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Old 01-07-2009, 23:58   #1
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First Solo Sail

This weekend I'm going to take One Love out solo for the first time. We'll sail out through the bay and anchor off the nearby islands overnight. The trip will be 30 miles each way, and right now I'm estimating 10-15 knot winds, a 4 ft rolling swell and blue skys.

This will be my first time solo out of the bay, and first time solo on a boat this size. Taking her through the evolutions is going to require a bit more planning than normal and in all honesty I'm both looking forward to the challenge and somewhat apprehensive.

Do you guys have advice to make sure everything goes smoothly? My main thoughts so far are:

1) File a float plan, no really do it this time, been getting a bit slack about this
2) Wear a life jacket
3) Clip on
4) Make sure I plan the evolutions carefully and well in advance
5) Stay alert in the harbor, this is 4th of July and I only have one set of eyes
6) Make sure I have a cold brew ready for my return

-Tom
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Old 02-07-2009, 00:16   #2
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The autohelm is the single sailors best friend, make sure it is up and ready before leaving harbour.

do as much of the preperations as possible for sailing before leaving the jetty, instead of using that 5 minute dash up the harbour.

Before I got an in-mast main, i used to drop and stow the mainsail before entering harbour, and also prep all the fenders before entering harbour.

rapid access to the chart is necessary, and you may not have time to duck down to the chart table. make sure it is ready to hand.


Enjoy it!
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Old 02-07-2009, 00:37   #3
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You'll Be Fine

I never flake my mainsail until I'm all the way in the channel and in the turning basn, relatively close to my. If your engine quits coming in (it's happened to me) & the mainsail is put to bed, you're screwed.

Meaning, you'll have to drop your anchor NOW (it is ready to run, isn't it?), and swing to short scope maybe in the middle of the channel, while you strip the cover off, hoist sail, come up on your anchor, weigh it, run back to the helm (likely still w/ the anchor under the surface somewhere) to begin to control the yacht as she begins to make way. Oh, and on the Fourth, there will be more traffic than any other day of the year. Much better to motor-sail in, IMO.

Think & prepare ahead, wear the PFD, clip in, and deploy the fenders before entering the channel, as Talbot advises.

Sunblock before the engine is started.
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:55   #4
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If you have the space to be able to motor sail into harbour and then drop the sail, of course it is preferable. In my case, it was not feasible. I had to enter a very narrow channel full of traffic (including sometimes large ferries and warships) where the tide could run at over 6 kts and where the wind was either from straight ahead, full astern or non-existent (shelter from buildings), and then within 400 yds was entering my berth.

I lost count of the number of smaller boats that I towed through that entrance because they just did not have enough speed to get through.

On one occassion, I did have engine failure just after passing through the entrance, luckily at top of tide, so no problems from that. I threw the dinghy into the water with its little 2hp yamaha, and tied it alongside. Jammed the direction control and then used that to drive my boat another 2miles further up the river (different berth then) No wind so no real problem, although the engine did heat up a bit

Even managed to get the boat onto my pile mooring (one pile fwd, one aft).

All caused by too much water in the fuel, overcoming the water seperator before I realised what was happening - didnt do the high pressure pump/injectors any good
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theonecalledtom View Post
1) File a float plan, no really do it this time, been getting a bit slack about this
2) Wear a life jacket
3) Clip on
4) Make sure I plan the evolutions carefully and well in advance
5) Stay alert in the harbor, this is 4th of July and I only have one set of eyes
6) Make sure I have a cold brew ready for my return
7) Enjoy yourself
8)Have FUN!
9) Relax
10) Check out the other boats
11) Look for Nudy-Rudies with the binoculars
12) Have more fun!
13) Stand at the bow and scream: "I really AM the king of the world because its MY Boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!
14) Start at 7) again
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:58   #6
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If yopu're upwind, then sail into the slip with the motor idling. I loosen the main, and use the headsail for power.....i2f
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:42   #7
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'' 13) Stand at the bow and scream: "I really AM the king of the world because its MY Boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! ''

If I ever do this one , HO YES I WILL BE ALONE WITH NOBODY IN SIGHT !!!!!
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:48   #8
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I consider myself fortunate to have the luxury to motor-sail in. Bravo to your resourcefulness, Talbot.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:31   #9
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Pee when you have the chance, because events may overtake your next opportunity.



I assume you can reef by yourself, even if self-steering goes on the blink? In a jam, center the boom and lower or roll up the genny. The boat will then feather into the wind, letting you reef the main without maintaining the helm. Then put out or up the genny or jib, and you're good to go.
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Old 02-07-2009, 15:12   #10
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Pee when you have the chance, because events may overtake your next opportunity.
Ha - this is my biggest concern! Going to skip the coffee I think, or at least keep the quantity down....

Once out at sea I'm pretty happy about my ability to reef etc (might change my mind after actually trying it). In some parts of the harbor there is decent space but other parts have less space and more traffic. I have a rough plan on where I will raise sail but it depends on wind, certainly I have no intention on tacking through traffic.

There is no auto pilot but I have a wind vane, this will be ready to go as I leave the dock - I've never used this under power but assume it works the same.....

Getting back into the slip will probably be down wind and under power. I'll have to drop sails somewhere before the marina. The tide is likely to be positive and rising which means there should be some space outside the channel to do this and I guess as mentioned I can use the anchor if needed.
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Old 02-07-2009, 15:48   #11
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Trail a line with knots if possible, and carry or wear a knife

If your life jacket is the bulky type, don't wear it, but have it handy in the cockpit. If it's an inflatable type go ahead and wear it. Use jacklines or a manrope and stay clipped in to them or it. Before I used jacklines I used a manrope on my aft cockpit that I secured down below, ran it up through the companionway then fwd through the shrouds in the best way to follow it forward, around forward of the mast, and then back similarly on the other side, so I hooked in down below and could walk all around the boat without unclipping.

Sail with a little weather helm so if you let go of the helm the boat will round up and heave to. If you sail on an autopilot trail a line or something from your autopilot control to allow you to disconnect it. ---And have a way to get yourself back on board from the water. Just pulling yourself up won't cut it>

Good Luck

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Old 02-07-2009, 16:00   #12
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Trail a line with knots if possible,
So you can suck it into your prop at the wrong time?

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If your life jacket is the bulky type, don't wear it, but have it handy in the cockpit.
I solo with a so-called bulky life jacket all the time. What good does it do tripping you in the cockpit? Harness and lifelines work too, but use one or the other depending on conditions. If you can't function with your life jacket on, you got the wrong jacket.

If you are going to solo, there some mistakes that are just not allowed. Falling off the boat is number one. I brought the boat back solo Memorial Day weekend with Swine Flue. Blurry vision, dizzy, and weak kneed. But you can be damn sure I didn't fall off. A bit like free climbing, really. Not for everybody.

Was near Smith Island in Straits of Juan de Fuca last Sunday. A glorious day sailing. All by myself and no help in sight. Every time I went forward, the mind focused and one hand for myself.
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Old 02-07-2009, 16:21   #13
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Hiracer; we all have our own opinions and you are entitled to yours, but you trail a line with knots if possible to help you get back to your boat when you are sailing and go over.

A bulky life jacket often gets in the way of sail handling and can cause someone to go overboard. If it's on deck however it should not be under foot.

And nobody intends to fall off a boat but boats get rolled and knocked down and sometimes people just loose their balance taking a whiz off the stern.

Glad though that you didn't fall off, but tell me honestly if you were feeling that bad were you sailing or powering?

Have fun

Joe S
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Old 02-07-2009, 16:28   #14
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Originally Posted by theonecalledtom View Post
Taking her through the evolutions is going to require a bit more planning than normal and in all honesty I'm both looking forward to the challenge and somewhat apprehensive.
With that attitude, you will do fine.
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Old 02-07-2009, 16:42   #15
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Glad though that you didn't fall off, but tell me honestly if you were feeling that bad were you sailing or powering?
Something is wrong with me because not only was I sailing, I was half-assed racing the bastard behind trying to catch up with me. He almost did too, but he got a pocket of no wind and I skated on.

I sailed very poorly that day. Blew a tack big time, genny hung up on the staysail stay.

Got back to the marina and slept for an hour before I was able to put the boat away properly, and then I slept another hour, then ate, slept some more, and then finally drove home late at night. I'll never forget that day because if I was normal I would have motored back. I wanted to motor back; I just couldn't. Left anchor with one reef in the main, no clouds up above, and the tidal current going my way with a perfectly timed shift just as I turned port into another channel. ****, I was helpless until the wind died a bit from the marina where I did turn the key.

I had started out with my youngest. Woke up Saturday morning at anchor but he was sick. Sailed back, went to hospital, took the kid home, turned around, went back to boat and went out. Woke up sick the next morning and headed home. Kind of hoping this weekend turns out better. Taking the older boy too, which is an exceptional event.

Sorry I came on so strong. Yes, I really don't like trailing lines. Nor do I have any confidence of being able to hang on to one without drowning should I even be able to catch the thing. (Ever hung on to a line going five knots through water before?) A harness and lifeline with a SHORT tether is a far better approach, IMO. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. It's your boat; do it your way. That's the beauty of sailing. I just want lurkers to know there is another opinion.
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