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Old 13-05-2011, 21:18   #16
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

I single handle a 46' boat. Docking is no problem but I have a bow thruster. Sailing in heavy whether (40knts) was entertaining and kept me wide awake for the duration. I have a furling main and genoa. I will change my furling main to one with lazy jacks plus an electric winch to hoist. The in mast furler has to many downsides. The biggest issue in my mind is anchoring in tight spots where it would be better to have one person at the wheel and one at the bow.
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Old 13-05-2011, 21:53   #17
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Re: What size sailboat can be safely operated by a solo sailer?

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Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
If you are planning to use the AICW the stick will have to be less than 60' which means the boat should not be more than 40'. How and where you use the boat is more important than buying the biggest thing you can handle.
Ask a simple question on CF and you are bound to get a complete range of answers all of which are helpful - but - IMHO the best 1st place goes to hanleyclifford.
- - First and foremost decide where and how do you plan to use the boat? That will eliminate boats too large, too small or too complicated.
- - A Live aboard boat needs to be comfortable to your needs as a primary stationary live aboard with maybe seasonal re-positioning to a more comfortable climate area.
- - Some folks like small cozy, everything within arms' reach style living while others like being able to move from one area in the boat to another especially if you have special hobbies or intellectual pursuits that need space so you don't have to be constantly taking out and putting away things.
- - Ease of maintenance and handling especially when cruising the ICW or near coastal waters will further delimit the make/model/style of boat. New or newer boats with good handling and larger engines for ICW motoring along with shoal draft keels make life easier if that is your intended use.
- - If you are an incorrigible tinkerer and love to fix and improve things then a classic style boat will afford you plenty of opportunities to display your talents.
- - So you can see that there are more important things than just the size of the thing - the boat needs to fit your personality and make your live-aboard experience pleasant and comfortable.
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Old 13-05-2011, 22:04   #18
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Question has no answer. Depends on how boat is set up, skill of skipper, and what you will be doing with it. I have sailed boats up to 60' without assistance. Its not the sailing that is a problem, its the crashing into a dock in the first and last 10 feet of the trip; its the picking up a mooring ball in the wind, or the setting of an anchor that becomes the issue. Actually sailing in open water in fair weather is a piece of cake. If you are solo on a boat, you have to pick the worst conditions you expect to dock it, pick up a mooring, or drop and anchor, and figure out how you are going to do it, and how big a boat you can do it in. Then figure out how you are going to handle the boat, the lines, the anchor in that process.
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Old 13-05-2011, 22:54   #19
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Dunno but here is a link to a guy solo and semi solo going RTW on a 33 ft cat. Thats probably one of the better guides actually - look at people who are doing what you want and learn from them.

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Old 13-05-2011, 23:08   #20
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

While in Trinadad in about 2006, I met a 68 year old lady who had just sailed up from Cape Town on a Nor' Sea 27 single handed. She'd sailed from SD with her son in 1996 to Mexico were he bailed out. She was on her way back to the Far East. via the Panama Canal.

Go with what you fall in love with. The whole experience is one of personnal satisfaction.
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Old 13-05-2011, 23:30   #21
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Re: What size sailboat can be safely operated by a solo sailer?

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Hi Walt,

It depends on how much you trust assistive equipment like electric winches and furlers to work when their failure could put you in a dire position.
Dire? Really? If my electric winch dies, I put a handle in it and crank it just like a regular winch. It's no harder and no easier because it's the same winch as the one without the motor.

Understand this point. My starboard primary winch, a Lewmar 48, is electric, and the port primary winch, a Lewmar 48, is not. They are 100% identical pieces of equipment--the only difference is that one has an additional motor added on.

The argument being made here is as if you claimed that you should never buy a car with a CD player, because if the CD player breaks down the car will not be able to get you home.

That's goofy logic, at best.
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Old 14-05-2011, 05:22   #22
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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This sailboat will also be a live aboard and the operator will be a novice.
A novice can easily be taught to single hand a basic sloop rig up to about 25', assuming he has a good teacher.

Anything larger than that could become challenging for someone with no experience. Smaller boats tend to respond very quickly to helm and sail trim, providing instant feedback that is critical to learning how sailboats work.
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Old 14-05-2011, 06:01   #23
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Welcome to the forum

It depends on your experience with boats. Your confidence level in general comes into play. Start off as suggested by others with learning to sail in the 22 to 25 foot range, then start getting some time on bigger boats. You will find your comfort zone somewhere along the line.

I agree a 25 to 26 footer can be easily singlehanded by most in a relatively short time span. I can singlehand our 40 footer in a pinch. But I have only left the mooring 3 times in 3 years without at least a deck hand on board.

At the other extreme is a 70 foot gaff rigged schooner that was singlehanded by a 55 year old man for close to 3 years. Granted he was in the middle of nowhere for most of that time, however he did bring her into NY at the end of the trip by himself. In talking with Reid, he has single handed the Anne on numerous occasions.

A prudent mariner can move about any size boat by themselves if conditions are calm. But then that's not exactly sailing.
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Old 14-05-2011, 09:26   #24
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Re: What size sailboat can be safely operated by a solo sailer?

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Dire? Really? If my electric winch dies, I put a handle in it and crank it just like a regular winch. It's no harder and no easier because it's the same winch as the one without the motor.

Understand this point. My starboard primary winch, a Lewmar 48, is electric, and the port primary winch, a Lewmar 48, is not. They are 100% identical pieces of equipment--the only difference is that one has an additional motor added on.
Winches are one thing anchor windlasses are another. I just reread Hinze on anchoring, or read the newest edition rather. He notes that a lot of electric windlasses have little or no mechanical gearing for the mechanical backup, so the only advantage you get is how long the lever you use. Out of curiousity I have been looking into this on manufacturer's websites and the few that list the info indicate direct drive, no mechanical advantage. If you want to find out you will have to contact the manufacturer directly or investigate the product firsthand at a vendor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
The argument being made here is as if you claimed that you should never buy a car with a CD player, because if the CD player breaks down the car will not be able to get you home. That's goofy logic, at best.
Bash your analogy is pretty stretched for furlers or windlasses. A better one would be windshield wipers or headlights. If they fail away from home the car would still be drivable but there would be safety implications depending on weather and time of day.

Actually the best analogy would be power steering. If it goes out in a large vehicle, the vehicle is still drivable but it is a lot harder and safety becomes compromised in heavy traffic, poor weather or on winding roads.
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Old 14-05-2011, 09:52   #25
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

It's all about personal choice! There is no correct answer.

What I do you may not want to do.
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Old 14-05-2011, 10:02   #26
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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It's all about personal choice! There is no correct answer.

What I do you may not want to do.

I agree, however informed choice is a lot cheaper and usually safer than just plain old choice. The OP seems to be interested in understanding people's reasons for their choices.
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Old 14-05-2011, 10:24   #27
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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I agree, however informed choice is a lot cheaper and usually safer than just plain old choice. The OP seems to be interested in understanding people's reasons for their choices.
True. But why spend time and energy argueing to promote your opinion when it's really your personal choice?. No matter how informed.
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Old 14-05-2011, 10:25   #28
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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True. But why spend time and energy argueing to promote your opinion when it's really your personal choice?. No matter how informed.
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Old 14-05-2011, 11:02   #29
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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I agree, however informed choice is a lot cheaper and usually safer than just plain old choice. The OP seems to be interested in understanding people's reasons for their choices.
Asking others for their thoughts is the first part of making an informed choice.

I was looking at getting something around 34ft, stretching up to 37ft on the basis 34ft was what I knew from 25 years ago. Discussions here made me consider that 40ft could be doable for me.

So I chartered a 39ft for a few days with a skipper to get a feel for a boat of that size. We talked a lot about how to do things solo and I came away convinced I should not fear a 40 footer and bought the boat I really wanted
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Old 14-05-2011, 11:22   #30
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

I am really surprised by the offense taken by some at the suggestion that not everyone is comfortable sailing a big boat. Really? Relax guys.

It is supposed to be about sharing knowledge/experience. The question was very broad and a lot of variables come into play. If I were posing the question, I would find Adelie's input very helpful.

As to my comment that seems to have bruised some big boat egos at the outset. That was not my intent. It is fine if you are comfortable trusting equipment that might not be necessary on a smaller boat. Go for it and say so. I am sure the OP would love to know why you feel that way as well. I am equally sure that he/she would like to know why small boat sailors prefer them. I know people that sail big boats and love it. I also know people who won't own a boat that they feel they can't manage with their own strength (as in raise a sail without a winch at all). I don't bash either for it. It is their choice. The fact still remains that each had to consider his level of comfort trusting the equipment, and the list does not stop at winches or CD players.
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