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Old 26-06-2013, 11:12   #46
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Since here at the start you're talking about going fishing, I'll assume you're not planning a lot of long passages where you'll need to sail through the night.

I single hand my 40 footer, I don't have problems anymore, but like everything else in life, it getrs easier if you practice.

For docking, go to The Sailing Channel, find Jack Klanges Single hand docking procedures (costs about 12 bucks to download). Here you will learn everything you need to know to dock you boat alone. Then you need to go out and practice, practice, practice.

It is a good video and has a section on sail trim, which is excellent, especially for the beginning sailor.

enjoy the ride - single handing is a great experience
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Old 26-06-2013, 11:49   #47
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Be patient with yourself and allow time to learn at own pace. For trickier stuff have a Plan B, and maybe a Plan C. and sometimes "no" is the prudent answer.

Over time you will develop own ways of doing things that work for you on your boat - they will be pretty much what everyone else does!, but nonetheless will have own variation(s).....as Skipper you are allowed to make sh't up!

Hands on experience (including from mistakes) is the best way to gain knowledge, but learning from others (first hand and from the written word) comes a close second! (and should shorten your learning curve / accelerate to making bigger errors!), but never a substitute for the former.
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Old 26-06-2013, 21:46   #48
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Thanks conachair, that book is great, I'm not the only crazy person! Thanks markj, your posts have helped me buy a yacht on the other side of the world (successfully), and you still keep teaching me! In deep water and/or windy conditions I let out all my chain (wish i had more than 60m) and enough rode (to stay off the bottom) with maximum scope, but when the chain leaves windlass, the gypsy will not grip the rope (I increased the diameter but stretch thins it out again) under load for recovery. I'm going to try engine in gear and see if it will take enough load off when it swings across the wind.

Without going too far of topic how do you recover your anchor, when you let all chain and some rode ( that does not get traction) over windlass?
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Old 26-06-2013, 21:54   #49
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

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Originally Posted by Sailormantx View Post
Get everything organized and have a backup plan before you enter or leave any dock or anchorage. Neverminding any safety equipment that you may have that may or may not help you, remember that if you fall of you are DEAD. Always keep that thought in the back of your head and you will have no problem working the deck safely. It really does work. Singlehanding is very rewarding if you can get used to it.

Someone gave me a GREAT tip a couple of weeks ago about new marinas: before you go to your slip, go in and top off your fuel tank. You'll have a chance to scope out the marina, there will be people at the fuel dock familiar with the marina and can give you valuable information such as the presence of currents. You can get a look at your slip before you have to move your boat there.

One thing I learned the hard way was coming into a new marina, set docking lines on both sides. the people directing you may tell you the finger dock is to your port when it may be starboard.
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Old 26-06-2013, 23:02   #50
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For recovering my anchor, I generally hand over hand the rode unless I need the windlass to break it out (rarely do I). When it reaches the half fathom of chain, I might hand over hand it if I remembered to bring gloves, or I'll use the windlass to finish her off. Either way, I usually hand over hand the last 3 feet from the waterline because I've got to get the connecting shackle through the hawse pipe at the right orientation.
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Old 27-06-2013, 07:54   #51
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For recovering my anchor, I generally hand over hand the rode unless I need the windlass to break it out (rarely do I). When it reaches the half fathom of chain, I might hand over hand it if I remembered to bring gloves, or I'll use the windlass to finish her off. Either way, I usually hand over hand the last 3 feet from the waterline because I've got to get the connecting shackle through the hawse pipe at the right orientation.
Same deal for me.
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Old 27-06-2013, 08:36   #52
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Recovering my anchor, I use snatch blocks to run the rode back to the cockpit if I need to break it loose and the force required is more than my physical strength. Then I can drive up on it safely.

In light winds I can drive up on it, sprint to the bow and get a few feet in before the wind pushes the rode tight again, but it can rapidly become an annoying game of tag you'll never win.
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Old 27-06-2013, 08:53   #53
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

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Originally Posted by mr-canada View Post
I am looking to get into singlehanding my boat, mostly because I love fishing (whether I catch anything or have to lie and say that I did, lol) and am wondering if anyone has any great singlehanding tips.

I have a Columbia 26 Mk 2 that is rigged for singlehanding. Every single line runs to the cockpit, the only lines that arent are the halyards. Fishing rod holders and downriggers of course, I can see all the instrumentation (GPS/sounder) from the cockpit and I have an extended tiller that I can operate phalically by putting it between my legs. Self tailing winches for the jib and an extra four winches for everything else, cleats all over the place clam and regular. Whoever set this boat up for singlehanding was a master who know much more than I, I cant even guess what half of the clamcleats mounted to the cockpit toerails are for and beleive me I've tried but they do come in handy in all sorts of weird situations. It has an amazing lazyjack system with two lines so I can adjust the lines in any spot around the sail.

I have West Marine co2 harness/lifevest inflatables so I an rig a jackline or at least tie myself off to a cleat someplace (theres no need to run onto the foredeck for practically anything unless something goes wrong) and a continuous line furler so I can use the same line to furl and unfurl right from the cockpit, no holding jibsheets in one hand and tugging on a seperate furling line.

I've got a 12ft inflatable dinghy that I usually tow and my reef points on the main are also entirely operable from the cockpit. Reef 1 I can just pull on while holding the mainsheet loosely on a winch and reef 2 is largely the same.

I'm quite nervous getting in and out of dock even with crew. Hate the idea of hitting someone or some idiot's outboard spun up at a 90 degree angle with sharp prop blades three foot from his boat. On the water its not so nerve wracking, usually I'm mostly single handing anyway but having the crew is nice for moral support or when I need someone to jump a halyard line at the mast to raise the main or drop bumpers.

But I am pretty excited to get out there on my own and do some fishing, maybe even an overnight excursion or boat move to pick up the woman from a closer port or drop the boat off at the slip while dropping her off at a more convenient port because of the kid. I dont intend on doing anything at night after dark, I dont even do that with crew as I dont have radar and wouldn't trust my navigation skills without a plotter and while I love technology I wouldnt want to put all my trust in a plotter anyway.

Mostly it's docking, anchoring (no electric windlass and dont intend to buy one) and preparations for sailing so I dont end up knee deep in sh*t. Winds are feirce at my home port, noon on a sunny day 20-30 kts is pretty normal, but it does mellow out the further I get from home.

I have very much enjoyed solo camping/hiking/fishing inland on lakes and mountains and would like to start translating this to my most expensive outdoor toy, my floating RV of a boat.

Any tips given the above? I dont think I need any more deck hardware, its beautifully rigged. More just mental, physical, and material preparation as I'm nervous enough at sea knowing that the sea is a fickle mistress, and if she's p*ssed off at you you're completely screwed. Being alone means nobody can rescue you.
That sure is a big dingy you have there.....
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Old 27-06-2013, 13:23   #54
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I agree, without the main halyard led back, what good do your reefing lines in the cockpit do?

The midships cleat is the most important part of singlehanded docking known to man. Never get off your boat until it's stopped.

Single Handing 101 single handing

Practice docking, practice docking, practice docking, practice, practice...

An autopilot will teach you better sail trim almost immediately, because when the AP gets cranky you know you need to trim better.
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:20   #55
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

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Its not as difficult as you think.

Docking and anchoring are the trickier bits but they are really not so bad after you do it a few times. Now I find anchoring, especially, easier by myself than with crew. Docking I only need crew to make the line throwing easier... they are a nice to have but not at all essential.

Best trick is (like everything!) lots of boring practice.
On a day when there isnt much wind or current practice docking 5 or 10 times. If I screw up I dont try to fix it... I turn around and go right out again and turn around and start the whol thing anew.

Same with anchoring. Though with a manual windlass you might be in hospital!

You will work out ways to make each operation happen.

You have advantages others dont have: TIME. You can take as long as you like to set the pick, or pull it up, theres no one to yabber at you.

Pulling the anchor up in a stiff wind is easy too. Let the boat and wind help. You pull in a bit and then wait till the boat moves forward to make some slack.
The engine in gear but at idle will give you enough thrust... and you dont worry about where the boat is going because the anchor will make the bow come head to wind each swing around. So no throttle!

In anchoring or docking I put on a pretense with myself that I am very relaxed about it. So I slowly walk along the deck from wheel to bow... slow and relaxed. If I start to hurry then I am not doing it right!

And Auto Pilot is great! Very necessary. I would NEVER EVER have wind vane steering on any boat whatsoever and even more so against wind vanes for a solo sailors boat. Every wind change makes to boat go off course... often disastrously. Its life and limb stuff. You wreck your boat for the sake of some battery power.

So you may ask how does one ever enjoy single handed sailing... well I can tell you the girl would have to have HUGGGGGEE maracas before I would take crew again. Solo sailing is great! Its relaxing, its fun, its safe, its everything you want.



Mark
LOL! This was hilarious! Valuable info too, even the stuff unrelated to maracas .

I don't have near your sea-time yet (enjoyed the video of your solo trans-Atlantic, btw), but I too often single-hand and don't find it as intimidating or challenging as many seem to think. In fact, I'm sometimes chided in busy anchorages or marinas for handling a 47' boat solo. My boat has electric furling main & headsail, an excellent autopilot which I use 95% of the time, is very well balanced, and is overall quite easy to sail. Along with the usual array of safety gear, I always have jacklines deployed if offshore, clean diesel, a SPOT tracker, excellent weather info, and functional radios. Within reasonable limits, I think I agree with comments in related threads that it's less about boat size and more about how the boat is set up.

I'm thinking about plunking down for one of those small, personal PLB's that can be stashed inside a PFD. Seems like this may be one of the few pieces of equipment that might prevent a singlehander from certain death if he or she fell off the boat.

Anchoring is always easier & generally preferable over docking. My boat, like many, is horrendous trying to maneuver in marinas, but over time it has become predictably horrendous! I'm always prepared with docklines & fenders on both sides, and usually a plan for that all-important first line, depending on whether there will be help on the dock or not. If not, then an aft spring line to a midship cleat, engine in fwd idle, and helm hard over to the opposite side of the dock allows me to affix the other lines at a leisurely pace.

Biggest challenge thus far is sleep deprivation while coastal sailing so I do my best to avoid it by finding overnight anchorages whenever I can, and to arrive in daylight even if it means using the motor more than I would prefer. Just too much traffic it seems to allow myself to sleep more than a couple of minutes at a time, even with all sorts of alarms set. I'm looking forward to longer trips away from land where, as you say, one can relax more.

Lastly, one of these days I know the SWHTF so I try to avoid complacency by always being well prepared.
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:31   #56
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Its not as difficult as you think.would have to have HUGGGGGEE maracas before I would take crew again. Solo sailing is great! Its relaxing, its fun, its safe, its everything you want.

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Old 27-06-2013, 14:38   #57
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I like the ones in the little tartan mini-skirts
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:47   #58
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pirate Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Well I remember MarkJ's nerves a coupla years back when he started solo sailing and had to get out of the Med solo...
Now he's with an elite...
Its just so much easier doing it yourself..
As he say's... practice... picking up mooring buoys under sail and motor.. often the ability to control the boat at slow speed in various conditions is more important than how fast you can go..
If you haul anchor by hand a raised main with a tad of belly and the boom sheeted central is a great help..
As for sleep... usually get my head down around midnight and wake with the dawn.. if 'out there' jib and fully reefed main with 'Biggles' taking the strain.. usually wake and look round a coupla 3 times but no alarm or anything..
If coastal and its busy I heave to on a favourable tack and crash.. similar times.. deserted coasts like WA... I keep on trucking..
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Old 27-06-2013, 14:57   #59
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

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Well I remember MarkJ's nerves a coupla years back when he started solo sailing and had to get out of the Med solo...
Its just so much easier doing it yourself..
As he say's... practice... picking up mooring buoys under sail and motor.. and often the ability to control the boat at slow speed in various conditions is more important than how fast you can go..
If you haul anchor by hand a raised main with a tad of belly and the boom sheeted central is a great help..
As for sleep... usually get my head down around midnight and wake with the dawn.. if 'out there' jib and fully reefed main with 'Biggles' taking the strain.. usually wake and look round a coupla 3 times but no alarm or anything..
If coastal and its busy I heave to on a favourable tack and crash.. similar times.. deserted coasts like WA... I keep on trucking..
Now he's with an elite...
Always nice hearing from those with lots of experience. When coastal sailing, I take it you feel that sleeping while heaving to and staying relatively stationary is safer, collision-wise, than being underway? Or does it depend more on the reliability of the boat's self-steering system?
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Old 27-06-2013, 15:50   #60
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I've got an electric windlass so retrieving the anchor is relatively painless. Put the engine in gear at idle and set the autopilot to run down/up the anchor rode. Takes the strain off the windlass and speeds up anchor retrieval. Officially, the windlass isn't supposed to be used to pull the boat to the anchor. My question to that is what the hell did I pay all that money for?? Haven't tried using the rode to give the boat heading but it would be something i'd definitely try if I had to raise the anchor by hand. Have a chain stopper on the rode so it would be relatively easy to pull the bow toward the chain and let the chain stopper handle the boat being blown off heading.

I would never leave the slip without a self steering vane. Once the sails are up, I try, with great success, never to touch the helm again till they come down. In 40 years and more than 10,000 miles of sailing, probably have less 20 hours total driving time under sail. That's whether I'm sailing open ocean or restricted waters. The vane is such a better helmsman than me and allows me to do things that are really fun like trim the sails. Don't have to feed a hungry autopilot. With solar, sailed from SF to Hilo without running the engine even though it was overcast for 2/3rd of voyage. The vane works without electrons or those little salt air susceptible circuit boards and electric motors. If anything goes wrong, don't have to hire an electronics expert at $100 an hour or buy outrageously expensive parts and wait for their arrival. The few repairs that I've had to do to the vane and have been minor. I've done them by myself without any special gear other than a pocket knife, simple hand tools and without regard to location.

I've only broken down in the last few years and gotten a minimal autopilot for powering. That's cut my time steering to almost zero. The A/P gets me out of/into the marina, the anchor up and the vane does all the rest of the work.

Still get nervous getting back in the slip. My full keel boat with cutaway forefoot is rudder deficient and sometime has a mind of it's own. As Mark said, don't have to do things right the first time. If the wind drives the bow off as I'm trying to get into the slip, do a 180 and try again and sometimes again and again. When I've gotten into trouble it is when I've tried to bull my way into something irregardless of the consequences. Fortunately, haven't had too many consequences.

Have made it a policy not to go into a strange anchorage/harbor after dark. Sail offshore a bit and heave to if I can't get in before the sun goes down. Don't have a radar and did a lot of voyaging before GPS and just don't want to take a chance of misreading something in the dark. Nearly ran up on the reef in Keehi Lagoon when I mistook a couple of random iights for the harbor entrance range lights. That despite having gone in and out that harbor, day and night for nearly two years. It's 'get-in-itus' that seems to bring most cruisers to grief.







Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Its not as difficult as you think.

Docking and anchoring are the trickier bits but they are really not so bad after you do it a few times. Now I find anchoring, especially, easier by myself than with crew. Docking I only need crew to make the line throwing easier... they are a nice to have but not at all essential.

Best trick is (like everything!) lots of boring practice.
On a day when there isnt much wind or current practice docking 5 or 10 times. If I screw up I dont try to fix it... I turn around and go right out again and turn around and start the whol thing anew.

Pulling the anchor up in a stiff wind is easy too. Let the boat and wind help. You pull in a bit and then wait till the boat moves forward to make some slack.
The engine in gear but at idle will give you enough thrust... and you dont worry about where the boat is going because the anchor will make the bow come head to wind each swing around. So no throttle!

In anchoring or docking I put on a pretense with myself that I am very relaxed about it. So I slowly walk along the deck from wheel to bow... slow and relaxed. If I start to hurry then I am not doing it right!

And Auto Pilot is great! Very necessary. I would NEVER EVER have wind vane steering on any boat whatsoever and even more so against wind vanes for a solo sailors boat. Every wind change makes to boat go off course... often disastrously. Its life and limb stuff. You wreck your boat for the sake of some battery power.

Mark
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