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Old 14-04-2016, 19:59   #1
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Hoving To

Hi All
My wife and I recently bareboat chartered a 343 Beneteau in the BVI's. I met a gentleman and we got talking sailing. I mentioned to him how I practised a heave to and that the boat didn't really settle in to the manuevre. Well he went on to tell me how dangerous heaving to can be. I was astonished...I am under the impression that Heaving to is a safe manuevre. I welcome any comments on this subject. Thanks in advance.
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Old 14-04-2016, 20:12   #2
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Re: Hoving To

Did he explain why he thought it was dangerous? They teach it in all the ASA classes. I guess if you were to heave to in a heavy traffic area and go take a nap, that could be dangerous.
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Old 14-04-2016, 20:20   #3
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Re: Hoving To

It is not a dangerous sailing tactic, in fact for those boats capable it is quite handy. If the seas start to break its time for other tactics but heaving to has been used for many many years as a passive way to deal with large seas while waiting for better weather. Its not used as much these days as modern fin keel boats cant actually heave to like the long full keels of the past. The long keeled boats could actually stop their forward motion and drift sideways downwind leaving a slick in their wake. Modern fin keel, spade rudder boats can fore-reach at slow speeds and while this is not as effective as being fully hove to it does work just fine for breaks in heavy sailing to make lunch or reef sails so its still a very good tactic to learn. Sometimes in heavy weather slowly fore reaching with the engine on at slow speeds has been used quite effectively. There now go and have a talk with your sailor friend that thinks its dangerous.
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Old 14-04-2016, 20:25   #4
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Re: Hoving To

To put it politely, the gentleman is seriously mistaken. There is nothing at all, in any way inherently dangerous about heaving to. Perhaps in some specific circumstances (like off a lee shore) or possibly if the winds are so strong as to require running off under bare poles or similar survival tactics then heaving to could be dangerous.

Under normal sailing conditions it's a great way to stop for a bit, minimize the motion of the boat to rest, cook, do repairs, etc. Also a good storm tactic unless conditions are extreme.
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Old 14-04-2016, 20:33   #5
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Re: Hoving To

I'd be interested to hear why he thinks this. Heaving to is really helpful when you're shorthanded sailing and need to make a repair at sea. We also teach is in all of the Learn to Sail courses at J World. I could see if you heave to in current, upstream of an island having some issue...but it's a safe and controlled maneuver in my opinion!
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Old 14-04-2016, 20:35   #6
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Re: Hoving To

Heaving to is an ancient maneuver that's been around for just about as long as boats have had sails. I don't think there is anything dangerous about it as long as it's used at the proper time and place - just like jibing or tacking must be done at the proper time and place. Some boats lend themselves to heaving to easier than others and sometimes you have to experiment and/or get to know a boat before you can make her heave to properly.

I once got very upset with a well- known weather forecaster on the west coast of the US because he was making fun of a boat that had chosen to heave to in order to get some needed rest as they had been battling 40-knot winds for days. He accused them of being scared (which perhaps they were) but he went on to say that the only time a boat should heave to was if they were in danger of pitch-poling. I was so angry that I wrote the net manager and complained. Not only was this 'knowledgable' individual wrong but his taunting of a captain and crew dealing with heavy weather was the poorest of form.

Fair winds and calm seas
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Old 14-04-2016, 21:27   #7
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Re: Hoving To

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Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
Heaving to is an ancient maneuver that's been around for just about as long as boats have had sails. I don't think there is anything dangerous about it as long as it's used at the proper time and place - just like jibing or tacking must be done at the proper time and place. Some boats lend themselves to heaving to easier than others and sometimes you have to experiment and/or get to know a boat before you can make her heave to properly.

I once got very upset with a well- known weather forecaster on the west coast of the US because he was making fun of a boat that had chosen to heave to in order to get some needed rest as they had been battling 40-knot winds for days. He accused them of being scared (which perhaps they were) but he went on to say that the only time a boat should heave to was if they were in danger of pitch-poling. I was so angry that I wrote the net manager and complained. Not only was this 'knowledgable' individual wrong but his taunting of a captain and crew dealing with heavy weather was the poorest of form.

Fair winds and calm seas
Seems pretty light compared to what goes on in these sailing forums from time to time
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Old 14-04-2016, 22:12   #8
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Re: Hoving To

I'm surprised a B343 would heave to in the classic sense. On my B456, backing even the tiniest scrap of jib would result in the boat falling way off the wind. It was fairly stable with the jib completely furled.
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Old 15-04-2016, 07:39   #9
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Re: Hoving To

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I'm surprised a B343 would heave to in the classic sense. On my B456, backing even the tiniest scrap of jib would result in the boat falling way off the wind. It was fairly stable with the jib completely furled.
Don--

Considering the amount of windage in a furled larger headsail, and particularly so if one has a large J, it is not surprising that one could heave too reasonably well with the headsail sail entirely furled, a hard sheeted main with a single reef hauled to weather with the traveler, and the helm put up and locked in place. Our boat will lay quietly in such configuration slowly working her way across the wind. On a long hard beat in crappy weather, it is a convenient way to take a break for food and rest.

FWIW...
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Old 15-04-2016, 07:50   #10
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Re: Hoving To

From my experience of heaving to, depending on the waves, the boom was flopping freely. Could be dangerous. Maybe that is what he is referring.
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:03   #11
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Re: Hoving To

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Originally Posted by misterissippi View Post
From my experience of heaving to, depending on the waves, the boom was flopping freely. Could be dangerous. Maybe that is what he is referring.
Could you elaborate, maybe the kind of boat or keel and how you sheeted the main and jib that gave you problems with the boom.

When I learned to heave to I would keep the main sheet tight and the sail filled and never had a problem with the boom bouncing around.

My last boat was a modified fin that pointed pretty well and I never did get it to heave to or even achieve a stable fore reaching configuration. Interested in seeing how my Pearson manages the process.
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:05   #12
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Re: Hoving To

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Originally Posted by misterissippi View Post
From my experience of heaving to, depending on the waves, the boom was flopping freely. Could be dangerous. Maybe that is what he is referring.
Don't understand, hard on the wind in 25 plus knots booms are usually quite steady
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:23   #13
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Re: Hoving To

Never thought being hard on the wind with a tight sheeted reefed main would be considered hove to.

I've only done it to take a break, not a storm. Backwinded headsail, released fully the boom, and helm locked to weather. Results in less than a knot with wind just ahead of the beam.

If I adjust the helm just a bit off full lock, the bow will fall off and the boat all but stop and drift downwind. But it's a fine balance to that or falling off completely and running with. So I settle for a slow forereach.
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Old 15-04-2016, 08:35   #14
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Re: Hoving To

It is a 100% safe technique when conditions allow. That is most of the time.

It can be a disaster in breaking seas that can overturn the boat. The smaller the boat, the worse the seas, the more risky it gets and sooner.

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Old 15-04-2016, 08:41   #15
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Re: Hoving To

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Never thought being hard on the wind with a tight sheeted reefed main would be considered hove to.
Well on the older long keeled boats it was common to have a main sheeted hard to center and a small jib backwinded and the rudder locked to windward. The main would try to drive the boat to windward and it would stall and the jib would bring it back to leeward. It would continue like this back and forth a bit about 45 or so degrees off the wind which would never allow the waves to strike the boat on the beam. As others have experienced new boats will not hove to in the traditional sense but they can be set in such a way that they slowly fore reach. Not as good as being hove to but good enough for most uses. The important thing to know is that all boats are different and what a number of sailors are finding out is that a backwinded jib is to much sail and often they can fore reach slowly on just a reefed main and the rudder hard over. In some cases you don't need a fully hard over rudder so each sailor has to take his boat out in winds of 25 or so knots and experiment to find out what works.
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