Heave to ?

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  • 04 Mar 2018 01:13
    Reply # 5887852 on 5734568

    My ruminations (and that is all they were) about setting a storm jib were not to use it for heaving to (a panel or two of the junk sail are the best option for that), but only for jogging downwind with warps streaming astern, to help keep the boat from broaching, to keep the bows pointing downwind.  As I said in my previous post, it is a technique that has been used by many veteran sailors, including Robin Knox Johnston on Suhaili. But of course they all had forestays to hank the sail onto.  Which is why I suggested hoisting it backwards.  It would be easier to sheet in than a conventionally rigged sail, as the clew would stream downwind.  The main difficulty would be in hoisting it and lacing the luff to the mast.  You'd have to hoist it stopped, that is brailed, with weak wool stops, or elastic bands if you are an environmental vandal, the way spinnakers are sometimes hoisted.  Once the sail is hoisted, and attached to the mast, you go aft and haul on the sheet, breaking it out.  You'd only need one sheet.  The sail would press against the sail bundle forward of the mast at times, but that should be ok.  To drop it you would let the halyard go first, then release the sheet once it was down.  The sail is sheeted flat, fore and aft, not out to one side.

    But would I bother doing it?  Perhaps not.  Even with careful preparation and a pre-rigged sheet, one would have to spend some time on the foredeck.  The traditional way to do it with junk rig is to square out the furled bundle, which will probably work just as well without any effort!  You would use the foresail's bundle, if schooner rigged.  Being so far forward it should work fine, but make sure to lash the bundle first, to avoid a fan up, which is what happened to Easy Go some years ago when she was running in this fashion.  With a single-masted junk, you could just place the bundle amidships or in the gallows, and run under the windage of the mast alone, given how far forward it is.  On the gaff schooner, Ishmael, in 1980, we ran for 18 hours at 6-7 knots under bare poles.  We were hand steering, but probably should have put out our drogue to slow down a bit.  We were  too tired, and working the deck in 30ft seas, with sets of 50ft coming through, was hair-raising.  The foredeck was the last place I would have wanted to be on.  I'd prefer my JSD, suitable strengthened as previously discussed, solid washboards and a good book.

    Last modified: 04 Mar 2018 09:24 | Anonymous member
  • 04 Mar 2018 00:44
    Reply # 5887851 on 5734568
    Deleted user

    Dear Annie. Yes, my dream boat is wood, and rounded all over, but

    I am not rich and I do not yet have hundreds of hours

    so I will go with the plastic !  I keep searching but it seems

    that the bilge keel has so many advantages so now I have

    two imperatives :)

  • 03 Mar 2018 23:23
    Reply # 5887774 on 5886070
    Raymond Liljeros wrote:

    I might end up in Corsica or Ibiza !

    Well, there are worse places, and in a few days, the wind might change and blow you back!

    To find a junk rigged boat that cheap, not easy, but sometimes one can be lucky.

    When alone, the junk rig must be a hugh safety factor.

    Actually, there are a number of reasonably-priced junks for sale in the UK and I remember Robin having a Challenger 35 on his books for ages, which was going for a good price.  (I think it was in Spain).

    And, of course, you could give up being practical, go for the dream and buy Ancient One - and you'd already be half way round the world :-)

  • 03 Mar 2018 00:49
    Reply # 5886070 on 5734568
    Deleted user

    Thank you David, you are right, I am reading lots of things about when things get bad, perhaps a bit to early in my sailing carrer. Today I do not have the 40 000 euros but will in about 4 years from now so I prepare by reading, BUT much better would it be to sail again and until I have the money I could easily get a smaller 26 footer sailboat for 5000 and start to train myself, going out when it is the gale is blowing, onto the beach,  otherwhise I might end up in Corsica or Ibiza !

    To find a junk rigged boat that cheap, not easy, but sometimes one can be lucky.

    When alone, the junk rig must be a hugh safety factor.

  • 01 Mar 2018 21:01
    Reply # 5884288 on 5734568

    Having come from a multihull background my ultimate defense in a real survival storm situation would be a parachute sea anchor. I rode out two very severe storms in my Searunner trimaran using a 6 meter diameter parachute anchor from the bow, on a 200 meter nylon warp. The boat sat reasonably comfortably just riding over the waves. Of course the reason a parachute sea anchor is used on a multihull is that by sitting head to the seas the risk of capsize is minimised. I have also carried a parachute sea anchor when crossing oceans on monohulls, but so far have not had to use it.

    When recovering the parachute I used my main sheet winch to retrieve the line, and then had a short length of line on a small buoy coming off the top of the parachute which I grabbed with the boat hook which allows the parachute to be collapsed and hauled on deck. Probably a lot easier though to do with the spacious deck area of a multihull rather than on the confined deck area of a monohull.

    Last modified: 01 Mar 2018 21:07 | Anonymous member
  • 01 Mar 2018 19:12
    Reply # 5884084 on 5734568

    Setting a storm jib back to front??? I would have to be convinced, first, whether it was actually possible, in any serious amount of wind, before I would spend any time thinking about whether it was a good thing to do.

    The thing is, Raymond, that with junk rig, we already have something that is better than a storm jib. We don't have to wrestle with a difficult, sometimes fearsomely dangerous sail, flogging wildly and noisily. I've only ever set one in about Force 7, and that was bad enough, kneeling on the foredeck getting soaked and bruised.

    Both Seraffyn and Taliesin are heavy, long keeled boats, and behave in a different way from any boat that you're going to be able to buy and equip on a €40,000 budget. You should really aim for a classic cruiser from the '60s to '80s.

    Both Seraffyn and Taliesin are heavy, long keeled boats, and will be able to heave to comfortably lying at 45 degrees to the wind, when modern boats won't. So the Pardey's method is possible and reasonably comfortable with those boats, when it isn't with other boats. The parachute sea anchor off the bow is a fearsomely difficult thing to deploy and recover, whether or not a line is taken further aft to cause the boat to lie at 45 degrees.

    Raymond, if I may give you this advice: at this stage of your cruising career, these are matters that are too far out of reach up your learning curve, to be worth considering just yet. Get yourself a good, middle of the road, sound, strong cruiser, and set to work at learning all the everyday parts of the cruising life. In doing that, you will be equipping yourself for handling the more difficult parts, when (rarely) they come along.

  • 01 Mar 2018 19:02
    Reply # 5884077 on 5734568
    Deleted user

    One of the appealing traits for a JR is that, if you choose to rig it this way, there's no reason to go forward on a pitching, rolling deck in heavy seas to change storm canvass. A storm jib negates that.  I would exhaust every other balance option on my boat before giving up such a major advantage.

    Last modified: 01 Mar 2018 19:03 | Deleted user
  • 01 Mar 2018 18:34
    Reply # 5884052 on 5734568
    Deleted user

    Dear Graham and David and everyone else that participate here.

    Graham wrote :

    I have spent some time thinking about how one could rig a similar sail on a junk rigged yacht.  Perhaps the storm jib's luff could be laced to the mast and it could be hoisted on the spare halyard, with the clew led forward to the bows ?

    Did anyone try that ?  It seems the perfect solution for heaving to with a junk rig.

    Did anyone here read the book : Lin and Larry’s Storm Tactics ?

    They write at leangth about putting out a sea anchor off the seaward beam,

    and state with lots of input from others sailors in heavy storms that have tried this

    that "heaving to" with a sea anchor creates a slick that creates a space 

    for the boat where no waves breake behind the sea anchor where it boat is. 

    Is there anyone who uses this method ?

    Larry and Lin and other forum's also write also at length about the dangers

    of running in a storm and another comment from their book that makes sense

    to me is that if you heave to, the storm will stop sooner than if you run

    with the storm so as to say.

  • 01 Mar 2018 01:00
    Reply # 5882999 on 5881209
    David Tyler wrote:

    Graham, I don't feel any contradiction here! I was trying to say, earlier, that in a "yachtsman's gale", Force 6 - 8, heaving to can be a useful technique. I think we agree, though, that it's the sea state that matters, not the wind strength. A 50 knot squall in flat water can be tough sailing, but not dangerous. 30 knots of wind that is opposed by a current, putting up big steep seas, can be very dangerous.

    The only time that I was knocked down in Tystie, in the South Atlantic, the wind was less than gale force, but had changed direction rapidly, and I suspect that there were some ocean currents involved as well, so that the seas became steep and confused. In such conditions, there is not one straightforward answer. Have a look at this recent account of a very similar encounter with confused seas, again with no easy answer:


    In such cases, heaving to certainly isn't the answer, and in my case a drogue wouldn't have helped.

    Yes I think we are on the same wavelength, David, to make a dreadful pun!  Thanks for the link, it made very instructive reading.  The failure of the JSD is sobering.  I assume there was degradation in the warp, or the splice was faulty, or it wasn't heavy enough for the ship's displacement.  Also interesting that he ran off dead downwind under bare poles afterwards without further incident, which reinforces your point. 

    My friend, Barry Lewis, son of the late Dr David Lewis, left Sydney mid-January for the Mediterranean, via Cape Horn and the Falklands, aboard his 13m alloy sloop, Risky Business.  A cyclone came barrelling down through the Tasman to the South Island of NZ a few days later.  There were 20m waves off the west coast of the South Island, but Barry was much further west, and only had 4m seas on the beam and about 35 knots of wind.  He took the main down just before sunset, because he was going too fast, and continued beam reaching with just a scrap of jib.  He felt perfectly secure, so went for a nap.  He woke when the boat was knocked down to about 150 degrees.  He didn't lose his mast but suffered some other damage and changed course for Opua which put the seas on the quarter.  Risky Business must have been struck by a random, bigger sea, because, even after the knockdown, the general sea-state was quite manageable.  He hadn't even considered putting out his JSD.  He's now going to go via Torres Strait, because it is going to be too late for Cape Horn when he gets going again.

    These borderline conditions are often the worst.  If you put out the JSD every time it got windy you'd never get anywhere.  Also, if the wind is free, there is a reluctance to stop the ship and heave to.  I remember Tystie's knockdown in the South Atlantic, in similar circumstances.  I bought a JSD because I am uncomfortable with running off alone in a rising sea, unless I am near the helm, which is impossible to do continuously on a long passage.  If you run off in a rising gale without a drogue, while sleeping below, sooner or later, it seems to me, a beastie is going to get you.

    So, perhaps heaving to initially makes sense, if you are short-handed, until the wave crests start coming aboard, then either run off square or deploy the JSD. (And pray the cross-seas don't get you!)  But even heaving to does not guarantee anything.  A friend of mine was hove-to once in a moderate gale (once again in that nasty old Tasman Sea) when his ship was struck by a huge wave.  It crushed his dinghy, broke the lashed tiller, and knocked him down to about 80 degrees.  Water spurted in through every closed aperture and he reckoned the ship was buried in the sea for a few minutes.  But he had a strong, seaworthy ship, with small ports and solid hatches, and quickly sorted things out.  (I don't like windows in a seagoing boat, but then I am an old-fashioned sailor.) 

    Then he ran downwind with his storm jib sheeted flat amidships to keep the head off, and every spare warp aboard trailing out astern.  I have often thought about this tactic, which a number of people have used successfully, including Robin Knox-Johnston  on Suhaili.  I have spent some time thinking about how one could rig a similar sail on a junk rigged yacht.  Perhaps the storm jib's luff could be laced to the mast and it could be hoisted on the spare halyard, with the clew led forward to the bows?  It might be best to hoist it stopped with light wool, like a spinnaker, then break it out with the sheet after hoisting.  It would mean going on deck in what would be nasty conditions, but any seaman has to be prepared to do that occasionally.  Even junk rigs sometimes require attendance on deck.  Roger Taylor kept amusing statistics about his deck sorties, labeling them voluntary or mandatory.   There were a lot less of them, of course, than with any other rig.  The JSD, with its significant pulling power, seems to do the job without needing this sort of sail. 

    There is always going to be an element of doubt about what tactics to deploy in heavy weather, and an element of luck, given the random nature of the sea, but most seaworthy boats will survive.   The crew is likely to be the weak link.  I am not sure these days if I am capable of coping with a serious gale at sea.

    Last modified: 01 Mar 2018 01:11 | Anonymous member
  • 28 Feb 2018 15:01
    Reply # 5881598 on 5734568


    I, off course, completly agree with what was said. May I add that the sea state is not a constant. There is once upon a time a wave much bigger than the others "a rogue wave" or "une vague scelerate" (in French).

    I would recommand Michel Olagnon's book "Anatomie curieuse des vagues scélérates" translated into English by Roger Taylor "Rogue waves : Anatomy of a monster". It's short, brilliant and funny !!!

    Offshore, it is that potential rogue wave, and not the mean sea state, that should be taken into consideration.


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