailor Print Edition Article
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Old 30-09-2016, 15:54   #8
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Hi, Dave,

About a year or two ago, mikereed started a threat about his experiences with his catamaran and a series drogue. Perhaps a CF Google Custom Search will reveal it to you.

There will also be some other threads on storm tactics for catamarans.

Thinwater has a point there, about borrowing or renting a beach cat and sailing it in too much wind, your body will learn priceless info that your brain can interpret.

It is similar for monohullers, but then it's plain dinghies, but you really learn in a way you can't with an almost 50 ft. vessel, and what you learn is different.

It would possibly be wise to start a Storm Tactics thread in the Multi hull forum and wait to see and evaluate the responses. I think you're using data from monos to try to apply to multis, and I don't think it transfers. People in cats always used to hang to sea anchors to stop the boat, but I do not know what modern tactics are.

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Old 30-09-2016, 16:23   #9
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pirate Re: How to heave to in a cat

Tactics are really down to the type of sea's you encounter.
I have hove to in a cat.. it was the only option available at the time.. pretty much the same way as I hove to in a monohull..
Deep reefed main then experimented with the genoa till I got her riding at the right angle with 3/4 lock on the wheel.. lashed.. as the 'lock' is unreliable.
Another thing I have little confidence in are the reefing blocks on the leech, held in place by webbing.
After 10hrs the webbing gave out leaving a thrashing main.. not an easy thing to bring under control in 40kts and 5 metre sea's standing exposed at the back of the flybridge of an L440 with a whipping boom.
I would recommend anyone with this setup on the 3rd reef get rid of that silly block and get a good old fashioned steel eye fitted.
Once I managed to stow the main in the lazy bag I furled the genoa in to hankie size and let her drift downwind.. worked out okay till the sun had charged the batteries enough for the AP to operate again.. by then the wind had eased, sea's had gentled a bit so unfurled some genoa and resumed a kinda general course towards the Azores.
Have not experienced worse in a cat so.. Sorry..
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Old 30-09-2016, 17:22   #10
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

There is no beter advice than to spend time in a small" off the beach" catamaran learning how to keep it on its feet when over powered.

The lessons learned will stand you in good stead.

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Old 30-09-2016, 19:48   #11
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Re: How to heave to in a cat

Not disagreeing with anyone's advise, but to give a perspective of different tactics this book is very helpful:

LeSueur, Gavin "Multihull Seamanship", Fernhurst Books

https://www.boatbooks-aust.com.au/pr...ducts_id=17970
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