That Sun Fast is a a cruiser/racer...kinda like the Beneteau First series. I'd agree - those boats aren't my first choice for single-handing. But to be truthful, most any boat with a modern rig and lines led aft can be single handed. My guiding principle for single-handling is keep the captain safe, and that usually means in the cockpit rather than up on foredeck or other areas managing the boat. Avoid older designs specifically the IOR era boats as they require a lot of manpower just to keep going.
While some may crucify me for saying this, if I were you I'd actively look at boats with in-mast furling system. When these systems work (and most do work well), the added safety of taking 3 steps from the helm to the coachroof to deploy or reefing the main is a *HUGE* value-add. I cant imagine being on a rough sea trying to set a reef by going forward on the mast. For me, reefing is 5 turns of the winch while the autopilot or wheel is locked for a minute.
I'd also look for a boat that has an owner that took the time to put in an anchor windlass...and put a remote on it or has buttons or a switch led to the cockpit as well. Pure luxury and more things to maintain...but again, my guiding principle is to keep Cap'n in the cockpit. Imagine being able to deploy and back down on an anchor while at the helm vs running back and forth between the anchor locker on the bow and the helm.
Additionally, Id be looking for boats with a sugar-scoop transom or other ways to quickly get back on board if you fall in the drink. In a nightmare scenario, imagine going overboard, but being able to snag one of your trailing safety lines...a miracle in itself. You claw your way back to the boat...but now, you're deadlifting yourself aboard? Not gonna happen. Look for a boat that has some way to scamper aboard...sugarscoops are good, but make sure there is a boarding ladder or swim ladder that can be deployed from the sea.
I'd also look at lifelines that aren't so low that they act is leg clippers and are substantial enough to take your weight if you were to slip/fall. Lots of anchor points for your harness...d-ring that have backing plates rather than just drilled through the coachroof top. Lots of areas to run your jacklines.
For single-handing, docking can be a scary...so I'd be looking for cleats forward, midships and aft (and beefy ones too) so that you can quickly grab any line and get it on a cleat and move to the next chaotic moment while docking.
Single-handing is seriously risky sailing...but can be sublime.
Last edited by night0wl; 10-20-2011 at 11:01 AM.