Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

Heaving-to- a simple skill that needs practice

by Grant Headifen, Nauticed on 15 Aug 2011
Hove-to - sometimes a safer more comfortable ride .. .
Have you ever had to heave to? If your answer is 'yes', then you will have been glad that you had practiced first. If the answer is 'no', now is the time to practice, BEFORE the need arises. Here Nauticed's Grant Headifen offers some great hints about the subject:

The books simply say to tack the boat and leave the headsail cleated to windward and turn the wheel all the way to windward (tiller to lee). While that’s correct, there are a lot more things to think about to pull it off correctly.

First, here are a few reasons you might want to heave to.

- Lunch, simply taking a rest,- and this is a great opportunity to practice!
- Storm Tactics and Reefing
- Man over board recovery
- Boarding by another vessel (safety inspection maybe)


What is Heaving-To?
When you are successfully hove-to, your sailboat will be in a stable situation with the mainsail and headsail still up. Your forward speed will be minimal and you’ll be sliding downwind slightly. This makes it an ideal strategy for the situations above. Essentially you’re under full sail but nearly stopped!

How Heaving-to works:
The mechanics of the heave-to situation is that the forward speed of the boat has dropped to a minimum because the head sail is back winded (aback) and the main sail has been eased out far enough to reduce nearly all of the forward driving lift on the sail.

The backwinded head sail creates a large turning moment on the boat to turn it downwind. As the boat turns downwind however the boat tends to pick up a little speed. As the boat picks up a little speed, the windward locked wheel causes the rudder to turn the boat back upwind, killing off the speed. It creates a little see-saw action. You can adjust the see-saw action by adjusting the set of the headsail, the mainsail, and the rudder angle.

Each boat will see-saw a little differently in differing wind conditions and due to the distances of the rudder and the headsail center of pressure positions around the hydrodynamic pivot point of the vessel. Once the boat is settled, by making small adjustments to the angle of the rudder, the amount the mainsail is eased, and by the 'depth' or flatness of the headsail, a skilled operator can make very useful adjustments to the exact way in which the boat is lying to the wind and seas. Practice practice practice! When that storm comes, you’ll be glad.

How to Heave-to:
Once you’ve got it down, you’ll enjoy having this little skill under your belt but you’ve got to practice it a few times.

1. To enter into a hove-to position, if practical, start out on a on a port tack with the headsail sheeted in tight.
2. Tack the boat slowly onto a starboard tack (bleeding off some speed while head-to-wind) but leave the headsail cleated (ie don’t tack the headsail).
3. Turn the boat so that you’re on a close reach (60 degrees off the wind) and let out the mainsail most of the way out so that it is luffing.
4. Now wait until the rest of the boat’s headway speed bleeds off. That’s the key part. If you turn the rudder to windward (the wheel to windward or the tiller to leeward) before the speed bleeds off, the momentum of the boat may carry it through another tack.
5. Once the speed has bled off, turn the rudder all the way to windward (wheel to windward or tiller to leeward) and lock it in that position (lashing the tiller).


Heaving-to in a Storm:
It’s really important to realize that this is a completely wise thing to do in a storm. With a huge caveat, make sure you have plenty of sea-room distance to leeward on the track of your hove-to reckoning, avoiding shoals, or the other hard stuff (like land!).

Heaving-to in a storm gives you and your crew a rest from the elements. And it can be a safer means of riding out a storm rather than trying to sail it out. The boat is in a completely stable position. You should probably lower or deeply reef the main or raise a storm trisail (very small mainsail) as well as a small headsail to reduce loads on the rig.

Finally, here's the part of hoving-to that is really cool – since the boat will be slipping sideways, a wake is left to windward. Any breaking waves hit this 'slick' and flatten out, thus reducing the wave action on your vessel. Now that’s really cool.


Using Heaving-to in a Man Overboard Situation:
Heaving to can be a very effective crew over-board recovery technique. The very moment the victim goes over the side you can crash tack the boat and go into a heave-to position. You must be sure that the victim is able to swim, that they did not sustain injury whist falling.

It’s your call on this one but it’s a technique not often taught and so isn’t considered in the panic but, it will keep you from getting too far away from your friend in the water which is clearly the biggest danger. Me? I’d still get the engines on.

On that topic, the biggest danger from turning on the engines they say is not chopping your friend up (you’re smart enough not to do that)is getting a line wrapped around the prop in all the panic. So just make that part of your 'engines-on' routine in crew over-board practice.

There you have it, you’re now a heave to expert in theory, but you won't be any expert at all until you've practiced it, and practiced it and practiced it again.

And while you’re out there practicing it, have fun. Or should it be the other way around?

For learning to sail online, there is no better place to go that www.nauticed.org!Nauticed! Try it now.

InSunSport - NZSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
D-Marin Farr 40 Zadar Regatta – Overall report
Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Those two top-notch programs have resumed their rivalry this week in the waters off this historic city along the Dalmatian coast.
Posted on 23 Sep
Impressive tow-in freestyle show on the water in Cold Hawaii
The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competitio The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competition as expected with light winds and small waves.
Posted on 21 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The hurricanes headed for Hawaii and Florida
The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The first of two hurricanes headed toward Hawaii lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, a tropical storm gained in strength and is now designated as a hurricane.
Posted on 4 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun