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Old 17-10-2013, 11:45   #16
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

In the Singlehanded Sailing Henderson describes his perfect boat and why.

Good read for anyone contemplating a long solo.

But in short it is pretty much like a Wylo 35.5, but may be glass not steel.

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Singlehanded Sailing
The Experiences and Techniques of the Lone Voyagers
By Richard Henderson
Singlehanded Sailing - 2nd Ed.
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Old 17-10-2013, 12:21   #17
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

I have single handed both the 33 and the 44 over a couple of thousand miles each.

Some of it depends upon how helpful the crew is. Some crew are as bad as single handing.

That said....for shorter sails...the 33. For crossing oceans....the 44.

But either would do either.
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Old 18-10-2013, 12:56   #18
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

I have chosen the Catalina 315. It is A rated which the Beneteau 34 shoal is not. I feel it is also a better built boat than the Beneteau and due to it's size can fit a 32 foot slip and is less costly to maintain than larger boats. The interior is ample for living aboard for two.
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Old 20-10-2013, 02:20   #19
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I have chosen the Catalina 315. It is A rated which the Beneteau 34 shoal is not. I feel it is also a better built boat than the Beneteau and due to it's size can fit a 32 foot slip and is less costly to maintain than larger boats. The interior is ample for living aboard for two.
Good choice, in fair weather great to have all the space and comfort of a large yacht, try 35-50 knots, every rope gets heavier sails more powerful and the sailor more tired. The advice of " The smallest that will do the job to satisfaction" is probably the correct one
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Old 22-10-2013, 12:23   #20
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Perhaps the greatest single hander Bernard Moitessier (10 April 1925 – 16 June 1994) preferred a boat in the 33 ft range though his most famous boat Joshua was somewhat longer.



Voyage of Joshua – "The long route"
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Old 22-10-2013, 12:58   #21
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

I usually single-hand my 40' catamaran and the way the lines were all originally set up made single-handing much harder than it should have been (i.e. need to be two places at the same time so plan ahead AND be very fast on your feet...) but leading all important lines to the helm combined with always thinking things through ahead of time makes my boat very easy to single hand now. I can put in and shake out reef 1 and 2 without leaving the helm (reef 3 is more stressful but I am in the process of sorting out a trysail that can be raised from the helm instead of a 3rd reed), and I can raise the mainsail pretty quickly with a 2:1 purchase while still at the helm and a number of other important details that make it almost easier to sail alone than with crew. Getting to know the individual boat idiosyncrasies and customizing it to yourself is what I would say is most important as opposed to the actual size. Critical details being knowing how quickly it accelerates and decelerates under various conditions, what is the minimum speed you retain steerage at, how it responds to various currents and winds (for example in my case I have a lot of windage that is not sail area so I think through how the wind is going to want to move my boat even without any sail area up, which if I don't plan for it will my bow turn in a direction I might not want and unless maneuvering with my outboards I will have no steerage if going under about a knot..). The followup additional question beyond the best size for singlehanded sailing is the best size for singlehanded maintenance assuming you are on a budget because I do almost all of my own boat maintenance, including spending a year on the hard working on my boat after I bought her and I can emphatically say the bigger the boat the bigger the maintenance load, both in terms of the cost of items that need to be replaced (running and standing rigging, ground tackle, bottom paint, etc etc) and many aspects of labor (bottom paint, and the 10-12 year major maintenance cycle of boatwork). So while I love the boat I have, the degree of maintenance required of bigger and bigger boats is something to factor in and I would have sailed a lot more since purchasing my boat if I had purchased a smaller boat in need of less maintenance.
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Old 23-10-2013, 08:48   #22
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

A short story on this subject. I am a retired charter captain. That means I singled handed 40 to 50 footers all around the Caribbean. I also ran a couple of 45 foot race-boats down there and sailed pretty much alone between ports. What a lot of work they are! Big anchors. Big fenders. Big gear.

My wife (an excellent sailor) and I are shopping for a 35 footer as our sail-away boat. Our Aphrodite 101 is a beautiful boat for singlehanding but lacks head room!
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Old 23-10-2013, 12:31   #23
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

I guess it comes down to what your familiar with and what fits your needs.
I sailed a 38 footer for years, although a racer cruiser I could sail it comfortably single handed and loved the boat, my wife on the other hand was never comfortable with it, just never felt at ease with the boat. Now we have a 47' cruising boat that weigh 34,000lbs and she has no problem sailing it, go figure.
There is no perfect cruising boat, no one size fits all, get out and get on as many boats as you can, see what fit's your needs. If you want opinions there are plenty, but of course they're all about that persons needs, situations (both financial and emotional) and aspirations, at best it will help in knowing what you don't want.
People have circumnavigated in every conceivable type of boat known to man, from custom built and production boats to rafts made of plastic jugs. The question is, what do you want to do with it?
With the wide variety of boats out there both new and used it can be pretty confusing but there are plenty of capable boats that will do the job, you don't need a custom boat, there are plenty of production/semi-production boats that will do the job. Preparation and seamanship is the key.
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Old 23-10-2013, 13:19   #24
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

Thanks for the replys. The Bristol 27 is my first monohull. I raced small catamarans heavily for about 15 years.

I bought the Bristol to learn about monohulls / cruising boats. I paid very little for it. I did put a new main on it though, and it already had roller furling, 2 jibs, 5 anchors, GPS (2), depth, compass, and extra anchor line and chain. I recently added a 60 watt solar panel, a controller that charges two batteries. I hooked up an 850 watt inverter also for a drip coffee maker, and to charge my laptop and cell phone.

I was recently looking at a couple boats with 6' drafts. (a 1984 Ericson 35 and a 1979 Islander 36) I got to thinking what if I am sailing in a place down South that isn't marked very well. I hear the Bahama Channels are not marked well either. That draft could be a problem for an inexperienced cruising sailor. Then I remembered these boats are fairly large just for one guy.

Maybe I should do the first cruise with my Bristol then get a larger more efficient boat. I did that sort of thing with the racing boats starting with 60's technology on Hobie 16s, then moving on to a NACRA 6.0, then to a NACRA F-17 singlehanded boat with spinnaker, carbon fiber mast, high aspect ratio main, rudders, daggerboards etc.

I won't be doing this for a few years and so far this Bristol is fine for crossing the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. I was even able to slip under the CBBT lower span North of Fishermen's Island and enter the ICW there. That's another story though.

BUT of course, this Bristol won't point worth a crap............but if I'm cruising it shouldn't matter I guess.
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Old 23-10-2013, 14:18   #25
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

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I solo my valiant all the time, but it is not as much fun as soloing in my 23. I say use the smallest boat you can complete your dreams in. If it is crossing an ocean, then a bit bigger. If not smaller is more fun.
I'm totally with Newt on this, and even have the same boat. I love single-handing mine and find it pretty trivial. But it really comes down to how you expect to use the boat. I live on my boat, so having a larger boat has some advantages. If were only taking her out for sails and the occasional weekends, in bays and along the coast, I would have bought a very different boat...probably something around 30' give or take, with a speedier hull. The Valiant is fun to sail, beautifully balanced and faster than she looks, but she's not exactly nimble.

The one advantage to a larger boat when single handing is that it is more stable, with more deck area. I feel much more secure, scrambling around on it in some circumstances, than I do on smaller boats.
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Old 23-10-2013, 21:43   #26
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

Cool Suijin, I never read the small print. Your the 3rd Valiant owner that posts a lot around here. What number do you have?
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Old 23-10-2013, 21:54   #27
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

All the talk here is about boat length. In my view displacement is a more important consideration.
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Old 25-10-2013, 10:56   #28
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

This is it. Its not the size not even the type of boat. Its the skipper and the way the boat is rigged and used that counts.
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Old 25-10-2013, 11:26   #29
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

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All the talk here is about boat length. In my view displacement is a more important consideration.
I'm thinking the correct length is important for a guy that comes and goes a lot from the slip on weekends and what have you ......

I want to buy one more boat that will be good for the weekend warrior and a week's vacation here and there and also be a good cruising boat when I retire. I can get to the bow of my 27' Bristol much faster than I could on say a 40' boat to tie up to the dock etc.

I'm thinking something around 31' to 35'. Much larger than that I'm thinking could be a real pain to put in the slip on wind days.

As it is now with my Bristol, I can come in during most any "normal" wind 5-25 knots and not have much problem. Of course, if it bangs around a bit against the pilings, that's not a big deal either.

With a larger boat though, it could be a bit harder. Once out on the water, I don't see a real problem with a larger boat except it will cost more to maintain and operate I'm told.

Displacement for this size and type boat I guessing would be between 9,500 - 14,000 lbs..........a boat like a Contessa 32 or a Wauquiez Pretorien 35 might work although I probably wouldn't want that Pretorien bouncing around off the pilings.
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Old 25-10-2013, 11:30   #30
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Re: Best Size Sailboat For Singlehander

I think you are on the right track. I hate bringing my 40 footer into the slip with a cross wind alone. Esp if that wind is blowing me away from the dock and onto that cabin cruiser motorboat next to me. Smaller boats are less stress.
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