It may be a good time to revisit signle handed sailing. One of the themes of single
handed sailing is the single hander needs to do ALL the tasks that a crew would do and some of them need to be done simultaneously.
For example something as basic as self tailing
winches enable the single hander to put all his strength toward the cranking and even enable him to keep his eye on things at the same time. Tailing is often the task of a second crew!
Some of the tasks may take more time... when you have do every one of them in sequence as opposed to simultaneously.
is another "crew" for the single hander... as would be mainsail furling
systems. I've taken to using a Milwaukee drill with a winch
bit to drive the winch
... It's one thing to change a sail at dockside or at anchor
... but underway you want all the help you can get and that may include the auto pilot and an engine
AP will keep the boat head
or whatever course works for the sea state and wind
. But you need an engine
to keep the boat from being blown off. For this purpose a wind vane steering
is no use... You need a pilot which will hold a set course. A stout below decks unit which drives the rudder
post would be optimal. The control head
should be where you can see plotter / chart... the sea around around you and probably be close to the helm/manual steering
. A remote
control can be handy for anchoring
as well... if you can steer from the bow.
and all chain rode
not actually a second crew... but like the power drill for driving the winch... it will make anchoring
a mental not a physical exercise. YOU do the thinking and your "devices" follow your commands! When you anchor
... you have two more crew... a windlass and a helmsperson!
Reefing also is a helluva lot easier with the AP and the motor
. And how about a gybe? How do you steer, work the main sheet quickly enough to do a safe and smooth gybe? I use the motor
and slowly turn the AP to dead downwind pulling the sheet tight as I do it... and they tweak then AP to the other tack and slowly release the main. This can be down without the motor for sure... and is most of the time... but the AP really makes the gybes a mental exercise.
Plotters of course are like having a navigator. A display in the cockpit allows the single hander to have his navigator working for him right there not down below in the secure cockpit.
In general, rigging
all the running rigging
to the cockpit is another thing that allows the single hander to do multiple tasks... be in what would be two places at once... or being two instead of one.
How about the lifting crane for the OB which the single hander can move his motor from the pushpit to the dink without any assistance?
My lovely crew when I single hand:
Allison, the Alpha autopilot
Max, the Maxwell
Millie, the Milwaukee right angle drill
Vinnie, the Volvo
Sally, (lots of them) self tailing
Gail, the Garhauer lifting crane
Dutch, the Dutchman sail flaking system
MFD w/ radar
I never leave without them!