Sailing Tactics for High Winds and Waves

Sailing amid waves may be jarring and juddering, with lengthy, unpleasant journeys and, at worst, a hazardous, boat-rolling hazard. It may, however, also mean an exciting surfing trip to your goal. Determining how to put your boat in place when sailing in waves, whether to take full advantage of them and mitigate their worst characteristics, is a skill worth learning and practicing if you want to make the sailing more pleasant and confident in a wider variety of situations.

Sailing Tactics For High Winds And Waves

It is dangerous to sail in a thunderstorm, but the following tips for sailing in storms would surely make it less dangerous for you:

  • Change Your Speed

As previously said, slowing down may significantly enhance the motion and safety of the boat. Boosting power and speed to assist you in steering around the most significant waves, on the other hand, may enhance the ride. Adding a twist by relaxing sheets a few inches can often help the boat establish a wider steering groove, which will help you locate a smoother route over waves. If the motion is poor, try other things to enhance it.


  • In A Storm, Drop Anchor

Make sure you have a good anchor chain. For inclement conditions, scope of about 8x (chain length) is usually sufficient. If you put out less, you risk endangering yourself and your boat. You also don’t want to ride out because you risk allowing your boat to wobble too much in the water. In very severe conditions, your boat may even sail away!

  • What If You Could Sail Faster Than Those of The Waves?

In most downwind situations, modern high-performance sailboats are in this mode. It’s pointless to drive down the wave only to smack the nose into the wave in front of you. We’re back to sailing all-around an obstacle course in these circumstances. On a broader scale, keep an eye out for flatter regions to aim towards; on a smaller scale, keep an eye out for local low spots that steer around without deviating from the optimum downwind angle again for circumstances.

  • Heave-To

To get there, trim the jib aft (i.e., to the right side), trim again the main, and grind the helmet so that the boat is heading up once it has the steering wheel. The jib attempts to force the bow down, but the bow blocks the wind, allowing the main to fill. When the boat starts to make progress, the lashed helm steers the boat back toward the wind. When the main becomes soft, the jib takes over, forcing the bow down. The main is refilled, and the rudder pulls the bow back into the wind.

The boat will not come to a complete halt. It will be sailing at 1 or 2 knots, 60 degrees off the breeze, with plenty of leeway’s (sliding to leeward). The movement will be considerably less than while sailing, and it will be much more stable and comfortable than removing all sails and lying ahull. You will also take up less sea space than if you race ahead of the storm.