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Old 27-12-2010, 05:01   #16
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Originally Posted by At sea View Post
Agree with conachair above - running lines back to the cockpit is especially unwise for a singlehander. There's too much rope, too many points where things can jam and tangle, and then far too few hands to fix the problem.

Lazyjacks are another potential problem for singlehanders for much the same reasons. When the thing snags, and it will, you've only got two hands to fix it. If you have a choice, find one of the old boom furling systems popular some decades ago. I know some don't like them but they are beautifully simple.

It's counter-intuitive I guess but much of the gear "they" say you need to single hand boats tend to cause the greatest strife. Too much gear is the singlehanders enemy; it's smarter to heed the KISS principle.

The best way to discover what gear is needed is to go out with just the basics and only add what experience teaches you is absolutely critical. That's what I found anyway.
Agree back

Three things come straight to mind that work well, for me anyway - permanently rigged gybe preventers for the boom easily reached from the cockpit.
Topping lift rerouted to cockpit.
Lightwieght climbing harness with a grigri so you can clip off to the mast, lean back into the harness and have both hands free.
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Old 27-12-2010, 11:39   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by At sea View Post
Agree with conachair above - running lines back to the cockpit is especially unwise for a singlehander. There's too much rope, too many points where things can jam and tangle, and then far too few hands to fix the problem.

Lazyjacks are another potential problem for singlehanders for much the same reasons. When the thing snags, and it will, you've only got two hands to fix it. If you have a choice, find one of the old boom furling systems popular some decades ago. I know some don't like them but they are beautifully simple.

It's counter-intuitive I guess but much of the gear "they" say you need to single hand boats tend to cause the greatest strife. Too much gear is the singlehanders enemy; it's smarter to heed the KISS principle.

The best way to discover what gear is needed is to go out with just the basics and only add what experience teaches you is absolutely critical. That's what I found anyway.
100% agree.... add one bit at a time.... back to the cockpits great in theory... many work but some fail at the worst times... little steps and learn your boat as you go.
As for the roller boom old style... having owned a few boats with this set-up I found it to slow... a fast drop slab reef is simpler, faster and less hassle in a blow... I only ever used it in port//anchor to roll the sail neat for stowage till the next time I went out.
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Old 27-12-2010, 15:50   #18
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G'DAy all,

I'll add my vote to avoid lazy jacks on a boat of this size... far more trouble than they are worth. If sail control when dropping is a big issue, consider making some ... hell, I dont know what they are called! They're short rods, maybe a foot or so on a thirty footer, that stick upward from the boom, splayed out at around 45 degrees. They gather the sail in as it is dropped. Seen on lots of BIG yachts, I think they would work well on your short boom as well.

I'd also second the thought of permanently rigged preventer/vangs. These would be tackles (perhaps 2 or 3:1) rigged on each side from around the mid-point of the boom to a strong point on the rail near the chainplates. The falls lead back to the cockpit, and are controlled by the secondary winches. Act like a preventer and as a very powerful boom vang as well. Are also used to ease the boom across when gybing. I used them on my Yankee-30 for 4 years of singlehanded racing in SF years ago, and liked them so much that I immediately installed similar systems on both Insatiable I and II for cruising.

You are getting lots of good advice here... good luck with your singlehanded adventures.

Cheers,

Jim (ex singlehander on Dominique, back in the early 80's)
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Old 27-12-2010, 16:33   #19
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I can't believe those advocating not running the reefing and main halyard back to the cockpit have really sailed much single handed. All of At sea's reccomendations are contrary to my experience. I'm not a spring chicken, have done more than 20,000 miles of offshore sailing, most of it double handed with my 90# wife as well as a solo TransPac this past summer.

I've had zero, zilch, nada problems with running all the strings, except the spinnaker and jib halyards back to the cockpit. In fact, think it's dangerous for a single hander to have to go forward away from the helm and security of the cockpit every time you need to tweak a sail. There is nothing safe about hanging on to a wildly gyrating boom on for dear life as you try and reef because of a sudden squall or worse, putting in the 3rd reef in a storm. On a typical day in SF Bay I'd reef and reef deeper and shake it all out a number of times on the sail from Alameda around Angel Island and back to Alameda. Sometimes I'd do it just because it was SO EASY from the shelter of the dodger in the cockpit. On the recent TransPac, had to reef several times a day at one point for passing squalls. Would tie in the reef and shake it out all within the passing of a few minutes. No drama, no wet, no sweat under the dodger. Really comforting to know I could do it with a behemoth oil tanker bearing down on me north of Alcatraz and still tweak the heading set on the self steering.

The old roller reefing booms are a PIRTA of the first order. They resulted in a crappy setting sail and were a whole lot harder to do than slab reefing whether done at the mast or the cockpit. The rolls mostly forced you to go to the mast to reef. The sail would bunch around the gooseneck making it extremely difficult to operate the crank. The sail itself would end up with a huge belly in the middle and super taut leech. If you hauled in on the sheet to try and get the belly out of the sail, the leech would stretch out of shape permanently runining the sail. When I put slab reefing on my roller reefing boom, was amazed at how much easier and better the results were. I wouldn't wish roller furling booms, the old kind, on my worst enemy.

Lazy Jacks are to lower the sail. stow them against the mast when they aren't needed. Trying to raise the main with the Lazy Jacks deployed is asking for trouble. It can be done but why chance it. Raising the sail without the jacks is easy if you just leave the last sail tie in place as you raise the main. When enough of the sail has been raised that it intersects the sail tie, just undue the tie and continue to raise the sail till you are pau. Real easy when you've got the main halyard on the cabin top from the cockpit.
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Old 27-12-2010, 16:37   #20
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Great thread - I sail solo almost all the time, and share your pain about raising/dropping the main.

I discovered the hard way that if there's any sort of wind about, I MUST have the main fully feathered to avoid battens fouling the LJ's, and also to minimise track/slug friction. I practised this over and over, and now it never fouls and is pretty easy to pull down. Track lube is also very important. But the idea of dancing around on the deck with a boat hook in the air gives me the willies - you've gotta sort that one out!

I do prefer to use the engine and autohelm for raising/lowering the main, but I also practise it with just the genoa and autohelm about 1/2 the time. I can also pick up my mooring cleanly under sail in most conditions now. Because my engine will one day fail no matter how good I am to it, I need these skills and so do you. It happened to me one day and I had to sail onto the mooring for the first time. Boy was that fun - not!!!!!! I had about 5 tries with various sail combinations before success. I'm really glad it was late at night so there was no audience to make me even more stressed as I wove in and out of the surrounding boats!

Work on getting these skills under your belt. Even if you have cockpit reefing, it's no substitue for mastering the rig. It's a bit like GPS and old-fashioned navigation and piloting skills.

Keep on and you'll get on top of it.

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Old 27-12-2010, 22:45   #21
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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I can't believe those advocating not running the reefing and main halyard back to the cockpit have really sailed much single handed. All of At sea's reccomendations are contrary to my experience. I'm not a spring chicken, have done more than 20,000 miles of offshore sailing, most of it double handed with my 90# wife as well as a solo Trans
Mmm, there wouldn't be much use for this forum, or any forum, if everybody's experience was identical. If there was only one right way, surely we'd all be doing it by now - robots one and all. Our differing opinions on this and that, and on appraisals of the same reefing gear etc, arise not only from the direct experience of usage but what we want from it and boating generally.

For example, I agree that the old roller reefing can't be operated from the cockpit - but I don't want that. I like going to the mast to pull the levers. I like the drama; it's nearly half as good as dinghy racing. And so many notable sailors of yore preferred that approach also. To stay in the cockpit under the dodger to pull the levers just seems too tame, too removed and too much like remote control for my liking. Might suit some folk, don't suit me.

In sailing, as in most things, you can be right, Roverhi, and so can I. Neither of us has to be stupid or less experienced to hold a contrary view. What a perfect world.
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Old 27-12-2010, 23:41   #22
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My "ideal world" preferences for mainsail control are:
- no lazy jacks (some love them, some lothe them, I just don't see the point of them)
- Permenantly rigged preventers - mine are as Jim describes above
- Halyards & reefs back to cockpit (I don't have this, but would like to)
- Two line slab reefing (one line to the leach, one to the luff) - I don't have this either.
- My main traveller is in front of the companion way so i have overly long lines that I can reach from the helm
- Main sheet winch located near helm (I don't have this)
- Outhaul control that can be adjusted from helm (I can't)
- Backstay tensioner that can be adjusted from helm (I don't have one)
- Leach lines that can be adjusted from the mast (i.e. not hanging off the side of the boat trying to stop the flutter once a reef is in).

So as you can see, I'm pretty far from my "ideal' set up. But it doesn't really matter, I just find ways to make it work.

Single handing shouldn't require extra gear (assuming a good autopilot), and it shouldn't restrict the way you sail the boat. It just takes a bit of practice - which I like - My record for reefing on my own is 11 seconds, helm to helm. When I've got crew on, reefing is usually measured in minutes!!
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