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Old 20-06-2005, 11:36   #1
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Setup for Single-Handing a Sloop

I am looking for advice on the equiptment to best set up a 26' fiberglass keel (4'6" draft) boat for single handed sailing for an inexperienced sailor (me). In particular recomendations on sails (furlers?) winches(sheet & anchor) anchor types/sizes. Sailing location, Aus, Queensland, costal and barrier reef. Also any other advice that you think that i may need. I have thick skin and an open mind!
Thank in advance for your assistance.
Paul (boredinthecity)
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Old 21-06-2005, 09:55   #2
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setting up for singlehanding requires equipment to enable the boat to do one thing while you do another. Thus the most crucial initial purchase is an autohelm. Then you need to get self tailing winches - Arco 20's (made in Aus) should be suitable, but they also do secondhand ones.

The next useful bit of gear is a reefing foresail There are numerous ones available but you get what you pay for here, and then your sails may need re-cut to fit.

If you want to anchor a lot, especially in confined areas, then being able to raise the anchor from the cockpit is very useful - thus an electric windlass, but you will also need to ensure that you have enough battery charging capability to jhandle it.

Finally if your bank manager hasn't died yet, then a you should consider the ease of handling the mainsail. Simplest system is to make sure you have slab reefing with the lines permanently attached, + a Lazyjack system to hold it in place, and a stackpac for the sail to be easily gathered into. Personally I have behind mast reefing, but that is much more expensive and too heavy for your boat, but you might be able to get an in-boom system - these are not as good for proper sailing, but are MUCH easier for singlehanding.

Normally it is cheaper to find a boat that is set up for this, than starting from scratch! Hope this helps.
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Old 21-06-2005, 14:10   #3
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Thanks for the reply which is clearly useful.

No the bank manager has not died yet. I did have a look at boats that were already set up and to be honest between worn out gear, gear selected on price and 3 rate fixing ... The boat that i ended up with been very well maintained but no TOYS! It also was more that $30 000 Aus cheaper than the other boat that i was looking at. This is the budget that i am trying to stay within.

As my intention is to spend at least the next 2 years sailing full time. As i am an inexperienced sailor ( a bad tradesman) i need good tools!

I already have decided to upgrade with better solar so i will need to take into account anchor winches. Do you have any views on worth of having a combined electric manual option of the anchor whinces?

The boat already has a tiler pilot (still in the box unopened)! i am in the process of trying to work out the nav electronics that i should get.

do you have any good links that i can get further info on the sail recomendations that you made as it sounds like what i need (along with more training and experience under sail).

Paul
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Old 21-06-2005, 16:21   #4
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On a 26ft boat, you dont have the space for a big enough solar panel to drive the windlas, but do have the space for a wind generator. The best option for these is the type that can be converted from wind, to towed e.g. aquagen and duogen (the second is better but more expensive.

Windlasses are available with either a vertical drum or horizontal. AFAIK both types can be disengaged from their motor drive, and anchor raised by hand. The horizontal type are easier to use manually, but take up more space on deck. You will be able to use the smallest electric 400-700 w winndlass.
Dont forget that you will also need to get calibrated chain to go with the windlass, but make sure that it is calibrated for the specific windlass (recommend 8mm chain for your size boat)

I would not like to recommend genoa or main furling gear to you as I dont know what is available where you live. suggest a quick look in a number of boat brokerage lists in your area to check out what appears to be the most popular.

Nav electronics - I am not an advocate of all instruments being NMEA as I reckon that only benefits the manufacturer, with little real benefit to the customer, but the log does need to talk to wind instrument. If in UK I would recommend the Silva dataset and wind set as a decent system at a decent price.

You must buy at least one hand held GPS and appropriate charts

make sure that you have good jackstay set up along each side of the boat to the bow so that you can hook on - I prefer a webbing strap rather than a wire cause it doesnt slip underfoot as much.

Make sure you have a lifejacket that also has a harness and wear it when you are singlehanding - yes you may see lots of other folk about without lifejackets, but if you fall overboard when singlehanding, the boat is not going to come back and pick you up! - thus use the harness and jackstays when going outside the cockpit - however if you have the boat set up correctly you should not need to go forward anyway (except for one or two minor jobs in preparation for anchoring/coming alongside etc.

Make sure that the boat has a cleat either side in the middle as it will make single handed alongsides much easier.
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Old 22-06-2005, 00:14   #5
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Thanks Talbot

Sails - most of the bareboat charter orgs appear to be using sail setups along the line of what you are suggesting so i will have a closer look at what their setups are.

Anchor whinches - every thing that you have said checks out.

Electrics- what i did not say was that the boat already has a small solar setup as well as generator capablity fron the Yamar. The wind/tow options would appear to ideal as they would provide me with a more balanced system as well as plenty of capablity.

Navigation - i purchased NEW papercharts, crusing guides, non-electric instruments etc before i got around to buying a boat! In part this was so that i could match any boat purchase against where i wanted to sail and what i wanted to do there.

Electronic Nav. I think that what you are saying is that things can and will go wrong with all boat systems, buy all the toys/aids that i want but be setup to be operate the boat without electics. I will be purchasing hand held GPS. I also will be operating a computer system based on cmap/SOB software with instruments (wind, log) as well as GPS feeding into them. I am looking at the forward sonar systems. Sydney Boat show is on shortly so i am doing my research and waiting to see what 'specials' they have.

Life jackets/ Harness had purchased in my BIG size) before getting boat - i used to be a pro fisherman at a place that we had an interesting bar and plenty of tourists with newly purchased boats!!!!! This is why i appreciate your assistance - at the very least it cause me to know what questions i need to ask.

with thanks Paul
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Old 22-06-2005, 04:29   #6
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Quote:
Talbot once whispered in the wind:
I would not like to recommend genoa or main furling gear to you as I dont know what is available where you live.

- however if you have the boat set up correctly you should not need to go forward anyway (except for one or two minor jobs in preparation for anchoring/coming alongside etc.

Aren't these two statements a bit of a contradiction???

For singlehanding I'm all for a roller reefing foresail. Especially, in a rough sea. You really can't really depend on an tillerpilot in those conditions..................._/)
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Old 22-06-2005, 06:19   #7
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Hi Delmarrey

Nice to hear from some one sitting on the same rock!

I think that the apparent contridiction is brought ablout because Talbot had recomended a roller reefing foresail in an earlier post and i had asked him for recomendations (implying brands/models) As i understand he was relucant to recomend because he is unsure of avaliablity and prices in the colonies. He He

Are there any any types/brands/ models that you can recomend or just as useful, sugest that i aviod.

Paul::
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Old 22-06-2005, 07:16   #8
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A Different Perspective

Paul,

If I had a newly-purchased 26' boat, and had to stay within a budget when fitting her out, here is how I would prioritize my equipment purchases. I will assume your boat is minimally equipped and that you are new to sailing.

First priority: basic safety equipment for the single-hander.
  • webbing jacklines and harness for going forward (I favor the combination harness/CO2-inflatable vest, such as SoSpenders)
  • current standard/required safety equipment, such as freshly-charged fire extinguishers, flares, etc. (sorry for being patronizing here)
Second priority: basic contols/equipment that make skippering the boat singlehander-friendly.
  • lead all control lines (halyards, etc.) to the cockpit. This will keep you safer, drier, and in more control, instead of pitching around on the cabintop.
  • since you already have a tiller-tamer, install it, and you can put off the purchase of an autopilot for a while. It also will allow you to leave the helm for short periods of time to attend to small tasks: going below to grab a chart/radio/beverage, relieving yourself, etc. You will probably find that with the tamer, and by using some basic sail-trimming, you can induce your boat to self-steer on many windward courses, allowing you to actually lounge a bit (while keeping a careful watch, of course). Being a slave to that tiller for hours on end is limiting and frustrating.
  • a down-haul for the headsail. You can release the jib-halyard, pull the headsail to the deck with the down-haul, set the tiller to either wander a wide course or short-tack close-hauled while you go forward to secure/bag the headsail.
  • lazy-jacks to contain the mainsail when striking sail. It's like the ready hands of a crewman. If your sail has a boltrope luff, then the whole sail detaches from the mast when lowered, and SOMETHING needs to keep it out of the cockpit. If your main uses slugs that slide up the mast, it still makes life easier when the wind is up. Installing lazy-jacks is much simpler than altering your sail to accomodate the alternative Dutchman system. A Stackpac (sp?), a sail cover permanently attached to your boom, is an unnecessary luxury for those on a budget.
  • If your jib sheets leave non-self-tailing winches and are secured with horned cleats, you can avoid the expense of self-tailing winches by installing cam cleats next to your existing horned cleats, and run your sheet tails through them. When tacking, a simple tug releases the working sheet, then lift the coils off the winch quickly with your hand, and when the bow comes over, the new working sheet can be taken in, winched if necessary (you already set the tiller-tamer), draw the tail through the cam-cleat, and it's automatically secured. Another alternative to a self-tailing winch is a rubber ring that fits snugly around the lip of the winch (when installed it looks something like a pulley), and which does a decent job of mimicking the self-tailing action of that expensive replacement winch. They are available here in the US, but Down Under, I have no idea.
  • a simple reefing system (single-line, or slab, reefing has been suggested and I concur) will let you reduce your sail area as the breeze freshens. Any sailmaker can put the reef points in. Resources exist to show you how to rig the lines.
  • many singlehanders on boats your size use manual anchor winches. It's all a matter of personal choice. An electric winch is very convenient, but involves more expense and will consume significant electricity.
Third priority: simple navigational tools that will increase your confidence and skill.
  • you already have good paper charts and mechanical instruments.
  • a hand-held compass
  • rulers & divider
    [/u] All daysailing, and most coastal cruising, involves piloting, not navigation per se. These simple, inexpensive tools can let you get cross bearing on shore features you can match to your chart, and keep an accurate dead reckoning log. You will learn to read a chart and more quickly and more completely, and learn more about piloting (IMHO, become a better sailor), and avoid spiraling electricity demands by going "old school" at first. The hand-held compass is also useful to take a bearing on a land feature abeam of your boat after setting anchor. Checking the same feature a second time, after a few minutes, can tell you if you're dragging on your anchor or snugged on the hook.
Fourth priority: investing bigger (Australian) dollars in conveniences that make life on the water more enjoyable.
  • a cabintop dodger keeps spray & wind off of you and makes sailing to weather in sloppy seas more comfortable. Other canvass, e.g., bimini, provides shelter from blazing sun while on the hook.
  • a hand-held GPS can verify your piloting, add a level of sophistication and convenience to your navigation, and give you the confidence to plan more adventurous outings now that you can really use a chart.
  • converting to roller-reefing for your headsail keeps you snug and dry in the cockpit. Many run a 12v line from the house bank to spare all the disposable batteries.
  • increasing the capacity of your battery bank can give you more flexibility in your energy-using habits.
  • solar panels and/or a wind generator will make you less dependent on running the engine to charge batteries.
  • an auto-pilot is a nice tool that really frees you up underway to handle sails, navigate, take a bearing, etc. (Okay, this item belongs a little higher on my list).
Lowest priority: electric/electronic luxuries like chartware, refrigeration.

Well, those are my two cents, and reveal my slightly minimalist philosophy and your wish to keep costs down while gaining maximum enjoyment while you're on your learning curve. You're already talking about using your laptop, but consider the associated costs in software & hardware just so the computer will have something to do. In the end, you will decide what is right for you, Skipper.

Regards,
CJ
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Old 22-06-2005, 07:23   #9
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Personally, I happen to like the Furlex & the Scheafer models due to their quality in construction. Particularly the Furlex forestay extrusion, it's aerodynamic & uses no rivets or screws to hold the sections together.

The Scheafer does have captive fasteners for the extrusion but is more round in shape. But it's US (locally) made. Scheafers's service it excellant! They made up a new (discontinued) halfmoon block for me to match the other 5 that I already have, plus sold me upgrades sheeves for all my deck gear (all Scheafer).

But I still lean towards the Furlex!
.................................................. ............._/)
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Old 22-06-2005, 09:42   #10
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You were not being patronizing as far as I can see, what I have asked for and received is input from people who have far more experience than me. The reason why I purchased a 26’ boat was that I needed to develop an understanding of sail trim and the dynamics of yachts. The next two years are going to be a steep learning curve after which I will re-evaluate my plans and equipment.
First priority issues already addressed
With the addition of EPIRBS
Second priority:

The boat was sailed by a couple who day sailed / club raced and is set up that way at this time which could be described as a stack of sails (2 main, 3 jibs, spinikar) but nothing by way of winches. As I will need to install winches I may as well go to self-tailing winces unless I am going to learn more by utilising some of the other strategies that you have suggested? These strategies provide me with a better understanding of how a package of improvement will fit together.

Third priority:

Points taken – I am lucky in this regard as my father was merchant marine who went to sea at 12 and “sailed before the mast” ending up as a port director in the Persian Gulf. So by the time I was 8, I had been taught dead reckoning sextants and which was the bitter end of a rope (ouch)

Fourth priority:

What I would ask is what are advantages / disadvantages of solid doger against canvas? The boat already has a bimini.

What are the advantages of autopilot over tiller pilot in yachts?


Lowest priority:

No refrigeration, TV, air conditioners and such **** no wanted or needed.

Laptop will probably be used more for planning than navigation/piloting I already have the software and can purchase the minium hardware for lee than $200.


thanks for your past and future assistances
PAUL
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Old 22-06-2005, 09:55   #11
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Thanks Delmerrey

Furlex look good price apears OK as well. I will try and oder it tommorow.

Any more advice?
Paul
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Old 23-06-2005, 03:07   #12
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Paul,

My list displays my own biases, and did make many assumptions about how the boat is currently equipped, what your experience is, and what your intended use is. I keyed on your apparent concern with staying withing a budget (what you consider a "budget" and what someone else does can vary quite a bit, so I aimed conservatively).

Self-tailing winches are great, and you miss no learning that I can divine by using them. By all means, include them if you can.

An auto-pilot offers much more flexibility, convenience and performance than a tiller-tamer. Letting it hold an actual magnetic course is much superior in almost every respect than "lashing" the tiller in one fixed position. The only downside I can see, beyond its power usage, is that while on the pilot, it will be difficult, esp. at first, to tell whether or not your sail trim is balanced (the pilot will be making larger, more frequent corrections, but it's diffficult to tell whether it's sail trim or sea state causing it). But if you take your own turn at the stick, you will be able to practice and get the feedback that will teach you.Bottom line: use it to relieve you from long watches at the helm, but don't relegate all the steering to the robot.

Your enthusiasm shines through: good luck to you.

Another piece of basic equipment I'd get as soon as I could: a whisker pole to keep your jib from collapsing when running deeply.

Regards,
CJ
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:42   #13
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I am about to buy a boat and anticipate sailing alone most of the time primarily because the time I have available to sail is during the normal working day. I appreciate this thread and all the great advice. I had thought that one way I would improve my odds should I fall overboard when out there on my own is, along with wearing a life jacket, have a small waterproof hand held VHF or something similar on me at all times so that if I did fall overbaord I could call for some help before hyperthermia sets in (sailing out of Boston Harbor).
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Old 09-11-2005, 11:03   #14
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One person sailing

Use a safety harness and attach yourself to the boat.
When you put the sails up, attach a 3/16 line to the head, which goes through a pulley at the bottom of the sail and back to your safe place. Now you can pull the sails down and hold them down.
Michael
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Old 10-11-2005, 07:53   #15
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Good tip thanks BC Mike. Also, I just read about a garmin wristwatch GPS that might be easier to use than the usual handheld and have the added benefit of being able to give an exact position should I end up in the drink.
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