Heaving-to in a Gale

More great writing from Karen Sullivan.

Sockdolager hove-to under storm trysail, 100 miles off the Oregon coast at the beginning of the gale.

Sockdolager hove-to under storm trysail, 100 miles off the Oregon coast
at the beginning of the gale.

Because a lot of people have asked us about the traditional way of “parking” your boat on the ocean, called heaving-to, and because so many have also asked, “Are you going to write a book about the voyage“, (and because I am writing one,) here is a compilation of story and technical information about heaving-to, from a couple of draft chapters and an appendix. We’ve also posted three videos. They are:

1. Sockdolager hove-to off the Oregon coast;
2. Sockdolager hove-to off New Zealand; and
3. A side-by-side split-screen comparison of conditions in the two videos.

We hope this post helps to answer some of those technical questions while also telling a story for our non-technical readers.

On July 22, 2011, we were hove-to 100 miles off the Oregon coast, waiting out a gale. We remained hove-to for 48 hours. Every so often a big wave collapsed squarely onto the windward side of the hull, punching us—BAM!—like a heavyweight prizefighter. It shoved the boat nearly onto her side. The first time it happened, Jim was bracing himself in the galley and I was laying in his settee bunk. At impact I tensed for a knockdown. Stay up, stay up, stay up! I beamed strength to the boat; the rolldown lost momentum at about 50 or 60 degrees off vertical. Then the heavy weight and leverage of Sockdolager’s keel began righting us. Ah, whew, we’re okay. But if these waves get any bigger, we won’t be.

story continues here

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