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Old 27-06-2013, 16:28   #61
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

1. IMHO the hardest part of singlehanding is picking up a mooring, especially in a crowded mooring field. With a slip, you can almost always find someone to help if you have a vhs. No so with a mooring.

2. Clip in. Always. Even if the wind is light.

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Old 28-06-2013, 11:42   #62
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?


1) Assuming you have a mid-cleat on the boat, and a mid-dock post: Run a strong fairly heavy temporary nylon line from the mid-cleat out underneath the lifelines. Allow about 6 feet of line, then bring it back in before the stanchion aft of the cleat. Loop this back over the lifelines. Tie the line off to the stern. I tie mine to the sheet winch.
2) As I slowly approach the dock, I go in fairly parallel to the dock. Leaving engine in slow speed ahead, at the last minute with the wheel pointed AWAY from the dock, I stand by the mid-cleat. As we go past the mid-dock post, I just drop/throw the looped line over the mid-dock cleat and go aft to pick up the stern line.
3) As the looped line starts to tighten around the dock post, it pulls the boat's stern towards the dock and stops the boat from going forwards. I step off with the stern line. You might have to vary the position of your mid-cleat, back and forth, e.g. use a fairlead on the sheet rail, depending on how your boat handles.
4)Stop engine, put proper docking lines on boat. Remove temporary line.
5) Put fenders on the dock, not the boat. Don't have to worry about crashing into the dock.
6) Run a permanent line across the dock from e.g. starboard forward side dock post to port post on dock in front, i.e. so the boat will run into it if anything nasty happens and not crash into the nasty concrete !

Also have a boat hook handy in the cockpit. Good if you get blown off the dock. (I have a friend who runs a line from forward to aft of the dock, with hole drilled tennis balls down it occasionally, just floating in the water, i.e. so the line stands off the dock, so he can grab it if necessary with a boat-hook). I have an Auto Pilot, and a Muir windlass. Wouldn't be without either. I've also found it useful to have about a 12' line looped up on the rail. Never know when you might want it, and you don't have to go scrabbling in the locker for a line !

When leaving the dock, take note of where the wind is blowing from. Undo lines accordingly. For myself, the wind is usually blowing onto the stern. I undo all forward lines, loosen but DON'T undo stern line, put engine in slow reverse, remove mid-cleat line from post (keep it attached to boat's mid-cleat), hold onto stern line, pull boat towards you if necessary, hop on boat, twisting line off post as you do so.

NEVER EVER leave cockpit w/o putting on life jacket. Rig up some plastic steps on the transom, with a line hanging over the transom. If you fall off the boat, pull on the line, the steps come down, you go up !

Bring all lines back to the cockpit.

Rig up gybing preventers on the boom. I always have a handheld flare in my pocket.

Try to avoid asking for help when docking. The vast majority of people will grab the bow line and pull it in as far as possible, leaving you at the stern feet away from the dock !

Agree with PLANNING ahead. I am much more conservative single-handling than when I'm sailing with my wife. Reduce speed. Watch the weather. Don't wait until the last minute to tack - ropes can catch, leaving you approaching the rocks !!

Fair winds.

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Old 28-06-2013, 13:40   #63
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Just to feed your paranoia:
Latitude 38 - 'Lectronic Latitude
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
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Old 10-08-2013, 20:07   #64
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I single-hand daysail.

Try using a "Gerr" Downhaul:

It's sort of a cheap man's furler. It brings the jib clew to the forestay to douse the the sail. Then after you slowly release the halyard, hopefully, the jib falls into a ball on the foredeck.

One sailor on a Mac25 board uses a downhaul that attaches to the head and runs down the leech to a swivel block attached to the clew. Using a standard downhaul, the luff and foot are secured, but the leech will blow around on the deck. • View topic - Hank-on Jib Management
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Old 11-08-2013, 08:47   #65
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?


In the OP, he says he has roller furling.
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:02   #66
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Thoughts on Singlehanded Sailing:
- Rigging the boat is critical, the ideas posted so far are all excellent. You must customize the rigging for YOUR boat and YOU.
- You have to stay ON the boat, so a quality inflatable jacket with a built in harness, a dual 3' and 6' tether, and various jacklines run on your deck are a start.
- Many of the most experienced singlehanded sailors are members of the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society. Check out the web site at The Great Lakes Singlehanded Society - Home Page, and look at the required and recommended gear lists for the GLSS Challenge events. Most would be appropriate for you.
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Old 04-10-2013, 13:30   #67
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

FYI I dont know why on earth I said my halyards arent run aft to the cockpit. They all are, including spinny, jib and downhaul. Maybe I meant the sail end, probably had a few rums when I made the OP
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Old 05-10-2013, 14:33   #68
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Well, it's a long time later. What hath you learned? FWIW I will throw my 2 cents in about anchoring. I have a manual windlass and a tiller (Westsail32). 90% of my sailing her has been solo. At this point, it's my preference, especially when cruising.

When coming into an anchorage, I am under power with the main down. I always drop the main outside of the anchorage when there is lots of room. You are powering longer than you would if you had crew but it's safer. I also have brought to the bow the crank for for windlass, my lead line and I have unlashed the anchor except for one short line that stays attached to the chain when she gets splashed. I have left the tiller in a noose hanging from the boom gallows so that it doesn't slam back and forth. The rest of the drill is obvious, let her rip slowly, keep your eyes on the shore bla bla. Once you are snubbed, write down your coordinates for that middle of the night "I wonder if"...

Bringing up the anchor I raise the main first (same for leaving a mooring). I let the main sheet run free (important). Engine is running in neutral. (Many of you talk about idling the engine in gear - my engine is NOT in gear, engine is idling in neutral. Bring up the anchor using the crank (I have two, one 3 times as long as the one that comes with the windlass, this allows me to watch the chain at the water - the 6+ foot sprit blocks a lot of vision, longer crank allows me to lean over while cranking). Once it's over the roller, I lash it with the line that is permanently attached to the chain, near the anchor itself. RUN back to the cockpit, put her in gear, adjust the main. If it's a tight anchorage I wait till I get into open water before I go forward again and tripple lash the anchor and bring back the cranks. Very high bulwarks so there is no risk of them sliding off the boat. Once all that is done, out comes the yankee and away we go.

Of course sometimes that anchor is covered in mud, in that case, I leave it dangling just below the water while motoring out of the anchorage...

Mr. Canada, would love to hear how you fared.
Westsail32 - S/V BALANCE
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Old 05-10-2013, 18:52   #69
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I would add this in case another novice is reading this thread.

You can make a "dock" with two buoys, on anchors in open water. Then, you practice your approaches from upwind, downwind and every way in between. If you screw up, you bump a little ball of styrofoam. When you are good at that, try the real dock.

To raise anchor, I put a big carabiner attached to a line led outboard and aft to the cockpit, on the rode. As I gently move ahead, by sail or motor as necessary, I pull the rode to the side of the cockpit, and raise the rode and anchor, setting it in the cockpit. Later, with plenty of sea room, I stow the whole anchor and rode.

And has been said, plan the whole maneuver in detail before you begin it, and have everything in place where it will be used. Professional pilots go very slowly, but keep moving, and execute their plan.

I do not endorse the commercial fisherman's technique of coming to a very short anchor line, straight up and down, pulling it with power, and letting it "kite" as you power to steadily deeper water. But I keep it in mind, in case someday I ........... They do it all the time.
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Old 08-10-2013, 23:45   #70
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I have been solo sailing for over 30 years, Mexico, Hawaii(4 times) circumnavigation. The first thing is to get experience. practice docking until you are conformable doing it. Equipment, st winches, auto pilot, wind vane, e/windless, all are good and they help but are not necessary. The main thing is to keep doing it until you can almost do it in your sleep. Have fun.
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Old 09-10-2013, 00:26   #71
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Mr Canada, the one about the auto-pilot is really a must, I have had 5 boats, all with auto-pilot, and I sailed with a broken one in the med once for days, I really was helpless without it! It really is taken for granted, you have it and you use it, but when it's gone, then you are in it!
And talking about this gallon bucket to pee in, all you need (if you actually don't have auto-pilot, is a wider than normal (orange juice) plastic bottle, when you pee it will be always be 3-500mm so a bucket is a bit, well, you know...big.
It suprises me greatly no-one tells you about the basics of safety, so I will: If the weather is the least bit unsteady Wear a lifebelt! IF you do fall in and the boat is hardly moving, it will get away from you, believe me; forward movement, current, wind, it will go off, and then you won't last more than an hour, under the circumstances. I know nobody does it, hardly, but please do it, make it a habit. If you stay in your cockpit, then ok, not necessary on the same safety-level, but going forrad..yes. Another must about going forrad is, (not in calm weather), use a safety line. A meter long to your belt, harnessed to the line, will keep you from Falling overboard. I have a line for each side of my boat deck which is lying a meter inward from the side-rail. Falling off with a long line will only let you fall over the freeboard into the waiting sea which will drag you under with your momentum, or drown you while you try to crawl onboard Again. Ever tried it? Even a strong guy will be weakened very quickly.
All sounds ominous I know. In a bay or offshore a ˝mile, then ok, relax a bit. But alone on a sea with no-one near is a serious situ. Think on it.
Lastly, a recovery signal gps on your belt; if you fall in and are alone thereafter, no-one near, then you are done, unless you have this life-saver with you. They are an expensive item but alone sailing, yes, a must. Being picked up is all about where you are. 2 days or 2 hours. Depends on where you are.
Well, otherwise, think on reaching, swimming alone, all the situ's where you risk Falling carefull, think a Little, be good to your Family!
A self inflatable dinghy on a rope, 6 metres long, at the rear of the boat is also a must. Finally, put a grab bag near it with twine/rope, knife, batteries, gps, 2˝ltr Water, fishing line, hard tack biquits and a light/rocket, good to have.
Take care
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:10   #72
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Autopilot and midship cleat saved my tail when I was single handing on the back edge of tropical depression from Key West, FL to Southport, NC this June on my catalina 400. Being on the back meant I had winds of 30+ on my tail so I ran a poor man's jibe arrestor...AKA dock line from the mainsheet block to the midship cleat. I had a sudden gust with 60 degree direction change hit me out of no where. Would have damaged something for sure had I not had the arrestor. Single handed this was an easy recovery with auto running...tighten the mainsheet as tight as you can then use the cleat to ease the main across till the sheet tensions from the leeward side. Anything but a cleat or winch with SEVERAL wraps would have been hard to release and slowly ease under that kind of load load.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:00   #73
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I don't like the sound of all that gear and extra lines you've got. Simple works best for me. Know your boat, know your sails. Small sails are better than reefed can always use the engine if the wind is too light. Simplify everything you can. I have an anchor on a bow roller, ready to deploy, but its useless if you dont know where and how to anchor. Reef early and reef deep. I don't waste time with a single reef...only rig the 2nd. My home port is very windy too...usually blowing 20knots. A double reefed main and a tiny jib is my regular sail. Tiller pilot is worth its weight in gold, but keep it simple, nothing fancy, don't connect it to your other electronics.

But the greatest safety gear is your brain....learn as much as you can. Talk to other sailors. Get out on the water in as many different boats as possible. Learn from every experience. Think of every possibility and figure out what to do BEFORE it actually happens. When I sail alone, its exhausting because I'm thinking constantly about my backups and fallbacks....if the mast breaks, what do I do?...if the engine fails now, where do I go?....if the wind shifts, whats my new course?...before it gets dard at anchor, make the boat ready to leave in a hurry....etc.... This is actually the best part, because all this thinking means my day to day worries are far far away. I can't think about taxes or work or car repairs because I'm so focused on the sailing.

So get out there and get some experience. The more you sail, the better you get.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:00   #74
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

The list of things that are nice to have is endless. You NEED a well found boat and 1) some way to keep her on course. 2) a good stove 3) one dry bunk. and you can sail anywhere. Food and water are a given. I met a guy that sailed a dugout log across the pacific. I sailed a 24 ft. Islander from San Diego to Honolulu with no equipment at all other then a old broken down Wind Wand that quit half way and a plastic sextant. The most important thing is attitude.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:17   #75
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Having gear stowed is not 'cluttering up the boat, it's being prepared, not just mentally, but equipment-wise too, that makes for a secure, relaxing, and good sail. I never sailed a log canoe or used a plastic sextant either, but as you all say, and rightly so, with the right attitude and preparation, all should be well.

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