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Old 26-06-2010, 00:57   #1
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Single-Handing

Hello everyone:

I'm looking for a reading list of the most Useful and up to date books on singlehanding. I'll soon be a cruiser without a mate and would like to learn from others before I have to figure it out on my own, white knuckles and all. Henderson?, others of definite value???

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Old 28-06-2010, 16:36   #2
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Henderson is the best I know of for the specifics. Progressively longer at sea experience has been the best teacher for me.
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Old 28-06-2010, 16:49   #3
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Thanks for your reply.

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Old 29-06-2010, 18:51   #4
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Henderson is that a book or a boat. I am going to cruise by myself too. Anything else useful?
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Old 29-06-2010, 19:05   #5
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I read Henderson dozens of times before I started sailing offshore. I figured that even though I had a crew (wife and kids), I would still approach sailing with the mindset of a singlehander. It doesn't matter which yacht you have nearly as much as how you set up the yacht. If you have a single handed mindset, and if you set it up for singlehanding, it won't be a big deal.
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Old 29-06-2010, 19:36   #6
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Thanks for the help...
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Old 29-06-2010, 19:46   #7
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Reading

I would go to the library (free) and start with Slocum. Read everything, including Henderson, and beyond. Don't know you plans, but there is no shortage of book learning....
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Old 30-06-2010, 23:11   #8
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Read as much as you can but its not going to come together untill you get out alone with the proper mind set. You have to ask qestions of your boat and evaluate the answers in order to modify your behavior so that there is a functional flexible harmony between you the boat and the sea and wind. Each boat is a little different and may not respond as the good book says it should. So what I am saying is learn to read the boat and its inter-action with the very variable wind and sea. Some people sail for a lifetime and never get it -you should consentrate on getting it
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Old 01-07-2010, 06:23   #9
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As much as I like libraries, I've found that they don't have an extensive (at least to me) cruising or singlehanding library. I'd suggest marine flea markets, second hand marine stores, and the internet. I've found hard to find books for a few dollars by searching there.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:25   #10
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I'm a singlehander and searched around quite a bit for good books on the subject. "Singlehanded Sailing" by Richard Henderson is a good start for an english language book; but I think that I got more out of the cruising books that discussed short-handed sailing (i.e. a cruising couple) and the tips and tricks as well as the trials and tribulations that they had experienced. The material differences between short-handed and single-handed sailing aren't that big and that is what is covered in Henderson's book.

I recently started listing the books in my on-board library at http://www.sv-zanshin.com/SailingBooks.html (the page is still a work-in-progess). Perhaps some of the cruising books listed there might fit what you are looking for.
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Old 28-08-2010, 14:17   #11
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I did read the Henderson book and found lots of important information, so thanks for the tip. Read Slocum years ago and thought it was great fun. I live in the SF Bay area and even here the libraries have very little on singlehanding. There is a Singlehanded Sailing Society gear specifically towards racing. Zanshin, I will check out your list and if I come across something good on my own I'll send you information about it.

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Old 29-08-2010, 23:38   #12
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I would go to the library (free) and start with Slocum.

I agree about starting with this classic. Another I found really handy was Chichester’s “Gypsy Moth Circles the World”. Unfortunately for Francis this was more a tale about what NOT to do especially in terms of buying a big ill-mannered yacht. Similar might be said about “A Voyage for Madmen” and the plight of most of the entrants?

Then it is really all about your budget. I am a “Dove” kind of bloke and have got the most worth out of titles like Pardey’s “Self Sufficient Sailor” and Vigor’s “The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat”, which while not dedicated to the single-handed, still contain a lot of down-to-earth information about keeping the boat simple and manageable.

Easiest thing I have always found is to go to Amazon.com search for the books, read the reviews and have a good look at the other recommended titles that pop up. Good thing is that in many cases you can read a portion of the book free before committing to buying.
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Old 30-08-2010, 08:14   #13
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I agree about starting with this classic. Another I found really handy was Chichester’s “Gypsy Moth Circles the World”. Unfortunately for Francis this was more a tale about what NOT to do especially in terms of buying a big ill-mannered yacht. Similar might be said about “A Voyage for Madmen” and the plight of most of the entrants?

Then it is really all about your budget. I am a “Dove” kind of bloke and have got the most worth out of titles like Pardey’s “Self Sufficient Sailor” and Vigor’s “The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat”, which while not dedicated to the single-handed, still contain a lot of down-to-earth information about keeping the boat simple and manageable.

Easiest thing I have always found is to go to Amazon.com search for the books, read the reviews and have a good look at the other recommended titles that pop up. Good thing is that in many cases you can read a portion of the book free before committing to buying.
I've collected quite a number of titles of well recommended books not just about singlehanding. If anyone is interested I'll post the list here. Gypsy Moth is here in the house somewhere which I read long ago and remember little of. Maybe read it again. I just read Pardey's "Cost Conscious Cruising" and Tristan Jones "One Hand for yourself, one for the ship". Both of these are great great books. By the way, the two books you mention above are on the list.

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Old 30-08-2010, 10:06   #14
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I've been sailing single and short handed for a bit of time and many thousands of miles. Initially it was reading Moitessier's Cape Horn and The Long Way that forced me to make me an ocean passage. Found Moistessier's description of life at sea to be captivating and much to the way it really was in real life. Just reread Cape Horn and still found it fascinating though the world in which he sailed is no longer there. Also liked Robin Knox-Johnston's A World of My Own description of the real life experience of sailing a small wood boat around the world and marvelled at the ingenuity and grit that got him around. Found Chichester to be whiney and self serving. More interested in the record than the sail.

Everybody has reccomended Henderson so I took it along and tried to get through on my solo TransPac this summer. Enjoyed the history of Single Handed Sailors but didn't find the rest of the book to be all that useful. That might have been because having built and/or rebuilt three boats for single handed sailing and sailed thousands of miles, his information was old hat and some of it not consistant with my real life experience.

Since my sailing knowledge is almost exclusively self taught. Can't emphasize enought the value of real life experience. Highly reccomend a lot of time sailing a small boat without an engine. That is the best teacher of how to actually sail a boat well in a variety of conditions. Sailing larger boats, more than about 20', divorces you from the immediacy of the boat, wind and waves that are so invaluable in the art of sailing. Spent almost every waking hour of two summers sailing a Sailfish around our lake when in High School. When I bought my first real boat, a Columbia 26, was able to sail it from the start without a problem. I crossed the Molokai Channel going to Maui the third time out on the boat in conditions that forced a number of other boats to turn back. Sailing that boat all over the Islands taught me a lot about open ocean sailing and what I didn't want in the 'next' boat. Have covered 10's of thousands of miles of ocean since then and still find a day sailing is a new learning experience.
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Old 30-08-2010, 16:59   #15
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I've collected quite a number of titles of well recommended books not just about singlehanding. If anyone is interested I'll post the list here. Gypsy Moth is here in the house somewhere which I read long ago and remember little of. Maybe read it again. I just read Pardey's "Cost Conscious Cruising" and Tristan Jones "One Hand for yourself, one for the ship". Both of these are great great books. By the way, the two books you mention above are on the list.

OS

OS
Gypsy Moth gets is a fairly dry old read as Chichester gives a blow-for-blow factual account of every second wind and sail change. Still, his honesty in recounting the dramas he had with the boat is something you don’t get in a lot of the more romanticised titles where the author has too much pride to admit their downfalls. His persistence and stoicism is also inspirational especially considering that at his age he was using hank on sails on a 50’ boat, which he changed at nearly every opportunity to maximise headway. Another good thing is you can easily pick up a copy of this title cheap at second hand bookstores.

I also have Pardey's "Cost Conscious Cruising", but find it is has lost some of the spirit I found reading “The Self Sufficient Sailor”, which really made me feel like heading to sea there and then. In contrast, while still an excellent title, “Cost Conscious Cruising” is a lot more rationalised and calculating. Again, best thing I find is to have a look at the preview on Amazon and decide which one suits your needs.

I will have to have another look at Tristan Jones "One Hand for yourself, one for the ship" and I expect it will end up on my Amazon wish list.
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