Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 19-01-2007, 11:19   #1
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
Single Handing

In light of some of the recent discussion, the subject of singlehanding seems to be a highly debated issue. Many have done it. Moitessier, Tristan Jones, More recently, Donna Lange, and Ken Barnes. Some out of desire to sail alone, some out of necessity. I often sail single handed, but prefer to share the experience with my better half. I know a few others here sail single handed because they do not have anyone to sail with them. So, what are your views on sailing single handed? Good idea? Bad idea? OK under certain circumstances?
For those who do it, what are some of the precautions you take? what are your calculated risks? What do you feel is different in your personality that makes this a good option for you? What sleep patterns have you developed? How have you equipped you boat to accomodate your specific needs?
__________________

__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 17:04   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Galveston
Boat: C&C 27
Posts: 724
First I'll admit to not having done any passage making single handed, but with that said, I sail single handed almost every time I sail. And I would not have it any other way.

The risk is not a consideration for me. I believe that in most instances short of crossing an ocean a single hander can manage safely. I"m not sure that single handing is any less safe than having five crew keeping lookout across the top of their beer cans. One might argue that single handers pay more attention to the details of the boat because they have no help. Sure a sound crew in a well found boat is the best option but how often does that exist really? If one sails with a spouse they often single hand anyway.

As for boat setup, anchoring included, can be done from the cockpit. Flat jacklines run both decks and if the boat is moving an iniflatable PDF with harness is a must for me. A dockline attached in the center of the boat is great for docking. I've never used a harness system to dock but some do.

Overall I like being alone with the boat. The wife is not a sailor and always seems to sit on the sheet or line I need next so we agree, happilly, that she goes to the farm when I sail. (Never, ever give her the tiller!) There is not enough good to be said about the sailor who is happy on his own boat and in his own head!
__________________

__________________
Pura Vida is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 17:47   #3
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
Pura Vida, I agree completely. One thing I notice when I sail alone vs with a crew, is things tend to go more smoothly when I am alone. I find myself expecting crew to know what to do next, and can not help but get a bit irritated when they do not do what is obvious to me that needs done. I don't get upset with them, as I do realize this is unrealistic, but it adds an additional burden on me to not only keep track of what needs to be done, but what others are doing. That said, my wife knows what I want done, and usually manages to anticipate and take action, so we sail well together. When I sail with other crew and she is not on board, something always goes wrong.
I took a potential buyer out on a test sail on one of my boats a few years ago. It was him, his wife, and daughter. All went well until we got to the slip, and I realized that no one had prepared the dock lines and fenders. This is such a natural thing for me, and when my wife sails with me, it is something she just takes care of, so it just didn't cross my mind until the last minute. Then, to realize, the buyer wasn't competent enough to set the lines himself, or to hold the boat off against the current while I did it, it turned into a situation. My expectations of his skills were based on grand claims. They were sadly disappointing. He was buying the boat to sail single handed. Not surprising, he only took her out once in the two years he owned her.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 17:48   #4
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
I'd say there is a big difference between single hand sailing and single hand passages. I have single hand sailed many times - from NH to NYC, for a day here or there, from Long Island to Newport, RI. These are simple tasks. If you are faced with a passage, such as one that takes days on end without rest, this is where the distinction lies.

The mind gets lonely, the body and mind tire. Nobody can help you by taking watch or steering.

The only precautions I take single handing are the same ones I take when I have a crew. I walk around the boat like a monkey. I barely use my legs and rely almost exclusively on my hands. I grab holds and other things in such a way that if I were to loose my footing, I'd still be hanging on like monkey bars from the playground.

We used to teach our charter guests this. We told them, "Never trust your feet." We had to say this after watching them merrily walking around not holding onto anything.

It would be interesting to hear from people who have done some single handed passages of length without anchoring for the night. I don't have that experience. I've always had a crew of some sort to take watches with. If I didn't have a crew, I was doing coastal stuff and put in for the night.
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 18:34   #5
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
I find the level of satisfaction is inversely proportional to the number of crew. Single handed a lot but now I have a wife and two kids and the ultimate pleasure is when we all go out, but I still go it alone rather than not go at all.
Long passages are only an issue if you are somewhere crowded or close to land. It used to annoy me if I had a perfectly pleasant 30 day passage, stayed awake for the last 24 hrs as i made my approach, then had to listen to people say i looked awful and single handing must be hell.
Unasked for advice, do day trips or head way offshore away from shipping lanes and go for as long as possible. Overnight or 2-3 day trips are hardest.
__________________
dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 20:15   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,156
I acquired a 38 foot Beneteau late last year, and because she needed repairs to the mast step (now completed), did not sail her much at all. Did two fairly long motor trips (6-7 hours each) one in very mild conditions, the other in very windy (40+) and cold weather.

I will be single handing a lot, but not overnight, as I am too old to stay up all night, which would be a requirement here in New England.

I'll use jacklines and I'll always wear a harness and auto-inflatable PFD. I'm planning to relocate the traveler and mainsheet from the cabintop to the cockpit, and the engine controls from below to the cockpit (which was discussed in an earlier thread). Actually my idea on the traveler is to add a traveler to the cockpit, so as to be able to move it back to the cabin top if I sell the boat, or sail her with dependable crew.

At this point, I plan to leave all the halyards and reefing lines on the mast, but that could change.

Another addition I'm planning is a cockpit chartplotter. That trip in the nasty stuff was difficult navigating, trying to keep my charts from flying overboard. She has lazyjacks, a good autopilot and a Harken headsail furler, so I think I should be in okay shape for singlehanding with these changes.

Anchoring in tight quarters and/or tough conditions will be a challenge if I'm alone, since the windlass is manual. May have to change to an electric windlass that can be remote controlled.

I know.... a 38 footer is a lot of boat to be single handing. Let's just say I like my luxuries. Plus, it's just a wonderful boat, that was available at a price that was too attractive to pass up.
__________________
speedoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 20:23   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,901
My true single handing has been here on the lake. Like Kia, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the company of my bride but prefer to run the boat my self. I also tend to assume others in the crew can read my mind and anticipate the next tack or change.
On passage, I've single handed with crew available but not used. It was nerve racking the first night or two, but became comfortable. we were on a cat, so I looked at saftey difrently then a leaner.
__________________
never monday is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 20:59   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
I enjoy single handing for an hour or two but going out for a day I prefer crew to share things with. I don't expect them to really do much but would like to have someone with me to share the experience of seeing a turtle, porpoise or whale.
Plus, I really like yelling out orders, "hoist the mainsle." "take sheet." "don't let that jib luff, you landlubber." I really don't expect the crew to know what I'm yelling but its fun anyway.
A passage without a proper lookout seems to me to be a bit foolhardy.
Regards,
JohnL
__________________
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 21:14   #9
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,400
Images: 115
Interesting topic.

Single-sailing a boat is just fine in my book, I do it myself now and then.

Got to be just a little more paranoid about not falling overboard, and prepare stuff a bit better 'cause when ya bark orders, the only ears that will hear 'em are yours.

The problem I have is with the solo passage makers. They are breaking all the rules and endangering others.

Pretty much like a drunk driver on the roads.

Sailing solo across the ocean or around the world ya have to sleep, no look-out...Which is required.
(Did Dodge Morgan and these other "Hero's" ever read the Rules of the Road?)

Not sure what they are trying to prove?
I really don't.

Please help me out here..

Quote:
I"m not sure that single handing is any less safe than having five crew keeping lookout across the top of their beer cans.
Don't know about other sailors, but when I am navigating I never drink, hell or high water.

2 dock lines, or 1 anchor chain down, then the beer and the booze flows, not before.

So there is other scenarios than a zoombie solo sailor breaking all the rules, or a bunch of red-necks sailing drunk breaking other rules:

Hows about we take this sailing game seriously and just use a tiny bit of common sense with an eye towards safety and another eye towards the hard earned experience that resulted in the rules we all agreed to follow when we stepped on the ship or got our tickets?
__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 21:33   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Boat: MacGregor 26M Lynx
Posts: 352
I single hand a lot but never more than 36 hrs (so far) My comfort level is to high to miss that much sleep (i also can't stay awake and fall asleep without notice).

I do like a crew to help with docking, anchoring and long times at the helm.
__________________
Lynx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 21:35   #11
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
Can't drink on the water myself. It makes me violently sea sick. CSY, you make an intereting point. So, what are some of the safety measures taken to compensate for those periods where you need to sleep? I admit my experience is limited to coastal, but I am fine with cat naps of about 15 minutes. That is enough for my system to refresh. Not sure how that would pan out over several months, but for a few days, it is fine.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 21:36   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
CSY you are technically correct, but when was the last time you heard of a single handed sailor causing damage to another vessel thru no look out? I'm simply not aware of any case, if a sailboat hits a ship the sailboat looses, the ship is pretty much unaware.
Yes I get casual about look out IF I am in a location where I consider the risk of collision low enough.
I have on more than one occasion done a 20-30 day passage with a full watch and seen nothing, a lot of effort to counter minimal risk.
__________________
dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 22:05   #13
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,400
Images: 115
The rules are not just for avoiding collision, but also for looking for emergency signals from other vessels.

There has been cases of single sailors colliding with other vessels while sleeping. A Korean fishing boat was the victim in one case on top of my mind.
Others have hit rocks and shore.

Point is, ya are not there out by yourself, so don't be be selfish.
Say if my boat was in trouble, disabled and not under command:
I am down below to fix my stuff and am being run down by some idiot trying to set a record in his sleep as he did not see my flares, rockets or my boat. His radio is also off as there is nobody out there in VHF range anyway.

Guys, don't take this lightly: I spent a few years in the mercant marine as the junior guy onboard and I was the look-out most of the time:
Had to stand on the bridge-wing for 4 hours X 2 every day and just look while the mate was inside navigating or manning the radar. Regardless of electronics, we always had the look-out. Crossing the big oceans we never saw much at all. (Africa to Australia was 3 weeks at 3 times the speed of the average sailboat.)

Once a week or so, we could see a light or a vessel out there. If we had no look-out and if the little guy was right in front of us, he would not have made a scratch on our bow, nor would we have heard the screams.
(1000 feet long ships)

Guess I was born with this look-out stuff: My family came from fishermen and merchant mariners for as many generations as I can follow, then I started doing it myself at age 14 domestic and 17 International.
If I have told my father, uncles, grandfathers, great-great, etc that there is no need to look out or pay attention while ya cross oceans, in fact ya can do it yerself while ya sleep just to prove to some bimbo-magazine or to some farmers watching TV that ya are indeed an explorer and pioneer with big balls and a strong mind and body because by God, ya sailed solo around the world, then they would look at me like I had smoked crack.

In the genes I guess, sorry for the rant.

I just don't understand it.
Do they know something I don't?
Or are they just plain stupid and irresponsible?
__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 23:19   #14
Registered User
 
swagman's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winter land based UK New Forest. Summer months away. Making the transition from sail to power this year - scary stuff.
Boat: Super Van Craft 1320 Power Yacht
Posts: 2,175
Images: 10
Send a message via Skype™ to swagman
I enjoy company and whilst the odd day sail solo brings some satisfaction - I suspect I'd find a solo passage boring.

Not sure why we are seeing so much heat on those who choose to sail solo tho'......

As I understand it most develop sleep patterns once underway of 20 minutes at a time - and few sleep at all if there is any chance at all of another vessel or a shoreline being in the vicinity.

Lets all remember, you are doing possibly 7 miles per hour in a sail boat. If you've got your vessel set up with a radar proximity alarm, keep to that max of 20 minutes sleep at a time so's you can check if something has come over the horizon (or indeed if you've come over theirs) - then in my humble opinion that's a more than adequate safety margin when sailing.

Totally agree a lookout is needed full time in a 25+ mile per hour ship - for the obvious reasons.

Cheers
JOHN
__________________
Don't take life too seriously. No ones going to make it out alive......Go see our blog at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/yachtswagman/
swagman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-01-2007, 23:34   #15
Now on the Dark Side: Stink Potter.
 
CSY Man's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Ft. Lauderdale
Boat: 2001 Albin 28TE.
Posts: 3,400
Images: 115
Quote:
Not sure why we are seeing so much heat on those who choose to sail solo tho'......
Rules of the Road.

Ever paid attention to them?

Not important?

__________________

__________________
Life is sexually transmitted
www.odincharters.com
www.susanhanssen.com
CSY Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
singlehanding

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A singlehanding question (Manta vs. others) monaco Multihull Sailboats 2 04-12-2006 05:37
Single vs twin on cats vilanomark Multihull Sailboats 17 13-11-2006 21:26
Two Banks used as one. Charlie Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 22 02-08-2006 15:54
Single line reefing harryvee Deck hardware: Rigging, Sails & Hoisting 13 07-07-2006 19:22



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 14:41.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.