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Old 14-05-2024, 20:26   #1
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Pearson 303 Heaving to

Hello! This summer I will be practicing heaving to for the first time in my 1983 Pearson 303. I understand the concept however, I have been hearing fin keel boats such as the Pearson 303 often take waves directly on the beam when heaving to creating an issue when in a storm with bigger seas. I was wondering if anyone has a Pearson 303 or similar boat who can give some advice on heaving to in bad weather. Thanks guys!
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Old 14-05-2024, 23:06   #2
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

You won't know how your boat will heave to until you do it. I have an Islander Bahama 30. She'll heave to at varying angles depending on whether the jib is all the way out, or partially furled, or whether the main is double reefed or completely lowered. Depending what the conditions are you might heave two in any of those configurations, or with a storm jib and/or trysail. You also will probably find that more than one configuration works in a given situation, more or less well. In short, expect to experiment a bit.
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Old 15-05-2024, 18:57   #3
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

Like Zach suggests, try it. Every boat is different. Some heave-to nicely, and for others it is dangerous (beam-on to the seas, as you said). When do you think you might need to heave to, and why would you be out in conditions that called for it? Good seamanship calls for avoiding nasty situations when you can, as well as for handling them when you can't. Newer designs are often better off with other approaches - perhaps trailing lines or drogues instead, or fore-reaching to maintain steerage and avoid damage to the rudder. Despite getting caught in bad weather - gales mid-Atlantic with 20' seas, Gulf Stream thunderstorms, 50-knot squalls on the Irish Sea,(with rain) and on Lake Superior (with half an inch of hail on deck in the 30 seconds before the wind swept it clean again) - I have yet to heave-to on any boat in more than 60 years of sailing. Haven't needed to.
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Old 15-05-2024, 22:07   #4
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Like Zach suggests, try it. Every boat is different. Some heave-to nicely, and for others it is dangerous (beam-on to the seas, as you said). When do you think you might need to heave to, and why would you be out in conditions that called for it? Good seamanship calls for avoiding nasty situations when you can, as well as for handling them when you can't. Newer designs are often better off with other approaches - perhaps trailing lines or drogues instead, or fore-reaching to maintain steerage and avoid damage to the rudder. Despite getting caught in bad weather - gales mid-Atlantic with 20' seas, Gulf Stream thunderstorms, 50-knot squalls on the Irish Sea,(with rain) and on Lake Superior (with half an inch of hail on deck in the 30 seconds before the wind swept it clean again) - I have yet to heave-to on any boat in more than 60 years of sailing. Haven't needed to.
I find it useful when single handling to grab something to eat, use the head, reef, etc. I've never had to do it because of conditions.
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Old 15-05-2024, 22:28   #5
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

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Originally Posted by SVKraken View Post
Hello! This summer I will be practicing heaving to for the first time in my 1983 Pearson 303. I understand the concept however, I have been hearing fin keel boats such as the Pearson 303 often take waves directly on the beam when heaving to creating an issue when in a storm with bigger seas. I was wondering if anyone has a Pearson 303 or similar boat who can give some advice on heaving to in bad weather. Thanks guys!
Indeed, different boats, different tactics that work. In your case I would start fooling with heaving to in moderate conditions, with various sail plans. As you sort out the boat's responses to your experiments, move them up to more sporty conditions... but still not storm strength. Rinse and repeat until your confidence is adequate.

I suspect that she will behave reasonably well whilst hove to, for I was able to do so in my Yankee 30 some years ago with storm jib and deeply reefed main.Those designs are somewhat similar and should yield similar results.

And it is a worthwhile skill to have, even if you never need it in anger. As mentioned upthread heaving to is a simple and reliable means of "parking" briefly to accomplish various tasks on board. Highly recommended, even if others scoff at the idea!

Jim
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Old 16-05-2024, 05:58   #6
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

The P303 has a fairly low aspect, chubby fin, so it shouldn't be as fussy as some designs are about heaving to. I've sailed on one, but never had a reason to heave to.

Particularly if you're sailing it in higher winds, give some thought to sail inventory on that boat. The couple of P303s locally had 150 genoas on them, but once a friend bought one of the boats, we figured out pretty quickly that it sails far better with a 110 on the furler. The "all purpose" 150 with big foam luff blocks and heavy cloth was generally a terrible sail for the boat. By the time there was enough wind for the heavy sail with aerodynamically compromised fat luff to work, the boat was already becoming overpowered and heeling excessively, causing bad weather helm. Swapping to the 110 was like sailing a whole new boat.

In 12+ kts the boat was generally faster with the 110 and it was much better behaved. Mid teens on a beam reach got the boat to hull speed. Off the wind, it made more sense to fly the asym than to swap sails on the furler. By the time it's too windy to use the asym, the 110 is adequate. Upwind in light air is the one time a bigger genoa would be beneficial, but considering the P303 already doesn't point super high and isn't a rocket upwind, it should be a lighter sail with no foam luff that's meant for light air work, not an "all purpose" sail meant to be used partially furled.
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Old 16-05-2024, 09:21   #7
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

Hello Kraken,

I had a 1983 303 for many years. A very nice coastal cruising boat. Sorry, I never had occasion to heave to (I probably should have tried it).

As said by others above, the boat does not like to pinch, and will develop weather helm pretty quickly if overpowered. I'm in a light air area (for the most part). Our genny was smaller than a 150, but bigger than a 110. Big enough to get us moving when the breeze got above 5 kn or so, but ok up to 15 or so without furling (or higher if off the wind).

The boat is easy to work on, everything is right there in front of you. Changing out the water heater was a piece of cake, unlike many much larger boats.

Hope you enjoy yours as much as I did mine!
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Old 16-05-2024, 09:43   #8
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVKraken View Post
Hello! This summer I will be practicing heaving to for the first time in my 1983 Pearson 303. I understand the concept however, I have been hearing fin keel boats such as the Pearson 303 often take waves directly on the beam when heaving to creating an issue when in a storm with bigger seas. I was wondering if anyone has a Pearson 303 or similar boat who can give some advice on heaving to in bad weather. Thanks guys!
Water is stronger than wind. All boats take on water that drives the bow down in rough weather, ending up in a trough and beam to the seas. Fin keels are worse for this but we all have to deal with it at some sea state. For lunch in minimal sea state you can probably heave to calmly.
The Pardee's wrote a whole book on trying to heave to in rough weather adding a bridle and sea anchor.
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Old 28-05-2024, 09:09   #9
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Re: Pearson 303 Heaving to

If a boat presents stern to the seas when “heaving to” or “hove to” then it’s not safe to let it ride. But beam to the seas or nearly so is “normal.” The hove-to configuration w/back-winded headsail and helm up is supposed to keep the bow “up”, and not tack the boat, etc. Yes, a proper keel shape is needed to help the bow stay “up.” The P303 has the correct keel shape and should heave-to. The yachts that do not, likely you’ve been told about, have narrower (fore-aft) keels and usually a flatter bottom than the P303, and tend to fall off the wind and put the stern to the seas. Try it for yourself. Go sailing, come close hauled, then put the bow through the eye of the wind but do not tack the headsail; i.e. backwind the headsail. Fix the helm up (toward windward). Ease the mainsail some. Boat should lie mostly abeam the wind and seas with some “wobble”, and make gradual leeway while moving forward some. If the bow blows down, your headsail might be too big. This seems to work best with a working jib (#3). After getting your adjustments right, get out there in 15 kt and try it again.

As for water coming aboard, you might experiment using a “weather cloth” which might mitigate. It’s a canvass “panel” lashed to the stanchions and life lines.
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