Heaving To When Sailing

The technique of heaving-to is to tack without releasing the jib sheet.  The jib will then fill backwards and push the bow downwind. The main is eased off so it is luffing completely.  By putting the rudder hard over to windward, the rudder and backed jib will balance the boat.  It becomes very stable and begins to slide sideways.  We were able to enjoy lunch without having to steer the boat, however, we still kept a lookout for other vessels and objects in the water such as crab traps and logs.

Heaving-to is useful when you want to take a fix, stop for a snack, attend to an injury or when reefing the main.  With the boat hove-to and the main eased, there is little or no pressure on the mainsail so reefing is relatively easy.  In heavy weather, the main would be completely down and furled and likely you would be using a storm jib.

By starting from a close reach on port tack, you will end up being hove-to on starboard tack and therefore will be the stand on vessel in most cases.  Just make sure the the jib sheet is eased far enough that the spreader is not pressing on the leach of the jib.

Heaving-to is one of the techniques I teach during private lessons.

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