Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Cruising Skills/Practice
The toughest part of single handing is that every buck stops with you and they sometimes show up all at once. This can be a matter of distances in terms of needing to be at the bow to tend a bow line while needing to steer while needing to be at the stern to tend the stern line when docking, Or needing to pay attention to course, sail trim, depth sounder and still navigate.
The key is to be able to sequence your tasks, understand what you cannot do and try to avoid putting you and the boat in impossible situations. This takes both practice patience and the judgement to know it can't be done one way, so how can it be done. That will come with being willing to think things out in advance, try them as you suggest in the OP, learn from your mistakes, and be willing to go to plan B.
One of the hardest things to do single handed is to get into a tight dock in a cross current and/or cross wind. You need to practice that under engine, think about what can go wrong and how to deal with it if it does, and think about a bailout plan if things get crossed up badly. Maine has some wicked currents and an unforgiving bottom.
You may be aware of this already but it can be very helpful to simply stop and try a maneuver in open water before trying it for real. Being dead stopped you can see whether the wind or current is carrying you one way or the other. Learn to sight over hardware and other fixed points on the boat while keeping an eye on the compass to gauge drift and leeway. Once you understand what is likely to happen you can then proceed into a tighter higher risk maneuver for real.
It sounds like a great summer!
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-22-2013 at 12:45 PM.