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Old 18-06-2012, 06:46   #31
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Boy, am I ever wishing I'd never used the lunch example, in my list of reasons (other than heavy weather) it might be useful to stop comfortably and quietly without

a) anchoring
b) hauling down the main
c) (sometimes) hauling up a headsail
d) starting the engine
e) leaving anyone minding the helm or sailplan

For those of you the lunch idea doesn't work for, please just forget it!

For those who might be curious why someone else might find it worked for them: here's one scenario:

I've sailed a good deal in parts of the world where drowned glacial valleys make extensive inland waterways, with lots of interesting junctions and intersections.

Often anchoring is quite an operation, requiring multiple shorelines, not least because sometimes the bottom is ice-polished rock. In any case, suitable coves are often few and far between.

Every time a corner is reached, conditions are likely to change. Sometimes, the next channel or reach will have twenty or fifty times the fetch of the one you're leaving, if the wind is blowing along it. Not necessarily conducive to anything associated with food preparation or consumption, or their aftermath.

So it can make sense, if both a headland and lunchtime are fast approaching, to be able to leave the boat to tend to itself, put all hands to lunch prep (on an even keel so it happens more quickly again), sit comfortably and companionably together without boathandling distractions or sails flogging, then quickly clear away the clutter, stow the galley, and don the appropriate costume and armament to deal with the challenges of what lies around the bend.

I could give other, quite different examples, but I'm not actually trying to sell anybody the idea of lunch, just float the idea of a different way of configuring a boat.

Some people sail as if a boat were an automatic automobile, jammed in "Drive", but that doesn't have to be the case, and this, to my way of thinking, is just another option for selecting "Neutral"

Not all boats heave to well. It will depend also on what sails you have on, whether you're reefed, etc. With my current sail configuration (big headsail), the boat slows down to 2 1/2 k when heaved to with both sails. If it would work better after pulling the headsail in that would be worth a try.

I do not think the helm should ever be ignored unless you're securely anchored, however. Do that lunch prep in the cockpit if you have to.
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Old 18-06-2012, 18:02   #32
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

You make a couple of good points, I reckon.

Putting the headsail away before heaving to is certainly an attractive fringe benefit of this method if you're carrying plenty of sail for the breeze that's blowing, and of course this is especially the case for boats with a big headsail.

In relation to "ignoring the helm", I agree except I'd substitute "lookout" for "helm". It certainly makes sense for somebody to stay above-decks on any vessel where there is not all-round visibility and rapid egress from below, and in waters featuring other vessels, it's also a good idea to heave-to on starboard.

Despite doing this, the on-deck person should of course be competent to quickly get under way -- and gybe out of trouble -- if necessary.
This is not a problem provided the preventer is set up to be easily managed from the cockpit - which personally I think on any cruising boat it should be.
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Old 18-06-2012, 19:30   #33
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Andrew I admit my reservations are in the form of a "gedanken" . Surely your method is merely a depowered main. No more then allowing a main to luff slows the boat.

Surly with a prevented main a wind shift or gust with cause the boat to sail , ie the main will power up, secondly in any sea running the boat could be forced into a beam reach and power up..

The success of heaving to is the boat MUST not stop. Ie the rudder must remain effective. Heaving too slows the boat not stops it. Ie a proper hove too boat will forereach slowly

Stoping the boat in 15knts with little sea is a very easy thing to do. ( funny that what's my racing companions say about my sail trim )

Furthermore anyone who like me uses a microwave will realise potatoes can be cooked not covered in water. The interesting thing is the part in the steam cooks quicker then the part under the water.
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Old 19-06-2012, 01:27   #34
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

Dave

Gedanken: great word. I hadn't come across it before, although I'm very keen on what it describes. Schönen Dank !

Thanks for your detailed declaration. I think you have articulated a conceptual problem others may have had which I have not addressed -- partly because I've been using this technique for decades and I've pretty much forgotten what I initially expected, and exactly what surprised me about how it works.

I think what everyone is probably overlooking in their 'thought experiments' is one important role of the rig when hove to. It acts as an air rudder. A big, powerful one. MUCH more powerful than the water rudder. And there's an important difference:

When you say that the boat must be moving for the rudder to work, this is true only of the water rudder.

The air rudder has no such requirement; as long as there's wind, it will turn the boat, no matter how stationary. In fact, the closer to stationary the hull is, the more easily that hull will "weathercock" to line up the sail with the new wind direction, because the underwater surfaces will not be developing any lift.

An oceangoing vessel takes a certain time to get under way. If in that time it has slewed most of the way around to align the sail with the new wind, then it's only the residual drive which the water rudder has to counteract, and the resultant stop-start jostle and associated yawing is accordingly less pronounced than with the 'conventional' two-sail method.

Has anyone reading this thread ever windsurfed, on a beginner (ie long, buoyant) board? When you climb aboard, with the board stationary, the only way of getting the board to pivot onto a beam reach (which is a prerequisite for getting underway) is with the (single) sail. It is used explicitly as an air rudder, in this phase, with no propulsion motive whatsoever.

What I mean is that the act of sheeting in or out does not make the board gather way (or sternway) - at least, not appreciably. The rig stays put relative to the wind, and the board pivots under it.

Heaving-to with main only, the air rudder is relatively 'clean', aerodynamically: it looks like the rig of a windsurfer (which incidentally does not flog, even when you line it up with the wind, provided you've got both hands on the wishbone - analogous to a preventer)

OTOH, Heaving-to conventionally, with headsail aback and main floppy, the "air rudder" is rather messy, aerodynamically speaking, like a big wedge when you look down at it, and not very responsive to changes in the angle of attack. Consequently there is more time for the boat to gather way, and more reliance on the water rudder to bring the head up to weather and put the brakes on.

The other thing about the two-sail method is that the 'air rudder' is barely adjustable: it's like a rudder which flops around at much the same angle. What surprises me is that it works as well as it does. (Don't get me wrong, it's a good method, and I often use it)

The prevented main, OTOH, is not just highly adjustable for angle to the boat, it is also rigorously positioned relative to the boat if the preventer is tight. I can't emphasis too strongly, no matter how heavy the boom, you won't get the results I'm suggesting unless the boom is strapped down so it pulls on the boat the moment the wind crosses to the other side of the sail. Otherwise it's like standing on a windsurfer holding only onto the uphaul line, rather than the wishbone.

Strain on the preventer is generally minimal, given I'm not putting this forward as a storm technique.

It would certainly be stressful in situations where a 45 + knot wind was shifting almost instantaneously through large angles - as happens quite often in fiord sailing - but in such conditions I'd already be reefed to about the size of a storm jib, so the stresses would be more psychological than material. Having said that, heaving-to under sail is not a great option for station-keeping in such conditions.

In a storm offshore, I don't like the idea of having the boom outboard where a wave could break into the sail, but if there was a need to heave-to under mainsail only in a storm I would happily use this method with the boom over the quarter, at which point it's like heaving to under trysail only. I would still prevent it if the angles worked; if not I'd rig a handy-billy as a second mainsheet at an angle to the mainsheet proper, to stabilise the boom laterally.
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Old 02-05-2013, 14:50   #35
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

I just came across a reference to this method from back in the mid 1980s. The fact that the description is so offhand (in a report which went into detail) suggests the technique may have been more commonly understood in the past.

I first remember trying it in the seventies, but have no idea where the idea came from.

<< On November 2, 1984, the 42 foot cutter "Night Runner" was about to gybe at the leeward mark in the Seattle Yacht Club Grand Prix regatta. The wind was 25 to 30 knots, seas three to four feet. The boat had just recovered from a spreaders in the water broach when the spinnaker guy fouled during takedown. Crew member Thor Thorson fell over the side while gybing the main. Fortunately, he was wearing a PFD and had been a "victim" in the previous weeks Lifesling tests. The skipper and two of the crew had also been trained in Lifesling use. The "Night Runner" made a quick stop by going head to wind, the Lifesling was deployed, and Thorson got the sling on the first pass.


The boat hove to with jib down, and main vanged out, and helm down, and Thorson was hauled aboard manually in the sling. The jib was hoisted and the boat was back in the race having lost less than five minutes. She finished in the upper third of her class.

Because the crew knew what to do, everything went smoothly.>>
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:35   #36
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

hmmm, might suit my old barge, I'll give it a try - i normally heave to on the jib to raise or lower the other sails, but i can see uses for this if it works on my boat.
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Old 12-05-2013, 17:12   #37
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

Doesn't work on our full keel Cape Dory. With just a main she'll actually tack through the wind. A small amount of headsail is required to keep the bow from turning into the wind. She will, however, heave to under just a small amount of headsail. My reasoning is it's the large amount of canvas that we have aft of the mast that keeps the bow from just blowing down wind.

we usually sit 45-60% off the wind and drift at <1kt.

After reading some comments I re-read your post and find your description of 'heaving to' is a tad different from what I consider heaving to. I've never done what you described.
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Old 12-05-2013, 17:28   #38
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pirate Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

Works well enough on long fins like the Corribee and H22... found the Bendi's not as good at holding the angle..
I sheet tight off centre so she feathers before the wind has a chance to sneak round and put her on the other tack.. reefed appropriate to the weather..
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Old 12-05-2013, 17:57   #39
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Re: Heaving to under main only

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
A few points:

Firstly, I repeat, I am NOT promoting this as a heavy weather manoeuvre, and am hoping to keep this thread a heavy weather discussion-free zone. The method is well suited for winds of any strength, but less well suited for big seas (although there are exceptions to any rule: I give a big seas example at the end of the post).

When do you get strong winds without big seas? Often enough, and in enough places, that it seems a shame to have one's thinking running along the fixed lines that they're inevitably linked.

I'm not trying to promote this as a substitute for any single "holy grail" manoeuvre. I'm raising this for those who like to have a whole quiver of options, so as to choose a manoeuvre which suits each specific situation.

One of the strengths of this method is that it's very robust and well behaved during radical windshifts. Particularly in comparison with 'main-only, boom amidships' hove-to.


Secondly, Most modern-underbody boats do not lie as close to the wind, hove to by any method, as theory would suggest. So the difference in heading between the traditional methods and the one I'm seeking to discuss is surprisingly little, along with the difference in tendency to roll.

If rolling's a problem, there's an infinite spectrum between boom squared outboard and boom amidships. As you bring the boom in, you trade off a bit more roll against a bit more instability in heading. You can pick the optimum for the circumstances.

To whoever suggested pulling the sails down would achieve the same result, I can only suggest you try the comparison. The roll-damping of a full main is considerable, even 'edge-on' to the windstream. More than abstract thinking would suggest.

With the method I'm suggesting, the sail is drawing gently most of the time. The forward thrust implied by this is largely annulled by the braking effect of the helm hard alee. (Which should hopefully clarify, for goboatingnow, why the boat does not pay off onto a downwind heading)

And in some situations the whole point of what I'm proposing is that you don't have to pull the sail down; it can be a way of leaving the sail up in situations where you would normally feel compelled to drop it, and subsequently have to raise it again -- something you might prefer not to do -- say it's a big sail and you're short- or feeble-handed.

Here's a couple of hypothetical situations where I might use the method.

A) I'm handling a sailboat on my own, and I'm anchored in a cove well sheltered from big seas running outside. The wind inside is variable in strength, and swinging through 100 degrees. I don't want to or can't use the engine or the windlass. I want the boat to look after itself while I get the anchor(s) aboard and stowed, and I don't on any account want the boat to go onto the wrong, inshore, tack.
I hoist as much main as suits the windstrength outside, leave it flapping while I bring the cable up-and-down, then prevent the boom over to whichever side puts the boat automatically on the offshore tack. This breaks out the anchor, but I don't have to leave the bow; I heave everything onboard, clean, sort, stow, and lash, leaving the boat to its own devices as it gradually works towards open sea despite the shifting breeze.

B) I have to send someone's beloved offspring over the side to clear the prop in deep but sheltered - or flat - water, with bullets of wind from random directions - as in Patagonia or Fiordland

C) I'm on a boat which doesn't behave well hove-to with main only, boom amidships. I want to swap the 110% roller genoa for the yankee because I'm heading south into the forties. I don't have selfsteering or autopilot currently functioning. I may be some time and I do NOT want the boat putting itself about, or poking the bow into the big sea running * while I'm fussing around on the foredeck.

*This is perhaps an exception to the 'not so suited for big seas' caveat at the top of this post. Sometimes pitching is more problematic than rolling.

Writing this, I'm realising that my enthusiasm for this method - under certain circumstances - is linked to my preference for methods which would work well when sailing short-handed. I personally prefer to use such methods even when I don't have to, so that they're well understood when I do. As a fringe benefit, someone using these techniques can avoid disturbing the off-watch unnecessarily.

I also prefer techniques which do not rely on complex technology, such as engines, thrusters, autopilots and such. The method I'm suggesting shades seamlessly, simply by moving the helm to weather, into a robust way of sailing on a beam reach without human or tech intervention.

This applies even on a yacht with dodgy course-keeping: simply prevent the main from swinging aft, thereby using the sail as a more rigorous air-rudder. The helm angle acts as primarily as a speed control, but naturally the heading is also affected.
I'm afraid I've never tried heaving-to on the main alone on a cruising boat. But the very first sailboat which was my own property, when I was a student, decades ago, was a cat-rigged dinghy (a Chrysler Man-O-War), and this boat hove-to very well despite the lack of any headsail. It was in that boat that I learned the many-splendored joys of heaving-to -- to have a pleasant lunch, to make out with a girl, to take a break, to fix something, etc. It is amazing how calmly and pleasantly you can lie hove-to in weather which is very tough and very hard when sailing, especially beating. I've never hove-to as a storm tactic, but I've sure enough used it to give the crew a break and a hot meal in a gale. And I've used it to help sea-sick passengers regain their composure. I used it once to have cocktail hour (the skipper's drink was non-alcoholic) when sailing from Perros-Guierac towards Morlaix, in North Brittany -- it was springs and the tide was running at 5 knots. We just hove to and had our little party in the cockpit, and watched the sunset, as the tide swept us towards our destination -- dead upwind. It was magical.

I'm sorry, I didn't catch the reason why you would want to get rid of the headsail? If your boat will heave-to at all without a headsail, it will surely be a lot more work getting it balanced.
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Old 12-05-2013, 18:31   #40
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Works well enough on long fins like the Corribee and H22... found the Bendi's not as good at holding the angle..
I sheet tight off centre so she feathers before the wind has a chance to sneak round and put her on the other tack.. reefed appropriate to the weather..
The Bendi's hold an angle pretty well ... before absorbing it

@all who are never finished experimenting: go out in 30+ knots wind, deploy just the mainor mizzen, reef a bit when you want, then put it tight midships and keep the engine in dead slow forward. Now put the bow at 50 degrees to the wind. Engage autopilot. Adjust rpm to maximum stability of angle to the waves. Be carefull if you go backwards because not all autopilots handle that well (Simrad does). You will get a very calm experience like regular heaving to. Well, this is how fishing boats do that except nowadays they don't use sails for stabilizing but paravanes or nets and stuff. I overheard Dutch fishing boats on the North Sea calling this "heaving to" among each other. They were wimps because we were sailing right pas them to windward.

But the thing to remember is that the engine can be used to achieve a stabilized heave-to.
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Old 12-05-2013, 18:50   #41
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

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Doesn't work on our full keel Cape Dory. With just a main she'll actually tack through the wind. A small amount of headsail is required to keep the bow from turning into the wind. She will, however, heave to under just a small amount of headsail. My reasoning is it's the large amount of canvas that we have aft of the mast that keeps the bow from just blowing down wind.

we usually sit 45-60% off the wind and drift at <1kt.

After reading some comments I re-read your post and find your description of 'heaving to' is a tad different from what I consider heaving to. I've never done what you described.
Give it a go, mate !
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Old 12-05-2013, 18:53   #42
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Works well enough on long fins like the Corribee and H22... found the Bendi's not as good at holding the angle..
I sheet tight off centre so she feathers before the wind has a chance to sneak round and put her on the other tack.. reefed appropriate to the weather..
Did you catch the key item of info from the OP:

"prevent/vang the boom out as far as it will go, ie against the aft lower, and snug the mainsheet to stabilise the boom."

????

This is a distinctively different method from the usual technique for heaving to under main (or trysail) only ...

and is practicable and effective on any boat I've tried it on, particularly good at preventing a boat putting itself about, in comparison with any other method of heaving to I'm aware of.
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Old 13-05-2013, 06:38   #43
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

Hi Andrew, A very interesting idea that I can see a good use for in those very shifty and gusty NZ conditions, especially without a windvane. A big benefit as you say would be the fact that the boat would be less likely to suddenly heel in a big gust, with the main rapidly feathering and the whole boat pivoting back to beam on, and I like the stability of it, it's very annoying when a big windshift tacks a conventionally hove to boat while you are below, or forward sorting out something urgent. Thanks for bringing this up.

I have often used this sort of idea for anchoring like you describe, luffing head to wind and stopping quickly before reversing and letting go the anchor. And the other way I have used a prevented main like this is for reefing the main in shifty conditions inshore by myself. The boat sits nicely beam on with the boom safely to leeward. I time the halyard drop for when the main luffs, and quickly snatch most of the reefing pendant down before the bow pays off and the sail starts fill. I then wait for her to round back up as she gathers way and on the next luff I get get it all tight. But I have never considered using it for heaving to, I must try it.

I was taught a method for MOB that would work well with your system. The RYA Examiner recommended conventionally heaving too and then using the engine to align the boat upwind with the person in the water before shutting it down. I think this would work well or even better for your system as well.

I have also hove to by the stern with just a backed storm jib and the helm to leeward. It worked quite well, and I am keen to try it again, maybe with a drogue out off the windward quarter...
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Old 13-05-2013, 13:31   #44
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

Thanks, Ben, for taking the time to carefully think through the implications of the method.

Some piercing insights there, I reckon. The speed and accuracy of adaptation to a new wind direction is indeed an eye-opener...

It is also, as you surmise,a magic method for pickup of a person or object in the water, especially when only one person remains on board.

It's best to beam-reach on the final approach, then round up hard: if you have a brake or a tiller line rigged and ready, you can be heading for the lee chainplates with boathook or line before the boat has finished rounding up, and it will stay quietly hove to.
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Old 13-05-2013, 14:27   #45
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Re: Heaving To Under Main Only

I have a little Hunter 23.5 water ballasted boat and it will heave to with the headsail backwinded and reefed main OK but with a good bit of heel. I think I will experiment with your methods and see if the heel is reduced. My boat is like sailing a big dingy and so I occasionally like to take a rest when on a cruise of any length.

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