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Old 09-10-2013, 15:58   #76
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Many decades sailing singlehanded most recently from Connecticut to Key West using the ICW

1. Midship cleat. If you don't have one then a line on a shroud nearest the center of lateral resistance. Don't know where the CLR is? Tie a line ashore beam on to about midships and pull her in working your body fore and aft a bit till she comes in square to the dock.

2. Fenders fore, aft and two midships both sides - nine in all with one a 'roamer' to place where needed.

3. Six dock lines - bow, stern and midships both sides. Gathered near the middle and ready to run. All lines and fenders rigged early when there is plenty of sea room. Make sure lines are outside the fenders.

4. If you have a long keel, use a dock post with a midship line to warp your way out and turn through the wind or tide till you are pointing the right way.

5. Keep lifelines short. If they are too long and you go overboard you are dead. You cannot pull yourself in if going over 4 knots. You drown.

6. I prefer to keep reefing lines and halyards at the mast. Keep it simple and less clutter in the cockpit. The only lines I like aft is the topping lift and kicker/vang. Let off the kicker and haul up the topping lift and you can scandalise the main on or off the wind and dramatically loose power if needed.

7. Roller furling jib a boon single handed. Furling main too if you can afford it. In a blow I stow the main rather than second reefing it and play the wind strengths on the furling genoa. I motor to windward. A reefed genoa can be almost self tacking.

8. Autopilot another boon - almost essential now but I singlehanded for many years before they were available for yachts.

9. GPS plotter in the cockpit. Waterproof and doesn't blow overboard at just the wrong moment. Also good for anchor watch when zoomed right in

10. VHF within reach of the cockpit or better still a handheld VHF

11. Practice heaving too. A great way to grab some time to do things when you have a bit of sea room.

12. Pick up a mooring buoy from the cockpit. Closer to the water than the bow and closer to your controls. Move it to your bow at your liesure.
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Old 09-10-2013, 16:25   #77
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I single-handed my 28' yacht all the way around mainland Australia. The single best preparation I did was bring the roller furler line back to its own dedicated self tailing winch. Its amazing how hard it is to pull in the furler when the wind is strong, especially when you have so many other things happening at the same time.
I a blow, I didn't even bother with the main. Too much messing around (adjusting halyard, reefing, tying off reef lines, adjusting topping lift); I just dropped it.
Much easier to control the furler. Let out a bit of sheet line and wind in on the furler line.
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:07   #78
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Been single handing for about 8 years. Got 2 hours of lessons from the PO and took off solo. All cold water stuff, N of 45, as high as 51.

Close to 6,000 miles now, closing in on 63 yo.

Two things I think have been missed in an otherwise great thread.

1-lay in your course on your plotter and CHECK IT. Go over the entire route on a large scale, like 1 mile. Why? When you get cold and tired you can easily make mistakes navigating. At 3am of day two you really just want to get the f#%^ in. You get careless. You end up just following the damn line on the plotter.

2-try to relax and enjoy it. No ones around to see the damn fool stuff you do anyway. So just do what you do and have a ball laughing at your own fool self. Great entertainment!
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:15   #79
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

I singlehand in the Strait of Georgia/Gulf Islands area, in a boat a little bigger than your Columbia. My feedback:

A reliable autopilot is really useful to hold you into the wind while you raise sails, etc. Mine has a NMEA interface to my chartplotter, so it steers for me while heading over to Active Pass or whatever and corrects for cross-track error caused wind and current etc.

I like to anchor in protected anchorages with lots of room, not too close to others. Gives me room to pick up the anchor, especially if I have to drive over it. Prefer anchorages over docks especially on windy days. For docks, try to get as much info as possible about the marina layout, think it through ahead of time, put out fenders and dock lines outside the marina; don't be shy about asking someone on the dock to take a line; if things aren't looking good do a 180 and get out of there before you get pinned to something by the wind.

I ran a jackline system down the middle of my boat, objective to keep me on board. I use it anytime I'm out of the cockpit - many people have gone overboard in nice weather when the boat lurched due to an unusual wave, powerboat wake etc.
Minimize time on deck, get everything ready to go before you leave the slip so that once you leave the marina you just have to raise sail and pick up the fenders.
If you are thinking that you may need to reef, do it now. You won't regret it.

Think everything through ahead of time, and take the time to do things right. Small things like flaking the tail of your main halyard before dropping the mainsail.

Carry a waterproof handheld VHF, monitor 16 and the local commerical traffic frequency.

Enjoy the experience.
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:31   #80
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

We got our Pearson 35 in 2000 and it was originally going to be our boat. But the wife decided she didn't like taking orders or the heat so now it's my boat. Going out the first time alone was a little scary but after just being diagnosed with cancer I figured I had nothing to lose so that helped. I got through the cancer and I still sail alone and like it. Nobody complains, there's always more to drink and the peace and quiet is really nice. I went years without an auto pilot and you really have to scramble with a 20kt wind getting sails up or down so I really love mine now. Got a new Raymarine wheel pilot at a great price at a flea market and it works great. Get one with a (like the Raymarine) with a separate electronic compass you can locate away from metal. I had an WP30 that had the compass built in by the wheel and it didn't work worth a crap.

A hank on sail, I think, makes the boat point better and you get less windage at the dock or at anchor during a storm but NOTHING is worse than trying to get it down or up in really rough weather. So get a headsail furler. It's REALLY worth the money.

Anchoring alone is no big deal if you pick the right anchor for the bottom where you sail and be sure to put out enough scope and back up to set it good. (I've been greatly amused more than once watching big power cruisers with stainless anchors drop them straight down and then drag towards shore. Saw one guy do this four times in one night before I got tired and went to bed) I have a 35lb bruce I really like and it only dragged once a few feet in a storm with 40kt gusts. Plows and cqrs are also great for mud and sand and a Danforth or Fortress as a backup anchor is a good idea. Get the right size or bigger though.

We live in Houston and I must admit I'm spoiled with low tides and fairly mild conditions though. But just, wear a life vest with a personal EPIRB, plan for emergencies then get out there. You'll make a few mistakes but you'll learn to handle the boat and you'll relax and enjoy it more every trip. The hardest thing to do sailing alone, for me and most I've talked with, is getting away from the dock. There's a psychological fear you need to get through about leaving but once you're pull out of the marina all the problems are gone. Just do it!
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Old 09-10-2013, 21:57   #81
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Hi, This is my firs post so I hope this works out OK.
I nearly always sail single handed. One of the first things that I learnt was to be able to reef the main. Being knocked around on your own and unable to spill enough air is no fun. It made me very cautious for a long time until I re-routed all the lines back to the cockpit. If you don't have an autopilot then you need the reefing lines plus the main halyard and topping lift available from the cockpit. I don't have to worry about the jib as I have a roller furler. My boat is Celine a 28 foot glass over ply twin keeler and as such is quite tender so being able to reduce sail is important. Having lazy-jacks and reefing lines also makes dropping the main very easy. Sailing single handed is great fun.
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Old 09-10-2013, 22:21   #82
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Slightly surprised no one mentioned lazy jacks or slab reefing?True you end up with a lot of line in the cockpit but makes for a hell of a shorthanded setup.
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Old 09-10-2013, 22:44   #83
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestathook View Post
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.

This is also what I do. I have two used snatch blocks that I pickd up at marine flea markets. In case you don't know, a snatch block opens from the side so you can just "snatch" the rode instead of having to thread it all through. I put mine on the perforated toe rail, but you can install hardware if need be. It's a *bit* of a pain to stow the rode afterwards, but not nearly the grief that driving over your rode would be. Plus, eventually the rode is vertical off the bow. Lock the rode off, and then drive forward again, and even the most stubborn (well-set, a good thing) anchor will break free.

It's really not that hard on your body to just pull that last bit up, already free.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:24   #84
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You may find this hard to believe ;-) but I think a wireless remote control for your autopilot is essential when single-handing. Being able to steer from anywhere on the boat without having to dive back to the wheel/tiller to dodge a lobster pot, unmarked rock or whatever is great! Being able to shelter inside the cabin in bad weather and still steer is also a bonus. If you fly a spinnaker you can gybe it while up the front by using the autotack feature.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:04   #85
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

This thread started out by one guy asking for tips on single handing. It has become a loooog list of unnecessary things to add to his boat. I circumnavigated without
95% of these toys. Do all of you people work for West Marine? The best tip I can give someone is to go out there and do it, get experience, have fun. You don't need all of that crap on your boat. You will become a better sailor without it. I am 79 and I'm still singlehanding offshore. just do it.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:20   #86
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Quote:
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This thread started out by one guy asking for tips on single handing. It has become a loooog list of unnecessary things to add to his boat. I circumnavigated without 95% of these toys. Do all of you people work for West Marine? The best tip I can give someone is to go out there and do it, get experience, have fun. You don't need all of that crap on your boat. You will become a better sailor without it. I am 79 and I'm still singlehanding offshore. just do it.
So the best tip for single-handing is to go single-handing? I would have thought that was a given :-)
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:30   #87
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

It is not a given, most people can't do it. Yes, that is the best tip. just go out and do it. Gain experience. It is very hard to learn if your boat sits in the slip full of equipment, that you never use.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:35   #88
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Mad Man, I see why you don't like my advice. Your one of those Land Pirates that
sell all that expensive equipment.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:48   #89
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Quote:
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Mad Man, I see why you don't like my advice. Your one of those Land Pirates that
sell all that expensive equipment.
They make very good equipment too and it's not mandatory to buy it.
I don't think his business informed his viewpoint, it may just have been the wording of your post.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:54   #90
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Re: Singlehanding Tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan6a View Post
...I circumnavigated without
95% of these toys. ... I am 79 and I'm still singlehanding offshore. just do it.
I'm just behind you in age and have also crossed oceans, So you must admit, crossing oceans and circumnavigating is no big deal. It is the first and last mile when all these 'toys' come in handy and a lot of the sailors here seem to spend a lot of their time in that 'mile'. So I think the tips are justified.
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