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Old 19-10-2020, 00:44   #1
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Heaving-to myths.

All the advice on heaving-to tends to read:

"All you have to do is tack the boat without releasing the jib sheet and voila with a few adjustments to the mainsail and rudder you are hove to for heavy weather".

That is patently NOT true.

Doing that puts a huge point load on the upper shroud where the sheet has to stretch across it to the clew of the now back-winded jib.

That point load would be very dangerous in heavy weather to the rig. And not desirable in moderate conditions.

I can only conclude this heaving-to advice comes from those that don't actually do it. Or purposely leave out a bunch of other complicated steps that are necessary to accomplish it.

When we tried it recently on our Valiant Esprit 37 with a partially reefed 110% jib, I felt like the entire mast could come down with the jib sheet stretched bar tight high against the upper shroud. And even if you ignored that eventuality, the shroud would most likely saw through the sheet due to chafe riding out weather.

The only means to heave to must involve carefully running a second sheet (on a bucking, rolling, awash deck) inside the shrouds adjusting the jib sheet car accordingly, while at the same time trying to keep what is now two sheets on a flogging clew from whipping themselves furiously into macrame knot.

And to get going again you would have to laboriously undo this ad hoc solution of multiple sheets.

Comments? Better advice?

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Old 19-10-2020, 02:25   #2
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Sheet across an upper shroud? How can that happen? Even with a high cut jib or yankee I find it hard to visualise.
Diagram or picture please.
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Old 19-10-2020, 02:33   #3
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Over my decades of cruising I was always able to hide out during all the well predicted big storms as we were coastal cruisers. I think the "heaving-to" tactics are pretty much reserved for those making ocean passages. During the many squalls, storm fronts, and thunderstorms that pop up in Florida and the Bahamas the typical duration is from a half hour to maybe an hour at the most and, for these, our strategy was to drop everything with all tied and secure and motor at an rpm just enough to maintain our bow to the wind. After a brief time of maintaining our position, we would be back to comfortable sailing.

We are usually given about a three day warning for the big storms of long duration, so "heaving-to" is likely only a practice for those making long offshore passages.
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Old 19-10-2020, 02:39   #4
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Heaving-to Vs Trisail?
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Old 19-10-2020, 03:27   #5
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Sheet across an upper shroud? How can that happen? Even with a high cut jib or yankee I find it hard to visualise.
Diagram or picture please.


We have the same problem. Our jib sheets are outboard. Heaving to in the tradition manner lays the backwinded sheet against the rigging.

However our little ketch heaves to OK with only the mizzen and rudder. It’s not a great solution, but it works.....sort of.
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Old 19-10-2020, 03:34   #6
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Heaving-to will look different for every rig/hull combination. The desired effect is to keep the bows "weathervaned" into the wind, just off it on one tack or the other, at an angle which is comfortable for the boat to meet the seas with. So, somewhere between dead into it and broadside-to, but with the boat always returning to that bows-in position.
On a ketch or yawl, you can often simply sheet in the mizzen and drop all else. In heavy weather on my boat, I sheet the storm try'sl in tight, lash the helm alee, and go to bed.
With the mainsail full or reefed, I drop the headsails, sheet the main tight, and lash the helm alee. I've never needed a jib up to heave-to, and find the potential chafe unacceptable. The theory is that the main alone will make the boat tack back and forth, and a backwinded jib is necessary to keep the bows off. If your boat tends to do that, you need a much smaller jib to heave-to with, or possibly a staysail on a solent.
Still, try heaving-to without the jib at all and see your boat likes it. Try different rudder positions until the boat more or less behaves. Yours will behave differently than your neighbor's with a different hull shape and sail plan.
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Old 19-10-2020, 03:45   #7
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

A sea anchor.
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Old 19-10-2020, 03:46   #8
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Journeyman,

There are many videos and some great examples of this tactic online. The one that I might venture to recommend is Skip Novak's heavy weather series. It covers a range of tactics and is based upon a man who has spent 20+ years sailing in some of the harshest conditions on earth.

We have only heaved to once while at sea thus far, as we are not trans-ocean voyagers either, it was during a big slow thunderstorm when headed north up the east coast of FL. But I found my boat did not need the jib at all and our boat is a heavy displacement full keeler like your Valiant.
I tied the rudder to leeward and then slowly brought the mainsheet in, practically to midships until the the boat developed a good slick coming off amidships and the bow was 40 or so degrees off the wind drifting back and to leeward at about 1.5kn's.

We first practiced this maneuver and developed our boats particular strategy on Tampa Bay in 35-40kn of wind in order to have a feel for it in a more controlled manner.

Now when we practiced it with our C&C 27 a light weight fin keeler, she needed a scrap of jib to windward (tiny little piece of sail: MAYBE 30-50sqft), or she would sail up in the gusts and tack over. With the corner of our jib out- the bow would point up in gusts and de-power the main, but never risk a tack and then fall off and jog along at 1.5-2kn during the lulls.

So what I might suggest based on our trial and error is tie your rudder down and start with just the reefed down main alone. If she starts to sail up into the puffs- give her a tiny corner of your jib to windward to keep her head down.

John Kretchmer has a modified version of heaving to that keeps the bow pointing much closer to the wind than the classic heaving to- he calls it "Fore Reaching". Traditional heaving to was done by heavy displacement boats with keel configurations very different than todays medium or light displacement racer-cruisers. So you might look up his style as well. Once you get a broader understanding of the tactic, you might try again in more protected waters.

Sail Far Live Free - Relent to Water Wanderlust!: Heavy Weather Tactics: 5 Options for Sailing Through a Storm
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Old 19-10-2020, 04:05   #9
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
We have the same problem. Our jib sheets are outboard. Heaving to in the tradition manner lays the backwinded sheet against the rigging.



Against an upper shroud? i.e. above the spreaders?
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Old 19-10-2020, 04:36   #10
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

We heaved to for a couple of days (Super Maramu ketch) off Eastern Australia waiting for a depression to pass ahead of us. We decided which tack we would heave to on and then moved the windward sheet inside the rail to avoid chafe etc. When the wind speed dropped to 30 knots or so, we released the windward sheet allowing the formerly backwinded Jib / reefed Genoa to be set by the leeward sheet which had remained outside the rails as per normal. We then sailed close hauled or fore-reaching until the wind again had again increased above 30 knots at which time we went back to a heaved to position by releasing the tension on the leeward sheet and winching in the windward sheet that was still inside the railing and the Jib / reefed Genoa was again backwinded. Only had to go forwards once to run one jib sheet inside the railing.

We did have some mainsail up as well as mizzen and found that the ride was more comfortable with the side to side damping of these sails. Also radioed a “Securite” message every forty minutes or so to give our position and condition as “heaved to, not under command”.
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Old 19-10-2020, 04:49   #11
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Heaving-to myths.

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Against an upper shroud? i.e. above the spreaders?


No, against the uppers, the shrouds that extend from the deck to the masthead, vs the lowers the shrouds that extend from the deck to the midpoint of the mast.

Although to be absolutely correct, we’re discussing cap shrouds.
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Old 19-10-2020, 09:22   #12
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

well I’ll wade in here. my recollection of a seminar in Port Townsend by Larry and Lynn Pardee was that having some headsail up for heaving to dates from the days when gaff rigged boats were common. when you reef a gaff mainsail the center of effort moves aft hence the need for some sail forward to balance the rig. on a modern marconi sloop or cutter reefing the main moves the center of effort forward so some headsail can overbalance the rig. When we heave to on our double ender (think Valiant) we typically do so with one reef and no headsail. In the seminar the question was asked if that is just forereaching and My recollection is that Lynn said depending on the boat it is heaving to. My point is once we did not feel it necessary to deploy sail forward heaving to got much easier on our boat and how your boat responds could vary. The point is staying put slowly with a seakindly motion in nasty conditions or waiting out a passing system. Maybe you need some headsail maybe not.
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Old 19-10-2020, 10:02   #13
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

I heave-to often. Pearson 34. Backwind a tight foresail, release the mainsheet, lock helm to offset the foresail. Lunch, a break to change clothes, or a stop to use the head. Some adjustments to helm and main might be necessary. Jib and Genoa act different too. Individual to boat
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Old 19-10-2020, 10:21   #14
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
All the advice on heaving-to tends to read:


When we tried it recently on our Valiant Esprit 37 with a partially reefed 110% jib, I felt like the entire mast could come down with the jib sheet stretched bar tight high against the upper shroud. And even if you ignored that eventuality, the shroud would most likely saw through the sheet due to chafe riding out weather.
If you are hove to because of heavy weather, 110% is most likely too much sail. If you reef it down, and move the leads forward as much as it is reefed, then nothing should touch the shrouds.

If the leads are on the rail, then the lifelines might still be an issue.
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Old 19-10-2020, 10:30   #15
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Re: Heaving-to myths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie in WA View Post
well I’ll wade in here. my recollection of a seminar in Port Townsend by Larry and Lynn Pardee was that having some headsail up for heaving to dates from the days when gaff rigged boats were common. when you reef a gaff mainsail the center of effort moves aft hence the need for some sail forward to balance the rig. on a modern marconi sloop or cutter reefing the main moves the center of effort forward so some headsail can overbalance the rig. When we heave to on our double ender (think Valiant) we typically do so with one reef and no headsail. In the seminar the question was asked if that is just forereaching and My recollection is that Lynn said depending on the boat it is heaving to. My point is once we did not feel it necessary to deploy sail forward heaving to got much easier on our boat and how your boat responds could vary. The point is staying put slowly with a seakindly motion in nasty conditions or waiting out a passing system. Maybe you need some headsail maybe not.
I might (probably) am wrong, but I thought the backwinded jib not only balanced the boat, but provided drag. Such that the boat would come close to holding still over the water, instead of sailing forward. As such, if you hove to with the main only, you would be making way, and not be hove to.
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