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Old 23-07-2014, 22:10   #16
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

not without an effective and reliable ENGINE - which is why the guy on the schooner in the picture can run single handed. Not unless the sails are scaled to sizes that are manageable by one man. If the boat isnt designed to be able to be sailed singlehanded, you wont be able to sail it singlehanded. If it is, then its just a matter of how much fancy technology you have - if you can afford it you could do it all from a pushbutton cockpit.
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Old 22-09-2014, 11:18   #17
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One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

Actually, there is no mizzen on a schooner. It's called the fore sail.

So I am a singlehanded guy, with around 40 years of sailing and commercial fishing in Alaska, Hawaii, and west coast. I think with a modicum of experience anyone can sail a big schooner around the bouys singlehanded in light air. The difficulty of course is whether one can maintain the vessel, fix stuff, and manage huge amounts of sail in nearshore or offshore conditions, say 25 to 45 knots. 60' boats are much less effected by rough seas than 30' glass sloops, but their very size vastly compounds your effort in raising sail, reefing, and handling the various halyards and topping lifts. Not to mention steering and fixing stuff that breaks when trying to trim sails and navigate the boat. Rich guys can install electric winches and hydrolics and do everything with a push button. If you are one of these types of yachtsmen, go for it. Mostly I think, without mechanical advantage hooked up to every lift and halyard, it's really not feasible for the majority of us, even experienced sailors, to singlehand a 60' schooner on any kind of serious coastal or offshore cruise. For example, my 63' wood ketch admeasured at 35 tons, had a 60' mainsail and a 100# main anchor, a lot of 1/2" chain, and 600' of 1" nylon anchor line. We needed two to three people to reef and It was not possible for anybody to pull the anchor by hand! We had to install a honking big anchor windless because we couldn't always find 12 crew to help weigh anchor for weekend cruises. Latter we owned a smallish gaff schooner- 45' overall, 34' LOD. Even then, the multiple halyards and lines required two people to manage the boat in an effective manner.

Double handed, or with additional crew - that's a whole different story. singlehanded on big boats - whether you are 87 YO or not, mostly way outside the bounds of practicality.


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Old 24-09-2014, 14:34   #18
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Originally Posted by Greg4cocokai View Post
We left 8 yrs ago, 42,000 nms ago on our 64' OD schooner with my girlfriend and 6 yr old "Coco". I have to say it's been pretty easy to sail out at sea. Many times I would have 5 sails (including spinnaker) set before the girls would have their arses out of bed when getting underway. My most unpleasant job is flaking our 13oz Marconi mainsail. I would have no problem doing a passage single hand on her.
That's what I would have thought.


It's the Golly, or a fisherman that would b a problem single handed without a very good auto pilot.


Many blogs state to just take one sail at a time, and any boat can be sailed one handed.
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Old 24-09-2014, 15:10   #19
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

You got it. Lots of smaller sails are easier to manage than 1 or two big ones.
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Old 24-09-2014, 15:25   #20
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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You got it. Lots of smaller sails are easier to manage than 1 or two big ones.
A schooner does NOT have lots of small sails, brother. A schooner has more sails of the same size as your sloop!


And, THAT's the question, How does one manage with those big sails in a one handed situation. The answer seems to be a combination of agility and patience. Just taking one sail at a time.


Some set the main, then the tri head sails. Then, how does one set a yard jack as a foresail and the fore sail or the flying fisherman or golly wobler all by myself?


Finally the topsail yard and the topsail . . . or is all that too much to expect one handed?
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Old 24-09-2014, 15:35   #21
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

If it does then I don't want it. If you are going with big tall Marconi rigged schooner then you are missing the point of the schooner. Use gaff rigs to shorten those sails and put top sails up instead.
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Old 24-09-2014, 22:30   #22
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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... Finally the topsail yard and the topsail . . . or is all that too much to expect one handed?
Wait! No one mentioned a TOPSAIL schooner! You have to be a SQUARERIG sailor to handle one of those! With the added complexity of laying aloft twice every time you sail, my previous comments still apply.
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Old 24-09-2014, 23:50   #23
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Wait! No one mentioned a TOPSAIL schooner! You have to be a SQUARERIG sailor to handle one of those! With the added complexity of laying aloft twice every time you sail, my previous comments still apply.
Well, yes and no. Depends on how big the schooner and how its rigged. The big Glouster fishing schooners required a man or two to go aloft to seat the yard down into a fitting, if memory serves correct , but my small 45' scooner was rigged differently, and the topsails could hoist up to the topsial yards that were fixed in place. So, One doenst need to go aloft to set the topsails. i set mine from deck all the time and in lighter air saw,no need to drop em down to deck and rehoist on the opposite track all the time. True it was a bit sloppy to have a bit of the topsail laying over the main or foresail, but the nautical police werent usually around, so never got arrested for it.

The biggest difficulty I found with Singlehanding gaffers was trying to hoist and tie off the peak and throat halyards together. Thats a handfull, but can be done with pratise, and youth. Some boats have one halyard rigged for both the throat and peak with the line run through blocks for mecahnical advantage, but I never tried this arrangement.

Years earlier, I did find our 63' ketch to have a large and almost manageable mainsail - singlehanded. But, lets face it, even having a crew of one other on board makes life infinitely easier.
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Old 25-09-2014, 06:54   #24
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Wait! No one mentioned a TOPSAIL schooner! You have to be a SQUARERIG sailor to handle one of those! With the added complexity of laying aloft twice every time you sail, my previous comments still apply.
A topsail schooner and a gaff rigged schooner with topsails is NOT the same rig. One is square sail rigged on top, the other is the much more simple and smaller triangle topsail.

Look up gaff rigging for more info
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Old 25-09-2014, 09:24   #25
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

IIRC old Grand Banks Schooners would routinely drop off the entire crew save Captain and Cook. They would then work the ship back to start picking up the crew dropped off. as crew came aboard they would assist. Some of those old gals were pretty darn big.

But, more to the topic. Sailing? OK. But docking? Maybe returning to the same dock all the time, but new docks in new places? That I find hard on any boat, bigger is harder.
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Old 25-09-2014, 14:25   #26
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Originally Posted by Scot McPherson View Post
... Look up gaff rigging for more info
Thanks for the tip, but I discovered the difference between topsail and gaff-topsail some time ago, without resorting to the internet. Cruisers & Sailing Forums - ryon's Album: Ships I Have Crewed
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Old 25-09-2014, 14:50   #27
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Originally Posted by Glenn.Brooks View Post
Well, yes and no. Depends on how big the schooner and how its rigged. The big Glouster fishing schooners required a man or two to go aloft to seat the yard down into a fitting, if memory serves correct , but my small 45' scooner was rigged differently, and the topsails could hoist up to the topsial yards that were fixed in place. So, One doenst need to go aloft to set the topsails. i set mine from deck all the time and in lighter air saw,no need to drop em down to deck and rehoist on the opposite track all the time. True it was a bit sloppy to have a bit of the topsail laying over the main or foresail, but the nautical police werent usually around, so never got arrested for it.

The biggest difficulty I found with Singlehanding gaffers was trying to hoist and tie off the peak and throat halyards together. Thats a handfull, but can be done with pratise, and youth. Some boats have one halyard rigged for both the throat and peak with the line run through blocks for mecahnical advantage, but I never tried this arrangement.

Years earlier, I did find our 63' ketch to have a large and almost manageable mainsail - singlehanded. But, lets face it, even having a crew of one other on board makes life infinitely easier.
Decksets on a topsail schooner? Now that is getting funky! I've found decksets in general to be a PITA. I can't imagine using them while singlehanding, unless I was showing off or something. Same with hauling the throats and peaks together. Maybe if some dockside sweetie was along with me,.. but would that be singlehanding, technically?
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Old 25-09-2014, 18:09   #28
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Thanks for the tip, but I discovered the difference between topsail and gaff-topsail some time ago, without resorting to the internet. Cruisers & Sailing Forums - ryon's Album: Ships I Have Crewed
Then why in the world did you bring up topsail schooners? it was no where mentioned.
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Old 25-09-2014, 19:11   #29
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

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Then why in the world did you bring up topsail schooners? it was no where mentioned.
See post #20 in this very thread, which I responded to by direct quote in #22.

Back to singlehanding big schooners! A topsail wouldn't add that much complexity for the singlehander. He can cast off the leeward brace as he passes the headsails and runs back to the helm to complete his tack, then immediately scurries forward to quickly brace around and belay, then across to take out the slack from the windward brace as things settle down. This is to describe the topsail handling, those headsails and the rest of the ship will need much more attention during this maneuver!

Any reasonably-competent, athletic 87 year-old could do it, but would probably prefer two crew working the headrig, another on the fore, main and braces, another at the helm, and one below cooking. If you have a big schooner, you should have good friends to help you sail it!
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Old 25-09-2014, 19:30   #30
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Re: One Hand a Big Schooner Anyone?

Ried Stowe single handed his 70' gaff-rigged schooner 846 days out of the 1,152 days of his nonstop voyage. Reid Stowe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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