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Old 23-04-2017, 21:29   #1
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Short hand sailing

I am new to the boating world and I was wondering what kind of boat I would be able to sail by myself with ought the need of a crew. I plan to live aboard this ship and sail from island to island in the Caribbean for a few years and then take it across the North Atlantic to Italy and Spain and then up to England and the Netherlands so any tips and advice would be really appreciated
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Old 24-04-2017, 04:48   #2
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Re: Short hand sailing

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, hurrikane.
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Old 25-04-2017, 20:06   #3
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Re: Short hand sailing

Thank you for the welcome, but any advice to shorthand sailing?
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Old 25-04-2017, 21:13   #4
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Re: Short hand sailing

most boats can be set up for short handed sailing. My wife is disabled so i am de facto single handing in most situations. I wouldnt want to try to do that with a boat bigger than the 40 ft. I have now. You need a rock solid autopilot, self tailing winches and all lines led to the cockpit. The single hardest maneuver for me sailing alone is getting the anchor up in a high wind. But you can figure it out like most other things. As for long passages you are supposed to have somebody awake on watch at all times but quite a few people do it anyway
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Old 25-04-2017, 22:10   #5
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Re: Short hand sailing

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Originally Posted by hurrikane View Post
I am new to the boating world and I was wondering what kind of boat I would be able to sail by myself
This is an easy question to answer, any sailboat can be soloed when you know what you are doing.
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Old 25-04-2017, 22:12   #6
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Re: Short hand sailing

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Originally Posted by hurrikane View Post
I am new to the boating world and I was wondering what kind of boat I would be able to sail by myself with ought the need of a crew. I plan to live aboard this ship and sail from island to island in the Caribbean for a few years and then take it across the North Atlantic to Italy and Spain and then up to England and the Netherlands so any tips and advice would be really appreciated
My Simple Suggestion : Buy the linked book by Andrew Evans. Read it. Read it again.

Then gain experience sailing on a variety of boats, of different sizes. See what you feel comfortable handling by yourself.

Singlehanded Sailing: Thoughts, Tips, Techniques & Tactics by Andrew Evans.

Andrew Evans is a member of CF and posts under the forum name Foolish Muse. His book is good reading, full of insights into singlehanded sailing, including his own experience (800 times, 3500 hours singlehanded) and the experiences of other singlehanded sailors.

It is well worth the small price ($14 Paperback edition). It is available on amazon in two editions, paperback or kindle.

Get the latest edition (Sept 2014) as it contains new additional content over the earlier PDF version that was distributed for free online. The 2014 edition is also available as a kindle version ($13).

While you may still be able to find the free (earlier) version online, I encourage anyone to spend a little to compensate Andrew for writing such a good and helpful book.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N9ICA12...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
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Old 26-04-2017, 01:44   #7
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Re: Short hand sailing

This list ain't comprehensive by any means. It's one I've been working on for myself, & is a work in progress. Which, I may post it over on Sailing Anarchy Forums to see what the mob over there has to add to it. But still, it gives you some good general ideas of what to ponder on when looking at various boats.

Pretty much it boils down to the one which will wear you out the least by virtue of performing basic tasks on them. Such as;
- Ease of Changing sails, & Reefing
- Her Motion being restful vs. tiring
- How well balance the hull form is, & how easy she is to steer with sails. So that it’s easy for you & the AP/Vane to steer her.
- How well the AP/Vane keeps her on course. Especially without her wildly slewing about downwind.
- How much Energy it takes to get from your bunk to a good viewpoint to check the horizon 360 deg.
- How much Energy it takes to get dressed (especially in foulies & warm gear)
- Can you comfortably bunk in the cockpit, while wearing foul weather in order to keep tabs on things?
- How much you have to go up & down the companionway to cross check your navigation, as well as your Radar/AIS picture with what you see visually?
- Ease of Companionway Use, Especially when in foulies, 4 layers of warm clothes, boots, harness & PFD
- Ease of Solo Anchoring, Including a Windlass Remote
- Galley Ergonomics, & Ease of Cooking. Including Stores Layout.And possibly reefer/freezer efficiency.
- How dry she is in terms of the following;
* green water sweeping the decks via large waves,
* spray,
* being able to be totally UNDER a dodger/pilothouse while underway. And trim, reef, etc. while under their.Including when not wearing your foulies.
- Heating System Efficacy. Almost any good cruising boat needs one.SIC
- Can you steer from inside, or from the companionway/under the dodger with the AP remote, while staying warm & dry? Especially in F7/F8 or greater, & or when beam reaching at speed, etc.
- How dry does your primary bunk near the companionway stay, ditto on being draft free?
- Which boat has the least leak prone interior, especially including deck fittings over bunks?
- Which boat is least likely to get pooped, thus partially soaking her interior (despite the washboards being in place)
- Fuel economy, & Range Under Power
- Sailing performance, especially in light air. Including an excellent sail inventory.
- Canvas Inventory, Such as: Dodger, Awning/Boom Tent, Sail Covers/Bags, plus 101 other similar things.
- Tankage: Water, Fuel, Effluent
- Ease of Engine Access
- Simple, Reliable, Easy to Maintain Gear that’s also Easy to Get Parts for. Even with a marginal supply chain.
- Sails that are easy to Maintain. Ditto Running Rigging & Deck Hardware.

Many of these items scream multihull to me. Though of course common wisdom/common fallacy is that a smaller boat takes less work. But this isn't necessarily true if the slightly larger boat is well setup. Especially if she's much more ergonomic based on many/most of the criteriia mentioned above. And that her motion is less extreme, thus making her easier to move around on, get quality rest, & generally feel more at ease.

These comments of course leave out the differences between the various choices in terms of how much effort will need to be put into continuous maintenance, including while at sea. And particularly when it's time for a stint in the yard. Along with, of course, budget(s).
Well thought out, minimalistic systems pay big dividends in this, both at sea,

EDIT: As noted, read Andy Evans's book! And read this ENTIRE thread --> What's the best boat you've ever owned?
This is a good one too. Call it a boat buying "DIY Sticky" --> Southern Cross 31 versus Island Packet 31 And of ccourse, follow the links in it.

Also, sail, race, & deliver as many other boats as possible. And take notes on what features about them that you both like & dislike. Naught beats real world, experiental learning!
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Old 26-04-2017, 03:25   #8
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Re: Short hand sailing

I think I have to agree with Hoppy in general principal, in that it's more about knowing what you're doing than the boat you're on, within reason. Evans has some good info and it's certainly a good place to start, and Uncivilized does a pretty good job of laying out a lot of factors to consider.

I single hand my boat almost exclusively. Even when I have crew or guests on board I find myself automatically doing almost everything (or catching myself about to do it) out of habit and sometimes the realization that it's easier to do it myself than to ask and then manage the process.

It really does come down to "manageability". Some boats are better set up for that than others. A Valiant has flat decks, easy and safe access to all areas of the boat, a compact and protected cockpit where everything is within reach, excellent storage and access to systems, and she stable and predictable and relatively fast for what she is, etc. I have made modest modifications to her to make certain things easier, mostly rigging-wise, but for the most part she's "stock". FYI a Valiant set the record in 1983 for what was then the fastest solo circumnavigation.

On the other hand I have a good friend with a Catalina 30 and he's been everywhere on that boat. Another friend single hands his 50' catamaran most of the time. It's mostly about knowledge, planning, preparation, and aptitude.

I would say if there was one thing that I think makes the biggest difference it's being able to manage as many aspects of controlling the boat as possible from the cockpit, and close at hand as well. Standing in front of my helm I can reach the wheel, engine controls, the primaries, the halyards, reefing lines, traveller all while viewing the instruments and without taking a step. There are certain circumstances and situations where that is extremely helpful. Is it mandatory? No, but when dealing with unexpected or pressing situations it can make things a lot easier. Here's a good view of the Valiant cockpit:

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Old 26-04-2017, 04:17   #9
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Re: Short hand sailing

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Originally Posted by sck5 View Post
..The single hardest maneuver for me sailing alone is getting the anchor up in a high wind...
Having done a lot of single handed sailing on a wide variety of boats, I agree!

First time I had to haul anchor single handed was on a boat with no windlass off what had become lee shore in the wee hours of the night...not fun.


A windlass with a remote makes this much easier. Wireless remote even better.
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Old 26-04-2017, 04:26   #10
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Re: Short hand sailing

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I think I have to agree with Hoppy in general principal, in that it's more about knowing what you're doing than the boat you're on, within reason.

...
However, as you point out later in your post, how easy a vessel is to single hand is all about how its set up.

Many cats for example are not very well set up for single handing.

A mono with a relatively narrow cockpit...where you can easily reach the jib winches is quite easy to single hand.

Cutter rigs are great for single handing, especially once the wind picks up enough that you have struck the jib...stay sail is self tending (on most) so to tack you just turn the wheel.
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Old 26-04-2017, 04:34   #11
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Re: Short hand sailing

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
This is an easy question to answer, any sailboat can be soloed when you know what you are doing.
Really?

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Old 26-04-2017, 04:44   #12
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Re: Short hand sailing

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That was single handed back in a time when men were iron and ships were wood. Never mind that ship is iron, it ruins the story.
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Old 26-04-2017, 04:55   #13
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Re: Short hand sailing

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That was single handed back in a time when men were iron and ships were wood. Never mind that ship is iron, it ruins the story.
In her working days (late 1800s), they did run her with as few as 8 crew...which having sailed her, I can tell you is quite a feat. The modern day crew usually has about that many per mast.
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Old 26-04-2017, 04:57   #14
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pirate Re: Short hand sailing

25ft-35ft... relatively straightforward
35ft-45ft.. still straight forward if one has some experience however.. greater attention is needed for forward planning/thinking regarding reefing (earlier), anchoring (prepare your gear and don't leave it till your amongst anchored boats), entering marina's.. prep your lines and hang your fenders before entering, have awareness of wind and tide and how to use it to your best advantage..
45ft and above.. get plenty of experience on the above first.
Basically know the limits of the boat and yourself.
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Old 26-04-2017, 05:07   #15
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Re: Short hand sailing

Not purely a single handing issue, but learning how to use prop walk to your advantage, or at least how to handle its affect, can sure help when single handing a mono in close quarters (like docking in a tight slip).
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