Can it be done? Is it wise?
I'm looking at a few boats, and one of the best options doesn't have much running back to the cockpit. It's got a wheel pilot, and is not too huge (Cal 2-29), but still. I need to be able to single-hand my boat - can it be done "safely" while you still have to move forward to change your sail, or do you HAVE to have all the controls at the helm?
I have single handed a number of boats including my current 44 foot cutter without having things running back to the cockpit. At 63 I am considering having granny bars at the mast in the future but still manage without. If you have roller furling on the headsail and some foresight on reefing the main then it is not too difficult to manage things without any great drama. Practice wearing your harness and how / where to clip in when at the mast.
I did talk to a singlehander who still has hank on headsails and manages OK. BTW he is older than me.