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Old 18-07-2021, 09:01   #1
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Heaving to on a cat

I am looking for tips regarding the practice of heaving to on a catamaran.

I have read conflicting comments, and have read that one should not heave to on a cat. Short of heaving to, is there a recommended way to achieve the same benefits? Some cats have the self-tacking jibs, but these can be blocked to windward. Please share your experience with your set ups.


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Old 18-07-2021, 09:39   #2
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pirate Re: Heaving to on a cat

I have only hove to once on a Cat.. a Lagoon 440.
Mind it was only in 40kts but the 5metre sea's were coming from an awkward direction for my heading to the Azores and banging us about.
I centred the reefed main and furled the backed foresail down enough to keep the boat balanced.. the slamming and bouncing eased right off and became comfortable enough to relax, cook up some food and grab some sleep.
Unfortunately I was woken around 0600 to a loud flapping and juddering, went on deck and saw that the reefing block had torn loose from the luff resulting in the back end of the sail to flap wildly between second and third reef.
Most every other time the wind has pushed me in the general direction I wanted to go..
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Old 18-07-2021, 11:59   #3
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

OK, so centered the reefed main, backed the partially furled jib, and locked the wheel steering to windward, right?
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Old 18-07-2021, 12:51   #4
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pirate Re: Heaving to on a cat

About 2/3rds helm.. had to kinda rig up a lashing on the 440 as the locking nut would not hold and the rudders would go out of the line I'd set.
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Old 19-07-2021, 08:26   #5
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

Thank you boatman61. Anybody else?
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Old 19-07-2021, 08:45   #6
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

the point of heaving-to is the slow "falling-leaf" motion of the keel through the water sets up a vortex street to weather. this disrupts and causes the oncoming seas to "trip" thus relieving those loads on the boat. not sure how effective a technique it would be for the relatively keel-less cats.
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Old 19-07-2021, 08:52   #7
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I have only hove to once on a Cat.. a Lagoon 440.
Mind it was only in 40kts but the 5metre sea's were coming from an awkward direction for my heading to the Azores and banging us about.
I centred the reefed main and furled the backed foresail down enough to keep the boat balanced.. the slamming and bouncing eased right off and became comfortable enough to relax, cook up some food and grab some sleep.
Unfortunately I was woken around 0600 to a loud flapping and juddering, went on deck and saw that the reefing block had torn loose from the luff resulting in the back end of the sail to flap wildly between second and third reef.
Most every other time the wind has pushed me in the general direction I wanted to go..
How much main did you have out?
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Old 19-07-2021, 08:57   #8
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

Drogue.
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Old 19-07-2021, 09:00   #9
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Drogue.
Last resort...
But that boat did not have one.
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Old 19-07-2021, 09:14   #10
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pirate Re: Heaving to on a cat

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How much main did you have out?
It was 3rd reef, till the block ripped out.. the webbing that holds it to the luff failed.. went up to 2nd reef as a result and had to rebalanced the jib but luckily the wind eased and around midday we got sailing again.
Similar winds (40kts) in the Med between Cabo de Gato and Gibraltar, my destination, but just 1.5/2 metre sea's I just let her drift with the wind stern quarter to..
It was a Bali 4.5 and the slamming and shuddering convinced the owner his brand new boat would break. I did not want to lose ground overmuch so locked the helm after dropping everything and let her drift.. he wasn't happy about that either as he could see the lights ashore on the horizon to the N and was convinced we'd be blown ashore.
Showing the track on his B & G didn't help much, and when that crashed he freaked out..
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Old 19-07-2021, 09:38   #11
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

Done it plenty of times. And set up the "wake" to windward mentioned by robwilk37. Very comfortable, and the key to successful MOB retrieval, in my opinion, but that is another discussion.


Points to remember are that it's a good idea to roll up enough jib to keep the sail off the rig. Also, since the cat won't spill wind by heeling, it's doubly important to reduce sail. Different boats need the helm in different positions (some don't really care), so make sure you can secure it in that position, somehow. Try to coordinate with wave direction, by trying different helm positions.



Finally, since most cats have fractional rigs with large mains, and since they don't point quite as high, it is often possible to heave-to with only the main up. The main can be stalled to achieve the same effect. I have done this to sail sideways down the fairway between to lines of moorings.


But yes, cats can heave-to.
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Old 19-07-2021, 09:49   #12
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
It was 3rd reef, till the block ripped out.. the webbing that holds it to the luff failed.. went up to 2nd reef as a result and had to rebalanced the jib but luckily the wind eased and around midday we got sailing again.
Similar winds (40kts) in the Med between Cabo de Gato and Gibraltar, my destination, but just 1.5/2 metre sea's I just let her drift with the wind stern quarter to..
It was a Bali 4.5 and the slamming and shuddering convinced the owner his brand new boat would break. I did not want to lose ground overmuch so locked the helm after dropping everything and let her drift.. he wasn't happy about that either as he could see the lights ashore on the horizon to the N and was convinced we'd be blown ashore.
Showing the track on his B & G didn't help much, and when that crashed he freaked out..
Forgive my misunderstanding but when you say 3rd reef until the failure and then it went up to the second reef is that to say you had one reef in at the time the sail failed?
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Old 19-07-2021, 09:57   #13
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Re: Heaving to on a cat

I spent a year coastal cruising/live aboard on a 35' cat, 8000 miles in total. One night heaving-to became essential to help us pause and wait for daylight to enter the Chesapeake Bay (due to tide and weather conditions on the bay). It was extremely effective in our particular situation with an offshore breeze to gently float us out to sea. Jib was about one-third furled and back-winded, main well-reefed, traveler all the way out and "lashed" to leeward, helm positioned so the rudder is parallel with the back-winded jib. One doesn't need a keel for this to be effective on a cat, but if it only has dagger boards probably the windward board should be down. Balance the sails and helm until the boat's behavior settles in to the motion you want.


Beach cats use heaving-to as a typical technique when starting a race.
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Old 19-07-2021, 10:38   #14
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pirate Re: Heaving to on a cat

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Originally Posted by robwilk37 View Post
the point of heaving-to is the slow "falling-leaf" motion of the keel through the water sets up a vortex street to weather. this disrupts and causes the oncoming seas to "trip" thus relieving those loads on the boat. not sure how effective a technique it would be for the relatively keel-less cats.
I don't know, two hulls with a 4ft 3in+ draught seemed fairly effective to me though wave size will limit effectiveness as it grows.. but that's with all boats.
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Old 19-07-2021, 10:48   #15
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pirate Re: Heaving to on a cat

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Forgive my misunderstanding but when you say 3rd reef until the failure and then it went up to the second reef is that to say you had one reef in at the time the sail failed?
No... I had 3 reefs in then the reef block on the leech failed so the sail between 2nd and 3rd reef was freed and the result was the sail between the two reefs was flailing around so I had to either drop the main or go up to second reef and hope that block did not fail.
Dropping the main seemed the least safe option, it was bad enough climbing up to that stupid flybridge never mind trying to secure the main in 40kts +or - and 4-5metre cross sea's.
Hero to Zero is not my style..

Error in post #10.. I said luff when I meant leach.
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