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Old 09-03-2021, 06:43   #1
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Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

I am going to retire pretty soon and I would like to finally buy a sailboat (37-40 feet) for SOLO blue water cruising, ideally 2/3 months cruises, leaving from Europe, towards Iceland, Norway, Canary Ispands, Cape Verde, ...


Up to now I have always been chartering during the summer in the Med.


Over here I see several Beneteau, Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour, but I would like to see something else than these ones, something more "blue water", even if I saw a guy solo cruising with a Bavaria 40, without any issue.


Any advice on what to look for? I need some inspiration. Of course an Oyster is beyond budget, something more realistic could be around 100K $.
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Old 09-03-2021, 06:49   #2
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Originally Posted by srem View Post
I am going to retire pretty soon and I would like to finally buy a sailboat (37-40 feet) for SOLO blue water cruising, ideally 2/3 months cruises, leaving from Europe, towards Iceland, Norway, Canary Ispands, Cape Verde, ...

Up to now I have always been chartering during the summer in the Med.

Over here I see several Beneteau, Bavaria, Jeanneau, Dufour, but I would like to see something else than these ones, something more "blue water", even if I saw a guy cruising with a Bavaria 40, without any issue.

Any advice on what to look for? I need some inspiration. Of course an Oyster is beyond budget, something more realistic could be around 100K $.
Top size for single-handing would be 34' absolute maximum (30' tops is more realistic).

34'+ would be someone like Snore who has a 100ton Masters Licence and has been sailing his whole life.

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Old 09-03-2021, 06:53   #3
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Top size for single-handing would be 34' absolute maximum (30' tops is more realistic).

34'+ would be someone like Snore who has a 100ton Masters Licence and has been sailing his whole life.

LittleWing77
I hear you, however, I have 2 points:


1) in heavy weather I feel safer with something around 40'.
2) in my chartering experience I have always skippered 40'-42' boats with nearly no help from family crew members without issues...
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:06   #4
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

Jeanne Socrates sailed a Najad 380 around the world solo a couple of years ago at 77 years old. A lot of similar boats will similarly be out of your budget (they’re competitors to and priced like a Hallberg Rassy), but an older model in that vein - center-cockpit boat from a Northern European make with an offshore pedigree is probably a good place to start. Obviously a newer model would be nice if you could stretch the budget, but the hulls are bulletproof.
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:06   #5
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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I hear you, however, I have 2 points:

1) in heavy weather I feel safer with something around 40'.
2) in my chartering experience I have always skippered 40'-42' boats with nearly no help from family crew members without issues...
Well good luck to you, then. Try wrestling down the main or attempting to reef solo a 40' boat in heavy weather.

You obviously have a lot more single-handed sea time on many 40'+ boats than I do.

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Old 09-03-2021, 07:11   #6
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:14   #7
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Well good luck to you, then. Try wrestling down the main or attempting to reef solo a 40' boat in heavy weather.

You obviously have a lot more single-handed sea time on many 40'+ boats than I do.

LittleWing77

Reefing is not a difficult task, consider that many boats nowadays have all the reefing controls directly in the cockpit. But thanks for your advice!
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:18   #8
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Jeanne Socrates sailed a Najad 380 around the world solo a couple of years ago at 77 years old. A lot of similar boats will similarly be out of your budget (they’re competitors to and priced like a Hallberg Rassy), but an older model in that vein - center-cockpit boat from a Northern European make with an offshore pedigree is probably a good place to start. Obviously a newer model would be nice if you could stretch the budget, but the hulls are bulletproof.

Yeah, I know, over here HR and Najad are "synonims" of blue water. But thank you!
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:41   #9
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

There is a model called Aphrodite 42. It is touted as a Najad, but in fact manufactured by Rex Marine. Rumor has it that they were "sister yards".

I see them priced lower than the Najad's but the workmanship & structural integrity is definitely on par as a bluewater cruiser.
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Old 09-03-2021, 07:45   #10
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
Well good luck to you, then. Try wrestling down the main or attempting to reef solo a 40' boat in heavy weather.

You obviously have a lot more single-handed sea time on many 40'+ boats than I do.

LittleWing77
I think this depends on how well the boat is set up.

On our 43' boat reefing is pretty doable for one person.

Key requirements:
  • Ability to move easily and quickly between mast and cockpit/winches (clear path for movement, easy exit and ingress to the cockpit, clear deck at the mast)
  • Big winches for halyard and reefing lines
  • Low enough boom to easily reach mainsail luff

Set everything up ahead of time, move quickly, stay clipped on.

A 4:1 cunningham tackle can be used to pull down the main if it does not come down easily.

This is actually one of the easier sail handling tasks on most boats with jiffy reefing.

Single line reefing adds considerable friction and I don't recommend it.

We run reefing lines for the second and third reef (We skip the first reef).

With a third reef tied in in all conditions we've seen there is no need to completely lower the mainsail.
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:04   #11
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Reefing is not a difficult task, consider that many boats nowadays have all the reefing controls directly in the cockpit. But thanks for your advice!
Reefing isn't a difficult task at the mast either, if the boat is setup correctly and one can safely work at the mast. Personally, I prefer it for reefing t the mast, although shaking out reefs I prefer from the cockpit.

About solo sailing another very important aspect is to be more aware of the conditions and sail more defensively. Everything takes longer and there is less error-margin when things get out of hand. One of these lessons to me was to reef a little earlier.
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:40   #12
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

I sail a Hunter 46 that is can be sailed single or short handed. If you want to sail consider these features: all lines lead to the cockpit through clutches, furling main and head sails, self tacking jib sail, autopilot, and potentially a bow thruster for docking.
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:44   #13
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

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Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
Top size for single-handing would be 34' absolute maximum (30' tops is more realistic).

34'+ would be someone like Snore who has a 100ton Masters Licence and has been sailing his whole life.

LittleWing77
Where do you get your information?

I single handed my spencer s42 with 0 issues .
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:44   #14
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
Top size for single-handing would be 34' absolute maximum (30' tops is more realistic).

34'+ would be someone like Snore who has a 100ton Masters Licence and has been sailing his whole life.

LittleWing77
I single handed my KP 46 for many years and many miles. Lucky I did not know this information.

It was set up for single handed sailing. Halyards and reef lines at the base of the mast. Slab reefing, symmetrical spinnaker, roller furling headsails (cutter rig). A good autopilot.

M
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:45   #15
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Re: Up to 40 feet for solo sailing?

If you read around this subject I think you will find reasonable consensus around 40 feet. I made the same assessment and came to the same conclusion as you. With the right solid boat 34 -36 ft might be preferable if you are going to be solo 100% of the time.
Once you have carried the mainsail or the jib on and off the boat a few times you’ll know any bigger will be very hard work. Also the idea of manually getting the anchor up if needed would also be tough on a bigger boat.
I like the fact that my cockpit is small and I can reach the winches easily. Like others I don’t believe reefing is the biggest issue.
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