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Old 16-12-2009, 07:35   #1
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Singlehanders ?

Based upon the current economic situation I am likely to transition from semi-retired to retired-retired. My wife (12 years younger) is not going to be able to retire for a while. Could be that she just wants me out of the house but she says, "What do you have to loose? Go sailing!"

Although I am comfortable singlehanding locally and have spent as long as a week doing so, I feel somewhat reluctant to take off long term by myself... but probably will.

I am thinking about sailing south to Mexico and maybe beyond. I have spent the last 3 years getting the boat ready to cruise. There is nothing that it needs so I really have no excuse not to go.

I would like to hear from any singlehanders about their experiences and recomendations.
Thanks, Liam.
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Old 16-12-2009, 08:14   #2
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Although I have not yet sailed (alone or otherwise), I have done other long, arduous tasks alone. I think you should do it. You will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
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Old 16-12-2009, 09:12   #3
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No rule that says you have to make big leaps, take small baby steps to build your confidence level if you wish. Shoot for several short to mid length hops with a layover to get the feel. You don't have to keep a schedule, but do keep those back home up to date on what your plans are for the next few days when ever possible.

You boat is capable of doing what your interested in doing just keep a weather eye. I'm on a 36 Bene in the West Indies now and single handing. Even in the Christmas winds often above 25kts, if you plan your moves it isn't much of a problem.

You will get to met lots of interesting people. Don't know why but single handers are good at meeting other people, even large crews. Seems to be easier than when you sailing with mates. You can also pick up sailing mates for some hops, lots of sailors would like a hop to some place.

Let us know how it works out, Fair Winds
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Old 16-12-2009, 09:19   #4
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I just wish my wife would let me go.
Sign me big plans- small reality
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Old 16-12-2009, 09:31   #5
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I have to say I'm no fan of single handing if it means over night.
I know loads of people do it and the odds are probably in your favor that you won’t get run down or hit someone else...but I'm a bit anal when it comes to standing watch...also fatigue during difficult times can be dangerous.
I don’t know how hard it is to find temporary crew in your future stomping grounds, but that would be my first choice.
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Old 16-12-2009, 09:35   #6
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Liam Wald

I am also singlehanding a Cal 39. Brought it from Hampton on the Chesapeake to Key Kest Fl. I will winter in Key West and if my health improves, take her to Grenada for the summer. The biggest surprise to me is how lonely it gets. One has to be comfortable with themself and have good ego-strength.
I think you will find (and I know this is an over-generalization) that the Forum is not particulary supportive of us singlehanders. After following the forum for a year and a half, I almost cancelled my plans to go but then decided, what the hell, none of us get out of this life alive. I'll take the criticism and see how it goes.
Best of luck and I hope to run into you () out there.
jim
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:05   #7
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Coming home from Hawaii, with two others, I watched a freighter pass from starbd bow to port bow, light up to light down, in twelve minutes. The next day, we timed going below to light the stove and heat water. Six minutes. Bad news if the guy is dead on. The upside is that these great circle routes are like narrow freeways for cargo ships, all of which are moving very fast. You can watch your position and know when a freeway crossing is immanent. I will doubtless single hand my next boat. But I will be very, very careful in shipping lanes.
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:10   #8
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I have single handed a lot, and just remember you put your self at more risk, so slow down and be extra carefull of each step you make, use jack lines- its easy to fall overboard and if that happens its likely its all over for you- i sleep in 15-30 min naps wake up look around check radar, and back asleep, i set the radar alarms at 6 milles and i set my depth alarm to 100 feet-
I have a strobe, knife,flashlight,waterproof vhf all fixed to my inflatabule PFD/harness If its cold i also wear a wetsuit-
and im strapped in at night or in any kind of seas
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Old 16-12-2009, 10:29   #9
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NOT from a singlehander:

From my singe-handing colleagues' observations:
- get the windvane and autopilot (rest),
- get good radar/AIS alarms (rest, safety),
- get tan sails (safety),
- learn to cook what you like to eat,

Get her to as perfect condition as possible, including the engine.

Go for it.

b.
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Old 16-12-2009, 11:06   #10
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What’s the thought around tan sails..I imagine its visibility, but seems white would be better?...I hadn’t heard that before?
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Old 16-12-2009, 11:16   #11
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Similar situation. I am retired and girlfriend is 20 years younger and won't retire for a long time. She lives in her own unit and we spend weekends together either sailing or at home in my unit. Next winter I am off to the Whitsundays solo and she says this is what you love so go. Most working weeks I am sailing in the bay checking out all the systems on my boat and preparing to go.
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Old 16-12-2009, 11:30   #12
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Go for it!
I singlehandled for nine years and it was the adventure of a lifetime!
Hang-out in the Sea of Cortez for a season or two and have your wife spend some vacation time with you.
Good luck.
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:18   #13
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A long time ago when I was young and crazy, as distinguished from now when I’m old and crazy, I spent several months single handing around New England in a 27 foot sailboat. I had a blast.

Of course, most of my "passages" were day sails or glorified day sails, but some were all nighters. Solo cruising in short hops is fine and I’ve met many people doing it in the Bahamas and Caribbean. Some of them think nothing of multi day passages, especially in low traffic seas. But, I agree with James S. - over night solo sailing is not for everyone. Falling asleep at sea terrified me and I don’t think radar alarms would have helped. After a 24 hour sail I was usually O.D.ed on coffee and cigarettes. I would vibrate my way into the anchorage, set the hook, sleep for 12 hours, and wake up wondering what I was thinking when I decided this was a good idea.
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:26   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James S View Post
Whatís the thought around tan sails..I imagine its visibility, but seems white would be better?...I hadnít heard that before?
White might be a better choice at night, but during the day tanbark sails are more readily distinguishable from white clouds on the horizon, a sea covered with whitecaps, etc.
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:46   #15
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"Storm Orange" is a great color for storm sails, safety wise.
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