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Old 06-11-2007, 15:30   #1
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Best book on converting a boat for single handling?

The title says it all. Is there a decent book that outlines what is the most important aspects to single handling? I realize that boat configuration etc. will contribute significantly, but I wanted to do some reading of "expert" opinions. Because, of course, if it is written in a book it must be correct.
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Old 06-11-2007, 15:54   #2
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I don't think there is such a book. Leading control lines aft and having an autopilot would be the first things as far as I would say without knowing the boat. The auto pilot can help as a way to hold the boat on course while going forward or hoisting the main. The auto pilot can also hold the course in a tight circle while you prepare dock lines.

The idea is you need to be able to control the boat at all times.
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Old 06-11-2007, 17:07   #3
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It's been a very long time since I read it, but I think John Guzzwell's "Trecka Around The World" has much about setting up and the doing (single-handed circumnavigation in his self-built 20-footer). He's also written a very detailed book on "Self Steering".
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Old 06-11-2007, 17:37   #4
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Don't know about books, but for modern equipment I would say remote steering/engine control. Without this I have no idea how a single hander with a 5' draft could safely enter some of the coral head studded anchorages in the Bahamas. Of course, they do it all the time, so ........ never mind.
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Old 06-11-2007, 21:24   #5
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book

Hi,

There is a book that is called Singlehanded Sailing -experinces- techniques

Amazon.com: Singlehanded Sailing: The Experiences and Techniques of the Lone Voyagers: Books: Richard Henderson

But unfortunately its more of an overview of famous singlehanders, with some fairly basic explanations of the techniques used. Also a lot of the stuff is out of date, like recommending dual headstays for running twin jibs, and some other practices that have gone out of fashion for a good reason (Twin headstays means crummy luff tension , and variable loading resulting in metal fatigue and increased potential for breakage... allegedly, etc etc). I learned how to sail singlehanded in New York Harbour because I didnt know anyone who had a boat or could sail. That first docking/ramming at speed sure was fun. But eventually I figured it out.

Electronic autopilot makes things easy. I found that the mainsail halyard led back to the cockpit is pretty much all you need, and even then I always hauled it up from the mast then pulled in the slack through the jammer for easy dumping. Roller fuler is easy, but try not to use a winch as it jams things up. If you dont have a roller furler or cant afford one, a downhaul through the hanks run back to the cockpit is simple and effective, but you get funny looks from the folks with money sometimes. (Or maybe it was my pickaxe-derived tiller handle?).

It's really is not that hard. Reefing is not as quick, but if you are alone and figuring it out, have a reef in at first anyway just to be safe. The last thing you want is to get a halyard snagged trying to reef when you are by yourself and not confident about what you are doing (Cursed mast steps! BAH!).

B
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Old 07-11-2007, 00:33   #6
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I, too, don't know of a single good book for setting up a book for solo sailing. I think in part this is because boats and rigs are quite diverse, as are the needs of solo sailors.

As a solo sailor, I think you and your boat are your best guides. Can you reef easily? do you reef early? Can you put together a hot meal while sailing? Is your cockpit comfortable/dry/warm enough? Can you read books in it? How do you navigate? Have you gotten the habit of logging?

My boat doesn't have all lines lead aft. It'd be nice, but I set/strike sails in all kinds of weather/waves and not having it doesn't seem to have slowed me down. That may in part be the rig (knockabout sloop), or the seakindliness of the hull (Cape Dory 25D by Carl Alberg), or it may be I'm too ignorant to realize how scary/dangerous the maneuvers really are. That's just one example of how what other people say/write may not apply to what you need to set up your boat for solo sailing.

That said, and having pulled a couple 24+ hours on the tiller events, some form of self-steering which can handle the weather you can expect is probably the most important item for me as a solo sailor. My electronic autopilot can't handle much, so I'd like to add a windvane which allows the autopilot as an option.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:27   #7
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I don't know whether there is a book about it or not, but I do know what was instrumental in teaching me how to single hand.

In the process of growing up I began on sunfish then sailing dinks and later moved to Hobies, and a plethora of other small boats. Single handing was all I had done.

When I moved to an SJ 21, with no experienced crew (read as family) it was no problem for me to single hand. That mindset stayed with me all the way up to boats in the 40-50' range.

As others here have said, it makes it much easier when lines are led aft to the cockpit and there's a way to secure the tiller or wheel in one position (tied down, wheel locked, or autopilot) and so forth. But to my mind, the best way to do it is just to go out and and do it.

The only thing you have to remember is that everything must be a "controlled evolution" AND you are not in a hurry or a race. There is no shame in going head to wind to reduce or kill way, performing the event and then starting up again. As you become more comfortable, you can begin to try things under way.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:37   #8
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BUT YOU HAVE NOT CREW TO YELL AT!!! ISN'T THAT WHY WE GO SAILING??

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Old 07-11-2007, 11:06   #9
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::chuckle::

In almost every situation, yelling at the effing dinghy is a reasonable substitute.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:00   #10
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"Ready for Sea"

or something like that.

Captain Tor Pinney has that book out, available at Amazon I think, which not only covers how to set up for singlehanding but pretty much all the things you need to do to make sure a boat is ready for the open sea.

Plus, he's in the finishing stages of doing a complete refit on his own 42 footer down outside of St. Augustine Florida, is a nice guy and might answer any questions you don't find answers to in the book. He's preparing to set off on a world cruise on "Silverheels" sometime in the next few months so catch him now. Not hard to find on the net

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Old 07-11-2007, 13:26   #11
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Amgine

"In almost every situation, yelling at the effing dinghy is a reasonable substitute. "


My experience is that nothing comes out of it when you yell at the dingy while it's effing, especially if you're single handing.
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Old 08-11-2007, 02:59   #12
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... Captain Tor Pinney has that book out ...
... Plus, he's in the finishing stages of doing a complete refit on his own 42 footer down outside of St. Augustine Florida ...
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“Ready for Sea! - How to Outfit the Modern Cruising Sailboat” ~ by Tor Pinney
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Old 25-11-2007, 19:30   #13
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I've got a couple books on my shopping list, but haven't read them. Just have collected the titles based on recommendations I've seen elsewhere:

One Hand for Yourself One for the Ship: The Essentials of Single Handed Sailing (Paperback)
by Tristan Jones

Single-Handed Cruising and Sailing (Hardcover)
by Frank Mulville
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Old 27-11-2007, 21:50   #14
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I think the most effiecient way of single handing is asking your crew to leave!
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:11   #15
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I was very impressed with "Short-handed Sailing" by Alastair Buchan, it gives many good ideas on the boat's and the sailor's required set-up for single-handed sailing and making it to port safely.

Roger
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