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Old 13-04-2016, 17:09   #1
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Too big to singlehand??

Hi All. For the last four years I've owned and sailed my first yacht, a Cavalier 32 here in Oz.
This was supposed to be my training boat, easily handled by a newbie.
Over the years I have rebuilt every system on this 30 year old girl. Rebuilt engine, rewired, new plumbing, new shaft and prop, new sails, new boom, you get the picture.
So here I am with a boat completely rebuilt around myself, with a wonderful safe sea motion, yet hankering for headroom.
That's the killer. I'm 6'7", and any tall sailor out there will tell you, very little beats headroom.
There are two places I can stand up in my boat. At the bottom of the companionway and under the butterfly hatch in the saloon.
After a couple of days away my back starts getting sore from stooping all the time. Some say sailing involves sitting most of the time, but that's daysailing
An American boat came into our marina a while back, an Apogee 50, custom built for a very tall sailor. Wow!, such room. Sadly you need dot com money for a boat like that. I have dot-some money, not dot-com.
One yacht that I know I can stand in the saloon is the Catalinas 42. Affordable.
My family are all avowed land lubbers. Can't even convince the boys that sailing would make them cool in the eyes of girls.
So I singlehand, and my boat is just about perfect for that. Well set up, new systems etc. a boat I can muscle around with warps.
If I go to a boat the size of the Cat42, will I lose that?
Do many of you fine sailors singlehand boats of this size? Or will it all go to hell in a handbag as windage, weight and inertia conspire together to once again make me marina entertainment fodder?
Thanks



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Old 13-04-2016, 17:28   #2
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

BruceinOz, I often single hand my 42 ft cutter rigged sailboat. It is well set up for it and I have a reliable autopilot which is in my opinion a must (I'm searching for parts for an old Robertson AP300 j box now). Of course it takes some more forethought while docking but not much more. If you can sail your current boat you can sail one in the 40-42 ft range.

On second thought, given the big cost of buying a bigger boat for more headroom have you considered having your legs shortened? Could cost way less and a lower center of gravity may increase stability.😉😉


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Old 13-04-2016, 17:33   #3
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Re: Too big to singlehand??




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Old 13-04-2016, 17:47   #4
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I had a Catalina 25 and "jumped" from that to a Catalina 34. No hassle singlehanding. While it's not in the cards, my next boat would be a Catalina 42. All the tips & tricks you learned will be just fine for you.

One of the reasons we moved up after 13 years with the C25 was that f-ing STOOP. I hear ya.

Go for it. Lovely boats, regardless of the layout down below (although I am more partial to the port galley, much better room down below).
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Old 13-04-2016, 17:54   #5
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Simple answer is, NO, you will not be able to muscle things around on a boat that size. At least not if there's any (significant) wind blowing.

In terms of tying her up to the dock & such, the step up size wise isn't a real big deal. But regarding doing anything else on deck, you Have to use systems with mechanical advantage to them in order to get things done. And everything takes a lot more pre-planning; mentally, & physically.

Not that the above is a big deal, but it is a change in terms of how far in advance you have to anticipate things, as well as thinking through how to do them.
But once you get an experience base built for doing such, it becomes 2nd nature (mostly).
As, it's that kind of thinking, & experience base, which lets me hop on a 50'er, solo, without much more concern than I'd have in doing so on a 30'er.

Beth Leonard wrote a good article about it on their website. http://bethandevans.com/pdf/tenBiggerboat.pdf
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Old 13-04-2016, 18:40   #6
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Great article that you've recommended, thanks for sharing


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Old 13-04-2016, 18:55   #7
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I say go for it. I am 55 and my tayana 55 is our 5th boat in 30 years. We mostly doublehand but when the admiral can't go I go solo. As previous posters have said just think things through first. having option of a dock to b;ow on to rather than blow away from helps.
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Old 13-04-2016, 18:59   #8
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

As long as everything works, you can single really large boats. With roller furling headsails, well set up slab reefing or in mast/boom furling sailing really large boats is possible. Getting them into a slip can be a challenge but quick turning fin keel boat makes that a lot easier.

The problem is what can you handle when things begin to screw up. Can you haul down that 135% genoa when it needs to be replaced in 30mph winds?? Can you get a replacement in the luff groove and crank it up quickly before it slats itself to pieces with those wind conditions. What happens if the electric windlass dies?? Can you haul the chain and heavy anchor by hand in 50' of water.

Thing are way different when the winds blowing a gale. Simple jobs become nearly insurmountable mountains with high winds and heavy seas. Something that is easily done at the dock in a calm isn't so easy to do when it's really rough out. Any reasonably fit person should be able to handle a boat up to about 40'/20,000#s displacement. Get much larger and you better be sure the sails and ground tackle aren't too much to take care when it's snotty,
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Old 13-04-2016, 19:12   #9
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I single hand my Xc45 without any problems. I do pay attention to wind, tide and weather forecasts to minimize trouble. The biggest problem I encounter is coming into my slip if the wind/tide are not favorable. I do have electric winches with all lines leading to cockpit and reduce sail quickly if there are any signs of wind strengthening. I always felt the larger the boat the more stable the platform.
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Old 13-04-2016, 19:15   #10
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pirate Re: Too big to singlehand??

If you can solo your current boat you can solo a 42.. just do the same things.. but do them sooner and slower..
With docking you've doubtless a system worked out..
With a 42ftr you do the same.. just slower.. the weight can be a plus once you know the boat.
and reef earlier than the skipper with 4 crew..
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Old 13-04-2016, 19:41   #11
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Bruce, my previous boat was a Cavalier 975 (same hull, just metric naming). Like you it was my first real sailing boat, although I had sailed a bit on small skiffs, and had runabouts and small cruisers for many years. At the time it was quite a step up in size for me.

After a few years I made the next step to my current Lagoon 410. I actually find it easier to singlehand than the Cavalier. With around 3 times the sail area, there may be more work grinding winches but it's easier to control.

Uncivilised's amd Roverhi's comments are spot on. A few things I would add .....

A larger boat gets tossed around less, so movement onboard is easier and there is more space to do things. The downside is everything is heavier and harder to manage, so it becomes more important that it is set up well to use mechanical advantage instead of your own strength. This risk is if something goes wrong with those sytems and you don't have the strength to resolve the issue.

For example, if a windlass fails in 20 knots, or a furler jams, or a mainsail won't come down, deailing with these is much harder on a larger boat. And then of course is the increased maintenance and overall costs.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I made the change and I'm sure you will be too.
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Old 13-04-2016, 19:58   #12
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Wanderlust. Great post, nice to see another Cav32ist
I see you jumped to a lagoon, nice, to be honest there's a big part of me that thinks a 2006 or so seawind 1160 might really be the go.
2 nights in America Bay on the Cav and all I'm dreaming about is 2 hulls, a spread out saloon, full kitchen and a proper tender swinging on the davits
I'm in Newcastle


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Old 13-04-2016, 20:19   #13
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Thanks Bruce,

America Bay/Refuge Bay should be nice and peaceful once shcool holidays finish. I might put it on the plan for a few days before winter arrives.

I haven't been into Newcastle harbour, but will send you a message if I plan to go there sometime.
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Old 13-04-2016, 20:45   #14
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceinOz View Post
Hi All. For the last four years I've owned and sailed my first yacht, a Cavalier 32 here in Oz.
This was supposed to be my training boat, easily handled by a newbie.
Over the years I have rebuilt every system on this 30 year old girl. Rebuilt engine, rewired, new plumbing, new shaft and prop, new sails, new boom, you get the picture.
So here I am with a boat completely rebuilt around myself, with a wonderful safe sea motion, yet hankering for headroom.
That's the killer. I'm 6'7", and any tall sailor out there will tell you, very little beats headroom.
There are two places I can stand up in my boat. At the bottom of the companionway and under the butterfly hatch in the saloon.
After a couple of days away my back starts getting sore from stooping all the time. Some say sailing involves sitting most of the time, but that's daysailing
An American boat came into our marina a while back, an Apogee 50, custom built for a very tall sailor. Wow!, such room. Sadly you need dot com money for a boat like that. I have dot-some money, not dot-com.
One yacht that I know I can stand in the saloon is the Catalinas 42. Affordable.
My family are all avowed land lubbers. Can't even convince the boys that sailing would make them cool in the eyes of girls.
So I singlehand, and my boat is just about perfect for that. Well set up, new systems etc. a boat I can muscle around with warps.
If I go to a boat the size of the Cat42, will I lose that?
Do many of you fine sailors singlehand boats of this size? Or will it all go to hell in a handbag as windage, weight and inertia conspire together to once again make me marina entertainment fodder?
Thanks



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I know your pain. I spent a lot of time stooped over and banging my head on boats built for folks less than 6' tall.

The head room and equipment access were a big part in choosing the tub I sail now.

OTOH, it sounds as if you are very familiar and happy in many ways with your present boat.

My wife is only 5'2". I can't see rolling the dice and trading her in on a taller model just because I have to stoop to rub noses.
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Old 13-04-2016, 21:01   #15
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
..............

My wife is only 5'2". I can't see rolling the dice and trading her in on a taller model just because I have to stoop to rub noses.
Took a short lady friend sailing the other day. She mentioned her two husbands were both very tall (they both passed away from unfortunate illnesses). When I asked why, she said: "It's very simple, somebody has to reach the upper shelves in the kitchen."
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