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Old 10-02-2014, 09:49   #1
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Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

First of all, its great to be part of this forum. I've seen opinions from lots of experienced sailors, and am hoping to learn and give back over time.

I have 2 newbie questions I'm hoping will be easy for the crowd here.

Can someone explain heaving to? I hear stories of people explaining how they hove-to in a storm to ride it out, however my understanding of heaving-to would surely result in a capsize if done like I was taught. I've attached a pic of how heaving-to was taught to me (and I did it a few times). Pardon my less and expert paint skills.

Second question, I've seen people mention that your boat can get rolled by a breaking wave that is 55% of the LOA of your boat. That would seem to say it doesn't take much sea to roll you if you're on a 30'-35' boat. I've also seen various posts about people hunkering down in the cabin during a bad storm. This makes me wonder about those hunkering down....are they just at bare poles and below hoping for the best? What is generally the best course of action when facing a bad storm, regarding the waves and how you want your boat to hit the waves? Close hauled so that you're facing the waves head on?
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:59   #2
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Leaving aside the method of heaving too, which varies

this is a topical debate with modern fin keels. A narrow deep keeled boat will actually lie about 45-50 degrees of the wind, whereas as you point out the tendency of modern boats is to lie much more broadside to the wind as there is little immersed forefoot.

The actual biggest problem with modern boats is that they sail of the coachroof and deck appendages, so they tend to forereach rather a lot, Then due to that forefoot, they often tack through the wind and start actively sailing off, hence they will not lie quietly.

studies show ( wolfson institute) that a boat can be rolled by a breaking sea equal to the beam of the boat, not much so. Hence whats safer is a good debate

personally in a modern boat , active techniques, I would never lie ahull or hove to in any survival storm, to stop for tea , yes that fine

dave
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:02   #3
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Here's a good article about it.

Cruising Tips: Heaving-To | Sail Magazine
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:16   #4
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

From your drawing, it looks like you have wind on the wrong side of the boat. I do not consider myself an expert at the concept. I have only done it a few times for training. Never in a storm.

Here is my non-expert understanding of this: To set up for a heave to, first take your boat on a course at close hulled. When you are ready center your main and then tack across the wind, but do not touch the main or jib sheets.

When this happens your main remains center and the jib is now back-winded. The boat should then settle basically perpendicular to the wind. Actually, what happens is that you boat now oscillates back and forth with the bow and the stern taking turns pointing into the wind. In theory, the boat slowly climbs into the wind (assuming no current. With current, expect to go where it takes you).

What I have never understood about this is that is also puts you perpendicular to any large waves. There is something about this process that is supposed to make the waves less dangerous, but I don't really understand that. Perhaps someone can enlighten both of us.

I now sail a Ketch rig. I have played with this a few times, but I have not found anything in writing on how to heave to in a Ketch. For me, I drop the main, back-wind the job and balance the boat between the jib and mizzen sail.

By the way, I should have mentioned that. To heave to, as I understand it, requires a certain amount of balance between the two sails. If the boat is not balanced the boat will fall off to bow or stern. Balance can be adjusted by moving either of the sails. I like to move my main (or mizzen when on the ketch) well into the wind. Then I find the balance by tightening or loosening the jib sheet to bring the boat into balance.

If you have not done this, go out on a nice day with 10 knots of wind. Find a place with little current and someplace where you are unlikely to be blown or dragged into the shore or other obstacle. Then practice the maneuver. Once you have placed the sails in the positions described, then practice making extreme changes to your sails to see how that affects the maneuvering. For example, let out a lot of job sheet and see what happens. Then tighten up the sheet in increments and see how the boat moment changes with each movement. If you have a GPS with tracking, then start a track and see how your boat maneuvers. Also look at fixed points on the ground to see how your boat maneuvers in relation to these other objects.

I hope that is helpful.

The Witchdoctor
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southpw11
First of all, its great to be part of this forum. I've seen opinions from lots of experienced sailors, and am hoping to learn and give back over time.

I have 2 newbie questions I'm hoping will be easy for the crowd here.

Can someone explain heaving to? I hear stories of people explaining how they hove-to in a storm to ride it out, however my understanding of heaving-to would surely result in a capsize if done like I was taught. I've attached a pic of how heaving-to was taught to me (and I did it a few times). Pardon my less and expert paint skills.

Second question, I've seen people mention that your boat can get rolled by a breaking wave that is 55% of the LOA of your boat. That would seem to say it doesn't take much sea to roll you if you're on a 30'-35' boat. I've also seen various posts about people hunkering down in the cabin during a bad storm. This makes me wonder about those hunkering down....are they just at bare poles and below hoping for the best? What is generally the best course of action when facing a bad storm, regarding the waves and how you want your boat to hit the waves? Close hauled so that you're facing the waves head on?
This is a large topic about which whole books, and many of them, have been written. Read the Pardeys' book on storm tactics, and Adlard Coles', and you will scratch the surface.

To grossly oversimplify the topic, heaving-to is a great way to take a break in rougher conditions. You stop! And the motion becomes much easier, and you can cook, rest, have a cup of tea, whatever. It's a fantastic tactic which everyone should know. Different boats do it differently - you'll have ton experiment. The place to start is by trimming for sailing close hauled, then tack through the won without tacking the headsail. Lash the helm hard alee (to weather if it's a wheel). You stall the sail plan like that and remain locked in that position, if it works properly. If not, play with the sail trim til it works.

Some people (read the Pardeys) consider heaving to to be the ultimate storm tactic. YMMV.

Another popular storm tactic is to just give up and go below and hang on. That's called "lying ahull". It works. You might get rolled, but most sailboats cannot be sunk by weather alone, of whatever severity, and sometimes the human part of the system becomes useless and is better off withdrawing and going below and letting the boat take care of herself.

The most practical and important storm tactic is running off. Simply turning downwind reduces apparent wind and reduces the force imparted by waves. On my boat, this works beautifully up to over 50 knots of wind. The problem is with really huge waves, you can speed up out of control and broach and get rolled or, God preserve us all from the mere thought - get pitchpoled. But when this starts to be a danger, you trail your longest warps behind the boat to slow her down. There's a cool drogue device (google Jordan Series Drogue) which does the same thing as trailed warps, only better.

This is the merest thumbnail sketch. You will need to read many books and read deeply in the CF archives to get a real grasp of the subject.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:48   #6
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Someone above spoke of heaving-to and lying-a-hull in the same sentence and with the same opinion. I think that is inaccurate. Heaving-to begins as a "parking technique" for lunch and continues to be useful all the way through serious storm management, If you want to learn about heaving-to in detail, the Pardeys are probably the most vocal advocates.

This book describes not only techniques but also why they feel it is superior to other approaches to storm management.

Storm Tactics Handbook 3rd Edition by Lin & Larry Pardey

I think it is good to understand a variety of approaches so would suggest you also read authors like Hal Roth, Allard Coles and Steve and Linda Daschew.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:17   #7
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by southpw11 View Post
...
Can someone explain heaving to? I hear stories of people explaining how they hove-to in a storm to ride it out, however my understanding of heaving-to would surely result in a capsize if done like I was taught. I've attached a pic of how heaving-to was taught to me (and I did it a few times). Pardon my less and expert paint skills.
...
I teach heaving to often and have used it in storm conditions...as well as just to stop for lunch.

I consider it a basic sailing skill - every sailor really should know how to heave to. It is very useful for many situations (lunch, repairs, rest, wait for dawn, etc...) and yes storms.

Heave to Dynamics. When you heave to you are setting up opposing forces between the head sail and the rudder. The head sail is trying to take the bow down wind. The rudder is trying to turn it up wind. As these opposing forces fight it out the boat pivots slowly around its keel (or more specifically its CLR). This same resistance from the keel also slows the drift of the boat downwind and plays a significant role in creating a protective slick to windward. The boat should be drifting at no more than about 1.5 knots. As the boat drifts thru the water and picks up a little head way down wind, the rudder will begin to win the battle, due to increased water flow over the rudder, and head the bow back up, the jib will excert less force as the angle to the wind narrows and the downwind speed will slow. With reduced water flow the rudder loses steerage and the boat stops turning. Gradually the bow will fall of, jib gain more force, and the whole process repeats itself. The boat (assuming a mono) will be slightly heeled and thus stable, it should slowly cycle between close hauled and close reach as it drifts slowly downwind.

Re heave to position. Head sail "backed" (sheeted hard to windward side, not centered as shown). Main eased. Tiller lashed to leeward (turning boat to windward). The boat should lie in a close reach to close hauled angle to the wind, NOT a beam reach. Being abeam to large seas is at best very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous (roll/capsize). The main can be used like a big trim tab to adjust/limit maximum angle to the wind.

Note that every boat is different so you need to learn the idiosyncrasies of each given boat. Some modern fin keels can be challenging to heave to properly.

A properly hove to vessel is not at increased risk of capsize because it is NOT beam too.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:22   #8
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambo View Post

...the Pardeys are probably the most vocal advocates.

This book describes not only techniques but also why they feel it is superior to other approaches to storm management.

Storm Tactics Handbook 3rd Edition by Lin & Larry Pardey

I think it is good to understand a variety of approaches so would suggest you also read authors like Hal Roth, Allard Coles and Steve and Linda Daschew.

Good Luck!
The Pardey's book is an excellent reference, but it is important to be aware that their preferred technique also involves the use of a sea anchor and so is a modified version of heaving to under sail alone.
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:37   #9
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Found a write up I did for a class long ago that may be helpful to you. Pasted below.

I consider heaving-to a basic sailing skill, but a very high percentage of sailor's do not know how (including experienced ones). So here is an explanation of heaving-to assuming you are aboard a small sloop rigged, tiller steered boat: *

1.*Come on to a close-hauled point of sail (make sure jib is sheeted in good and tight)
2.*Tack the boat, but do not tack the jib
3.*As you come through the wind ease the main significantly and let it luff (the jib is now backed). Allow the boat to lose almost all way while in this attitude.
4.*Put the tiller down hard to leeward (rudder steering you toward the wind).
5.*You are now hove-to *

Notes on heaving-to: The basic concept of heaving-to is that you are setting up opposing forces between the jib and the rudder effectively stalling the boat. The keel also plays a role in slowing your leeway and as the pivot point for the battle between rudder & jib. The dynamic forces acting upon the boat keep it more stable than if you dropped sails. As the wind blows against the backed jib it starts to push the bow downwind. The boat gains a little bit of way and water starts to flow over the rudder. This causes the boat to head back up to windward. The jib loses power, the boat slows, the rudder stalls, and the cycle starts over again. The final attitude of the boat while hove-to should be the same as a close hauled to close reach point of sail. A beam-to attitude is not good - especially if you are in large seas. The boat will cycle through this range of points of sail as it slowly heads up and falls off. SOG should not exceed about 1.5 knots. The boat will slowly drift down wind while keeping its bows into wind and seas so make sure you have plenty of sea room and regularly check your position. Every boat is different. How well it heaves-to depends upon the sail plan and the underbody design. Fuller keel boats tend to heave-to much better than fin keel or shoal draft boats for example. You will need to adjust the amount of jib deployed based upon wind speed and knowledge of how the boat behaves (typically about the appropriate jib size, or a bit smaller, for the prevailing wind speeds). If the boat wants to lie at too broad of an angle to the wind you can reduce the jib area and/or use the mail sail like a big trim tab (sheet it in a bit to bring her head up closer to the wind, but not so much that she tries to start sailing). I do cut instructor candidates some slack on perfect boat attitude during the IQC because they may be doing this on a boat they have never sailed before, but they are expected to execute the maneuver properly and be able to describe/discuss heaving-to. Heaving-to is not only a storm tactic, but it is also good for any reason you want to stop, in a stable attitude (not rolling around), on the water (repairs, discussion with students, rest, waiting for dawn before making an unfamiliar entrance, lunch, etc). If you turn back to windward too soon (in steps 3-4 above) then the boat may come through the tack again. To avoid this, make sure you have stalled the boat before putting the helm hard over. To get out of a heave-to position keep in mind that the boat is already in a sailing attitude: it is close hauled/close reach and heeled slightly. All you have to do is put the sails and rudder back where they should be (tack the jib, sheet in the main, center the helm) and the boat will start sailing again.
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Old 10-02-2014, 13:29   #10
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

This is great, thanks.

re: heaving-to. I actually tried the heave-to tactic described above (jib backed, main luffing, tiller providing opposing force) on a newish Hunter 33' and I could not get it to a stable position. It would either, 1) pick up too much speed and tack or 2) fall off too much and end up in some sort of broad reach. It felt nearly impossible to reach a proper balance between rudder/jib. For that reason I thought I was doing it wrong. Anyway, sounds like a balance can be reached using this tactic...perhaps I just need more practice.

re: storm tactics. I am planning on making a voyage across lake michigan (ie. Racine, Wisconson to the Michigan side), and although I figure I can plan ahead weather-wise for such a short trip, I would like to have a good idea of how to deal with a storm before I try this sort of semi 'open water' sailing. I figure once I know how to plan for, and survive a storm, I will be less concerned about taking on bigger, open-water sailing challenges.
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Old 10-02-2014, 13:56   #11
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

I have a Farr designed 40ft Cruiser/racer. Fin Keel and Spade rudder. With practice she will heave too in winds up to about 50knts. After that, she needs a para anchor to hold her there. Modern boats can be a bit of a challenge. I've had 90 Knots over the deck, sitting on a para-anchor, and it worked well. You must experiment. What works in one wind speed/wave pattern/Boat may not work in another. Be adaptive. Think about balance fore/aft. Windage is an issue - stack pack, headsail (rolled, only foil etc), and canvas covers - Bimini, Dodger, where is the dingy etc etc.
IMO lying ahull is a recipe for disaster in storm conditions, in a modern boat. I won't do it.
Go out specifically to practice, try, review, adapt, try again...
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Old 10-02-2014, 14:05   #12
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Re Hunter 33. Yes, that could be a challenge. On modern fin keel boats you can try a couple of things:

One, reduce head sail area. These are relaitvely light responsive boats. You don't need a lot of sail area for heaving to. Start with a bit less than you are using, with the boat properly balanced, in prevailing conditions to sail...and work down in area from there to find the right sail area for current conditions. Too much sail area will cause the boat to fall off and gain speed. Too litte and the rudder may bring the boat thru a tack (not enough resistance from the jib). You want just the right amount to balance out the rudder forces.

Two, sheet the main in a bit to limit angle to which boat will fall off. The way this works is that in prefered heave to attitude (close hauled to close reach) the main will luff, but if the boat turns to a broader angle then the main will fill, shifting the CE aft, and bring the bow up to windward...at which point the main will luff again. This will likely increase forereaching, but that's only an issue in large breaking seas.
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Old 10-02-2014, 14:18   #13
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Be careful about sticking to rules and systems. such as start close hauled and tack the jib, my boat heaves to easily and effectively, and does its best without the Headsail. Not having a go at any poster here. just reinforcing comments about each boat being different.

As for heaving to in extreme conditions, my preference is to run away with a series drouge.
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Old 10-02-2014, 15:13   #14
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

I was going to add what belize said but he beat me to it. There is the assumption that you are reefed down pretty well when you're heaving to, with minimal sail area. But all boats are different. If you're having trouble heaving to with reduced sail, fiddle with the mainsheet and the tiller until you have the boat balanced. If the mainsheet is fully eased you may find it difficult or impossible to balance some boats with the tiller alone.

To address the question about the relative size of breaking waves that will roll a boat, it should be pointed out that breaking waves have to hit a boat pretty much just perfectly to roll the boat...that is, they have to break right on the boat, catching the keel in the rip to pull it out from under as the top pushes it over. That's exceptionally rare. Also, breaking waves in open water are relatively rare in anything up to 50 knots unless you're in a very confused sea. Not saying it does not happen, but you're far more likely to run into dangerous breaking waves in shoal areas.

As for the wisdom of what tactic to follow, that depends on the boat and the specific sea state and forecast. Heaving to is certainly something you should know how to effectively employ, as is running off the wind and using warps/drogues in both circumstances.
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Old 10-02-2014, 15:33   #15
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Re: Heaving to / Other Storm tactics

Experimentation is the key here.
Every boat is different so practice makes perfect etc etc.

I have a question though, what is the school of thought with Multi-Hulled boats ?
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