Heaving To

Hi Steve, Regarding heavy weather sailing, I would appreciate your input regarding my boat. I have a 20-meter aluminum cutter-rigged sloop. The staysail is on a self-tacking track and I have a fin keel with a small wing. How would you best heave to with this set up? So far I’ve been able to manage with just the staysail in bad conditions but think it’s time that I learn other options. Thanks, Alan "Evolution"

Hi Alan: It is impossible to predict the right combination without being on the boat and seeing how she behaves. However, the basic principle is to have the main (or trysail) and some form of headsail fighting each other. My guess is with just the staysail set forward you would need a deeply reefed mainsail to balance against it. Position of the main on its traveler will also have an impact on how things work. And, of course, all this varies with sea state and wind strength! There is a pretty good section on heaving to in Surviving the Storm. Bottom line–experiment in moderate conditions to find the right combination. Regards–Steve PS-when you find what works drops us a line–we’d love to have some feedback.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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