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Old 11-04-2013, 12:24   #1
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Hello From a Newly Widowed Sailor

After having recently lost my husband with whom I have sailed for many years, I am going back to the boat in Greece. I intend to take up the challenge of sailing single handed. Any good tips anyone? What concerns me most is 1.Unwanted company, 2 getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off. 3. Picking up a buoy. 4. Looking after the engine.
I've started a blog, the first post is my background story. Sailing on - single handed
The boat is a long keeled HR31 from 1976 with a masthead rig, roller reefed main, furling headsail and a Yanmar 28hp engine.
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Old 11-04-2013, 17:23   #2
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Just read your blog post. What a heart breaking story. I've never heard of such a condition. Good luck to you!!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 17:49   #3
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Sorry to hear about your husband. I can answer #'s 3 and 4. For #3 create a long line that runs outside of the lifelines from the bow to the stern. Instead of picking up the buoy from the bow pick it up from the cockpit. Then shorten the line as you walk to the bow. #4 is practice. I really learned a lot from Nigel Calder's book BARNES & NOBLE | Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems by Nigel Calder It has enough about engines electrical plumbing etc to keep a boat going. Good luck with all.
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Old 11-04-2013, 17:59   #4
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

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Originally Posted by Aquarella View Post
Any good tips anyone? What concerns me most is 1.Unwanted company, 2 getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off. 3. Picking up a buoy. 4. Looking after the engine.
Deepest sympathy E.
You sound like you have had two very tough years .

We have been cruising in Greece for 5 years now. Check your PMs as I have sent you my contact details in case you need any advice quickly if you are in a spot of bother.

Regarding unwanted company, Greece would have to be one of the safest spots for cruising, so I doubt this will be a major concern for you here.

Backing up to a buoy (being ultra cautious about not fouling your prop) is the easiest way of picking up a mooring single handed.

Engine maintenance:
Find a fellow cruiser to show you how to perform some simple routine engine maintenance tasks like changing fuel & oil filters, impellor and water etc.
Nigel Calder has written some excellent books on troubleshooting mechanical and electrical problems:
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems Boatowners: Amazon.co.uk: Nigel Calder: Books

This is brief as it is getting very late here, but I am sure lots more members will chip in with useful advice.
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Old 11-04-2013, 18:04   #5
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Sorry to hear about your loss. Congratulations on your desire to carry on. We met a widow in Grenada who decided that she wanted to carry on and I get the impression you have more experience than she did. Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2013, 18:17   #6
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Went to your blog, and even though sad, is also inspirational. By looking at the picture of you and Max, I could tell his love of you and sailing, and for folks that believe loved ones lost are overseeing our actions, Max is probably saying "You go girl, I taught you well". I'm part of a social group on Facebook of singles solo sailing, you going it alone on your boat has you in good company, many in your situation have done the same as you.

I'm sure Max reminded you to "clip in" when outside off shore, it is more important now.
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Old 11-04-2013, 18:32   #7
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

You have a good boat and a good attitude, so you are 90% of the way there. And, I bet you have a lot more experience and boat sense than you even realize, having been onboard for some time. You will do well.
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Old 11-04-2013, 18:41   #8
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Sorry for your loss. Single handing will require a bit more self sufficiency. Picking up a mooring is challenging when it's windy. Motor slowly into the eye of the wind and when the boat is aimed at the pick up buoy you need to run forward and grab with you hand if it's tall or with a boat pole. In light winds this is not difficult and you should practice this in light winds. I single hand 27 yrs and it often takes me several tries as the bow will blow off.

Don't know how to advise you for unwanted company. But you will need to take care of the diesel... learn how to change the oil and filter. This is not difficult... it tales a bit of time but anyone can do it. Run the engine to get the oil hot enough to flow freely. You might want to get one of the Tempo type vacuum pumps... You pump it to create a vacuum and then press a button and the vacuum sucks all the oil out through the dip stick hole...Make sure the pick up hose reaches to the bottom of the pan. Measure the oil level before removing. When the oil is pumped out, unscrew the oil filter. You might need (probably) a strap or filter wrench. Replace with correct filter... seal the gasket before screwing on with a little oil. Hand tighten... and then fill with the correct oil an d the correct amount. Run the engine a few min and then measure the oil level to make sure you have added the correct amount.

Check the belt for tension... refer to the engine manual... it should give no more than a small amount. If it's too loose you have to swing the alternator out to tighten the belt... by loosening a few bolts then moving the alternator and re-tightening the bolts.

If you're fresh water cooled you will also have to check and keep the antifreeze/coolant topped up. If you winterize the boat you will have to run antifreeze into the cooling system from the saltwater hose connected to the sea cock. Close the sea cock. Remove the hose and place it into a bottle or bucket of anti freeze run the engine to pull the anti freeze in... instead of sea water... There is special anti freeze to winterize water systems.

You can also pick up from the cockpit using a long line pre set up to a bow cleat. Grab the mooring and put the loop through your pre set line and then you can tie it off to a second cleat making a bridle...and you don't have to have the often filthy mooring line on your clean deck!.

Getting in and out of close quarters is also a matter of experience. Light winds and no current help a great deal. You'll probably want to have plenty of fenders set both sides and learn to maneuver the boat... how the prop walks and how it backs... If you have a Volvo it probably backs to starboard. You should be able to master turning 180 deg using forward and reverse.

Try to prepare each task well in advance of doing it. Get everything ready. Rehearse what you are going to do in your mind a few times.

Best advice is to try to find a local sailor to help you transition to single handing. Sailors are helpful. You'll probably need help going up the mast too.

I think you should ask specific questions to this forum and I am sure you'll get lots of good answers.

You can do this. I know several single handing lady sailors.

Fair winds and following seas!

jef

Your artwork is beautiful.... You are so talented!
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Old 11-04-2013, 19:10   #9
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pirate Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquarella View Post
After having recently lost my husband with whom I have sailed for many years, I am going back to the boat in Greece. I intend to take up the challenge of sailing single handed. Any good tips anyone? What concerns me most is 1.Unwanted company, 2 getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off. 3. Picking up a buoy. 4. Looking after the engine.
I've started a blog, the first post is my background story. Sailing on - single handed
The boat is a long keeled HR31 from 1976 with a masthead rig, roller reefed main, furling headsail and a Yanmar 28hp engine.

Hi Aquarella.. welcome to CF..
Nice picture.. sorry for your loss....
now for the tips... how good they may be is for you to decide..
When you get back to the boat your likely going to be a few weeks getting organized.. get to know the couple's on other boats there.. easier to get someone to crew if they like you..
When you do the practice for picking up a bouy you'll be getting practice at controlling the boat at slow speeds so approach from the bow.. the stern.. getting the feel of the effect of the wind on the boat at different angles and how she responds helps in planning successful departure/docking strategy's in most circumstances... some of the best boat handlers I've known have been women.
Engines are fairly straight forward in what's achievable unless you take a mechanic's course.. get the engine serviced by a mechanic and get him to take you through it all.. also how to bleed the system.
The manual tells you all you need to know but a familiarization will leave you less daunted the first time you do it yourself.. space to work is often the biggest problem..
Unwanted company..?
Would that be thieves..? or over amorous single handers..
For the first a mid-sized dog.. for the second.. Bear Spray..
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Old 11-04-2013, 19:14   #10
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

The biggest element that you must conquer, due to little or lack of knowledge, is fear. You conquer fear by reading/studying and practicing what you've read. I was not born as an engineer or as a pharmacist. Thirteen years of college, made it possible for me to assess and reduce fear when sailing/flying or when facing an emergency. Knowledge will empower you to do anything you want. Before tearing up your engine, read up on simple engine repairs and see if you have a trusted friend who can watch you practice replacing the oil and the filter; that's how you conquer fear. The more you learn and do, the less fear will be holding you back. Good luck! Mauritz
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Old 11-04-2013, 20:34   #11
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquarella View Post
After having recently lost my husband with whom I have sailed for many years, I am going back to the boat in Greece. I intend to take up the challenge of sailing single handed. Any good tips anyone? What concerns me most is
1.Unwanted company,
I hear pepper spray works for that LOL! But seriously, for a number of reasons, don't isolate yourself. Not only can that be emotionally damaging, but a social life that revolves around sailing can provide you with a lot of resources that you could use right now. You know how boaters like to help each other... sometimes too much, yeah, but it is good to get advice or opinions to consider, sometimes, especially now that you are doing by yourself what was once done by your husband or by the two of you. But yeah... you said UNWANTED company. Okay, back to plan A... the pepper spray LOL. A nice glass of wine or a cold beer for more useful or enjoyable company, I think.


Quote:
2 getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off.
Yeah, just practice practice practice. Lots of folks sail singlehanded, many of them women. But try to do some of your practicing with friends aboard and have them help in docking only when you see you need it. Keep a boathook in the cockpit and sometimes you can use it to give a little shove on a piling back aft. Be flexible... sometimes bow-in works best, sometimes not. You can do this. Practice backing, especially, and get used to the way she tends to swing when in astern. (probably backs to port, assuming a right hand prop but the degree that it walks to port depends on prop size and pitch, keel and rudder configuration, etc and you just got to try it and learn as you go.) You will probably find that once you have some way on astern, you can use your rudder to steer in reverse, after a fashion, but don't let the rudder get pinned hard over against the stops. When there is no wind or current to deal with, the slower the better. Just bump it in gear and inch her in toward your slip. Use as much rudder as you need... don't be too lighthanded on the rudder when you are maneuvering.


Quote:
3. Picking up a buoy.
Pick it up from the cockpit. Proceed slowly. Just drift down onto it. You can make it off to a mooring line led outside everything to the cockpit, then shorten up as needed after you are made fast, as Jef suggested. Sometimes you can simply moor by the stern. You get more breeze in the cabin that way.


Quote:
4. Looking after the engine.
Again, I got beat to the answer. A good mechanic can teach you a lot in just an hour or two, and it is worth the cost of his time for that. But the basic stuff like bleeding injectors, changing fuel filters and oil, draining fuel traps, etc are essential skills and you really MUST do them yourself a couple of times under controlled conditions, i.e. in your slip in the marina.


Quote:
I've started a blog, the first post is my background story. Sailing on - single handed
The boat is a long keeled HR31 from 1976 with a masthead rig, roller reefed main, furling headsail and a Yanmar 28hp engine.
You will manage. I know that sounds cold but life goes on for us living, and things will never be the same again but the pain and emptiness do retreat in time. The important thing is doing just what you are doing, carrying on, as your late husband would want, I am sure. I wish you happiness and success in your onward voyaging.
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Old 11-04-2013, 21:15   #12
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

The hardest part for me is being so alone, but after a few days it's also one of the best parts. I definitely remember being in tears wondering why in the hell I was doing it. I think anyone who's singlehanded offshore for a while would say that psychology is the hardest part.
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Old 11-04-2013, 22:04   #13
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

You might enjoy getting to know Jeanne Socrates on s/v Nereida who, after losing her sailing partner to cancer, is completing a non-stop circumnavigation. She is quite an inspiration. svnereida.com
Best wishes on this next phase of life
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Old 11-04-2013, 22:04   #14
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquarella View Post
After having recently lost my husband with whom I have sailed for many years, I am going back to the boat in Greece. I intend to take up the challenge of sailing single handed. Any good tips anyone? What concerns me most is 1.Unwanted company, 2 getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off. 3. Picking up a buoy. 4. Looking after the engine.
I've started a blog, the first post is my background story. Sailing on - single handed
The boat is a long keeled HR31 from 1976 with a masthead rig, roller reefed main, furling headsail and a Yanmar 28hp engine.
Any good tips anyone?
Redecorate without apologies. It's your boat now.

1. Unwanted company.
Mimic the behavior of single handing guys. They usually don't have much company.

2. Getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off.
See #3.

3. Picking up a buoy.
You spelled boy wrong. You may have been out of the loop for a while, but things work the same way now they always have so you shouldn't have too much trouble. When you get one, put him on the rail to fend off. They're also handy for picking up buoys.

4. Looking after the engine.
Wow, you really are an innocent aren't you. It's a balancing act between #1 and #3. Find a single hander with a well kept boat and ask what he does. Keep him at arms length until the engine is in good running condition then remind him that you already have a #3.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:20   #15
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Re: HELLO FROM A NEWLY WIDOWED SAILOR

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Any good tips anyone?
Redecorate without apologies. It's your boat now.

1. Unwanted company.
Mimic the behavior of single handing guys. They usually don't have much company.

2. Getting in and out of harbours/marinas without someone to fend off.
See #3.

3. Picking up a buoy.
You spelled boy wrong. You may have been out of the loop for a while, but things work the same way now they always have so you shouldn't have too much trouble. When you get one, put him on the rail to fend off. They're also handy for picking up buoys.

4. Looking after the engine.
Wow, you really are an innocent aren't you. It's a balancing act between #1 and #3. Find a single hander with a well kept boat and ask what he does. Keep him at arms length until the engine is in good running condition then remind him that you already have a #3.
Thanks so much for the good laugh! I think a sense of humour is after all the best way to get by!
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