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Old 24-11-2009, 20:00   #31
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Mvic,

I'm guessing that your posted email from the Boston sailing club was "Boston Harbor Sailing Club". For anyone lucky enough to be in the Boston area this is a great way to get started in sailing. They offer lessons, fun races and a variety of cruising sailboats all around Massachusetts. The membership fee includes unlimited use of a boat.

Boston Sailing - Schools Lessons Certifications - Boston Harbor Sailing Club - Sailboat Racing Moorings Rentals Charters

After a year of two of this you'll have the experience and the knowledge to buy the right boat for you and operate her safely. I know several people who have gotten their cruising start this way.

I'd be especially cautious with your six year old son. Not just his safety but to help him grow up to enjoy sailing. I've seen more than one child scared away from sailing for life by a bad experience when they were very young. A rough day, a nearby large ship with a loud horn, the fear that you might fall overboard, being cold and wet, imagined sharks, etc... It's a very stressful thing for a youngster. I've taught hundreds of kids to sail but if they are under 10, I'm very cautious that the weather is good, the waters protected (more protected than outer Boston Harbor) and that a calm and extremely experienced person is in charge of the boat.

Carl
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Old 24-11-2009, 21:23   #32
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I used to own a 26ft boat. Set up was something along the lines of:
Navigation: handheld GPS
Instrumentation - Solar powered TackTick
Propulsion- 2hp out board (to get home in zero wind)
Electrical - none
Refrigeration - small icebox
Self steering - none (unless you count the bungy to hold the tiller central)
Hank on sails, all lines led to cockpit.
No winches - - everything done with mechanical advantage using blocks.
Anchor: fortress, 3m chain, the rest rope
Household: Camping stove, bucket
Safety: Lifejackets, throw line, horeshoe, VHF, horn etc

With this set up I has able to do anything on the boat singlehanded, including flying asymetrical spinnakers.

You can go down the road of lights, batteries, windlass, winches, roller furlings, lazy jacks / stakpacks and a whole host of others, but there really isn't any need to.

If you actually want to end up with a boat that sails well, remember that the smaller the boat, the more you need to consider weight - don't put on what isn't necessary!!
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Old 24-11-2009, 22:06   #33
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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 out slowly.

I find solo sailing very relaxing. Much more so than when some one is with me.

Enjoy.
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Old 24-11-2009, 22:38   #34
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hpeer- try heaving too when bringing down the main. Makes it alot easier for me. I also have the first and second reef already on lines, I just need to button on the main, winch and tighten, then go through the hand ties if I want to.
Also when opening and closing the furling jib. Get on a tack with the jibsheet and the furling sheet on the same side- then let out the furling sheet as you bring in the jibsheet. Works for me.
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Old 25-11-2009, 07:58   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Mvic,

I'm guessing that your posted email from the Boston sailing club was "Boston Harbor Sailing Club". For anyone lucky enough to be in the Boston area this is a great way to get started in sailing. They offer lessons, fun races and a variety of cruising sailboats all around Massachusetts. The membership fee includes unlimited use of a boat.

Boston Sailing - Schools Lessons Certifications - Boston Harbor Sailing Club - Sailboat Racing Moorings Rentals Charters


Carl
There is also the Boston Sailing Center, which operates out of a houseboat on Lewis Wharf. I sailed there regularly before buying my boat. They have Solings, Sonars, J-24s and about a half dozen crusing boats in the 35-40 ft. range that are available for charter once you pass the appropriate courses.

Boston Sailing Center: Sailing School, Sailing Club - Lessons, Memberships, Racing, Cruising, Charters, Instruction

Nice people, but not cheap. Neither is the Boston Harbor Sailing Club.
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Old 25-11-2009, 08:05   #36
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A cool trick to sail downwind effortlessly and without the wane too:

Here: you need two jibs luff lengths shorter than your mast height. Fly them from same halyard and not to the tack on the stem - place their tack at the mast foot instead (so - their luffs will run along the mast). Then use two poles (spinnaker poles or just old windsurfer masts cut down to length) to pole out the sails. The poles will go in front of the lowers. The sails will work at a slight 'reverse' angle.

Such a set-up is:
1) self steering,
2) very easy to spill the wind (just ease the poles and the sail will float to the bow and keep the boat running slowly),
3) speed loss is minimal,
4) hassle is nil.

Magic.

b.
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