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i didn't found any discussion here about the topic so i would like to place it here. I am sorry because this is a builders site not a sailing one. but i would like to ask the experienced wharram owners from this site about this subject.


I am planning the upgrading of my Tiki 38 to cruise around the world. Since its my first Wharram I would like to know what the storm tactics are and what the required or preferred equipment is.


i am planning in getting a storm jib (what cloth and size??) ,and  a sea anchor ( 6' or 8' from naval surplus only $35 ) with 300' long rode (maybe the anchoring rode?).


my other question is what your experience is facing heavy weather, a gale or even harder winds. anyone can tell me about the 'hove to' maneuver having 2 masts? It works great on sloop rigged mono hulls.




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Knowing more about sailing would, without a doubt, help builders create a better finished boat!  Dave Vinni, and the other tiki 38 sailors, are the sailors to talk to about specifics. Wharram and Co., appear to favor running off in storms, and at least in the larger boats, lying ahull. Hanneke related such tactics aboard Gaia, and another Pahi 63 in a 70 knot storm off South Africa.


Glenn Tieman is an advocate of always hanging things, ie, para anchors, drogues, off the sterns. He reasons that if things break, you are in a better position to sail away. The Jordan Series Drogue has been getting high marks from both mono and multihull sailors: slowing the boat down, but allowing 2-3 knot speed downwind.


I would be very wary of a $35 surplus para anchor! And, I would use a dedicated rode for the para anchor/drogue.


Again, knowing the direction the weather system is coming from, and the direction it is likely to go, is vital information.



hi Kim

thank you for your answer. what will be tactic when you are windward  to a (not familiar) shore , say 100 miles and you face  3 or 4 days of gale. running down the wind will make me very nervous even if i am dragging at 2 or 3 knots .  i have some experience in storms  and my favored tactic was always  heaving to.

I used those surplus drag chutes from the airplane industry since they are very cheap and very well done. making some few little changes for easy deploy, you have a first class sea anchor for a tenth of the normal price. if you add the proper swivel you avoid the turning effect that will destroy an anchoring rode. i was using those chutes when we were offshore fishing and they work really fine in rough weather.


still interested in finding out about the heaving to tactic with a 30' wharram . It has many applications other than in rough weather (wait for daylight to enter into a port, take a nap when tired, stopping the boat during fog, and so on)



Alex, the 'chutes sound small for a T38 but if you have used them and are confident in them please share where you get them from. $35 is pretty cheap!



Roger Ayres had a small parachute (maybe 10-12 feet) which he used off Vacapes in a heavy blow. The chute was too small for his Tangaroa, and allowed the boat to slide backwards down the waves, turning the rudders and eventually breaking one of the tillers or the tie bar. The incident is written up in the Drag Device Data book, which has over a hundred cases of boats reporting use of drogues, sea anchors, and other storm tactics. The experience with small general aviation parachutes (vice dedicated sea anchors) has not been particularly good. Experience with short rodes also has not been good.

I talked to James Wharram some years back about using sea anchors, and he was quite negative. He asked me why I would want to hold the bows up into a breaking sea, when the boat could be turned downwind and run with them. (His concern was damage to the boat being held into breaking waves.) I said that I didn't think that my wife and I could had the stamina to drive the boat downwind through a two or three day blow, and from the silence on the other end of the line I took it that we would just have to learn to tough it out or better yet, take up bowling. I didn't mention the fact you might not have sea room to run, so I don't know wht his answer would have been but I had the feeling he would think that you should figure it out since you were the one who had gotten yourself into the fix in the first place.

I believe he is a fan of lying ahull (to minimize downwind drift) as I think this is what he told Ann and Neville. They did this comfortably in a storm sailing Peace over from England, and could probably tell you more about how the boat behaves in those conditions.

I have a Fiorentino 9' Coastal  para-anchor, bought at a boat show for $250 u.s.

They sell for $400 outside of a boat show.

Forereaching, which enables forward progress at 2-3 knots depending on the boat,  is a favored technique: reefed main (how deep dependent on boat), no jib, helm centered.


Putting up a storm or small jib, tacking until the jib is backed, helm centered (or adjusted until boat stabilizes), or heaving to, slows or stops forward progress and has the boat drift off to leeward  at up to 2 knots.


Following Glenn Tieman's travels, he uses forereaching to sit outside harbors until morning.



 Alex I have used the same chutes you are talking about on our 43' cat,( CSK not a wharram Sorry),  We use 2 of them togethor both on a swivel 100ft apart and then on the end of a 300" rode, with a 30' long bridle. We actually run ours off  the bow so we stay bow to the seas for a more comfortable ride. we have only used them once in about 45 knts but I was very pleased with the results. 6' navy surplus chutes for $30 pretty good deal, I do sugest a seperate rode for the set up, not using your anchor rode.   Happy sailing Doc



pretty interesting approach to use 2 chutes, depending on the wind conditions you set one or 2.... how was the deploying and the recover??  what material and  diameter of drogue you used? 


i am a low budget sailor/human. so my approach is always to find a new use for 'scrap' . in my farm i never throw recyclable items. when you make from this a philosophy you learn a lot and you learn to look the 'scrap' from a different angle.  i started to use the drogue chutes for stopping the boat while fishing and then for taking  a nap while i was to tired for the helm. some seasons the chute was deployed so often that it had no time to dry out.those $35 chutes look pretty well done and strong. maybe they have stronger materials than those for sea anchors.

you get them easy if you perform a search on those serious military surplus shops. i saw the following add when i purchased mine: great for a bar decoration!! they are pretty easy to find since they come from the airplane industry and no one purchase them other than for bar decorations or as a car cover.



can you give me more details about  the heaving to maneuver? you used it in a gale? my boat is really hard to tack at first. so i think its pretty easy  to heaving to under strong winds.  







Alex, I have used it to eat lunch, wait out large ships at the port entrance, but not in really adverse conditions.  In my tiki 26,  I bring the boat head to wind as if tacking, let the jib back (don't release the jib sheet, in other words), and center the tiller. Some boats need a bit of reverse tiller after the jib backs. Here's a more comprehensive writeup from Wikipedia:


In sailing, heaving to (to heave to and to be hove to) is a way of slowing a sail boat's forward progress, as well as fixing the helm and sail positions so that the boat does not actively have to be steered, thereby allowing the crew to attend other tasks. It is commonly used for a "break"; this may be to wait for the tide before proceeding, to wait out a strong or contrary wind, or, for a solo or shorthanded sailor it can provide time to go below deck, to attend to issues elsewhere on the boat, or to take a lunch break for example.

    Hove to

A sailing vessel is hove to when it is at or nearly at rest because the driving action from one or more sails is approximately balanced by the drive from the other(s). This always involves 'backing' one or more sails, so that the wind is pressing against the forward side of the cloth, rather than the aft side as it normally would for the sail to drive the vessel forwards. On large square rigged, multi-masted vessels the procedures can be quite complex and varied, but on a modern two-sailed sloop, there is only the jib and the mainsail. A cutter may have more than one headsails, and a ketch, yawl or schooner may have more than one sail on a boom. In what follows, the jibs and boomed sails on such craft can either be treated as one of each, or lowered for the purposes of reduced windage, heel or complexity when heaving to for any length of time.

When a sloop is hove to, the jib is backed. This means that its windward sheet is tight, looped around outside of the shrouds, holding the sail to windward. The mainsail sheet is often eased, or the mainsail reefed, to reduce forward movement, or 'fore-reaching'. The rudder is placed so that, should the boat make any forward movement, it will be turned into the wind, so as to prevent forward momentum building up. Looking from above, the three relevant items would make something like a Z-shape: jib to windward, main to leeward, and rudder roughly parallel with the jib.
Heaving to

For a sloop sailing along normally, either of two maneuvers will render her hove to.

First, the jib can be literally heaved to windward, using the windward sheet and releasing the other. Then the rudder would be put across so as to turn gently towards the wind. Without the drive of the jib, and allowing time for momentum to die down, she will be unable to tack and will stop hove to. This method may be preferable when broad reaching or running before a strong wind in a heavy sea and the prospect of tacking through the wind in order to heave to may not appeal. Bearing away from the wind so that the headsail is blanketed by the mainsail can make it easier to haul in the windward sheet.

Alternatively, the vessel can simply be turned normally to tack through the wind, without freeing the jibsheet. The mainsail should self-tack onto the other side, but the jib is held aback. Finally the rudder is put the other way, as if trying to tack back again. Without the drive of the jib, she cannot do this and will stop hove to. This method is fast to implement and is recommended by sail training bodies such as the RYA as a 'quick stop' reaction to a man overboard emergency, for sailing boats that have an engine available for further maneuvers to approach and pick up the casualty.[1]

Finally, in either case, the tiller or wheel should be lashed so that the rudder cannot move again, and the mainsheet adjusted so that the boat lies with the wind ahead of the beam with minimal speed forward. Usually this involves easing the sheet slightly compared to a closehauled position, but depending on the relative sizes of the sails, the shape and configuration of the keel and rudder and the state of the wind and sea, each skipper will have to experiment. After this the boat can be left indefinitely, only keeping a lookout for other approaching vessels.

When hove to, the boat will heel, there will be some drift to leeward and some tendency to forereach, so adequate seaway must be allowed for. In rough weather, this leeway can actually leave a 'slick' effect to windward, in which the waves are smaller than elsewhere. This can make a rest or meal break a little more comfortable at times.

To come out from the hove-to position and get under way again, the tiller or wheel is unlashed and the windward jibsheet is released, hauling in the normal leeward one. Bearing off the wind using the rudder will get the boat moving and then she can be maneuvered onto any desired course. It is important when choosing the tack, heaving to, and remaining hove to, in a confined space that adequate room is allowed for these maneuvers.

Depending on the underwater configuration and relative sail areas, some vessels cannot be left hove to particularly in rough weather. If the action of the wind and waves is capable of pushing the bow off the wind sufficiently, it is possible that the boat will gybe and sail herself around in part of a rather violent circle with the rudder lashed. More traditional hulls with longer keels tend to heave to more calmly, those with deep dagger or blade keels and flat bottoms tend to be more skittish. Large genoas do not help with heaving to, compared to smaller jibs, as they wrap aft of the shrouds and add to the forward drive. Some mainsails need easing, others need reefing and some may need to be hardened in to achieve a stable heave-to.





Thank you for the info...


i am familiar with the heaving to maneuver in mono-hulls , i used it many times, but i am not familiar on catamarans or to be more specific,  in Wharrams . I bought the boat last year , took her out of the water  , wrapped her in plastic and returned back home , almost without to sail her. the fisrt trials will be in lake ontario in few weeks and of course the safety maneuvers (man over board, distress, strom tactic) will be  the first i want to be familiar with .



i was trying to imagine how to arrange the both chutes so they don't disturb to each other either by the rode or by themselves, the only way i can imagine is by passing the rode for the second chute (the one more distant from the boat) by the hole in the center of the chute that is placed next to the boat... can you give me more details? the chutes are next to surface or have a chain for submerge them?





the principles are the same for monohulls and multihulls: get the sail pressure and hull pressure in opposition. Some boats do it better than others.  As you say, testing the boat out in the water is the way to see how your boat behaves! Good luck!


i bought the wharram because she is a beauty, first sight love, so to say. but the main reason was that she was designed for the trade winds. I am just trying to prepare the boat in the case we find a gale ( we will. sooner or later). To buy  all the stuff needed must be done in this season since it the only opportunity i will buy for cheap, being in the states. Unfortunately i lack of experience with my boat so i cannot figure out what i will need or not. i just can guess and pray that i made the right decisions. this forum is very helpful to get an idea of what i expect to find in my future trips. and i have the great opportunity to make awesome friends as well.


thank you guys!!! 




Hi Alex

This is my 5c worth! 

I sailed Dragon (T38) from South Africa to NZ via the Panama Canal in 2009. I had researched the various drogue and parachute options.

I didnt like the parachute idea as the force needed to keep a boat head to wind and seas in extreme conditions was too great for me as I would be single handing with my wife. Also the recovery of the parachute in say 25-30kts would not be easy, trailing collapsing lines which are guaranteed to be badly twisted were not an attractive idea to me.


I went instead with a Jordan drogue. This was made up for me in Australia who customised it to Dragons weight and characteristics. I had deployed it in calm conditions and used the motors to induce load, it seemed to work well.


I used it in anger off the Columbian coast one night. It is a heavy bit of kit weighing about 50kg with its long length of rode and bridle. I didnt attach it well enough to the aft stern tube and when it did come under load the loops slipped off the ends of the tube and it was lost!! As Dragon was now doing 7kts under bare poles with the clouds showing more wind to come and the seas building, plan B was to use my spare anchor rode as a warp in a bight off the stern tube. This comprised 50m of nylon, 15m of 8mm chain. I added about 15m of line to the chain end and secured it all well to the stern tube and eased one end of the line into the water and payed it out.  Very easy to rig and deploy.

Dragon slowed to about 2 kts. I set the wind vane to help steer down wind. Then made a cup of coffee and watched the show. Apart from the noise, the motion was easy and Dragon rose to breaking waves, her canoe stern acting like a bow and breaking waves passed beneath on their way without wetting the decks!

Next morning the wind eased to 30 kts and I recovered the drogue by simply pulling on one end till it all came aboard.  I was able to flake the rode as it came so making the tidy up easier.


In Panama I saved a tyre  to slide down the rode as an extra drag if I ever needed it.


One nite out of the Marquesas things got really nasty and I deployed the "anchor rode drogue" again, without using the tyre. Again the result was a quiet ride (compared to what was happening before) with Dragon riding the waves stern too very comfortably.  The seas were confused and we got the odd beam sea which broke against the hull. But Dragon rode it out well and the next day when the seas became sailable again the  recovery was easy. 


I was very happy with this system particularly  as I was single handing with my wife. I am not a brute of a man (I am 52 weighing just under 70kgs, you get fit and slim sailing!!) and I had some reservations about how easy it would have been to recover the Jordan drogue in 25kts. The anchor rode drogue was well within my capabilities.


Because a T38 is light, she needs a system to slow her down and when the wind goes over 30kts for a protracted time, with a building sea, its wise to start thinking about storm management. It has to be simple quick and easy to deploy and recover. This system is and gives a good degree of comfort to know that you can calm things down easily if you have to. 


The trades can blow over 20 kts for weeks at a time with much stronger winds in squalls. Its unlikely that conditions will become really calm after a blow to make the recovery of heavy gear easy.


Have a great sail, I am sure you will. The T38 is a fine boat, you will have great fun, I am envious.






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