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Old 02-27-2008
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Tom-

Docking and leaving the dock are always fun things for the spectators, not so much if you're at the helm. Practice is key.

Remote steering... generally, having the tiller locked is better than trying to fiddle with remote lines for it and trying to get the mainsail up. A simple bungee cord attached to one side of the cockpit and a line with a loop and a cam cleat on the other will do wonders for the tiller.

You can always have the mainsail converted over to sail slugs, instead of a bolt rope. That would simplify your raising, lowering and furling the sail quite a bit. It also, isn't too expensive a modification to make... and probably worthwhile if the sail is in good shape. It would also reduce the friction in raising or lowering the sail.

For coming into the dock, it helps to have all the dock lines in position and ready to go. An amidships cleat with dock line on it is one of the most useful, since that can often allow you to hop off the boat and get the boat attached to the dock rather quickly, and then you can take a bit more time with the bow and stern lines. Docklines should be, at a minimum, the length of the boat. It is very helpful to have at least one or two that are 1.5x the length of the boat, especially if your pier isn't a floating pier.

A tiller extension might help with the jib situation, since it would allow you to sit further forward, and possibly even ahead of the mainsheet and near the genny sheets. I have the Spinlock tiller extension with the adjustable length and the big D-shaped handle. Very convenient.

It does get easier with practice. I hope you have jacklines, a harness and tether installed on the boat, since you're single handing. The primary thing about single handing is to stay on the boat.

BTW, just be aware that the cockpit lazarette locker really needs to be dogged shut when you're sailing a J/24. The lazarette locker, if it isn't dogged shut, can downflood in a broach or when heeled excessively, and fill with enough water to sink a J/24. It is a fairly common cause of J/24's sinking.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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