Heaving To

1. To finish on a starboard tack (main boom on the port side), start the exercise on a port tack.

2. Sheet in the main sail tight.

3. Tack the boat without letting the jib go.

4. You are now on a starboard tack and the jib is backwinded.

5. Turn your steering wheel all the way to windward (starboard) and lock it.

Don't forget that you will be making leeway, so make sure that you have plenty of room.


I've also done it with furled jib and mizzen, have never tried using the main. Not much in the way of leeway using this approach.

Tom Lix - (former owner)


I have done it with furled jib and mizzen, and it works quite well. I've tried heaving to with just the mizzen, using the wind to push the bow off the wind, and whell locked half-way into the wind. It works for awhile, but eventually, one way gets the better of the other. I suppose you could tie the mizzen boom slightly to windward, but again, it has to be balanced with the surface area of the bow.

Bob Gruber - Summerwind #5


Prior to heaving to I would probably be on jib and mizzen and once hove to, the jib can be furled to reduce leeway.

Gil Steinfort, DAYBREAK 122K

Mizzen and the rudder are enough for hoving to. If you have enough wind the boat will even move towards the wind.

Ahmet Celenoglu

Heaving-to is perhaps the most successful tactive for heavy weather sailing but each boat has certain idiosyncracies that dictate the settings. The ASWII will heave to very comfortably with just the mizzen. On Sea Quill I have three points at the stern for the mizzen sheet tackle; one is obviously centered and the remaining points are outboard and forward of the stern cleats, each mounted on the vertical coaming. I sheet the tackle (the lower block is mounted permanenetly on a snap shackle) to weather side and harden up the mizzen sheet. Lock the helm to windward and simply ride out the weather. This tactic has been very successfully employed several times in winds above forty knots. The bow holds an angle of between 60 and 75 degrees apparent.

If using the heave-to as a safe respite to prepare a hearty meal at sea and dousing sails is not the favored option; simply set the main traveler roughly amidship, sheet the mainsail hard, sheet in the headsail (to prevent the leech edge from sweeping the spreader tips) sheet in the mizzen and turn sharply up wind until the wind falls on the "wrong" sid of the jib. Depending upon what headsail you are under, some adjustment by slightly easing the jib sheet and testing the helm position will help you find the most comfortable ride. It generally saves the cook a lot of effort, cleanup and bruises. At 5-knot average for our boats, the 3 km. is hardly worth the effort and safety in the exchange.

Paul - Sea Quill


Heaving to is also most useful to (a) take a reef in the mainsail comfortably (Eric Tabarly died doing so without heaving to), and (b) retrieve anything by drifting to it: a man overboard or anything from a hat or gull feather to a floating aluminum hook or pole... with our beamy belly actually lifting the pole so you can pick it up by just extending your hand...

When the wind rises, a reef in the mizzen is also useful to balance the rolled up genny.

Bert dF - Pianissimo 80K

1681 Mar 17, 2002

To all,

Does anyone have real life experience heaving to with our SWII? If so, what sail combination did you find most effective? I always assumed a ketch would heave to with small jib and mizzen but a recent article in Cruising World advised using mizzen alone or reefed main and mizzen. What say you? I have to be able to provide a level platform for the cook at least once a day or itís mutiny.

Many thanks,

Gil and Judy Steinfort

1682 Mar 18, 2002

Jill & Judy,

We have on many occasions, sometimes just for fun, other times for cook and dinner, and other times because we had to just to survive.

A few suggestions, as not all vessels are the same.

1. Donít carry a inflatable on the foredeck, its much to much windage and you will not be able to get her hove to.

2. Carry a 10-12í cargo chute on a swivil, secure to a very large SS pulley block on the SS fitting on the bow. Run your anchor braid line through this block and extend out for about 200-300 feet. Next, place a snap shackle on this line and attach a 50í line on the snap shackle, lead to the main jib sheet winch and harden up until achieving a 50 to 60 degree angle off the bow. This in addition to the normal mizzen and storm jib backed will hold you in place.

Another tactic that can work wonders is to reef the jib entirely, two reefs in the main, and a single reef in the mizzen, set up the vessel for a 60 apparent wind and ride it out doing about 2 knots which is enough for the steering vane to handle the operation, then go below in safety. This requires a watch by radar which means the radar must be below along with other navigation gear.

Hope this helps, it saved our skins on one occasion in the Gulf of Mexico during a BOMB!

Don and Brenda Bundy

Mar 18, 2002

We have heaved to on many occasions...some just to stop and have lunch some to ride out a squall. We have done it with just jib and mizzen and with all three sails. We get the jib down to 100% or less so that it doesnít chafe on the spreaders (we have a reefable roller furling jib), pretend like we are coming about but donít uncleat any sails. We then tie or stop the wheel over and the boat comes to rest in a nice comfortable fashion making about 2 knots to leeward - depending on wind strength. In really heavy seas it would not be my first choice. But in moderate sea conditions its fine.


Silver Spray 101K

1691 Mar 20, 2002

I have only hove to in heavy weather, then I use the reefed mizzen as the only sail, eased a bit but held also with a vang. The helm is lashed, usually hard in a position to head upwind. I have no roller furler to cause windage, but do carry jibs in bags on the foredeck. A large sea may knock the bow a bit to leeward, but the boat comes back into a position about 50-60 degrees off the wind.

Dick Weaver SWII75K

1696 Mar 20, 2002

My apologies to all for my lengthy absence. Too much to do and just not enough time to do it in..... an old story I am certain.

Although Sea Quill will be in attendance at the GAM 2002 I fear that she will not be as complete as the original plan. Time and business seem to have stolen away the capability for our best intentions.

James, For a live-aboard I do suggest the hatch mounted air conditioner. Saves a lot of plumbing and ducting, not to mention the inevitable damage from condensation drainage that is not obvious with the built in unit.

Heaving to.... the mizzen alone, reefed, is very successful in higher winds, 35 - 60 kts. but I have found that almost any combination works under 35 kts. Just tack away and leave the sheets in place. Lash off the helm to provide the best angle (55-60) for comfort in the prevailing conditions.

My most comfortable successes in very high winds, given plenty of sea room, has been to run dead downwind, trailing long, center-weighted, warps and adjusting the warp length and weight to control the hull speed to under 5 kts.

1702 Mar 20, 2002

Agree with Compass, and also recommend practicing heaving to in any wind and sea to pick up MOB on the lee side: it protects the target and makes it easier to bring it aboard (lower freeboard and quieter motion).

This is the way we taught in tough Glenans water off Brittany (no engine aboard sloops, cutters and ketches), and I have practiced it on anything including a feather falling from a flying gull. It is particularly helpful when trying to pick up a floating spar, as the hull pushing down one end makes the other end lift up into your hand!

Bert dF 80K