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-   -   Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/going-solo-how-big-is-too-big-30829.html)

hoppy 16-09-2009 09:34

Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
I'm just wondering what is the biggest sized boat that can be handled by just one person. I'm especially thinking about when it comes to docking the boat as I figure you can rig yachts to be easily handled at sea but be a pig to dock alone.

I assume the design of the boat can make a difference whether it has a fin keel or a bilge keel as this affects manoeuvrability in port.

My last experience was 20+ years ago with a Columbia 34. It was pretty easy to dock solo, at least at the marina we kept it.

Bash 16-09-2009 09:39

how good is the skipper?
 
I've docked my 46 footer solo many times. Not that I'm recommending such a practice for the casual yachtie.

hoppy 16-09-2009 09:52

My sensible hat says I should keep looking around the 37 foot mark, but then I see 40 footers and then 43/44 footers that could be possible purchase options.

At the start I will always have a crew, but eventually I hope to do some solo sailing even if it is just day trips.

John A 16-09-2009 09:58

There's several factors to be considered besides the size of the boat: type of keel, design of rudder, type of prop. Also what type of slip: upwind, down wind, single finger, double finger. Then there's the conditions: curent, tide, wind.
You'll get better with practice and yes you'll do some embarrassing attemps as the rest of the people at the marina watch. We've all been there.
Part of the enjoyment of boat ownership is learning new skills.
John

MikeinLA 16-09-2009 12:49

If I were buying a 40+ ft boat and was at all concerned about it's handling characteristics under power at low speed, I wouldn't hesitate to drop the cash for a bow thruster. There was a good article lately in SAIL magazine recently showing a guy pulling up to a dock alone, hopping off and securing his stern line and then (with the REMOTE!) bringing his bow into the dock to tie off. Sure made it look easy.

Mike

PS - All Old Salts who would like to say how pussified bow thrusters are must first dispense with their GPS, Weatherfax, cell phones, etc.:D It's just another tool.

Hurricane Harry 16-09-2009 13:02

Bernard Moitessier liked the optimal sailboat to be around 30 ft. For singelhandling.
That man had a clue on this issue.
Best of luck
Harry

Curmudgeon 16-09-2009 13:50

Well, docking is one problem, getting overpowered is another.

jimking100 16-09-2009 14:40

I drive a Cal 39 singlehanded. The first half dozen dockings were ugly (and embarrassing). As others have suggested, practice makes perfect. My boat has a fin keel and spade rudder. One has to obtain significant speed to back into the slip and this will test your nerves. I got out and practiced at an end dock and around bouys (this drew a few enquires). One has to do this to learn the feel for propwalk which can be significant. IMHO the size of the boat is not that important...practice and increased confidence will make you the envy of others when you back into a slip fast, slam the boat in forward, and allow the propwalk to walk you to the pier at which time you kewlly step off the boat and secure your lines. I once saw a Youtube video in which a young lady (in a long red dress and high heels...honest) brought a large yacht into a seawall. She was elequent in her tight dress and high heels as she stepped off the boat and secured a line.
jim

sailorboy1 16-09-2009 15:18

I don't think the size matters all that much for docking. Yes the boat handles different (slower), but what difference does it make wheteher is is just you or there is someone else standing on the deck waiting to step off once you get there? The hull/rudder/prop design probably going to make more difference for the boat handling in general.

barnakiel 16-09-2009 17:45

My friend docks a 46 HR prob noblem. I believe a much bigger boat can be docked by an experienced driver too.

b.

MarkJ 16-09-2009 17:53

Get the bigest boat you can afford and when it comes time to dock it... learn.
It wont be that difficult.

The first time I had to take a Swan 65 (not alone) out of a dock I didn't have a moments pre-thought. The skipper just said: 'Mark you take it out' and he walked off and dropped the lines! :confused: The bow streached off into the distance somewhere....

Anyway, look at me... I'm still alive ;)

David M 16-09-2009 19:06

Too big...
https://www.sdmaritime.org/uploads/Eagle%202wbszd.jpg

Too small...
https://www.svcn.com/archives/sunnyva...ages/jump1.jpg

In between is perfect. :D

Seriously though, docking is a major factor. If its too big to dock in a good wind or a good current by yourself then its too big. There is no hard number on whats too large or too small. Its a big gradient where at the extreme ends you definitely know 100 feet is too much and 10 feet is too little. Much comes down to how the boat is rigged, how much comfort you desire and how much work you are willing to accept.

dana-tenacity 16-09-2009 19:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimking100 (Post 333082)
I once saw a Youtube video in which a young lady (in a long red dress and high heels...honest) brought a large yacht into a seawall. She was elequent in her tight dress and high heels as she stepped off the boat and secured a line.
jim

And you haven't provided a link??????????

speciald@ocens. 16-09-2009 19:29

I often handle my 60 footer by myself.Docking is my only problem but that is what marina dockhands are for. Actually,this boat (see avitar) is easier to handle than my 40 foot C&C was. All winches are electric, the headsail and mainsail furlers are electric, the windlass is controlled in the cockpit, and there is a thruster.

Hurricane Harry 17-09-2009 00:14

There will always be a limit to what one can handle. Understand if you have everything electrified its easier. But lets say a boat without electric winches when you get up towards 40 ft with sails made of some sort of fiber sails are getting so heavy it takes two to manage getting sails mounted. I prefer sailing as in the old days its also a good workout for our bodies.
Most people I know with big yachts wants smaller. You can get in everywhere.

Harry

Zanshin 17-09-2009 01:33

I singlehand a 49 foot boat with no electric winches. In reality, you only need to crank away at the genoa sheet a couple of times a day for just a minute or two at a time. Sailing is a breeze (and in-mast furling makes reefing simple and quick) but parking the boat at the dock is a bit more work but that is just a matter of practice.

hoppy 17-09-2009 01:42

I saw on the Searay website an impressive system to make docking a motorboat dead easy controlled by the twin props rather than thrusters. The system costs more than my boat however.

I'm am not sure if they are trying to make a point, but they keep showing an attractive woman controlling it :D

Axius Zeus Video

Sv Apolima 17-09-2009 02:58

Hi all
Many years ago in maple Bay, BC when I was just learning to sail, I watched a barefoot fisherman dock a commercial salmon troller by himself. He simply brought the boat to a dead stop with a quick burst of reverse a few inches from the dock then casually stepped off and threw a line onto a cleat. he then walked upto the store without looking back. I was impressed. Maybe a little red-faced remembering my own efforts.

Years later I operated a 67 foot salmon packer out of Prince Rupert and regularly was able to do the same thing solo(with shoes on). The difference was many sea miles and much practice on my part. 20-30 foot tides and off dock winds made it challenging sometimes. In difficult conditions (wind or tide off the dock)I used a grapple at the end of my did spring line led through the midship cleat to the pilot house forward. I would aggressively come up to the dock, reverse smartly, step out to the deck and throw the grapple to the other side of the dock and quickly cleat it off forward. It was them a simple matter to engage fwd with the rudder hard over to pull the boat in with the spring and proceed to secure bow and stern. Of course a series of tire fenders along the side and an 10 inch wide rub rail helped.

All the modern gadgets are nice props for beginners and good aids for the experienced but everyone should know how to operate without them. After all they may fail just when you need them most(Murphy). I believe in crew. Make friends and invite them along. Learn to get along with people. Boats are to be enjoyed.

Practice and have fun
Gary

estarzinger 17-09-2009 03:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoppy (Post 332950)
I'm just wondering what is the biggest sized boat that can be handled by just one person. I'm especially thinking about when it comes to docking the boat as I figure you can rig yachts to be easily handled at sea but be a pig to dock alone.

Really there is no size limit for handling. I have singled handed a 34m (112') both on passage and docking. Variable pitch prop (you can reverse the pitch to get the stern to walk either way), big bow thruster and huge powered winches (and furlers) make it easy. I would actually say there is probably a middle size range that is most difficult/requires the most seamanship - boats too big to be able to push around by hand (like you can do with a 30'er) but not big enough to have all the major power assists (like powerful bow thruster).

The real question is how big a boat do you want to maintain? The bigger boats require all their gear to be working. If the hydraulics go down on the 34m boat you are really in deep **** (and that's no matter how many crew you have). With a small boat you can still operate everything even if al your systems die.

Vic de Beer 17-09-2009 05:08

The burning question is: What do you intend doing with the boat?
All your docking issues seem to have been addressed.
What about : where will you be using the boat? In a busy area? on the open seas?
I sailed a 30ft boat half way around the earth.... never had a problem....Try and dock the boat in a strong wind with a running current in a busy waterway..... that can become a problem.
The biggest difference between the sizes = cost... how much are you prepared to live with...

s/v Moondancer 17-09-2009 05:19

We have a 55 ft boat; it is not the docking, if help is needed, which it usually isn't, I just call the marina and ask for help or just drop on the fuel dock.

The problem is the weight of sails and anchors...try getting down and stowing a 1100 sq ft genoa when the roller fails or manhandling a 122 lb anchor that gets loose in a seaway.

Much easier to single hand something of 42 ft or less.

MarkJ 17-09-2009 06:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer (Post 333344)
try getting down and stowing a 1100 sq ft genoa when the roller fails or .

Yeah, but how many times has it actually failed?

s/v Moondancer 17-09-2009 06:06

Once in a F7...The lower bearing jammed.

Curmudgeon 17-09-2009 06:15

And once might be enough to put a major crimp in one's solo sailing career.

Hurricane Harry 17-09-2009 06:24

Moondancer this is what I mean. All gear are gettin hard to handle due to size and weight.
And its seldom the ocean is a waxed ballroomfloor wich is also a factor.

/ Harry

MarkJ 17-09-2009 06:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Curmudgeon (Post 333381)
And once might be enough to put a major crimp in one's solo sailing career.

What? Not at all. Just sail in circles for a few minutes and roll it up! ;)

hoppy 17-09-2009 07:35

What do you guys think of the lazy cradle for the main? Is it as easy as drop and forget under normal conditions? I take it you can reef the main without leaving the cockpit with the right rigging set up?

The last time I sailed in mast rollers we only on the absolute most expensive yachts whilst mere mortals could only afford external rollers and nothing like the lazy cradle existed.

John A 17-09-2009 08:23

I once heard a report of how Paul Cayard and crew parallel parked a 70 footer at a dock without an engine or thruster with a crowd watching.
But back to the original post - most singlehandlers max out at about 40 feet and get better at docking with practice.
John

s/v Beth 17-09-2009 09:47

I have both a small and a larger boat (40). I enjoy sailing the smaller one solo. She is more responsive, and has everything I need to be comfortable. The bigger one can be soloed but is mostly a family boat. It all goes back to what you plan to use it for. At 50- I get tired at the winches of the Valiant. But I would still openwater her with confidence. (alone)

MarkJ 17-09-2009 17:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoppy (Post 333437)
What do you guys think of the lazy cradle for the main? .

Yeah. Its just Lazy Jacks with the main cover attached. They have been around for a while. Pretty well everyone would be using them or furling the main.

Our next boat will have in mast furling.

Joli 18-09-2009 03:53

Too big? One meeeelion feet!


Seriously though, beyond 24,000 pounds the boat can't really be manhandled of the dock. You need springs in some instances to rotate the boat. We are on a pier end and when pinned by a breeze we'll back against a stern spring or if it's blowing the dogs of the chain we'll rotate on the pier end then back off.

Regarding the lazy cradle, we really like it and have been using it for years. The open 60's use a similar set up and they carry more sail then most of us and in far more demanding condiditons.

Here is a pic of ours, the gooseneck is 6 foot of the deck and the headboard is another 6 foot beyond that. The main would be no fun without the lazy cradle.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/attachm...91df6cb08b.jpg

1Sunseeker 23-08-2016 09:46

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
I only have a 32'ft.er and I have had one end blown off the dock several times while trying to tie up. So far I have made it back on before losing the boat completely. No bow thrusters. Sometimes no dock help. But I read somewhere and have adapted it, I now have a long line from the bow cleat outside all standing rigging to a stern cleat and with about 10' slack. Now when I step off I can get the line around a cleat or under a rail and control both ends of my boat. This may work on your larger boat also. Just a suggestion, that works for me.

hoppy 23-08-2016 09:58

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Talk about raising the dead... ;)

As the OP I should mention that I either listened to or ignored advice and bought a 40 footer, no bow thruster, and have been happily soloing it the last 6 years. :)

four winds 23-08-2016 10:01

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
1sunseeker, the longline sounds like a good idea to me but haven't tried. I'm also 32 feet.

My usual plan when coming alongside for a side tie up.... come in slow as possible with bow closer than stern, then reverse with the prop walk pulling the stern in. Aim for amidships to touch just as the boat stops, then walk up and tie the midship cleat line short.

Neither bow or stern can go far. But whichever end moves away gets attention next.

This allows me to stay on the boat which is a good first choice rather than the boat crewless and untied.

four winds 23-08-2016 10:05

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hoppy (Post 2195803)
Talk about raising the dead... ;)

As the OP I should mention that I either listened to or ignored advice and bought a 40 footer, no bow thruster, and have been happily soloing it the last 6 years. :)


LOL. At least we have an update.

I think 40 feet would be about max for me. Sailed a Cal39 last year that was a blast and helped me up my theoretical max from 35'.

hoppy 23-08-2016 10:09

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
If it was as easy to trade up boats as it is cars, then I'd happily go to 50ft now. Probably prefer a bow thruster, maybe stick to slab reefing, but it depends on the boat.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Kenomac 23-08-2016 10:16

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Our 54 foot Oyster is very comfortable to solo sail and I'd feet as comfy on an Oyster 625 with roller furling everything. Beyond that, things begin to get too heavy.

I can med moor our boat solo, but it is a hand full without a remote windlass control. I wish I had one sometimes.

twohapence 23-08-2016 10:23

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jimking100 (Post 333082)

practice and increased confidence will make you the envy of others when you back into a slip fast, slam the boat in forward, and allow the propwalk to walk you to the pier

Praying hard that the gear linkage doesn't break, your prop doesn't fall off, or your engine stall.

:whistling:

a64pilot 23-08-2016 10:28

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 2195815)
Our 54 foot Oyster is very comfortable to solo sail and I'd feet as comfy on an Oyster 625 with roller furling everything. Beyond that, things begin to get too heavy.

I can even med moor our boat solo, but it is a hand full without a remote windlass control. I wish I had one sometimes.


Remote windlass is cheap and easy, I don't like foot switches and tried a remote windlass control from Amazon, it was so cheap, why not?
Well it works great, only problem is sometimes if its in my pocket and I bend over that pushes a button so I tether it from a belt loop.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

twohapence 23-08-2016 14:24

Re: Going Solo - How Big Is Too Big?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 2195825)
Remote windlass is cheap and easy, I don't like foot switches and tried a remote windlass control from Amazon, it was so cheap, why not?
Well it works great, only problem is sometimes if its in my pocket and I bend over that pushes a button so I tether it from a belt loop.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Interesting.

USD price is $39.80
GBP price is 44.95 or $58.50 or nearly 50% more.


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