from 9 years of solo sailing in all weather
conditions in blue water
, i think there are a few simple tests to check as to if a boat is to big for you or not...
can you raise the mainsail
with out the help of the winch
... and i am not talking about can you with all your might do it once... are you comfortable raising the main by hand every time you sail...
next test is... if the boat did not have a motor
would that cause you any great consern? as in if the motor
fails and you must sail 2000nm to a place to get parts
would that worry you? if such a thought makes you uncomfortable the boat is to big for you....
many here are talking about electric
winches... if you think you may need an electric winch
the boat is WAY WAY to big for you...
the truth as i see it, is if you are a competent sailor on a boat you can handel solo, when a winch is used it is only used for one or two cranks... when you are really comfortable and on top of your game
in fair weather
, often using a winch for tack or jibe is because you have made a mistake and you need to pay more attention to perfecting your timing... but yes a winch is a great tool in hard winds for sail trim... and that is what i use them for.
i sail a robert perry 39foot sloop
so she is a sound easy boat to sail... and i would say she is about my limit... clearly i could sail a bigger boat solo but i do not think i would want to in any and all conditions...
one last point from the comments i have been seeing... if you need all your lines run to the cockpit
because you are not comfortable on deck
in heavy weather, never take your boat into blue water. does not matter what size boat you have, your mindset will not keep you safe in open ocean... or a coastal storm for that matter... you should be as comfortabe in the cockpit
as you are on deck
no matter the conditions... and you should spend time on both in all conditions, so when things get ruff and at times they will, you are used to it and think nothing of it...
i think people who set up there boats with every little toy so they can do as little as possibe from there cockpit are putting themselfs into wheel
chairs... making them selfs disabled crusers over of compatent sailors...
i think if you follow these basic ideas and you are capable of paying attention to your surroundings consistatly, there is no reason for you to ever loose control of your boat or yourself as you sail....