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Old 02-01-2010, 10:17   #1
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Singlehanding Offshore

I know it is a widely discussed topic and fulfilling the colregs in regard of lookout is an issue. But here I am investigating the technical aspect of what' feasable in regards to a cat to solo sail.
I am comfortable with my trusted Island Packet 37 monohull and would take her out anytime. I will start my cruisng live in 18 month and want to go to the Bahamas for the winter 2011/2012 to cross the Atlantic the following early summer. I will consider crew for the passage but want to be independent as well. I am considering to make the transition to a cat for more than one reason.
The question is what works and what doesn't. What size is bigg enough for ocean passages and small enough for singlehanding. I am intersted in remarks from cruisers who have some experience in this field. The good the bad and the ugly, everything is interesting.
About myself:
53 years joung. 6'2" tall and big. Average sailor with a couple of weeks cat experience (10 days bareboat skipper BVI, some Florida Gulf coast, one week to and from the Bahamas from Florida). Some shorter offshore trips on monohulls (Baltic, Gulf, US Eastcoast
Thanks for any input.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:57   #2
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Leaving Florida for the Bahamas is an easy single-handed sail. Even once in the Bahamas it is an easy single-handed sail. The worst being from Gun Cay, Bimini, or any place similiar to Nassua. Then again you can sleep on the bank, or go into Chub to break that up into shorter sails..........i2f
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Old 02-01-2010, 13:19   #3
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I have the same question, Volkhard, with the same departure date planned for the Bahammas. After that I am thinkiing about going the other direction--OZ. I look forward to many thoughts/ideas/preferences on this subject.
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Old 02-01-2010, 14:12   #4
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It kinda comes down to money and your desire to rely / not rely on "stuff". Stuff like power winches, bow thrusters, electronic doohickies.
If you don't want them get a small Wharram, If you don't mind spending the $$$ and are OK with relying on "stuff" there's almost no limit.
I would have no trouble singlehanding a Catana 471, but if I were single handing I wouldn't want a boat that big or complicated.
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Old 02-01-2010, 15:28   #5
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Hello Ty

what a coincident! I am planning to go to OZ as well but I want to build more experience hence my trip to the Med first and after a year or so there going to the Carribian, Panama and further into the South Pacific.
Where are you located now? Already a boat? Keep in touch and see what we can learn

Volkhard
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Old 03-01-2010, 14:09   #6
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I am in Santa Barbara, and plan to buy a boat in Florida to sail to the Bahammas. (in about 18 mos.) I am going back and forth in my mind as to what kind of boat; a small sailing catamaran with twin engines so I can motor easily, or a power boat. If power boat, I am again conflicted between a power cat or a trawler. I don't have a lot of sailing experience, and, like you, want to get that sailing the Bahammas.
My inability to come to a final decision as to which type of boat is bordering on the rediculous. Sometimes it takes me a whole day to change my mind. Sometimes only a few hours .
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Old 03-01-2010, 18:47   #7
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Hello Ty
Power or sail? That's almost like going left or right.
You have 18 more month to figure it out. To me it would not be a question but everyone is different. Why don't you try to get more on-the-water experience, especially the sailing part. You might really like it. Sailing is more "work" because it's more than just lowering the lever(s) and you have more of an understanding what's going on and what makes your boat "tick". But I believe the sense of acomplishment is MUCH higher. Also running cost will be conciderably lower (fuel) when you do passages on a sailboat.

Please don't get me wrong, but it appears to me the sailing community is different to the powerboating community, at least that's my impression.

For me it will be a sailing cat in the 38' to 42' range. most likely one of the "main stream" models like Leopard, lagoon, FP. This is the part where I have not decided and change my mind almost as often as you do .

Keep us updated on your progress and I might see you in the Bahamas Fall 2011.
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Old 03-01-2010, 21:10   #8
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I would agree that power vesus sail does entail differences. Sailing is not work if you are a sailor.When I first started boating 15 yrs ago I had a powerboat. 2 in 10 years. Most of my trips out and about and to Catalina were done solo. Fuel the boat...Turn the key...off ya go.
After being away from the ocean for a couple of years I heeded the siren call and again set sail. This time I figured on a sailboat. Of course I am NOT cut in the normal fashion so I had to go out and get a Trimaran!
95% of the time I am sailing solo and/or buddy boating with other boats. Raising the sails and feeling that catch of the wind says it all.....
I am in SoCal and looking to get over to Florida so that I can sail around the bahamas. yep, will probably sail my Tri down and over to Fl.
Ty; my vote is for a sailboat...Cat or Tri. Ok, a monohull if all else fails. If I live that long and can't turn a winch then I will, perhaps, find a trawler but again for me...wind in the sails....
Are you on the water now? have friends with boats? agreed; you have time to figure it out...just get out on the water...

Best wishes...
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:45   #9
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Volkhard

Sailing or power boating:
It is the difference of left and right, up and down, night and day. Power boating takes a lot of the "fun" out of the equation. There is no doubt in my mind that I can learn enough about sailing to confidently sail a boat (at least coastally) but it's the short handling part of it that makes me think perhaps I should just simplify everything and go to the Dark Side. Okay, here is what I'm thinking now. A sailing cat with two fairly large engines so that I can do both. Truly, what is wrong with that idea?
Now the question is, what are "fairly large engines"? 50's? 40's? Something like that? I agree with you I need more on the water experience. Please don't think that I have not thought this through. I have had this goal for ten years and have done the reading part. This is not just a passing fancy. I am going out there and I will be living on a boat. And for the next fiftteen to twenty minutes I am convinced it will be on a cat with two fairly large engines... What do you think? By the way, my budget will be in the $250K neighborhood.
Oh, one other thing, I disagree with you when you say that sailing is all that much cheaper. When you get done with the cost of replacing sails and all the other gizmos that go wrong, it might not be that much of a difference.
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Old 04-01-2010, 11:03   #10
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Oh, one other thing, I disagree with you when you say that sailing is all that much cheaper. When you get done with the cost of replacing sails and all the other gizmos that go wrong, it might not be that much of a difference.
I guess that depends on how much you actually run the engines, and whether or not you believe that fuel prices will be staying relatively stable over the next couple of decades. I personally do not.
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Old 11-01-2010, 19:41   #11
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Short handed sailing cat

I am planning to buy a cat in the U.S or Europe, cruise and then sail back to Australia. There are a number of significant issues to consider but one that has caused me to pause is finding a suitable boat that I can manage short handed.
By short handed I mean, with my wife and I cruising, one of us is forced to "sail" solo (with the assistance of the autopilot/engine if necessary) in 30-40 kn. From my experience with monohulls, it's not if this will happen but when. So I don't know how much I can compromise on this.
I know solo sailing is not just about the boat. It's also about the sailor's skills, planning, practice and implementation.
But assuming that there is a reasonable level of the above, are most catamarans just "too much" boat for one person in heavy weather ?
If I buy a catamaran that is smaller, less sail area with simple efficient systems, I might be alright. But then there are performance and load carrying issues.
As I see it...

1. I could buy a smaller, easier to manage catamaran.
2. Or a larger but slightly harder to manage catamaran that I sail conservatively, particularly in worsening weather. Reduce that huge main early and often. Modify sheet/halyard/reefing systems where possible. Do some weight work in the gym.

The only smaller cat that I have seen that seems to be designed for short handed sailing is the Broadblue 385. Small main, big headsails, simple systems. The Lagoon 380 S2 has halyard/winch/sheet modifications to improve shorthanded sailing.
I've been looking at the Belize 43. I like the extra length. More sail area but I am not sure it can be tamed in heavy weather by one person.
Maybe it can but it might take modifications, preparation and discipline.

Everthing is a compromise

If there are any cat owners who have sailed shorthanded in difficult conditions I would appreciate hearing of your experiences.

Jim
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Old 11-01-2010, 20:45   #12
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How about the Manta?

I don't pretend to know, but after quite a bit of research, the Manta Cat seems to be a viable possibility. Excdellent materials, set up for short/single handed sailing, simple rigging... I would like to know if I am wrong about this as a very good possibility to do exactly what you are suggesting.
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Old 11-01-2010, 22:18   #13
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Excdellent materials, set up for short/single handed sailing, simple rigging... .
Thanks for the reply. Do you know anything about the halyard, reefing, sheeting systems on the Manta ? Can you reef down without luffing the main ?

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Old 12-01-2010, 12:33   #14
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Here is a link that may answer your question

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Old 12-01-2010, 16:16   #15
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Thanks, Looks good, nice video

I like the single line reefing system (doesn't look like its set up for more than one reef), electric winch. Lines leading to cockpit are convenient but I wonder if you could see what was happening to the sail from the cockpit through the hard bimini ? If something jams, I'd like to pick it up early.
I like the reefing under sail (this is a must for me). In stronger winds gravity might not be enough to bring that main down though. It would be nice to see this operating in 20-30 kn.
Great video

Thanks
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