Author Topic: SunCat heave-to  (Read 516 times)

Offline DanM

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SunCat heave-to
« on: August 31, 2016, 11:05:47 PM »
 I'd like to know about strategies for heaving-to in a SunCat. I searched the forum and the last discussion was 2009 and kind of inconclusive. Anyone have any more recent experiences or insights?

Offline Jon898

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 08:12:57 AM »
If you go to the Picnic Cat section, I posted a link two years ago to a manual on cat boats that mentions this subject.  That may help:

http://cpyoa.geekworkshosting.com/forum/index.php?topic=7604.0

Basically, you just let go of everything.  Depending on the hull shape, you may need to play with the centerboard a bit.

Jon

Offline BruceW

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 08:23:55 AM »
I got instructions from the Menger page; don't know if that still exists, but you do let things go to lee. I bungeed the tiller to lee also, and did fiddle with the centerboard.
Bruce Woods
Raleigh: WR 17
New Bern: CP 23

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2016, 09:06:44 AM »
DanM,

The purpose of heaving to is to get the boat to stabilize lying perpendicular to wind and waves. The benefit is that as the vessel drifts down wind it leaves it's own area of calm water in its' wake, therefore minimizing the chance of a big wave boarding the boat. The process also provides a relatively calm respite from challenging weather, by way of a controlled stop and smoother ride for your boat. I have heard some descriptions of the process as what I would consider a kind of slow scalloping rather than a complete stop, this is not a true heave-to. A true heave-to is accomplished on a sloop by backing the jib, hard sheeting the main to centerline and fixing the tiller to leeward. The main tries driving the vessel forward but is countered by the backwinded jib. The "downed " tiller prevents the vessel from bearing off to leeward. A typical sloop will balance surprisingly nice, but some atypical sail plans aren't as cooperative. My trimaran for example, had a very big mainsail and relatively small jib and wouldn't stop making headway because of the greater influence of the main. It would balance precariously but wouldn't come to a complete stop. Conveniently, a trimaran doesn't ordinarily need to heave-to, but I had to experiment. I have also tried the process on a Suncat without success. There is no jib to counter the forward thrust of the main. The best I could achieve was to ease the sail all the way out and drift beam to. I did this to get a reef in the main, and it was an exercise for a gymnast.  It's one way of stopping the boat without lowering the sail but doesn't provide all the benefits of a true heave-to. The main benefit you will be lacking is that in a true heave-to situation the sails provide a significant dampening of the rolling motion. Luckily the designers of these boats have centuries of accumulated experience to call upon, and the results are built into the design. Wide beam, flat bottom, and ballasted keel all contribute to a very high degree of form stability or, the boat's resistance to being capsized.  The gaff rig and long boom bring the sail's center of effort lower to reduce the wind's ability to tip the boat. Small cat boats are designed  to be a daysailor as either a work or pleasure craft and don't ordinarily require the versatility of a more developed sail plan.

So long story short: use your boat within the design purpose and understand her limitations as well as strengths and you will come to respect her for her virtues. Vessels that come from Hutchins are proven designs and when sailed properly behave superbly. They aren't generally the fastest or the most weatherly, but they will provide safe and reliable sailing. Your Suncat is analogous to a Smart car, and I wouldn't recommend you drive one of those in a NASCAR race, so avoid venturing into weather that is beyond your comfort zone. Your Suncat will keep you safe but the rest is up to you.

Enjoy the things she was built to do best: extremely simple rigging at the launch ramp, a comfortable and safe ride for the family, and simplicity of sailing. With a cold beer in hand, you should come away from your day's adventure on the water with a smile on your face - PRICELESS.
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline DanM

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 12:45:39 PM »
Thanks for the responses re: heaving-to.  I was out the other day in mild breeze, 4-5 mph I guess, and tried, as suggested, just letting go of sail and tiller. The boat does indeed just settle down broadside to the wind. I tried it with the board both up and down. With the board down, it came to rest pointed up a bit more. Will have to try it in more wind.
  The boat is lovely- we were sailing 3-up on our lake today in winds 12-15 and the she sailed really flat and solid feeling. We're not super-sailors…. in our last boat, a Sea Pearl 21 (kind of the opposite of a Sun Cat) that would have been a nail biter for us… on the Suncat it was a walk in the park. Love it.
  By the way, some people at our sailing club have become intrigued with these boats. Anyone know of any leads on a used Sunday Cat or Open Suncat? (especially in the Northeast).

Offline Sail4Fun

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2016, 10:12:30 PM »
I am a very new sailor and really wanted to get the technique down for a Heave To so that I could take a break.  I've read a lot and was very frustrated when people would reply to my queries with "can't be done".  BS.  Hutchins gave me an article on the subject and I'll break it down to what worked for me in 10 knots of wind.

Let the boat point up into the wind.
Loosen the peak halyard (gaff boom?) to depower the sail.
Pull the boom to amidship, (the center position) and tighten it down.
Bungee the tiller to leeward (I had to vary the amount based on the strength of the wind).
I have tried raising the centerboard halfway or less and it only matters in stronger winds to counteract the force pushing the boat downwind.

The boat would try to point up to the wind due to the tiller but lose power due to the lowered gaff boom.   It would then fall off and the sail would be powered again.  Repeat.  If the tiller is too far to leeward, the boat will go past pointing up and continue in a circle.  Now, its a nice circle but...  I also learned in 15 knots to lower the gaff boom to depower the sail because if you tie the tiller all the way leeward, the sail gains a lot of energy and forward motion where the tiller will drive you past pointing up.  NOW you have a problem because you go broadside to the wind with the tiller still turning the boat.  It was close to a knock down.  Hey, I learned from it and hopefully won't repeat that mistake.  Practice in varying conditions makes all the difference in the world in being able to read what the boat is telling you.  I am not at that stage so I need instructions to follow.  Remember, your results may vary. 
« Last Edit: October 20, 2016, 10:30:31 PM by Sail4Fun »

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: SunCat heave-to
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 10:30:37 AM »
Sail4fun,

Technically it is impossible to "heave to" a cat boat or other single sail vessels as you have no foresail to counter the forward drive of the single sail, and that is the definition of the technique known as "heaving to" on a sail boat.

You can either "scallop" as I mentioned in my prior post or you can lie ahull, also described in that post. If you can find a point at which you Suncat will maintain consistent and reliable angle to wind, that will probably suffice for your purposes. It is obviously important that your vessel be able to hold this position reliably, and  unattended. In heavy air or sea state, if not truly balanced you risk a sudden unpredicted change of course which can easily cause the boat to lose control. This usually happens when you are in the cabin doing mother nature's call, or when you have your sandwich in one hand and a beer in the other.

One of the distinct advantages of heaving to is that your vessel will drift slowly and directly down wind. This provides a calmed surface state in your wake to windward, which is a buffer between your boat and breaking seas. Prior to environmental conscience-ness, sailing ships would hang oil soaked baggywrinkle over the windward rail, therefore providing an area to windward that would calm the breaking waves. Of course, nowadays you'd be keel hauled for that practice, but you can still enjoy the other benefits of heaving to, just not on a cat boat. Another benefit is that the backed jib serves as a steadying sail to reduce the rolling. It is actually pretty amazing when going from a close haul to heave to, almost like the weather changed suddenly in your favor.

No matter what you call it, if you find a technique that works reliably for you, then it's valid. I'm sure your sailing is in fairly protected waters so big breaking waves are probably not a common occurrence, making any method that serves the purpose right for those conditions. If you decide to sail across an ocean, I'd recommend a bigger boat with more sails. Hutchins can provide one of those as well.  ;-)
Ron
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water