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Old 29-03-2012, 11:25   #1
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Single Handling a cat ...

So a plan is emerging whereby I search out the right cat (somewhere in the BVI region) and then my wife joins me later for our live-aboard adventure in the Caribbean.

This means that for some months I will be on the boat alone, learning the ropes, so to speak.

Question: for something like a FP 36 Mahe or PDQ or even a well priced Lagoon 380, is it practical to expect to single handle such a boat?

My experience will be limited to two years (with lots of sailing) in the Pacific North West.
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Old 29-03-2012, 11:34   #2
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Yeah I think so. You need a good autopilot. Most of the time I'm really singlehanding...... even with someone aboard. With headsail furling, the only thing you really have to do is reef or drop anchor.... oh.. and swim fast if you fall off!
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Old 29-03-2012, 11:46   #3
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Easy to single hand any cat as long as it has a good autopilot. Just take your time and work out in advance what you are trying to do. I do it regularly on my 44 ft cat.

Only tricky bit is picking up a mooring ball - which you have to do in the BVI fairly regularly - better to anchor if you can find space.
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Old 29-03-2012, 11:53   #4
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

I do it all the time. Just get switch for the windlass (and if possible a chain counter) at the helm and you should do fine.
Of course you need a reliable autopilot but who would take off without??
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Old 29-03-2012, 12:29   #5
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliems View Post
Question: for something like a FP 36 Mahe or PDQ or even a well priced Lagoon 380, is it practical to expect to single handle such a boat?

.
Sure, if you can think ahead.
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Old 29-03-2012, 13:29   #6
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Got a friend who does it all the time. When he comes into a mooring ball field he picks out a friendly looking boat and goes by and asks if they could dink over and hook him up as he comes in on the ball. Never been turned down and makes a new friend every time he hooks up.

I’m partial to the FPs myself but that’s just me. If you see an FP Cat called Vivo swing by. I’ll hook you up. I’m around there a lot.

Have fun.

Mike
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Old 29-03-2012, 14:33   #7
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliems View Post
So a plan is emerging whereby I search out the right cat (somewhere in the BVI region) and then my wife joins me later for our live-aboard adventure in the Caribbean.

This means that for some months I will be on the boat alone, learning the ropes, so to speak.

Question: for something like a FP 36 Mahe or PDQ or even a well priced Lagoon 380, is it practical to expect to single handle such a boat?

My experience will be limited to two years (with lots of sailing) in the Pacific North West.
Not a problem to single hand my FP Mahe 36. Even getting a mooring is not a problem. Just set up two mooring lines when you pull into the harbor and put your boat hook on the tramp. Now you are ready to find a mooring.
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Old 29-03-2012, 14:51   #8
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Done it many times. Take all of the above advise and remember to reef early. Cats can load up fast and the feedback is different from a mono. Dealing with an overloaded main can be difficult by yourself.
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:01   #9
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Yeah, an anemometer is handy on a cat, a mono tells you when you have too much sail up! Nice thing about singlehanding a cat is you're walking flat instead of hanging on.....
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:20   #10
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

A lot of replies about auto pilot has me wondering. I'll be new to cat single handing, but on my old mono single handed I had an auto pilot but only used it during motor-sailing in calm to very light winds. Always used the wind vane 90% of the time. Does this not hold true for cats? Inquiring minds want and need to know.

Thanks.
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:34   #11
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Once went sailing off the mooring and tied the dinghy to the mooring ball, untied the boat, got on board at the front of the bridgedeck, and got underway. Unfortunately I miscalculated and ran over the dinghy and would have bailed it out when I returned, but the oars were floating away. Had to anchor and kayak around grabbing oars, left the dinghy swamped. Went sailing until it was very late. Moon was out full and I could see pretty well. Came in on a broad reach and it was whitecapping, couldn't find the mooring or swamped dinghy and anchored. It turned out in the morning that I was close enough to pull the buoy over to the bridle and hook her up. Pulled the dinghy up with a halyard to dump most of the water. It had foam under the seats, so it would never sink.
The main problem is when you have to be in two places at once, and you have to work out how to do that, come up with a plan.
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:35   #12
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Finding clear air for a windpilot might be tough on a cat.... although anything is possible! The helm on my cat was pretty neutral so the pilot didnt have to work too hard using a lot of amps either... The wind vanes I've had ( 2monitors and one airies) spent most their time corroding on the stern. On a long steady passsage though they could be a great asset.
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:35   #13
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Never seen a cat with a wind vane. Cats are on autopilot a lot even in strong winds because there is not a lot of force on the rudders as on a mono. Mono autopilots tend to get over powered
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:42   #14
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

Uh oh, my designer has a little homemade wind vane design. They sailed from UK to South Pacific and then to the Med and were on wind vane most of the time. The designer singlehanded the 63 ft cat from Portugal or Spain to the Canaries.

There is also an extremely simple wind vane design that is just a small frame with a sail like vane, no moving parts, it mounts on the tiller crossarm and is set to the wind direction. The wind pressure will correct the rudder angle if it goes off course. It looks too simple not to try.
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Old 29-03-2012, 15:48   #15
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Re: Single Handling a cat ...

The reason I asked is the wind vane would keep me on point in respect to the wind, so no worries. It sounds like I'll get less sleep on the cat during a passage unless I learn to trust electronic apparent wind direction inputs to the auto pilot. Not to mention power consumption.

How do you guys set it up?
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