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Old 17-09-2009, 01:33   #16
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I singlehand a 49 foot boat with no electric winches. In reality, you only need to crank away at the genoa sheet a couple of times a day for just a minute or two at a time. Sailing is a breeze (and in-mast furling makes reefing simple and quick) but parking the boat at the dock is a bit more work but that is just a matter of practice.
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Old 17-09-2009, 01:42   #17
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I saw on the Searay website an impressive system to make docking a motorboat dead easy controlled by the twin props rather than thrusters. The system costs more than my boat however.

I'm am not sure if they are trying to make a point, but they keep showing an attractive woman controlling it

Axius Zeus Video
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Old 17-09-2009, 02:58   #18
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Hi all
Many years ago in maple Bay, BC when I was just learning to sail, I watched a barefoot fisherman dock a commercial salmon troller by himself. He simply brought the boat to a dead stop with a quick burst of reverse a few inches from the dock then casually stepped off and threw a line onto a cleat. he then walked upto the store without looking back. I was impressed. Maybe a little red-faced remembering my own efforts.

Years later I operated a 67 foot salmon packer out of Prince Rupert and regularly was able to do the same thing solo(with shoes on). The difference was many sea miles and much practice on my part. 20-30 foot tides and off dock winds made it challenging sometimes. In difficult conditions (wind or tide off the dock)I used a grapple at the end of my did spring line led through the midship cleat to the pilot house forward. I would aggressively come up to the dock, reverse smartly, step out to the deck and throw the grapple to the other side of the dock and quickly cleat it off forward. It was them a simple matter to engage fwd with the rudder hard over to pull the boat in with the spring and proceed to secure bow and stern. Of course a series of tire fenders along the side and an 10 inch wide rub rail helped.

All the modern gadgets are nice props for beginners and good aids for the experienced but everyone should know how to operate without them. After all they may fail just when you need them most(Murphy). I believe in crew. Make friends and invite them along. Learn to get along with people. Boats are to be enjoyed.

Practice and have fun
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Old 17-09-2009, 03:36   #19
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I'm just wondering what is the biggest sized boat that can be handled by just one person. I'm especially thinking about when it comes to docking the boat as I figure you can rig yachts to be easily handled at sea but be a pig to dock alone.
Really there is no size limit for handling. I have singled handed a 34m (112') both on passage and docking. Variable pitch prop (you can reverse the pitch to get the stern to walk either way), big bow thruster and huge powered winches (and furlers) make it easy. I would actually say there is probably a middle size range that is most difficult/requires the most seamanship - boats too big to be able to push around by hand (like you can do with a 30'er) but not big enough to have all the major power assists (like powerful bow thruster).

The real question is how big a boat do you want to maintain? The bigger boats require all their gear to be working. If the hydraulics go down on the 34m boat you are really in deep **** (and that's no matter how many crew you have). With a small boat you can still operate everything even if al your systems die.
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Old 17-09-2009, 05:08   #20
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The burning question is: What do you intend doing with the boat?
All your docking issues seem to have been addressed.
What about : where will you be using the boat? In a busy area? on the open seas?
I sailed a 30ft boat half way around the earth.... never had a problem....Try and dock the boat in a strong wind with a running current in a busy waterway..... that can become a problem.
The biggest difference between the sizes = cost... how much are you prepared to live with...
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Old 17-09-2009, 05:19   #21
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We have a 55 ft boat; it is not the docking, if help is needed, which it usually isn't, I just call the marina and ask for help or just drop on the fuel dock.

The problem is the weight of sails and anchors...try getting down and stowing a 1100 sq ft genoa when the roller fails or manhandling a 122 lb anchor that gets loose in a seaway.

Much easier to single hand something of 42 ft or less.
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Old 17-09-2009, 06:00   #22
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try getting down and stowing a 1100 sq ft genoa when the roller fails or .
Yeah, but how many times has it actually failed?
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Old 17-09-2009, 06:06   #23
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Once in a F7...The lower bearing jammed.
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Old 17-09-2009, 06:15   #24
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And once might be enough to put a major crimp in one's solo sailing career.
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Old 17-09-2009, 06:24   #25
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Moondancer this is what I mean. All gear are gettin hard to handle due to size and weight.
And its seldom the ocean is a waxed ballroomfloor wich is also a factor.

/ Harry
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Old 17-09-2009, 06:50   #26
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And once might be enough to put a major crimp in one's solo sailing career.
What? Not at all. Just sail in circles for a few minutes and roll it up!
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Old 17-09-2009, 07:35   #27
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What do you guys think of the lazy cradle for the main? Is it as easy as drop and forget under normal conditions? I take it you can reef the main without leaving the cockpit with the right rigging set up?

The last time I sailed in mast rollers we only on the absolute most expensive yachts whilst mere mortals could only afford external rollers and nothing like the lazy cradle existed.
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Old 17-09-2009, 08:23   #28
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I once heard a report of how Paul Cayard and crew parallel parked a 70 footer at a dock without an engine or thruster with a crowd watching.
But back to the original post - most singlehandlers max out at about 40 feet and get better at docking with practice.
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Old 17-09-2009, 09:47   #29
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I have both a small and a larger boat (40). I enjoy sailing the smaller one solo. She is more responsive, and has everything I need to be comfortable. The bigger one can be soloed but is mostly a family boat. It all goes back to what you plan to use it for. At 50- I get tired at the winches of the Valiant. But I would still openwater her with confidence. (alone)
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Old 17-09-2009, 17:17   #30
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What do you guys think of the lazy cradle for the main? .
Yeah. Its just Lazy Jacks with the main cover attached. They have been around for a while. Pretty well everyone would be using them or furling the main.

Our next boat will have in mast furling.
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