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Old 12-05-2014, 23:03   #91
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Re: Heaving To

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
Got you mixed up with skipper john. You sound alike.

Andrew, we had no success at all heaving to using the prevented main method.

There were two things that wouldn't stay where we put them: the clew would move just enough to allow the boat to fall off broadside to the waves, and I swear the mast furler kept inching tighter. That is, as we sat there, fighting the damned clew, the force on the main would pull the furl in the mast tighter, and the main would inch out, slowly, until it had sufficient slack that a) the main was no longer tight and b) the clew would, because it had slack, move just enough to allow the boat to fall off. Once the boat fell off too far, things went to hell in a bucket. Staying hove-to with that main would have required constant attention, and that's the dead opposite of what heaving to is for.

The wind was not high, it was somewhere around 15, (I say that because there were small, breaking whitecaps everywhere) and the seas were not large. Call them a foot, maybe two, if that. Just enough to annoy if you got broadside, or if you were motoring too fast.

All in all, I liked the method but not the boat, and I'm now done with that boat. My preference is now set, I do not like mast furling. I like jiffy reefing and I love lazy jacks, but I don't like mast furling. You can really cinch jiffy reefing down tight, and it will stay where you put it, but not with a mast furler. One of the main reasons I'm done with this boat is because i couldn't get it to heave to with this method, and I see the value of this method.

But my crew thinks I'm crazy, and that I sit up nights dreaming up weird things to try with boats, at their expense.
Brilliant, Jammer, thanks very much indeed for giving it a go and reporting back.

Couple of clarifications please:

1) I presume from what you say about the clew moving laterally, that it was some distance from the end of the boom (the problem with using my method for in-mast furling)- can you estimate that distance for me?

2) Can you describe the sequence of what typically happened when the boat fell too far off the wind, with the helm lashed to windward (ie notional "tiller" to leeward)


The only in-mast reefing boats I've tried this with, I tried it under full main, so I'm dead keen to get some more data.

Thanks again
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Old 13-05-2014, 00:57   #92
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Re: Heaving To

Well, I don't agree with lots of you, but I do agree with the Pardy method. Yes I have used it. I lived south of 40deg for over 40 years. My boat is a 40ft Farr designed fin keeler with spade rudder. She will not sit behind a parachute without a bridle, as she sails around. In survival conditions, ( up to 80 knots, 14m seas) we've spent 3 days on the para anchor. IMO, the loads on the deck gear are not really any higher than they would be on an anchor. Our para anchor is a coppins storm fighter, on 110m of 20mm multi braid, with 3 catenary weights on the rode. Bridle is attached with a running block, with a fender as a float, and so you can see where the block is. The system works well, and although not comfortable, we never felt in danger. I would not have wanted to be running with it, even with a drogue. The waves were steep and collapsing with considerable force that IMO could overwhelm you from astern. Just my opinion - and experience. Take it or leave it.

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Old 13-05-2014, 04:25   #93
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Re: Heaving To

The helm wasn't as far to windward as I thought it would be. (Actually, the helm was a wheel, tightened down, not a tiller. But I figured that wouldn't make any difference.) We tried to find a balance between the helm and the vane of the main, and we had more fun with the fact that those two words rhymed than we did with the sailing. Some of my guys are fairly easy to amuse.

The helm doesn't have that much effect, because one of the things that I like about this method is that for a couple minutes, we got the speed zeroed out-- we weren't sailing, we were actually drifting dead to loo'ard. When you have no speed, she doesn't answer the helm, so you can set it where you wish. This method does not count on a continuous cycle of rounding up into the wind and being pushed back off. One of the things I liked about this method, therefore, is that in theory, it doesn't count on the helm, it counts on the vane to hold position relative to the wind.

Unfortunately, that never lasted more than two or three minutes, if that. Then the creep from the furler would allow the main to power up, a little at a time, until one of two things happened: if we got extreme when we set the helm to windward and locked it down, she'd try to tack (and at the least sail out from behind her slick) or she'd fall, ever so slowly, off until she was broadside to the waves. Neither case was good enough to go below in a storm, and try to eat or rest.

One of the other reasons that I'm done with that boat is that that boat appears to my untrained eye (meaning that I'm not a rigger for sailboats. I've rigged for cranes, but not boats.) to have a boom that is much shorter than it should or could be.

The main has two vertical marks sewn into it along the foot, as does the jib, and everyone assumed since they both furl that those were the reef marks. The first one was around three feet out (never occurred to me measure it, even by eye, so this is just a guess looking back at my memory) and the second maybe another two. Since you specified a "deeply reefed main", we were using the second reef mark, in spite of the fact that the wind was only in the teens. And starting with a boom that's too short in the first place, and then dialing in the main five or six feet, you end up with a really small main. However, I can see how that would be a good thing if you were really in heavy weather. In fact, the smaller the main, the more mechanical advantage the preventer has, and it needs all the advantage it can get.

This boat was a 2014 Beneteau 37, very pretty, brand new, and I was trying desperately to like her, because she's new and shiny, and has really nice electronics. But it's over between us. Jammer's Law Number Four: no matter how smokin' hot she looks in a string bikini, somewhere, some poor bastard is sick of her ****, and I've had enough of this boat, her poor manners and her bad behavior.

I intend to try the method on two other boats: one is a Jeanneau 49 DS, which also, unfortunately, has a small sail plan (judging by the sail area to displacement ratio) and a furling main, and on my favorite boat in the fleet: a 34 foot DuFour, with jiffy reefing and a reasonable sail area ratio. The only thing that may delay my cunning plan is whether or not I'm on one of those boats when the wind decides to blow. But it is spring, so I have high hopes.

I think, in hindsight, that it's about tight.

You have to have everything tight, and I mean really tight. One of the problems you're facing is that the angle of the boom to the boat isn't that large, so the preventer doesn't have very much mechanical advantage at all. If you allow the main (the vane) to turn back amidships without turning the boat, the waves can start pushing the bow around, and it doesn't take very much slack at all before it's too much, and she either falls off or tries to tack. The waves will take advantage of any fraction of an inch of slack in the preventer, and then work it until it becomes more slack. The main sheet is fairly easy to get tight, it's positioned well and easily adjustable, of course, but jury-rigging a preventer that has sufficient mechanical advantage at that shallow angle and setting it up to be reasonably easy to adjust tight enough is easier said than done. And if she does tack, you want to be able to dump the preventer easily, too.

One of my guys thought the wind was backing, but of course if the wind backed, the waves wouldn't change for a considerable amount of time, if at all, and that could make it seem like the angle of the boom isn't right anymore. I don't know that I agree with him, I think the system forms an illusion, waves vs. the wind, and it seems like the wind is backing, but I have no way of demonstrating that theory.

Anyway. I'm going to try again, with another boat, and I'll chatter about that when I do.

And finally, one of my conclusions from this exercise is that I'm no longer interested in sailing a boat that can't heave-to with a reasonable amount of preparation and effort. The higher the stakes, the more preparation and effort I'm willing to spend-- if we're really in it, and it's a true, honest-to-god survival storm, then I'm willing to work really hard to get properly hove-to and stay that way.

I don't buy that "this boat can't heave-to because..." anymore. My latest conclusion is that part of good seamanship is, in my opinion, knowing how to make your damned boat heave-to. I doubt it's the boat that has the problem. Reminds me of that old joke about "what's that noise?" with the chainsaw. If I owned a boat like the Beneteau, I'd damn well figure out how to get it hove-to, or I'd sell it.

I intend to figure out how the boats in our fleet heave-to, or I intend to stop sailing the ones I can't get to heave-to until I figure out how they heave-to.

If there's really a boat out there that won't heave-to properly, you won't find me on it.
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Old 13-05-2014, 05:08   #94
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Re: Heaving To

A couple of thoughts Jammer, and I really appreciate you exploring this and sharing your thoughts.

Firstly, I'm not sure where I said "deeply reefed" - are you sure it was me?

Quite the contrary, it's a big help (unless you happen to strike a boat which is a natural at heaving-to) to carry enough mainsail area to provide an authoritative 'signal', to keep the boat stable. I usually heave to under whatever size main is OK for sailing hard on the wind in the maximum breeze I expect while hove to.

Which, conveniently, is how much main I prefer to have up at all times.

This caveat (not to over-reef) is particularly true for in-mast reefing, to minimise the lateral excursions of the clew.

It will also help the problem you had with the main creeping ever larger, which to be fair is probably mainly due to over-reefing it, out of proportion to a windspeed not strong enough to yield a really tight furl. You could stick with full main, in 15 knots, unless it's a remarkably tender wee sausage of a boat.

Secondly your observation about the rudder angle being immaterial is only true for the special case of successfully keeping the boat to a dead stop.

On this general topic, you may with to try to prove me wrong, but I don't think of my method as being a viable option in extremis, which is one time it matters not to fore-reach. The "slick" thing, and all (which, in a fin keeler, in torrid conditions, I personally find very unconvincing) *

It is however a great way of taking all way off the boat temporarily, particularly to pick up something: a mooring, a hat, or a person. In this context, ideally you beam reach up to it with the main already prevented, then come up into the wind and do a 'handbrake stop', which delivers you the boat hove-to and self tending, simply by applying the wheel brake.

What I'm saying is that in general it is tricky to keep a modern-underbody boat at a standstill for any length of time, in 'real world' conditions, even with my "prevented main" method, and so the position of the helm is important to prevent the boat tacking spontaneously, or bearing away a few degrees and sailing off. (As you discovered)

But you shouldn't have to dick with the helm once you have it lashed, even if the wind shifts drastically, and the exact helm angle is not particularly critical, provided you are not undercanvassed.

After a windshift, the boat with helm lashed generally settles to a new equilibrium after a minor overshoot and a couple of disgruntled wriggles.

Most people unused to this method, IME, once its over maybe 12-15 knots, tend to chicken out when the wind shifts and rush to move the wheel, which does no good at all and defeats the object.

You might have to tranquilise your crew with a belaying pin.... but if you try it initially in lighter winds (and DEFINITELY under full main), I think you will find them more amenable.


You raise another excellent point on preventer angle: I didn't think to specify, but this method really does need a mid-boom, toerail preventer

(a two-part vang tackle to each aft chainplate or thereabouts, with the tail coming back to a lazy winch, is the usual)

... to stabilise the boom properly, but it seems you worked that out !
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Old 13-05-2014, 05:10   #95
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Re: Heaving To

BTW, Jammer, the illusion of the wind backing is an artefact of slowing or stopping.

(or veering, depending which tack you're on: basically, a "freeing" shift, rather than a header)

It's the opposite of the apparent-wind header you get if the boat sails faster.
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Old 13-05-2014, 09:54   #96
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Re: Heaving To

Andrew, I'm still a little unclear on this method despite reading your initial descriptions as well. After preventing the boom on a beam reach, do you tack through the wind to back wind the main? This would result in a scoop similar to how one sets an anchor under sail. But then, what's the helm to windward for since the main is drawing you there anyways? If not tacking through the wind to heave to, wouldn't keeping the boom in a beam reach position just cause a lot of luff? I's like to experiment with this as well since the narrow jib tracks on the sonar make it very difficult to back wind the jib so my usual method doesn't work. Thanks!
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Old 13-05-2014, 12:19   #97
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Re: Heaving To

@boatman61: Thank you very much for reading my post and understanding I was asking about advice for a multi-hull. I may have been unclear it seems to many others. I plan to go try this out and see. I also plan to make it possible to manually reef. The Athena 38 I sailed had rings so if this Lagoon doesn't that is something to modify (to add them) for sure.

@All: Good advice can save lives. Bad advice cost them. Did you all just wake up one day knowing what to do in survival situations or did you learn it from others?

I can read a book, posts on a forum and I fully realize by reading them I am not prepared for survival situations and am just another [insert expletive here]. Which is a bit unnerving you consider anyone who's read a book to learn but has not yet practices is an expletive.

My perspective, from travelling to many places in the World is: The World is actually a very, very small place. That most people are genuinely good.
Those of you who sailed it know that better than anyone.

Getting along isn't just keeping your mouth shut or agreeing with others blindly. Scientists all blindly assumed Newton's Universe was perfect until Einstein just stopped overlooking an error everyone else did out of respect for Newton's genius. It is good to question and ask even if the great wise ones said otherwise. That's how progress is made.
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Old 13-05-2014, 14:24   #98
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Re: Heaving To

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Andrew, I'm still a little unclear on this method despite reading your initial descriptions as well.

Q1: After preventing the boom on a beam reach, do you tack through the wind to back wind the main? This would result in a scoop similar to how one sets an anchor under sail. But then, what's the helm to windward for since the main is drawing you there anyways?

Q2: If not tacking through the wind to heave to, wouldn't keeping the boom in a beam reach position just cause a lot of luff? I's like to experiment with this as well since the narrow jib tracks on the sonar make it very difficult to back wind the jib so my usual method doesn't work. Thanks!
Great questions, thanks.

re Q1: It is NOT the intention to tack and put the main aback.

I have experimented with doing so (in sheltered waters, in a small, nimble swing keeler, where the underwater balance can be readily adjusted), out of idle curiosity, and because the sails were blocking the sun from where I was catching up with some maintenance without wishing to find somewhere to anchor....

And it can be done, in fact I have even done it with main AND poled out genoa, both 'poled out' to windward. As you seem to suspect, the rudder position needs to be reversed from the usual.
And instead of forereaching, the boat hindreaches, making slow sternway. (which is one reason to only do it in NICE weather and flat seas)

As you intuit, it can be a good way to set the anchor under sail.

However this is a party trick: a GREAT way of getting to know how your hull and rig behave under strange circumstances, but of limited practical use.

re your Q2:

Thanks for using the term "luff". Previous times I've raised this on CF, people were convinced the sail would "flog", so much so that they dismissed the idea out of hand.

You're right ... up to a point. It's not a 'lot of luff', if the amount of sail is suitable (ie the amount you could happily sail with, closehauled)

The sail does occasionally luff, softly and usually just a couple of times, at each instance of the equilbrium being re-established.
(Which is typically between twice a minute and once every couple of minutes)

If you're attempting to stop the boat dead, the equilibrium may be more tenuous and the luffs (still soft) more frequent.

The reason it does not and cannot flog is that the clew has no lateral freedom. Flogging is a rhythmical flip-flop between two limiting clew locations, where a starboard angle of attack will cause the clew to flip across to the other position, which in turn reverses the angle of attack to port, like an electronic 'astable multivibrator'

It's qualitatively different from luffing, as well as quantitatively.

The main generally luffs intermittently when heaving to with a backed headsail, too, although typically somewhat less.
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:06   #99
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Re: Heaving To

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BTW, Jammer, the illusion of the wind backing is an artefact of slowing or stopping.

(or veering, depending which tack you're on: basically, a "freeing" shift, rather than a header)

It's the opposite of the apparent-wind header you get if the boat sails faster.
You know, I knew that. I've seen it before, of course, and I've even explained it to people.

But in the event, I was so busy trying to figure out if we were doing this correctly, what we needed to do next and if it was working that I forgot all about it until I read your post, and I didn't connect my crew's comment to the process.

Going back over your posts, I have no idea where I go the idea you said to use a deeply reefed main.

So let me explain both points, as clearly as I can: "duh..."
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:17   #100
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Re: Heaving To

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@All: Good advice can save lives. Bad advice cost them. Did you all just wake up one day knowing what to do in survival situations or did you learn it from others?

I can read a book, posts on a forum and I fully realize by reading them I am not prepared for survival situations and am just another [insert expletive here]. Which is a bit unnerving you consider anyone who's read a book to learn but has not yet practices is an expletive.
Peoples personal experiences of survival storm techniques are often very varied, the ones that failed tend not to be around and the ones that worked often don't want to really talk about them.

What is clear from the many books written on the subject, is there tends to be a search for the "ultimate truth", a kind of holy grail of tested techniques that can't be applied by the neophyte to get him out of trouble.

Unfortunately the issue is that what you do is influenced by the nature of the boat , the crew skill and strength, the sea state, the wind, etc etc. and its a hodge podge of solutions often made up on the spur of the moment, based on experience.


Personally I started life as a warm water cruiser. Then in a moment of madness, I decided to start crewing on Northern European/ Trans Atlantic deliveries as crew and then as skipper primarily to expose myself to bad weather sailing ( deliveries tend to be in times when owners don't want to sail ) .

I used up a few of my lives in that process, until i got sense!

Thats why I tend to be jaundiced about a "particular" process, like heaving to or procedure x or y. Many are suitable for conditions where you can sail anyway.

Its just like figure 8 or reach tack reach MOB techniques taught to sailors ( by me too). but in real life its far more messy, less organised and operated by panic stricken people. BIG difference to the book method.

For me ive jogged under engine, under sail and engine, hove to, streamed warps and drogues, bared poled, storm sails, converted to a wide variety of useless religions , etc etc. in any order and applying bits here and there, most of which saved my ass.

what I do find amongst the neophyte, is the concern about holding course, or particular sail trim etc. In a storm, its about easing the stress on the boat and the crew, period, all else is irrelevant. But I find the neophyte simply doesn't see the issues and hence can't actually resolve them

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Old 13-05-2014, 15:24   #101
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Re: Heaving To

If one used a preventer blocked to the toerail and led the cockpit, what I should have tried is this:
  1. Set the preventer to slightly more angle than you want, and cleat it off.
  2. Tighten the main sheet down against the preventer until everything is nice and tight.

That's what I'm going to try next time I have sufficient wind.
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:31   #102
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Re: Heaving To

Dave, I thoroughly agree! Look after the boat first, the crew 2nd.
The other fact is that true survival conditions are rare, and not many yachts go through them. After all, we do (or I do) our damnedest to avoid them!!
Often, those new to voyaging spend a lot of time on this topic. While it's good to think about it and give yourself some options, if following popular routes, and avoiding high lat sailing, you'll have WAY more calms than storms.
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Old 13-05-2014, 15:31   #103
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Re: Heaving To

Awesome, thanks for the clarification Andrew. I will definitely try this next time I'm out in the little boat! I'll let you know how it goes
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Old 13-05-2014, 16:09   #104
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Re: Heaving To

@ brownoarsman: Good onyer, mate, thanks for that.

Whether or not my suggestions work for you, you and Jammer will (I suspect) long continue to learn about how to predict the detailed response of boats in ways which are inaccessible to those who see sailing as a game of 'follow the (opinion) leaders'

And some ability to predict or extrapolate into situations not previously encountered is (arguably) a very important attribute, if pushing or pushed into such situations.

I suppose for me it's one reason I don't enjoy sailing heavy displacement sailboats so much, whether traditional or more modern.

Never having owned one, I've never had the opportunity to really fool around and push them into odd configurations to find out how they misbehave, which means even when they're behaving properly, I tend not to understand why.

I learned offshore sailing in a ridiculously small, lightweight, tender boat, and I was delighted to discover that it provided concentrated learning which was applicable all the way up to 80' racing yachts with fin keels and big rudders.

Which is not to say I might not make an occasional wrong prediction when, say, heaving to on such a boat in conditions I had not encountered, but I would hope to be able to quickly add that new knowledge to what I already knew, and immediately have a "Plan B" with a better prospect of success.

Whereas reliance on textbook advice tends to leave people stranded, in odd situations where conventional wisdom proves inapplicable.

IMPORTANT:
I'm not advocating my heaving-to method in survival conditions.

I have severe misgivings about ANY heaving to in survival conditions, but that's based on ignorance as much as knowledge. I know buggerall about them, having only ever been in (what I would call) survival conditions once.
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Old 13-05-2014, 16:18   #105
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Re: Heaving To

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I have severe misgivings about ANY heaving to in survival conditions, but that's based on ignorance as much as knowledge. I know buggerall about them, having only ever been in (what I would call) survival conditions once.
+1
Ive rabbited on about this before, but I have some experience ( hence YMMV). Personally I have found in storms verging on the survival ( whatever that means) its simply impossible to get the boat to lie on one tack. Its was a most nerve racking experience to find the boat either falling off to beam on , which is worse then under bare poles or more commonly tacking through the wind, often as a result of sea state and powering up.

personally I find the go below mentality inexplicable. its like giving up. YES, its works in lesser sea states, and we all use it to make a cuppa or do some horizontal jogging or whatever. Most boats can be hove to in that type of situation. but thats not the same.

If you have ever got wacked by a big breaking wave in a a-hull situation you'll know the mess its makes. Get behind that wheel --- sail the damm boat,


dave
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