Friday, 26 June 2015

10 tips on sailing offshore in heavy weather

Even experienced sailors sometimes suffer from anxieties leading toward poor decisions. What actually can make you survive in a storm is the presence of mind.
And of course you should have a detailed knowledge of the sails and sailing equipment so that when the big waves strike and wind blows high you’d know what to do or which sail to switch in order to keep the boat in balance.

Below are 10 tips. Let’s assume that the wind is blowing in an average of 25/30 knots and waves are high enough, 8 to 10 feet.
• The first thing you should do is reefing the main so that you can reduce excess power.

• If suddenly caught in high winds, start the engine first and keep the bow straight. This is for buying time while changing the sails.

• After the main is reefed, the very next task is to raise the storm jib as a foresail. The combination of a reefed main and a headsail is good but not too many headsails.

• You need to flatten the luff of the mainsail so that the point of entry becomes narrow. Tighten the halyard and move the traveler to the leeward.

• The jib halyard too needs to be tightened and the jib sheet loads needs to be moved aft.

• Mast bend needs to be increased to tension the backstay. This way the mainsail center can also be flattened.

• You should eliminate any kind of flutter along the leech by tightening the outhaul but never over-tight the leech line.

• Tacking may cause some problems but if you have to do it, start the motor before tacking. You can put it on the gear and bring the bow around.

• If the boat stalls and then start backing up, while you cannot steer ahead turn the rudder into some other direction.

• Carrying the tack further through the wind is another mistake you should avoid or else you’ll be caught up in the heeling forces of the wind.

Buying strong and properly engineered storm sails is necessary before going off-shore. You can check our site for the storm sails for sale.

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