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Old 10-11-2005, 09:05   #16
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I donít think that most 26 footers require an anchor windlass (elect, man, or combination) unless:
~ the singlehander is exceptionally weak, unfit, or handicapped
~ the singlehander anticipates anchoring close-in, in very deep water (long retrieval times)
Neither do I think fitting an anchor windlass is even desirable, unless required.
who sailed a 29' with BIG anchors

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Old 10-11-2005, 14:03   #17
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MVIC, I suspect you might be somewhat disapointed by the response to your vhf once you are in the water. Unless the receiving aerial is much higher than normal masts, you will be very lucky to get much more than about 5 miles range.

Much better to make sure you dont fall in

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Old 10-11-2005, 15:00   #18
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More stuff.

I use a winch on the mast to pull the anchor up.
A soft dodger can be taken down and put out of the way.
An auto helm is a wonderfull thing.
Does the boat have a tiller or a wheel. If it has a tiller I can tell you how to keep it where you want it, while you wonder around and it works better than a purchased tiller tamer.
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Old 10-11-2005, 20:26   #19
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Rule #5: I shall remember that I can fall overboard at any time.

It is customary for singlehanders to snap onto a jackline anytime they leave the cockpit or in questionable weather.

Here are some articals that are worth reading!!!!!!!!!
.................................................. ....._/)
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Old 10-11-2005, 21:23   #20
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Thanks for the info and the great articles. The 5 Mile range should be OK for my first season single handing as I plan to just sail around the Boston harbor islands and maybe over to Nahant and up to cape ann. If I manage to stay out of the briny the first season there is hope for me! Almost sounds like I am resigned to going over doesn't it? Well, not really, and I plan to set things up so I never HAVE to leave the cockpit unless it is to dock or anchor (thanks to all the great info on this thread it looks like it will be possible).

I got this e-mail from a sailing club in Boston which luckily I was able to delete before my wife opened it and forbade me to ever go sailing again. Made me want to try to do what I could to minimize the risk, also because occasionally I will be sailing alone with my 6 year old (who will be wearing a life jacket and harness at all times) and I am not at all sure that she would be able to run a MOB drill at her tender age (though she could call 911 on a cell phone and read off the numbers on the GPS or even make a VHF call if trained to do so). Certainly I will heed the advice in this thread and NEVER go out of the cockpit without being tied on except to dock, looks like if the people involved in the incidents below had been tied on they would have been OK.

ďThe XXXX policy, unlike that of XXX, etc is not to allow single handed sailing. There are two primary reasons for this, safety and law.

Regarding safety, in the XX years XXXX has been in operation, I have personally witnessed 3 of our members single handing in the mooring area fall overboard while sailing. One person who was told expressly not to sail until his partner arrived disregarded our advice, fell overboard from a Pearson 26 and was observed clinging with both hands to a lifeline stanchion he managed to grab as the boat sailed on, banging into several boats along the way and breaking the mast on one of them. He was wearing full weather gear">foul weather gear and boots and, if he had not grabbed the stanchion would probably have drowned with all that gear on.
He was rescued by the launch driver whom I alerted to the predicament. Other people fell overboard when the left the helm of solings to moor and slipped overboard when they lost their balance or were hit by wave action. Both were rescued by launch drivers.

A former student on her own boat dropped friends off in Charlestown then went out again singlehanded. Her boat was found with the engine running and sails partly put away off
Cohasset; her body was found off Marblehead. The presumption was she fell overboard while trying to put the boat away before motoring back in calm conditions. There are numerous other incidents on record of single handed sailors dying after falling overboard involving persons not associated in some way with the club either as students or members.

The notion that it won't happen to me is very prevalent among sailors who view the sport as liberating the soul and spirit from the frustrations of daily life. In fact I feel sailing alone is frought with the dangers I describe and I don't envision the XXXX ever being involved in a
loss of life because, for a few dollars more, we bargained away someone's personal safety.

Regarding the legal aspects of singlehanded sailing, federal law requires every boater maintain a proper lookout. A proper lookout as defined by maritime case law is a "person with no other duties". Single handed sailing by definition precludes the single hander from
meeting the federal requirement of having a lookout with no other duties. While I realize there are numerous single handed boats like lasers and sunfish, our boats are large enough to accomodate a crew member to function as a lookout.

I hope this helps you understand and appreciate the basis of our company policy regarding single handing.Ē
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And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by... Sea Fever by John Masefield"
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Old 11-11-2005, 12:20   #21
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Everyone chooses to do things different, here's my choices given what I understand your position to be..

Could be way off the mark but what the heck!


Anchor: My favorite is the Bruce. Or maybe, for a little boat, Danforth? 'Bout 30 ft chain and the rest strechy double braid. No winch or anyhting like that. One good strong deck cleat for dealing with the anchor.

Sail handling : Local condtions kinda' set what to have as sail selections. In the SF Bay area its either 20-25kn or drifting. So I run a little headsail for 90% of the time and a big 150% for the drifters.

No roller furling or any of that sillynes for a 26 footer, hanks work fine for me. To hold the sail from blowing away when its on deck, I just wrap the halyard around it, clip it to itself and give it a tug. That and webbing for the first section or so of lifelines. (Not netting, webbing)

Speaking of halyards and reefing, I set up my O'l 27 footer with one winch on the mast with a triple rope clutch. Main, jib, spinnaker halyards. Yes, this ment going up to the mast to deal with raising, lowering and reefing the sails, and no, it wasn't a problem. I really liked the setup, it was very simple and worked great. I think the "lead everything to the cockpit" deal is way overrated. Sail shape controls? Yes, halyards and such? No. But this is just me.

Wenches : The 27 footer had wenches and cleats, they worked fine. The big boat (35') has wenches and camcleats. When I first got the big boat I thought "Those will have to go". Why? Because someone might kick out a jibsheet and that would be bad. Well yeah, people do sometimes kick out a jibsheet, big deal. The winch and camcleat is a really great system. I'd never go back.

Self tailers? I've used them on other boats and to tell the truth, for jibsheets, I'm not all that impressed with them. Halyards? I do like them for halyards, but not for something like a 26 footer. Rope clutches work fine for a 26 footer.

Autopilot / Tiller tamer : Never tried a tiller tamer. Having a taste for light, fin keeled boats that probibly don't track all that well. I don't know if it would help or not. I never had an autopilot on my 27 footer.


When I put the 35 footer togather one of the "upgrades" I installed was a tiller pilot. Oh my Lord! That was the one biggest change I ever made. It changed sailing from, something like a car that is minded constantly, to more like a train or a ship where your on deck and watching the scene drift by. I'm not able to really put it into words but I'm sure your not going to get that big of a bang for your buck with a tiller tamer.

Windvane : Not on a 26 footer. Unless your planning on crossing oceans. I have a Monitor vane on my 35 footer and just love it to death. The wind vanes shine in open water sailing. Are you planning on open water sailing?... Maybe a bigger boat by that time?

Electronics: People think they "need" so much stuff. My short list would be..

A depth guage that can read fathoms. I like this for anything near shore and calculating anchor scope. (Hence fathoms, 'cause they are an armspan [6']. That and chain length as a multiple of 6 makes the math easy.)

A knot guage 'cause they're fun to watch. And, helps a lot in learing what the boat really ikes in sail trim.

Handheld GPS is really handy for fog.

I guess that's my long list as well..

How are you going to charge your battries? Does this have an inboard? Some outboards have generator outputs.. This bit is up in the air. I don't like wind generators. Solar -might- work for this lite load of stuff, don'no..

Inside : Fridge? Not for a 26 footer. A WELL insulated ice box works fine for a weekender.

Don't forget installing a charcol filter in the sink water line. Works wonders for the taste of the water! (After the tank has, at least, been cleaned out.)

My 27 footer had a gymbled cooking pot with a propane cartrage for the galley. This was another "That will have to be changed" item when I bought the boat. Today, I wish I could get that gymbled pot back. I loved it! It worked great for all sorts of stuff. And, want something grilled? Just use the barby on the stern rail.

Bolt a propane barby to the stern rail, great fun those!

Man! Add a little one cylnder diesil, toss in a sleeping bag and where do I sign? I guess I just layed out my dream 26-28 foot boat! Sounds like fun!

A couple other things about single handing. My bigger boat, the 35 footer has a few "features" that make it very single hander friendly.

First reef : Can be acheved from the cockpit, just reach back and pump up the back stay. Many cruisers see a bendy mast as some sinful thing. I feel exposed and in peril if I -can't- bend the mast. The ability to depower your main with a bendy mast is just wonderful!

Easly driven hull : When I'm out with the wife n' kiddies, or singlehanding, typically I just run the main alone. With this setup I can pretty much keep pace with the average dirty bottom sailboat and not worry about reefing at all to about 25-30kn. This is a common practice for the go-fasty race boats when not running in high gear. No, I'm not going to win any races like this, but for kicking about, it sailes fine and BOY is it relaxing!

A bad thing about the go-fasty race machines is.. Well, at least mine, they don't track at all. You need something at the helm at all times. Either carbon, silcon or stainless. Also, in the bumps, they tend to have a pretty.. Er.. Firm ride. But for those that complain about the rough ride to weather, my reply is, "At least it -will- go to weather if you need it to."

Good luck and have fun!!

-jim lee
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Old 14-11-2005, 08:38   #22
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Single hand......


That piece on 'single handing' was a bit over the top. Sure there are risks, kinda like crossing the street, driving your car...etc.

Taking the precautions that common sense dictate, and taking the time to learn those that are not as apparent (as you are here) place the risk into the 'reasonable' range.

I single hand about 75% of the time.

Some might (thankfully not in this thread) argue that 26' is "too small". Some of us on the Pearson Ariel (26', full keel) page are using our boats and making some of the conversions you are asking about.

The site is;

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Old 14-11-2005, 17:14   #23
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"Federal law requires every boater maintain a proper lookout. A proper lookout as defined by maritime case law is a 'person with no other duties'."
Well, just hold on a second. the first part is right, (Nav Rules, USCG, Annex V, now under Homeland Security) but the second part pertains to inspected vessels, commercial activity. An OUPV licensed captain operating for profit with less than 6 passengers does not have to have a separate lookout. Certainly a recreational boater does not. If they don't like it, they can have their club rules, but bullshit is still bullshit.

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Old 16-11-2005, 15:53   #24
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It has been my experience that smaller GPS have poorer performance. Sure, they all work on a cloudless day in ideal conditions, but in heavily overcast conditions, smaller hand-helds and wrist GPS seem to struggle to maintain satellite contact. I would therefore advise against wristwatch type GPS (I think they are a bit of a "James Bond" gimmick to be honest, perhaps in another 10 years the technology will be good enough). Most marine GPS are waterproof, and many of the handheld float. My "belt 'n braces" attitude is to have a GPS down below, powered off the boat's 12v system, with an extenal amplifying antenna (on the pushpit), and also a battery powered hand-held as backup in case the other goes down, and also to be used on deck if conditions preclude a trip downstairs

Again, I have a "belt n braces" attitude to VHF radio - A conventional VHF at the nav station, and a hand-held as backup.

You might want to consider a personal EPIRB. These are very small versions of the standard yacht EPIRB, that fit neatly into a pocket...if you use an inflatable liferjacket, you can have your personal EPIRB in one of the pockets.
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Old 16-11-2005, 17:07   #25
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Good info thanks Weyalan. Anyone know what kind of response time you are looking at from a personal epirb going off just off the coast of MA?

Thanks for providing us with the real deal Cap'n Lar, now I can shelve the idea of having a dummy in the cockpit with me feigning watch duty
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Old 16-11-2005, 20:24   #26
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No idea

Sorry Mvic,

Response time would be dependent on lots of different factors, and I am unfamilair with MA (is that Maine, USA?), so I wouldn't like to guess. I will say, however, that some of the newer EPIRBs have GPS as well, so that one would be more likely to be located quickly than the standard EPIRB which can, IIRC only be located to within a couple of kilometers....I should add the caveat that I am by no means an expert on EPIRB technology - I am merely regurgitating what I have read elsewhere, so please take everything with at least a pinch of salt.
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Old 24-11-2009, 07:50   #27
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Hi bored, i agree with much advise given here,but take exception to el. anchor windlass . This is going in a totaly wrong direction, you will need bigger batteries ,more charging ,more money(lots) ,heavy wiring, switches,and will never learn much about anchor handling.IMHO spend your $ elsewhere or go sailing first.You will come out way ahead.Learn the basics first so you will know what to do when (not if) all those add ons let you down.Get out on the water instead of at the dock installing things that may never be of that much help and will often be a source of fustration. BTW i like yor boat .
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Old 24-11-2009, 10:01   #28
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mrohr.......good thoughts, but I bet the OP is long past this issue. the thread was started in 2005!

I'd be interested to know if he (or she, I suppose) is still with the same boat, even.

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Old 24-11-2009, 11:04   #29
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This is a very interesting thread (oldy but goodie) I found the response give by xxxx to have some logic to it, but over the top. One point i would like to comment on- the supposition that once a person is overboard ( at the dock or harbor) that all is lost. If you are at sea with self steering in place things could get grim very fast,but while docking I have gone overboard at least 3 times and have self rescued myself back to a boat sailing out to sea every time. Two times were on a Catalina 27 with high freeboards and no ladder. I have never incurred damage to any other boat, but have incurred laughter from fellow sailors. By the time they have come over to the boat I was back in control.
I think the key is planning ahead for any situation. I knew what I was going to do. I do there is risk however, and there is nothing of merit that i do that does not entail that.
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Old 24-11-2009, 17:59   #30
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You will be able to handle the anchor by hand, but you will need a genoa winch. Otherwise not much equipment needed on a 26 footer. Probably perfect size for a single-hander inside of the barrier reef.

My other picks would be:
- big water tanks,
- some sort of, auto / wind pilot,
- a solar panel,
- maybe, a jib furler,
- definitely some sort of bimini,
- a solar bag shower

Just personal choices. I have sailed Cairns to Darwin and think one can go with just the basics there.


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