Tag Archives: instructional video

Sailing Made Easy - Heaving To

Heaving to – What is it and why you should know how to do it?

ASA created a quiz a while back with one of the questions having to do with heaving to. Surprisingly, many people got the answer wrong, which led us to believe not everyone is out there heaving to! In fact, maybe they’re out there not even knowing what it means to heave to. So let’s go over it..

To heave to is to park the boat while out at sea. It’s mainly a heavy weather defense strategy but some people use the tactic to delay a harbor entrance for morning light, fix something or possibly just to have a little lunch at sea. As an example of how effective heaving to can be to endure through heavy weather, 26 sailors hove to in the infamous Fastnet Race where 18 people died in a horrific storm – none of those boats suffered any serious damage, let alone rolled or capsized.

Heaving to is setting the sails so the jib wants to sail one way while the main wants to sail another so, with some rudder adjustment, the boat stands nearly still.
~ ASA’s Coastal Cruising Made Easy

Steps For Heaving To

It’s not hard but it does take a bit of practice to master. Here’s how it goes – this is more of an overview, to get the good stuff check out the full description in the textbook and watch the video below.

  1. To lie on the tack opposite of the one you’re on, sheet the jib in tight, tack and leave the jibsheet cleated. As the boat passes through head to wind, the jib, held by the windward sheet, will set aback and push the bow downwind. Hold the mainsheet on the winch with its clutch open.
  2. Now steer the boat back toward the wind and make adjustments with the helm and the mainsheet until the boat is lying at a steady attitude to the wind on a close reaching heading. Normally, the wheel would be turned to windward. The mainsail might or might not need to be luffing.
ASA Sailing Made Easy - Heaving To
ASA CertifiedASA TIP: How an individual boat heaves-to is a a function of many factors; design, keel type and relative sizes of the jib and mainsail are just some of them. So it might take a little practice and adjustments to figure it our for your boat.

Sailing Made Easy, Even Easier!

Many of you have now gotten your paws on our hot new edition of the 101 textbook, Sailing Made Easy. To supplement the text, ASA has produced a series of video shorts that clearly demonstrate key concepts from the book. New and seasoned sailors alike can learn a thing or two from these Sailing Made Easy video tips. From the proper way to raise the main to powering up with the slot effect advantage, even salty dogs will find some new nuggets of information in these succinct videos.

Below are the first handful of lessons–and more to come soon. You can catch them as they’re released on the Lats & Atts TV channel (on the Versus network) Wednesdays at 9:30am EST/6:30am PST, through Sept 22. They will live permanently on ASA’s YouTube Channel too.

Cleat Hitch:

Spring Lines:



Raising the Main:

Roller Furling:

Wind Direction:

Slot Effect: