Dear Steve & Linda: I have a NONSUCH 30, and would like to know if you have any comments about modifying your storm tactics for a catboat rig. The large forward mast makes it nearly impossible to stay into a heavy wind…and heaving-to is not an option. At anchor, as would be with a sea-anchor, the boat wanders at right-angles to a heavy wind. While I thankfully haven’t had to try it in heavy seas, I have found that anchoring off a stern corner keeps the boat headed downwind pretty steadily…of course it causes extra windage, and makes the cockpit area a wet and windy place. I am eagerly looking forward to studying your book…overcoming anxiety is worth a lot in being able to think through a stressful situation…and your spouse having greater confidence in you and the boat is PRICELESS!
Hi Byron: Between the wide beam of your boat, and all of that windage on the bow, I’m not sure there is a “proper” answer for heavy weather. You might think about – and experiment with – some form of drogue off the stern. Perhaps a Jordan Series Drogue, but you would have to make sure the cockpit had big drains and the companionway was heavily built as you’d probably have breaking seas sweeping you from the stern. Another approach that might be worth a try would be to fly some sail area off the stern. Maybe a free-flying riding sail, using the main halyard (I assume you have no standing backstay). You could test this out by borrowing a storm jib from a 30-footer (or thereabouts), tacking it to the stern, hoisting it with the main, and sheeting it hard to somewhere on the boom. If this helps to settle the boat down at anchor, then it will also help if you are lying to a parachute. Keep in mind that not all boats are good for heavy weather – in fact most are not. The design/construction tradeoffs are made for the way they are used 99% of the time – and there is nothing wrong with this approach – as long as you understand the limitations, and are cautious with when and where you sail. If you find a good solution, let me know. Steve