I think people are being way too conservative on size of boat to single hand. Displacement
is a better indicator of size than overall length. Displacement determines the size of everything else. Need more hp to move more weight so need a larger rig, sails, ground tackle etc.
Having said that, I think a limit of 10,000# displacement is way too low for a single hander. I essentially single handed our 22,000#+ displacement Westsail without roller furling
, manual windlass
and most other conveniences. My wife was along but, at 85#, wasn't physically strong enough to do all that much. She steered getting us out of anchorages
and handled mooring
lines entering slips but that was about it. Really had no problems except when I got caught with the drifter up off of point conception. It was fun getting it down by myself in the 30+ blow but I did it.
Sailing a sloop
of that displacement would be a chore without roller furling
, however. Of course, sailing any sloop
without roller furling is work with all the required sail changes. Think I'd stick with a 130% roller furling genoa
with an intermediate stay for hanking on a storm jib
. A 130% genoa
will reef down enough to cover almost all wind conditions except the very lower and upper ranges. An Asymetrical spinnaker
or other sail, set flying, would suffice for light air and running off with heavier winds.
I don't like the idea of in mast furling for two reasons. The first is the complexity of the system and the potential for a potentially life threatening failure. Being forced to have too much main sail up in a serious wind could bring the rig down or make the boat uncontrollable. Also, getting stuck with an inappropriate sized main for a long passage
would frustrate the hell out of me. At least with a roller furling headsail you can let the sheets
run free and hold on till it either destroys itself or conditions improve so you can haul it down.
The second reason is they require a roachless un-battened sail. Think the main is the big secret to making time offshore because so much of it is with the sheets
eased. That's where the main can really give you drive. Having to cut down its area to accomodate the furling doesn't agree with me.
In any case, slab reefing isn't that big a deal. You can even set up single line systems and do it from the cockpit. Personally I wouldn't 'cause I don't like lines led to the cockpit. If everything goes well, halyards etc. are nice to have in the shelter of the dodger
. If things don't go well they are life threatening. It's impossible to haul a sail down with cockpit led halyards unless you have someone in the cockpit feeding the line. The clutches, turning blocks, etc. grab hold of the halyard forcing you to move from the mast, back to the cockpit to free up the line and back to the mast. In high winds and seas, it ain't fun, btdt. I initially led all our halyards aft but abandoned it after our first bout of snotty weather
An electric windlass
would be a great addition for getting out of crowded anchorages
. If set up right, you could hall anchor
from the cockpit while you navigated around other boats and obstacles.
A really good autopilot
or self steering
vane would be my first purchase
. I mean first purchase
even before buying
the boat. I don't really trust electronics
so would get a vane before an autopilot
but an autopilot would have been my next purchase if we hadn't sold the boat.
Anyway, don't see a reason that any healthy male couldn't single hand a properly set up 10 ton boat. Do you need one, probably not. You can get almost anything in usable interior
room in a 36 footer as a 40. You'll give up some storage
and maybe head dimensions. Those are of little concern if you are really single handing, however. Biggest thing you give up is speed. Nothing substitutes for waterline length in getting there faster. At the lower end of the size range, I'd hesitate to go below 30' simply for speed.