Storms are the biggest dangers for sailors, both beginners and the more experienced ones. Storms can easily wreak havoc on a sailboat. Every sailor has to learn to tackle the gale even if he is sailing in a summer thunderstorm. The following strategies help you keep your boat under control during a storm.
Drop the sails and head for land if you sense bad weather while in a shallow area. The waves are rapid in shallow areas, making it more difficult to control the boat. Never try to anchor when the storm is approaching the shore, especially if the waves are heading towards the shore. In such cases the engine may die and it’s more possible to hit a rock and other obstructions.
There are times when it’s better to stay in the water and ride out the storm than reach the shore.
Reefing is reducing the area of the sail. It is done by stabilizing the boom vang after easing it. The reefing tack line is then tightened. Reefing keeps the boat more efficient in terms of hydrodynamics. It increases the boat’s speed conditions and reduces the wear and tear on sails and sail equipment. It makes sails easier to trim and handle. Reefing also reduces unnecessary drag.
Lying ahull means to drop the sails and allow the boat to fare all by itself. In other words, the boat sails all by itself in the direction of the wind. This is only a wise move when there are low waves. Lying ahull during high waves may capsize the boat. Also lying ahull is well suited for a larger boat. Never try to do this on an open boat as water starts filling in and can eventually sink the boat. Lying ahull can also be implemented when you are too tired or if someone in the boat is injured.