I solo a 33' heavy cruiser cutter
. I don't have a lot of experience, this is my only sail boat. I have about 2,000 miles with several overnight passages.
Here a couple of things that made single
handing easier for me.
My biggest problem is getting tired. I find that getting rest is a requirement, part of the job.
If things are going along nicely then I cat nap in the cockpit
whenever possible. At night I set the radar
on standby and my twin kitchen timers to 15 or 30 minutes. I wake up, scan the radar
, listen to the boat, reset the clocks and dose back off.
So, I find a wind vane
, radar, and kitchen timers valuable.
I found running downwind was very tiring, I had to keep from having an accidental gybe. So I set the boom up with dual preventers and that reduced my anxiety and increased my pleasure greatly. It also works as a vang too boot. Reduce stress = less tired = good.
One night my self tending boom nearly destroyed itself to death on a beat. About every 7th wave it would back wind
and smash against the opposite stop. I didn't want to go forward to adjust the stop and by the end of the night there was visible wear and tear. As my original gear
was obsolete and not readily available I replaced it with a smallish traveller from Garhauer. This way I can control the staysail boom more completely from the cockpit, and can sheet tighter. I think it looks funny
with the extra lines, but I like it. Less stress = good.
So in both cases I have reduced anxiety by controlling the booms more completely, and that makes the sail easier.
I had a hard shell pram that was too big on deck
, it was a visual obstruction when docking
. I hooked my pulpit into a funny dock
and bent it because I could not see well. Now I have a Portabote. It works better and takes up less room but is a hassel to put together.
Another big issue I have is learning
to reef soon enough. I too often get over powered and then have a real fight to control the main when reefing. The main can be bar tight with the wind
in it and trying to stuff a tie through a grommet hole with your right hand while grabbing it with your left hand and hanging on with your eyelashes gets pretty boring after about a half hour. No lazy jacks, just naked main. I tied in permanent reefing ties, that helps a lot. Better would be to reef earlier than I do. Maybe I'll learn, someday.
Finally I have jammed my roller furling
a couple of times because I let it run out too fast with no controlling tension on the line. When you do that it gets all ratty on the drum and will jamb if you have a load when reefing. That can be dangerous. So I installed another cleat in the cockpit and I take a turn so the furling
line has some drag on it when the Genny is opening. Not perfect - yet, but better. If I had a second person I would have them pay the furling
I find solo sailing very relaxing. Much more so than when some one is with me.