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Old 25-11-2015, 12:38   #1
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Tell me about Solo Sailing

Hi there. Total newbie. Thinking of retiring in 7-10 years and the idea of solo sailing is appealing for many reasons. I enjoy solitude and would love to explore the world or park at my own pace and discretion. I am not misanthropic and wouldn't mind a companion, but I'm not counting on it and don't expect it. Is it realistic to go into this with the idea of solo sailing from the start? Should I plan on having a crew, etc.? I plan on learning to sail over the next few years, chartering, etc. I'm just wondering if this is nothing but a pipe dream.

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Veto
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Old 25-11-2015, 12:53   #2
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

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Hi there. Total newbie. Thinking of retiring in 7-10 years and the idea of solo sailing is appealing for many reasons. I enjoy solitude and would love to explore the world or park at my own pace and discretion. I am not misanthropic and wouldn't mind a companion, but I'm not counting on it and don't expect it. Is it realistic to go into this with the idea of solo sailing from the start? Should I plan on having a crew, etc.? I plan on learning to sail over the next few years, chartering, etc. I'm just wondering if this is nothing but a pipe dream.

Cheers,

Veto
If it's a pipe dream you're not alone. Another newbie watching this thread...
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:00   #3
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

If you follow your stated course of action I think the answer will reveal itself to you over time.

Not an unrealistic goal at all provided you become well versed in safety, emergency procedures, repairs, navigation, and of course the boat you choose is not so large as to be overwhelming.

Good luck and welcome to CF.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:01   #4
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

I have met quite some solo sailors. They are enjoying it quite a lot. If others do it, why can't you?
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:11   #5
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

I do a lot of solo sailing, but if you are new to sailing,I would spend some time with an experienced companion or tutor, then when confident, off you go, but keep the initial solo sails in friendly waters with plenty of opportunity to bail out if you have to.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:19   #6
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

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I do a lot of solo sailing, but if you are new to sailing,I would spend some time with an experienced companion or tutor, then when confident, off you go, but keep the initial solo sails in friendly waters with plenty of opportunity to bail out if you have to.
Absolutely. I have at least a few years to see if this is realistic or not. I am thinking of volunteering on a tall ship, I'm a huge Patrick O'Brian fan, just to see if I enjoy being on the sea as much as I think I will and to gain a greater appreciation for the nautical aspects of the books. I hope to learn to sail smaller boats here in Colorado and take extended vacations as I get closer to retirement. I am asnwering a lot of my own questions I suppose, but it's nice to hear that it is at least feasible.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:26   #7
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

Totally reasonable, and easier to pursue (IMHO) if you begin the boat buying process with this in mind. I am in the same boat single and not really wanting to put up with the quirkiness of strangers as crew for long periods of time. But I have no desire for those to be limiting factors in my future plans so I have been setting up my boat for single-handing and racing as much as I can under a variety of conditions to learn and to know what it takes to become completely self-reliant. There is plenty of info on single-handing and what equipment/techniques you might want to consider (PLBs, AIS, wind steering, etc.), though these are no different than a well-outfitted boat. You might also want to learn about sleep strategies and first aid for any situation. Here's one site for resources: Singlehanded Sailing Society | San Francisco Shorthanded Racing. It's not the most efficient way to sail, because you have to be very diligent about not getting over-powered, but two people on a boat are often single-handing, too, so the concepts and how to adjust are really not that great a leap.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:34   #8
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

No you aren't alone, single hand solo sailing may be the norm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dee_Caffari, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Slocum, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Moitessier

Good luck.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:37   #9
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

Thanks to all so far. I now know that it is not solo sailing but single hand.
I think I'm ready!!
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:39   #10
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

Why would anyone want to sail with someone else? Seems exasperating.

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Old 25-11-2015, 13:40   #11
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

The larger the boat, the more physical ability is required.

You don't have to be a body builder or aerobics instructor, but you do have to be in reasonable good health and have pretty good strength to solo sail a boat.

Boats over 34' (monohull) may be too much for a lot of people. Boats under 30' might just be too small. 32-34 seems to be a sweet spot. Still, the fact remains that it is physically demanding lifestyle.

You need to be able to stand, squat, crawl, and sometimes dash or possibly even leap. You need to be able to pull down and lift up with strength and certainty.

There are many tools, accessories, and other features you can use to reduce the load, but those devices can fail or in some cases may simply not be up to certain jobs.

Sorry, this is not meant to be frightening and I don't mean to overstate the case. There are plenty of retirees who are in good health and easily able to handle a sailboat, but then there are also those for whom it would be quite a struggle.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:47   #12
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

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The larger the boat, the more physical ability is required.

You don't have to be a body builder or aerobics instructor, but you do have to be in reasonable good health and have pretty good strength to solo sail a boat.

Boats over 34' (monohull) may be too much for a lot of people. Boats under 30' might just be too small. 32-34 seems to be a sweet spot. Still, the fact remains that it is physically demanding lifestyle.

You need to be able to stand, squat, crawl, and sometimes dash or possibly even leap. You need to be able to pull down and lift up with strength and certainty.

There are many tools, accessories, and other features you can use to reduce the load, but those devices can fail or in some cases may simply not be up to certain jobs.

Sorry, this is not meant to be frightening and I don't mean to overstate the case. There are plenty of retirees who are in good health and easily able to handle a sailboat, but then there are also those for whom it would be quite a struggle.
I've done four Ironman Triathlons. I got the physical part!!
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Old 25-11-2015, 14:02   #13
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

I consider myself a single handed sailor. Most of my sailing was done single or with one other person... much of the latter was done with some one who is not a sailor. I have done a fair amount of solo sailing.... back from the Caribbean to NY was one long passage... with 2 kittens!

I've done a lot of solo sailing in LIS and some in southern NE. I like being out there alone. The boat is set up for this sort of sailing and so the only bit of concern is watch keeping. You simply can't be on watch and so some things at the same time. This is not as much a concern off shore, but coastal.... things can pop up out of no where ...fast... And there are others sailing solo and some down below at times too.

Good company is good company and nothing wrong with that. Small talk gets old fast.

With all these power assist physical and mental devices it's not as difficult as it probably once was. I am very reliant on the AP, the windlass... the power drill for the main halyard, the plotters, the roller furling... and so on...
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Old 25-11-2015, 14:23   #14
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

Been soloing my yacht single handed the past 5 years and loving it. Then a few months ago I met a girl and spent a week with her on board.

I then began to realise that sailing is very much like sex, better with someone else

Single handing is now in my past
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Old 26-11-2015, 08:26   #15
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Re: Tell me about Solo Sailing

Single handed is certainly harder than having an experienced crew of crack sailors that know you and your boat well, but so so much easier than most other situations. :-)

It is also hard if one is in a rush and does not take advantage of mechanical tools like a winch or block and tackle. When I hoist the main rapidly it briefly winds me, but that's not actually a bad thing. Planning ahead is essential, but that should really go without saying.
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