Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing
I'm going to go for broke and make what I think is an excellent reccomnedation: From everything you want, it seems like an Alberg22 would be your best bet. here's why:
1. It has the reputation of being one of the toughest boats of it's class. I can atest to that fact. I once own one. I ran her aground on several occasions and the only thing I ever did was chip the gell coat around the bottom of her keel.
2. The Alberg22 was built by a company in Bellville Ontario. They started building them back when boats were transitioning from wood to fibreglass. They were unsure of the real structural strength of fibreglass back in them days, so they went with the original hull thickness for wood. The thinest area I ever found on that boat was 3/4" thick.
3. Even though she's a full keel, she's trailerable. Most of them come with a trailer when you purchase it. She's got 3 ft of draft. most areas got a tidal range of that much. I used to back mine down the slipway and wait for the tide to pick her up. you might even be lucky enough to have enough range to put her back on the trailer the same way. (very much cheaper then hoisting her)
4. The full keel is great for singling as well. Very easy to heave to.
5. lots of ballest ratio. she's a 3800 lb boat with 2000 lbs of iron in her keel.
6. She's designed on the old style of sailboat. Lots of rocker in her. This makes her a very seaworthy self sailing kind of boat. Lashing the tiller and letting her look after herself while you make a trip to the heads or whatever was a breeze. She ballances herself well.
7. Even though she's "old style" she's unbelievably fast. I know I'll be called a liar for this, but I one got 8.5 kts out of her (which is about 3 kts more then her hull speed).
8. She's got big sail area for her size. With a simple reefing system this enables you to fine tune her to what conditions are prevailing.
So if she was so good....then why did I sell her? My sig other wanted a bigger boat. But we were so impressed with her handling we said would wanted to buy one with the same hull design. And we did. A Cheoy Lee os 40.
The only thing I ever could complian about when it came to the alberg was that you could not stand full height down in her cabin. After a few days, this starts to become annoying.
I really don't recomend a centerboarder if you plan to spend more then a day in her yourself. Plus, being single handed, a center boarder reacts a little to quickly for one person. Beam seas can get a little dangerous.
As regards for reefing, if you're single handed, roller furling on the jib is almost a must. BUT!! don't go with anything besides simple jiffy reefing on the main. The less mechanical and complicated it is, the better off you are. Nothing can ever go wrong with Jiffy reefing.
Keep your rigging as simple as possible. Not only does it make sense, but when something does let go, you are very able to make repairs by yourself. The more stuff you got on deck and in the air the more tangles you're going to have. I learned that the hard way.
Here's one last piece of advice: Put some good thought into your ground tackle. Don't skimp on it. Most people do. All of my sailing has been pretty much confined to North of 40 degrees. Pretty rough sometimes. a good anchoring system has saved my ass a few times. It gives you good piece of mind in the middle of the night when you're lying in your bunk and you hear the wind comming up as well. Have two anchors on board at all times, with separate rhodes ready to go for each of them. An OVERSIZED Danforth (good overall anchors) for the primary, with a good chain and rhode combo. I don't mean 20 or 30 ft of chain either. Go big. The secondary, in my opinion, should be a Grapnel. They're really good for rocky bottoms. Good holding ability. The only problem with them is they're a bitch to store. You can make one out of rebar.
Although I may be laughed at, I'm going to advise you to carry enough rhode for both that you have the ability of going to a 1:9 ratio if need be. To some that may be a little extreme. But you're singling, so you can't have to much rope. in an emergency you can fling it all out the stern in a big knoted pile and use it as warps for a pretty damn good sea anchor.
I hope this helps.