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post #27 of Old 10-04-2012
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Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

J/80 should be a piece of cake... roller furler and all.
I single hand race (freshwater) all the time, which definitely ISN'T the same... but with practice I don't know why it wouldn't be. The list of boats you mention will all have varying degrees of success as single handed racing/cruisers.

This board, WILL help teach you to cruise single handed... giving you some tips to get you there. Some configuration on your part will help.

Some suggestions, since the boat isn't purchased....
Roller furling (it's part of the OD of the J/80), but can be added on any boat you choose.

Ample long sheets, this allows you to "cross-sheet" to the windward winch, AS it starts to pipe up, you don't want to be low side grinding. if the winches are easily reachable from the helmsman's position, then, wrap 1 wrap around the leeward winch, then across the cockpit to the windward winch, now 2 wraps around that. Now you can grind and release from high-side. Since my boat is small (25 feet), this leaves me with a jib-sheet across my cockpit right at mid stomach height... I can forgo the winch handle, if I then grab this line, and lean back with it, this sheets the genny, I then hold the line with one hand, and cleat off the tag end... See here what I mean... About 7 minutes in there is a tack (which is hard to see, but you get the jist given the config you see before.

I have a dual headfoil, so my sail changes, and whatnot are forward on the bow, and not easy like a furler, but I just deal, because it's about speed, and I am not dealin with waves like you...

Also a consideration for you might be lazy-jacks for the main. They are a cruiser setup, but the extra weight, and wind resistance of the lines surrounding the main, is a small price to pay to be able to just head up into the wind and drop main... I have a boltrope main, and it's a PITA in wind to fight alone. I do it, but it's not my preferred way (I at the very least will buy my next main with sail slugs, this boltrope is just a struggle).

I can't stress this enough, but a AUTOPILOT is an absolute GOD-SEND. Now they stink when the winds are crazy shifty, but when the winds are consistent, they give you an extra hand to actually do fore-deck work, or sort lines, or anything that requires 2 hands to do correctly (winch in a jib perhaps?)...

My boat is a one design with a symmetrical spin... Believe it or not I've launched that single handed several times but only in super-light winds. I can't wrap my head around doing it alone in any kind of wind say past 10 mph. That being said, I'd love to switch to an asym, and perhaps with a sprit (like the J/80) where I suspect I could with a good auto-pilot launch the spin myself should I want that off-wind performance.

Now, you asked about boats, and you asked about people that single hand... I think you'll find MANY people here single hand, if not always, they do a lot, I suppose it's the nature of busy lives. That being said, I think you can get most your answers if you ask them pointedly here.

One more word... 22ft or 42 feet, they can ALL be single handed, properly configured. As far as what would work best in your waters, well obviously higher displacement in the SA/D formula will handle waves/wind better, but it's subjective, you can sail a cork with a t-shirt if you can put up with the bobbing. I think ONLY YOU can answer what size is "comfortable" for your waters. My best suggestion is to drop by on a busy weekend at a marina, and offer up crew services, so you can try out "other peoples boats."

Now cruising weekends... I'd think you'd want bare essentials... at least a decent sized porta-pottie, a sink with 5-10 gallons of water, human sized berths (6'6" or more).... a way to eat (if you can live on packaged goods alone, you're a better man than me), a stern pulpit grill is a cool way to eat but requires a sheltered area to use effectively, if you plan to be sailing an cooking, then you want something with at least a minimal galley (Cat 27 and 30 are good for that, but are slower than others you've mentioned)...

Finally PHRF, keep in mind, you want a boat that'll sail nicely to it's own rating, not necessarily be "fast." Decide if you are OK with being last across the line, and correcting over everyone (that's an exaggeration but point made)... The aforementioned Catalina 27, and 30 will sail real well to their ratings with decent sails, and some "tweaks" to their rigging. A J/80 on the other hand, or U20, or any of the other racers, are gonna get you there physically faster, but their ratings can be hard to sail to (as those making up the ratings almost all have tweaked and added sails), and be prepared for slower boats to correct over you if you go with one of them. I personally like go fast, and am OK with people correcting over me...

Oh and docking of the bigger boats is harder single handed, but still doable, just make sure to match the motor with the boat, and it'll still be doable.

Hope some of this helps.

1983 WD Schock Wavelength 24. Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.

Last edited by SHNOOL; 10-04-2012 at 09:00 AM.
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