What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-18-2012 Thread Starter
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What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding?

I am looking to purchase a boat in the 40 foot range to live on in the near future.
99% of my sailing will be solo.
I have singlehanded up to a 36 foot with conventional rigging, with no problem.
Quite a few singlehanders that i have met that are like me, approaching middle age, own boats that have in mast or in boom auto furling mains. I know that you will lose performance with these kind of set ups, but i am more concerned with the ease of handling the boat alone.
I live in San Diego, CA, where we generally have pretty light conditions. I will just be coastal cruising around this area with weekend trips to Catalina Island, and a couple of weeks in the summer cruising to the other Channel Islands.
I would not want to add the auto furler to a boat, and would purchase the boat with this kind of rig. Obviously this limits me a little.
If i fall in love with a boat, w/out the auto furling main, what would be the easiest set up for sailing solo?
I have heard about the Dutchman Flaking system, Stack Packs, and Lazy Jacks, but only know a little about them.
Looking for advice.


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Last edited by BlueWaterBlair; 03-18-2012 at 05:36 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 5 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding?

I'm a singlehander and am now on my 3rd boat with in-mast furling and wouldn't give it up for anything else; it makes reefing and raising/lowering sails a piece of cake in any conditions. I haven't had a single malfunction on any of the 3 boats.

Although it does limit the selection, I'd go for a boat with in-mast or possibly in-boom furling if you intend to singlehand.

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post #3 of 5 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding?

The Bermuda 40's yawl rig is excellent for single handing. I don't even mess with a mainsail. Sailing jib and jigger provides good balance and decent power. Of course the jib rolls in/out and the mizzen sail is easy to handle, it is smaller than a Hobie 14 mainsail. You don't need a winch to raise or trim the sail, it can be done all by hand.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding?

If you end up with a boat without a furling main, then dousing aids like lazyjacks, Dutchman, 'stack pack' etc will help with putting the main away, but unless you get a retractable arrangement they may actually complicate hoisting since with many of these (Dutchman excluded) while attempting to hoist drifting even a few degrees off head to wind can foul the lines of the systems.

On a 40 foot boat singlehanding I'd actually consider leaving the halyard on the mast - the sail will be relatively heavy and that, together with the friction of lines led aft, and the reduced mechanical advantage will make hoisting the main quite a tiring task.

When you 'jump' your halyard at the mast you can put your weight to work and even a 40 footer's main gets 90% up in a hurry. You can grind the rest up easily enough. Compared to grinding a main up all the way from the cockpit this can be much easier and less tiring.

In all probability, though, you will find the lines already led aft. In that case I'd mount a single clutch on the mast below the exit but above your head if possible.. engage the clutch while hoisting and jump the main at the mast.. that way when you go aft to finish up you don't lose the hoist you initially got. Then at some point prior to dropping, release the clutch and drop from the cockpit.

Singlehanding you want the halyard and all the reeflines manageable from a single location. In cockpit is OK if it's been done properly, otherwise they may as well all be at the gooseneck for a one-station handling system.

All of this assumes an effective self steering system of some sort to free you up to do all this..

FWIW most people I know who are now living with in-mast furling have grown to like it a lot.. I'm still 'holding out'.. but never say never as they say.


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post #5 of 5 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: What is the easiest mainsail rig for singlehanding?

I am 64 a liveaboard cruiser on a 44 footer and single hand about 50%. I decided I wanted slab reefing with full battens and lazy jacks / stack pack.


1 there is less to go wrong.

2 the sail sets [ much ] better and it is not unusual to be beating where I sail. I am often sailing past boats that are motor sailing with their battenless baggy in mast main sails.

I have the halyard on the mast still, slacken the lazy jacks off and bungee them forward when hoisting the main. When time comes to drop the main, the lazy jacks are tightened up and I can drop the main in a few seconds then leave it while I anchor.

There are times when I would like to be able to reef from the cockpit but it is no big deal [ so far ] to go forward and put in a slab.
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Last edited by TQA; 03-18-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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