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Old 14-04-2016, 09:29   #31
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I really had very little experience. I had a 26' sailboat In Newport Beach back in the 70's and always singles handed that and learned a lot. I used to take that boat out in gale force winds, why you might ask? I wanted the experience and being close to Newport Harbor figured I could get help pretty if I needed it. But I learned a lot. I have owned a lot of boats but only two sail boats. I did buy a 45' Harden Ketch around 2006. I always single handed my 45' Harden Ketch which was over 50' with bowsprit and swim step. I took my big boat (45' Harden Ketch) down from Santa Barbara to Mexico and was in every marina at night (not many places to anchor along that coast). I was in some very tight places and always had no problem. The only time I had a problem when a couple guys wanted to help me tie up and they were on the docks. I had to finally tell thanks anyway as they were making a mess of the whole thing. I had to back out and go through the motions all over again. I do much better with no help as that I the way I have learned. But I am a very experienced boater with mostly power boats. I had a 100 ton license but did not keep it up. Anyway every situation is different and everybody is different in their experiences. I say the more you learn the better you get. I have owned a lot of boats and was in the commercial fishing for many years. Nothing beats experience. Good luck and go for it just try to do it on your own as you might not always have someone to help. I prefer no help. Captain Chuck
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Old 14-04-2016, 09:36   #32
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I added a few opinions & tips. Hope no offense is taken.

Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
carrying the genoa or mainsail is next to impossible unless it is tightly rolled up.
While I always try to brick my sails, it's often impossible, unless at the dock. So what size sails (& other big items, like anchors) which have to be carried, at times, dictate how big of a boat you can singlehand.
I, for example, don't have a problem with sails & anchors on boats 50'+, but then again; I've been doing it my whole life, & I'm 6'1" & #220

*Bricking a sail consists of flaking it neatly, & then rolling it up, from clew to luff. Followed by securing it with a sailtie (or 3). After which, you put the secured, rolled sail, into it's bag.

--> Albeit, for easier & more realistic underway sail management, you're better off using the horizontal style bags, with full length zippers on top, which racers use.
Then, you just flake the sail onto the bag, zip it up, & use a couple of the attached sailties on the bag, to fold the length of the sail into thirds, & secure it that way.

It makes them fairly easy to move around the boat, including up & down the companionway. Or to safely tie them to the weather rail, so as to be ready for the next sail change. That, or they reduce most sails to 7' long, or less, for easy stowage below, in a spare bunk.

AND, never forget that when you do have a problem, no one is there to help you. I set my expectations lower and make plans accordingly. BTW, I do put up and take down spinnakers, only in winds up to 15 knts. I've done it at 18+/-, without sock/furler, and my is that thing a brute.
IMO, it's unwise to have a boat which is so big that it dictates what you do, & how you do it. As your capabilities, or the situation on the boat can change in an instant. Which can Really cramp your (seamanship) style, or lack thereof.

As an example, I once severely sprained my ankle while delivering a BIG, 65' Nautor Swan. And it made changing down from the #1 to the #3 take over an hour, instead of 15min. As I had to crawl everywhere, including up & down the companionway ladder. Dragging anything, & everything of consequence with, or behind me. The several hundred pound sails included.
And if I had had; less upper body strength, depth of experience, or confidence with & from handling a Lot of Huge boats, then I'd have been in a heap of trouble.
But instead, it turned out to be one of the best, most enjoyable, & memorable deliveries of my life.

The key to success is getting the boat set up to single-hand at that size, including but not limited to:
* very reliable autopilot
This is a big one. And it's even better if you have a vane too. Plus a (or several) backup AP's.

* over-rated windlass (you can't always motor up to the anchor)
Concur. Though you should also have a pair of chainhooks spliced onto lines, which will reach; from your bow, through your aft most deck blocks (port & starboard), & then reach your primary winches.
So that if/when your windlass craps out, you have a Plan B for getting your ground tackle back aboard, using your most powerful hand operated tools.
Your primaries.

* bow thruster (for docking)
Not a fan (sic).

* boom control, such as a dutchman
You're better off with true Preventers. Ones which, if you accidentally gybe, will hold the boom in place. And then, when everything else is cleaned up, & you're ready; allow you to ease the boom over to the other side in an easy, controlled fashion.

* electric winch for raising mainsail, etc (I don't want electric winches for sheets--when I can't haul in the genoa on the 66s, it's time to get a smaller boat)
You're better off with a 2:1 halyard, & a bigger manual winch (if needed). As honestly, unless you're truly petite, raising a main on a 40'er should be no big deal.
Plus it's real easy to damage things severely with power winches if your attention wanders. And if you trash your main, you're SOL.

* all halyards, reefing lines, etc go back to the cockpit. Have spare winches on the mast just in case.
This halyards thing is WAY overdone. As is the idea of "safety" via technology, or gear. And especially that the cockpit is a "safe" place.
For such locations do not exist. And you MUST be eminently comfortable routinely taking a tour of the boat in ALL conditions. So that you can regularly inspect everything, & thus head off most problems before they get a chance to start.
If you're not okay with doing this, then frankly, you're better off taking up knitting.

Regarding Halyards; having them all led aft simply Does Not work when you're solo. As, for example, when you need to hoist or drop a jib (or kite), firstly, you're going to be on the foredeck anyway. And to properly manage the drop or the hoist, you'll need to be able to manipulate the halyard at the same time you're working with the sail.

So to best control the halyard, especially if you're up near the headstay, you'll want the halyard in one hand. And in order to handle it thusly, you'll need to have a few turns of it on a mast mounted winch. So that you have enough friction on it to counter the pull of the sail. Otherwise, the loads on the halyard tail in your hand will simply be too great.

-> For example, at 220lbs, I've had the kite filling on a 35'er lift me 10' into the air, before I could react, & ease my grip enough to gently drop back down to the deck. And this was in flat water, with only 15kts of breeze.

Ergo, some of the halyards NEED to be on mast mounted winches, backed up by traditional horn type cleats.

* a full complement of safety equipment
* real-time weather (SIRIUS Sat), and good forecasting (you will need to be more careful)
Weather forecasting should be as much of a DIY thing, as relying on technology. For you don't always have the latter. Nor is the latter being predicted by someone located where you happen to be. So it's easier for them to get things wrong, than it is for you to.
Plus, in addition to your other senses, you need to use your Common Type (sense) in order to best know what the weather's doing.
And, preferably, you have the depth of experience needed to be able to do this in your sleep, literally.

* Three reef points in main, with lazy jacks and 'stack pack', set up so you don't leave the cockpit to reef in or let out. (IMHO, you don't want to mess with in-mast furling by yourself)
I'm not an in the mast furling guy either, but (sadly) some are.

* I also 'converted' the original sloop rig to an optional cutter, enabling a staysail to be used in mean weather.
Yep, having a 2nd, & or 3rd, headstay is vital.

The rest is experience, care and attention to detail, being able to fix things when they do break, and so on

The Uncommon Thing, The Hard Thing, The Important Thing (in Life): Making Promises to Yourself, And Keeping Them.
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Old 14-04-2016, 09:44   #33
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

We have a Catalina 42 (1997) and hubby single hands it all the time even with full sails on a nice day. It's a fantastic boat, very comfortable to live on for weeks at a time with my family of 6 (2 adult kids and 2 teens) and holds it's value well. You can't go wrong with it, IMO.
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Old 14-04-2016, 09:45   #34
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I live on and single hand my 424 ketch. I have had no problem docking or anchoring or even handling the sails. I've always trimmed and shortened sail ahead of time when extreme weather was on the horizon. thats just good seamanship. doesn't matter if it's a big boat or little boat. the running rigging and, blocks and takle...are up graded on bigger boats and I use them. Hell even on a 30 footer you can get hurt "man handling" the runnin' rigging. Machismo has no place on a boat.

Pay more attention to wind and current direction and speed when coming along side. take it slow. know that when coming along side of a dock with a good current on the stern will act in reverse on the rudder....turnning the bow away from the dock when when trying to stop will bring the stern out, due to the current. in a smaller boat just getting a stern line will suffice in a larger boat, you'll pull your arms out of socket.

work smarter not harder.

good luck and have fun
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Old 14-04-2016, 09:46   #35
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Originally Posted by ausnp84 View Post

Preparation is key when it comes to approaching the marina - fenders out, lines ready, and has the Cat 42 got a middle cleat? If not, fit one - it'll be your best friend docking.
It does and it has a nice outboard track so you can easily add an adjustable cleat as well.
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Old 14-04-2016, 09:53   #36
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

How about having 12 inches of your shin bone surgically removed which would lower you to 5'7"?
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Old 14-04-2016, 10:03   #37
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Originally Posted by bruceinOz View Post
Over the years I have rebuilt every system on this 30 year old girl. Rebuilt engine, rewired, new plumbing, new shaft and prop, new sails, new boom, you get the picture.
So here I am with a boat completely rebuilt around myself, with a wonderful safe sea motion, yet hankering for headroom.
That's the killer. I'm 6'7", and any tall sailor out there will tell you, very little beats headroom.
There are two places I can stand up in my boat. At the bottom of the companionway and under the butterfly hatch in the saloon.
Looking at the lines of the boat I would say if done right, aesthetically and structurally, raising the head room is also a possibility.
That is not something that should be done light lightheartedly and if done wrong would end up being ugly, dangerous and affect the resale value something horrid.
I would not normally bring something like this up but as you stated in the opening post, you like the boat, its all done to your specks, between the lines I read you comfortable up keeping this particular boat to top notch...

One could bring the raised salon top a bit forward, almost to the mast, what is that, around a foot and a half and upwards max 10 inches not to mess with the boom.

Incorporate maybe some portholes forward, put in new windows on the side to look balanced and as you would probably need to insert / build the new "top" from deck level for strength (to get under the deck with laminates or glue on the inside etc.) Lines can be rerouted through in a channel or over, its not that simple of a thing but not hard either if you get the design right, probably end up costing less than all the costs involved in buying a new boat and selling the old one.

But it has to be done right, seamlessly into to boat and look like it has always been there, no a riveted pop on thingy.

Just as an option.
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Old 14-04-2016, 10:06   #38
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I think when people say that a 30000 lb boat is as easy to single hand as a 10000 lb boat, part of the equation is missing, and that is usage.

For many, a good time cruising means covering grand distances. If you are sailing from Panama to the Galapagos, sure, the big boat will be as easy if not easier than the small boat.

But if you're idea of a good time is exploring out of the way bays, estuaries and rivers, then the small boat will be significantly easier to single hand.

The work smarter not harder principal is a sound principal.

But in practice, if you are tacking every 200 yards to get up river to a favourite fishing spot you will be more tired on a big boat.

I am not saying anybody is wrong, but you need to analyse your usage. Lots of day sails and gunkholing, fishing, diving? The stiff back might be worth it. If you sail seasonally to New Zealand, definitely consider the bigger boat.

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Old 14-04-2016, 10:20   #39
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Many women have raced and cruised single handed around the world in 60 footers.
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Old 14-04-2016, 10:31   #40
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

She has a nimble mind. Very fun lady
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Old 14-04-2016, 11:12   #41
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I single-hand my 50' Hinckley SW50 yawl about 98% of the time. The beauty about single-handing is that when you want to go somewhere you simply drop the mooring or leave the dock and go. I should mention that I have in-mast furling on Main & Mizzen and roller-reefing on the headsail. I also have power sheet winches (4) in the cockpit which are controlled by buttons conveniently located near the helm. Autopilots help (like having an extra crewman) - I have two of them (Simrad & Wood Freeman). When single-handing it's a good idea to have a large diesel that can keep you out of trouble. I have a 120HP Ford Lehman diesel and a 21" max-prop (no bowthuster) - the "prop-walk" is my thruster when docking. Frankly, I think that it's a lot easier to single-hand a large boat than a small one!
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Old 14-04-2016, 11:47   #42
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

I sail a 50 foot yacht-singlehand ten years look at my page lecopico dolphin
to time in Poulsbo wa
yacht: reinke 15 (50 feet) sail
aluminium for sale
Give me your questions
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Old 14-04-2016, 11:58   #43
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

Top large means Beyond 60' in practical terms (deck management).

Unless you have 2 masts, or... hydraulic furlers.

"Too large"... is most likely subjective
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Old 14-04-2016, 12:12   #44
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

All of this is very interesting to me. I'm 62 and have never sailed but have a fair amount of ocean boating experience.
Well I just bought a 19 short ton, 46 foot beamy Ted Brewer Custom with the intention of going from Florida to the the east side of the Pacific Ocean. The boat is cutter rigged with furling set up head sails and hydraulic anchor winch and bow thruster. Hope to anchor out most of the time and not dock her. My wife will be along but really I'm a single hander with a cook. Oh and I'm 5 foot 6. The boat has 200 gallon tank and 100 hp Yanmar so I can motor or motorsail as well. I will get a BIG battery operated drill motor to help with powering the sail winches.
Life's short and this might be my last rodeo. Did I bite off more than I can chew? Guess I will find out. Really I'm sure I can do it and will do it, I just hope it's fun and I don't kill our marriage in the process. I do plan on getting professional sailing instructions on my boat and hiring a crew in the beginning.
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Old 14-04-2016, 12:17   #45
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Re: Too big to singlehand??

G'day, Bruce... Don't be squirrelly about driving a bigger boat, my friend. You have plenty of folks here on CF who have offered excellent advice and I suggest you take their experience to heart and remember it when you make the leap into a larger vessel.
I'm always amazed at the advice you can find here, most of it based on personal experience which is the best teacher. When old salts like Boatman61 offer up a word, take it to heart!
The only advice I can offer after many years of single handing a Transpacific 49 is to strongly consider a split rig with a cutter configuration. A cutter/ketch is the optimum singlehanded rig in my opinion because the smaller sail area for each sail makes it more manageable in a blow. The rest of the suggestions have already been made. Go, have fun and learn how your new boat reacts under every circumstance the ocean can throw at ya! Cheers, Phil
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