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Old 21-09-2015, 15:56   #46
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

been there, done that. now live a board Morgan 33. But I have some years with a 19' lightning and later a 26' Grampian. I would urge you spend that 1-st winter in Florida. Winter sailing further north is cold. I join those who urge starting slow. You might also try living in a small studio apartment to see what tight quarters feels like. A roomy sailboat is still very small. Anything big enough to be reasonably comfortable will be harder to learn on so start with a day sailor and learn the basics. Another Florida benefit, you can be on the water learning 12 months a year. Finally read some books, take some US Power Squadron courses. Don't let the name fool you, they are very relevant for all boaters.
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Old 26-04-2016, 21:20   #47
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

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....
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Old 27-04-2016, 05:53   #48
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

^^+1 Lev, thats pretty much my thinking, and why I dont want to go much over 40 foot (and even then its a lightweight 40 footer). I could handle much bigger if everything is going well.

I have shorthanded 60 footers. But I there are times where stuff gets very hard to deal with on your own, and to be honest I just find sailing smaller boats more fun and way less stress.
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Old 27-04-2016, 08:02   #49
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

the boat you are able to sail depends on your love for boat.
i sail a 41 formosa, usually sola.
i love my boat.
ketch has all in cockpit without having to go forward. foresail is rollerfurled. mizzen is at cockpit. what is not to love about a gorgeous style boat easily sailed by 1-4 folks. no sweat. wide flat decks so going forward is not so much a fatal accident waiting to happen.
as for experience, you will gain that if you love boat--it will be used.
if you merely go with flow of popularity, you may find you donot love boat as much as
you thought you did when it comes to repairs on your head with ass in air and face in a very small and tight space. like getting an elephant into a small elevator..
the monkey shines required for repairing some boats is ...... ridiculous.
how easy to repair while underway should be your first concern, as all good things happen while in midocean, or other locale far from services one becomes accustomed to.
can you reach packing gland while sailing? can you manage to fit into the area needed to fit into to replace packing while you are underway??
stuff happens. be ready.
even when you have perfection, you will learn there is no such thing.
LOVE your boat and you will use it more often than if you donot.
search and look and investigate all options before buying--it isnt so easy to sell boats these days, so if you get one you donot find appropriate, it could take a few years to resell.
and make sure the autopilot is a good one so you have time to repair stuff while it drives boat.
i find that, as i am different than most, that i can handle my 41 even in tight spaces without a thruster.
i can flip a fin spade sloop in its own length with out difficulty. handling it in a storm is yet another issue--i prefer to handle a ketch in weather, as it is a lot easier to handle sola.
handling boat comes with time behind wheel or at tiller. is not magic. is actually easy once you learn things can be done.
it is often easier to sola than to have helpers on board in a passage.
i would not trade my 41 for anything. it is perfect for me.
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Old 27-04-2016, 13:38   #50
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

On this same topic, can you single hand a 37 or 38 ft. catamaran? If you are a couple and one doesn't feel well and you have to move for whatever reason, would be nice to know one person can handle it. Or when one passes away and the other doesn't want to leave the boat, would be nice to have one you don't have to sell.
Or is it better to stick with a 40 or 43 ft. monohull?
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Old 27-04-2016, 14:05   #51
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

OK, I'll be the smart alec again... This one is set up for one person to singhlehand... Luxury Sailing Yacht “Maltese Falcon” | iDesignArch | Interior Design, Architecture & Interior Decorating eMagazine
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:47   #52
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

lol, I can barely afford a 289 for my mustang........

Great thread, loads of good info here. I'm retired now and in the market.

I like the test drive scenarios. I was interested in car once and rented the same model for a 7 day trip....

Intended use;
Sailing between Newfoundland & Key West, in and around Newfoundland & the Keys.
Summers, potentially 6-month durations every other year.
Possibly 8, 5 day stops along the way, w/10 days in Norfolk.
Anchorage; Newfoundland & NC

Experience;
Lately, Sailing, nothing in the past 10 years (just fishing/motoring).
Off and on others for 5 years.
2 years, weekends, solo, 26’ 60s vintage Columbia in the Keys. (sh1te hits the fan lessons).
2 years deck hand on 50’ Gaff Rigged Catch, 25 sailings, Keys & Norfolk, (lived aboard for 8 months in KW).
Instructor once – Boom hit buddy in the head, he never went out with me again.
Training – Naval Base novice sailing, 18’
Training – ODU summer beginner class, FJs
First sail; attempted to sail a 14’ cat, good thing no one was watching, sorry about the mast.

I’m interested in a 33-40’, primarily solo sailing.
2 double occupancy births, min.
Budget 75K.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:24   #53
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

I am wondering how the original poster & others made out on their choices and upgrades ?
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:45   #54
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Quote:
next test is... if the boat did not have a motor would that cause you any great consern?
This would give me great concern in ANY size boat. If the wind dies and you are at the mercy of current and waves, no motor means a possible pile up on the rocks. You have little choice but to throw out the anchor and pray for a breeze.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:48   #55
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vjsimone View Post
lol, I can barely afford a 289 for my mustang........

Great thread, loads of good info here. I'm retired now and in the market.

I like the test drive scenarios. I was interested in car once and rented the same model for a 7 day trip....

Intended use;
Sailing between Newfoundland & Key West, in and around Newfoundland & the Keys.
Summers, potentially 6-month durations every other year.
Possibly 8, 5 day stops along the way, w/10 days in Norfolk.
Anchorage; Newfoundland & NC

Experience;
Lately, Sailing, nothing in the past 10 years (just fishing/motoring).
Off and on others for 5 years.
2 years, weekends, solo, 26 60s vintage Columbia in the Keys. (sh1te hits the fan lessons).
2 years deck hand on 50 Gaff Rigged Catch, 25 sailings, Keys & Norfolk, (lived aboard for 8 months in KW).
Instructor once Boom hit buddy in the head, he never went out with me again.
Training Naval Base novice sailing, 18
Training ODU summer beginner class, FJs
First sail; attempted to sail a 14 cat, good thing no one was watching, sorry about the mast.

Im interested in a 33-40, primarily solo sailing.
2 double occupancy births, min.
Budget 75K.
I would stay closer to 33 then 40. The better your physical condition the larger the boat you can comfortably handle. Very important that it be rigged for solo sailing and you do not need electric winches to be working when you need them.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:56   #56
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

You learn so much faster on a small boat say around 27' - 30' than on a larger one, and the cost is much lower should you decide after a year or so the cruising life isn't for you

On boats this size you don't really need to change anything to single hand and probably not on a larger one either for that matter as long as you have an autopilot

Many times you can manhandle a smaller boat (not using the winches etc) even if you run aground you can many times you can jump overboard and push it off if you had to

Here's a list of good small cruising boats that are tough enough to cross oceans but can be had at a low price.

Atom Voyages - Good Old Boats List

On the other hand, if "cruising" to you means a few months of motoring the ICW with a few 60 mile sails to off shore islands then spending the next few years tied up at a marina as a liveaboard then a larger boat might be best.
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Old 11-08-2017, 13:28   #57
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

ok I know I'm pretty new to this sailing stuff.
I own a 40'er my wife and I go out but most of the time we single hand. What I mean is I will turn into the wind set the auto and raise the main by hand no winches pull out the jib then get back behind the wheel then turn off the pilot. fall off turn motor off, then turn pilot back on tidy up.

Same thing but this time my admiral does the duties.

Where I can see size matters argument is docking. But even then with my many years on a powerboat rarely do I rely on help to dock the boat. Not going to lie smaller does make it easier to dock, but if you can't dock size doesn't matter... Docking is a skill just got to do it a thousand times and you will get better.

just last week I watched a motor yacht in the 50' range try to back in to a dock wife on swim platform with 3 dock hands. He almost killed his wife smashing into the dock as the dock hands ripped her up out of the way. He then bragged to me how he had 4500 miles on this boat!!!! Small lakes early spring here in Michigan are always a comedy event!!! New boaters small boats fun for everyone!!!! 12' rowboats with 10hp motors are too much for some people!!!!

Bob
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Old 11-08-2017, 14:18   #58
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Hate to be that guy but it depends:
*On the sailor
*On the sailboat
*Where you are sailing
*Risk tolerance and insurance
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Old 13-08-2017, 08:33   #59
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Walter, it's been 6 years now since your original post....what's going on? You must be 67 or so now; are you living that dream or what? If not, don't get discouraged; you still got plenty of time. I'm 70 and don't plan on getting my next boat until around 80 or when my youngest gets out of high school.
By the way, there was never going to be a decisive answer to that question; there are to many variables; it might be 60' for you and be 32' for another.
Enjoy whatever you decide.
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Old 14-08-2017, 06:38   #60
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Re: What Size Sailboat Can Be Safely Operated by a Solo Sailor ?

Oh, it is soo good to see older people just starting out at this. My husband and I are 66 and 67 and it looks like we will be 70 before getting out there. Can't wait. Have seen there are people in their 80's still on their boats, so know it can still happen.
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