Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

Any ideas on how heaving-to can be done in a Skerry with a balanced lug rig? Or at least some method to stop and/or slow the boat down, to then leave the helm for a minute or two or more, without the boat engaging in random, short-lived, sailing maneuvers.  Thanks

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RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

Good question.  I've been experimenting with my lug rigged Passagemaker along that lines, and haven't yet come up with a technique which works quickly and consistently to bring her into a stable state of rest which I'd call "hove to". 

If the wind isn't blowing too hard, I can ease the sheet on a beam reach and steer her to a stop.  If I then lash the helm down a bit, she'll lie beam to that way, much as a catboat would, but one doesn't always feel comfortable lying beam on to wind and wave, especially in a fresh breeze.  That might be an even more significant issue with a long, skinny boat like a Skerry or Northeaster Dory.  Plus, which, the push/pull steering needs some thought as to how to "lash the helm down".

If I really need a break on a breezy day with significant wave action, I'll deploy a kayaker's drogue from the bow, which works pretty well.  With this, I'll lash the helm amidships and pull the daggerboard to keep her from tacking herself back and forth.  If I mean to stop for long--perhaps to eat in relative peace or to use a camera to better effect than is possible while underway--I'll douse the sail.  After all, one of the reasons for choosing the lug is to simplify the process of making and taking in sail.

Perhaps others here can give us both some better ideas?


RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

My experience with the Northeaster Dory is similar to what Gramps describes. On a broad reach or beam reach, I can just release the main sheet and the boat glides gently to a stop and stays put. But it's a bit like a quivering stallion, ready to race off. I can go forward to tighten the uphaul and downhaul or get something from my storage bucket in the bow, but I keep a sharp eye on things.

I'm an inland lake sailor so, while the wind may be brisk, the waves tend to be modest. I would not feel confident if I had big (or breaking) waves on the beam.

RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

Northeaster Dory but similar issue. What Michael said or...

add a mizzen.


RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

   Thanks for the ideas gents.  I might just opt for the "quick douse of the sail" method.  It's quick, and definitely accomplishes the stated goal.  - Brad

RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

Ah, yes, the ever handy mizzen....

I had (for 22 seasons) a Sea Pearl 21 cat ketch.  Handy rig to, as Phil Bolger put it, "lug what she won't carry" in a squall.  Ease the main (fore) sail until it drew just enough to keep from flogging itself to bits and carry on with the mizzen alone driving her, jigging along nicely and even making good something to windward if desired.

I could heave the old girl to in similar fashion by letting the main run, easing the mizzen a bit, hoisting the leeboard up about halfway, and lashing the helm down.  If I meant to do this for any length of time, I'd furl the main.  She'd ride like a duck, lying maybe 5 points off the wind plus or minus, making a sort of falling leaf motion as she'd head up a little until the mizzen stalled, and then back down on her rudder to fall off until the mizzen began drawing again.

In this way, she'd make a gentle drift at about a knot or less on a course about midway between abeam of the wind and downwind, i.e., about 135 degrees off the wind on one side or the other, depending on whether she was on starboard or port tack.  The windage of her mainmast, stepped right up close to the bow, was usually enough to keep her from tacking herself if the wind wasn't too gusty and shifty.

It was jolly good fun, hove to like this out in the middle of Lake Erie, riding easily on a 3' swell, standing in the forward cockpit with my back against the mizzenmast, sandwich in one hand, mug of coffee in the other, watching the ships go by.  It's a great way take a break from going at it hammer and tongs, spray flying, so as to collect ones wits before bashing away again.


RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

   Michael, you should write for Small Boats Monthly or Small Craft Advisor. I (probably we) get a kick out of your posts.

Cheers mate,


RE: Heaving-To in a Balanced-Lug Skerry

Yeah, I usually get a kick out of writing this stuff--from my wife, if she thinks I ought to be doing something else with the time.  <;-)

Seriously, you folks are a fun bunch, and I've learned a lot by keeping up with the posts here.


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