What You Know What You Learn
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What You Know What You Learn

What You Know What You Learn

What You Know What You Learn

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”
John Wooden

I don’t know if Mr. Wooden was right about many things, but he is most certainly right about this.

One of Seaburban’s less desirable tendencies is to lay abeam to the wind and seas when hove to. I felt there had to be a fix for this as heaving to is a tried and true way to deal with conditions when progress can no longer be made safely. Knowing it all, the fault lay not with me.

This passage of the last low afforded me an opportunity to either find a fix or abandon the tactic altogether.

The plan was to sail close hauled north and let the building winds bend my course westwards as the low and accompanying trough approached. West of the disturbance would mean I would be clear of the core of 45 knot winds and 6-8 nmeter seas with s clear path east as soon as the wind backed into the south west.

Once the winds got to be 35 gusting higher, I hove to the goal being to get Seaburban’s bows into the wind and have the yacht lie in the protection of the slick that is formed by the side-slipping hull. (For us nerds, the slick is really a Von Karman Vortex Sheet.. Don’t ask now I know …)

I tried everything I could think of but I simply could not achieve both. Either w would fore reach with a wake trailing behind, or we would lie beam on the seas and get pounded while the slick trailed off the quarter doing a marvellous job of calming the breaking seas.

I watched and wished. I wished it would work. I wished there wasn’t so much wind age forward. I wished the forefoot was deeper. I wished the triple-reefed main had more drive. After wishing all my wishes, I remembered John Wooden’s quote and did two things.

Firstly; I pulled my head out of the dark hole you can see south of me when I am northbound and secondly; I set out to learn something.

I took the Snark Drogue out of the starboard cockpit locker, the spare drogue warp out the port, shackled them together and did what the manufacturer says not to do. I put it through a mooring hawse over the bow.

This is not an original idea. Jerome Rand, who circumnavigated in 2017-2018 had mentioned to me that he carried a 200′ warp and anchor in case he wanted to keep Mighty Sparrows head up. In the Drag Device Database there is an account of a yacht using a GaleRider over the bows to heave to. But, as you might remember, knowing it all it never occurred to me to do something similar.

Once deplyoyed, Seaburban’s bows moved from 110 degrees off the wind to about 65 and she lay comfortably within the slick created by her underbody. Moreover, the harder it blew, the better it worked.

The $64,000 question for me is always once the whole lot is over the side, how do you get it back? I had bitter end of the rode led to a sheet winch figuring that when it was time to go, I would grind away. With the wind in the upper twenties and out of the south west, I started turning the winch.

The novelty of this wore off after I had recovered ten of the 200 feet that was out. I had monitored the loads while hove to and they were less than a fully loaded jib close-hauled. Now they were even less so rather than winch, I went to the foredeck and hauled it all hand-over-hand in no time flat.

The pictures show the rode streaming to windward and us laying in the slick streaming off our hull.

Heaving to. One more trick in my bag of tricks. Thank you Mr Wooden.

Follow my tracks in real-time: