- - Single-handing can be as safe or safer than having crew on board, especially if they turn out to be incompetent. Which you will not find out until you are in your first storm or difficult patch. I have been primarily single-handing for 9 years and the most trouble has been with extra crew onboard.
- - Safe single-handing really boils down to creating another crew mate using electronics
. Unfortunately, this means having plenty of electrical
power available. On a 25ft boat that is not normal. So find "non-electric" solutions or low power electric equipment
and add lots of ship's batteries and a charging
- - #1 is a good autopilot
- for a small boat that is a windvane
system; for a boat with electricity it is a reliable electric
tiller pilot. IMHO, stay away from Raymarine
, they are very economical but do not have the track record
of other brands. I would recommend the Simrad
- - Along with the theme of autopilot/windvane is a set of sails
that easily balances your boat so that tiller deflection is minimal or non-existent. It is common that the boat's set of sails
gets mis-matched over time and the boat ends up with too much weather
or lee helm
. Foresail and mainsail
are a "team" and if matched the boat sails itself straight and true with minimal tiller/rudder effort.
- - #2 is a radar
, low power
draw units are sold for under $1K. Low power draw is important as you need to run it all night, set to alert you of anything comes within 6 to 10nm. That gives you an hour, plus or minus, to figure what to do to avoid conflict. A handfull of portable GPS's and a bucket of batteries. These can be obtained on Ebay for significantly less than store prices, same for the radar
- - #3 a set of comfortable cockpit
seat cushion and a set of very uncomfortable seat cushions
. You use the uncomfortable ones at night so that you cannot possibly sleep more than 30 minutes without having to get up and change position.
- - #4 a powerful set of lights to illuminate your sails and boat at night should a large ship come into range and a mast
top strobe light to turn on if they get too close for comfort. It is virtually impossible for a small sailboat to be seen visually or on radar as you drop into wave troughs and are lost in the sea clutter. But they will see the strobe.
- - #5 a good radio
and a back up handheld.
- - #6 a calm, cool and collected attitude. Think and plan all the possible problems that might happen ahead of time. Then when something happens you have a recovery plan already in mind.