The other night whilst crossing the Adriatic we had the unfortunately experience of a rather large thunder cell system form in front of our path.
With our Radar on weather mode and a good Doppler job at that, we were able to detect this forming thunderstorm 25nm in front of us, plenty of time to go around, except it kept growing. Into a rather large monster.
Soon after this the lightening made itself apparent and violently vaporised the sea, or so we presume, as it was still many miles in front of our intended path.
Never mind, it was a rough night and the sea was tossing us about for quite a bit, a chance for some dinner in relatively calmer conditions was quite appealing and as we all know, thunderstorm cells don’t last forever, they have only so much energy to return to earth before they simple disapate.
so Heave-Too to the rescue. basically speaking to heave-too, just turn your boat through a tack, but don’t tack the sails. Once you are locked in irons, turn the wheel back as if you had changed your mind and the boat will sit slightly angled to the wind, making very little headway, effectively stopped for a while. You’ll have to lash the wheel here for it to stay that way. To unwind, just release the wheel and sails and you’ll complete your tack.
The bow will point close enough to the wind and sea to be comfortable and you’ll have just enough boat speed to have steering. You’ve effectively stopped the boat.
This is what we chose to do to wait for the thunderstorm to decide if it might move out of our path or dissipate, it did the latter, eventually after some spectacular demonstrations of why you might not want to sail through, unless of course you need new navigational equipment.