If you enjoy sailing, it is likely that you will have to deal with heavy weather sailing at one point or another. It's not as if you can avoid heavy winds and bad sea conditions forever.
Knowing what to do in such situations is one of the most
important things that you need to learn as a sailor.
Sailing in rough seas is dangerous, but it could also be fun especially if both you and your boat are capable enough to handle tough tides.
1. Check your boat- Before you leave
the dock, you need to ensure that your boat can handle strong winds and huge
waves when heavy weather sailing. If you are having doubts on the capacity of your boat, then don't dare
leave the port. Make sure that all your boat's fittings are securely mounted
and in the condition to take a great amount of strain. Check if the rigging and
bailing equipment are fully functional.
2. Prepare the
sails for reefing- Reefing the mainsail involves reducing the sail of the mainsail by
lowering it partway. Mark your sail boat's mainsail halyard in advance to reveal the
setting for the 1st and 2nd luff reefing points. This will allow you to know
how far you need to lower the halyard. Head into the wind then, start luffing
your sails. If you're a one-man crew and you don't have a one line reef system,
place the boat into a heave and then reef your sails.
3. Furl the Genoa- Furl the Genoa or
the overlapping jib by blocking the wind with the mainsail. This will allow you
to reduce the tension from the furling line and easily roll the Genoa to the
4. Reduce your
speed- Huge waves in heavy weather sailing put the hull on a lot of strain, and may injure even the
saltiest seaman. Reducing your boat's speed will help you ease the ride. If you
see a big set of waves coming your way, try to avoid the set by slowing down
(spill more air), changing your direction or by doing both.
5. Reduce weight at
the bow- Weighty anchors and ground typically tackle in the bow which causes
pitching or an up and down movement. This in turn causes the bow to dive into
the wave ahead or what sailors call "wave plunging". When this
happens, the boat shudders, filling the bow with water. Pitching also escalates
the occurrence of seasickness among the people on board. Shift the weight
toward the middle of the boat to reduce pitching problems.
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Article Source: Ezine Articles by Chiqui Panqan