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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-06-2008
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Smile setting up as a single handed package

I am VERY new to sailing. I am researching craft as I learn. Can all lines on all sailboats be led to the cockpit for singlehandling? I'm not totally ignorant. I have some ideas on what I want, and what I want to do with it. Primarily the boat will be used for coastal cruising and for trips to the Bahamas. It will also be used as a liveaboard. I have no desire for anything too large. Something between 25-32 feet with a draft of about 3.5 to 4.5 feet. I really don't need anyone to preach to me that such a boat is too small. Other than that, thanks for all the input.
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Old 07-06-2008
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My experience single handing is that sometimes leading lines aft can be the wrong thing to do. For example, if you have a jib that is not on a furler then you need to control the dropping of the jib from forward and the halyard should be at hand. The same with other sails that need you to manage as they come down.
Certainly reefing lines and the main halyard, vang, preventer etc should come back to where you can handle them safely. Headsails require some thought depending on the boat and the style of luff attachment (hanks, foil, furler).
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Old 07-06-2008
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Old 07-06-2008
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As plumper has pointed out, whether leading all the lines aft is a good idea really depends on what boat you have and how it is equipped.

If you have a roller furling headsail, you can generally leave the jib halyard at the mast, since it generally doesn't have to be adjusted much, since the sail is on the furler. Recently, I led the following lines aft to make singlehanding my boat simpler:

Topping Lift
Main sail Halyard
Outhaul
Boom Vang

Reef #1 Tack Line
Reef #2 Tack Line
Reef #3 Tack Line
Reef #1 Clew Line
Reef #2 Clew Line
Reef #3 Clew Line

I went with a double-line reefing system for much the reasons described on this website. I believe you can get better sail shape and reef the sail faster with a two-line system.

To reef the main sail you need to:

ease the outhaul,
tension the topping lift,
lower the main halyard,
tension the reef clew,
tension the reef tack,
tension the main halyard,
ease the topping lift.
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Old 07-06-2008
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Opinions

You'll get a lot of opinions with this one. Mine is pretty far to one side. I go with the Pardeys on this one. I want everything at the mast. You add a lot of friction when you start adding turning blocks to your lines. Eventually you are going to have to go forward. Might as well be comfortable with it. One thing I would do is to run two lines from the reefing clew of the mainsail on both sides of the boom to the mast. This way you can always reef from the windward side of the boom.
Brandon
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Old 07-06-2008
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I run everything aft that I can. The friction at the mast has some merit - but if properly configured never an issue. However, just running things aft doesn't mean that you never have to go forward however. Having had both roller furling and hank on jibs / genoeas - there are many times I have found that one must. However, if routed properly, you can eliminate a good 75% of the going forward to handle tasks....

When configuring for leading all lines aft, you must be conscious of the angles and approach of the lines leading from the source. Properly done, then you can reef, handle the main lines of interest etc... with relative ease from the cockpit..My new boat is a complicated beast, and I even still - am trying to make things easier, and it usually means integrating new blocks, sheeves etc, to make your style of handling the boat work for you... there is no one right answer...
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Old 07-06-2008
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For me, leading the mainsail halyard aft was fairly critical, since I have trouble raising it with a Lewmar 7 winch. I have a much larger winch (ST40) to use where I have it led aft, and the size difference more than makes up for the slight increase in friction caused by the two blocks that the halyard goes through.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-07-2008
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Having done a lot of single handing, my personal recommendation is to bring everything you can into the cockpit. Going out on the deck when you're out there alone is not something you want to do unless you don't have a choice.

Even now, when I'm alone on Island Breeze, which is 56' long, I try to stay in the cockpit once I'm out of the Marina and have the fenders, dock lines, etc., stowed. Even then, when I'm alone, in flat calm, motoring with the autopilot driving, if I leave the cockpit, I have my SOSpenders on and the tether attached to the boat someplace, usually the jackline, but not always.

When the wind gets above 15 knots, I'm attached to the boat. An hour before sunset, even in flat calm and in the cockpit, I'm attached to the boat, and after dark, there has to be a life or death reason for me to leave the cockpit. Raising or lowering sails should be as safe as you can make it, and going to the mast, at night, in a squall, is not something you want to do.

As for your choice in sizes, go for it. I single-handed a 29 footer LA to Hawaii. Just make sure the boat is built to take it, and is equipped properly. Last time: Stay In The Cockpit. Going for a swim in the middle of the Pacific (or Carribean or the Bank) and watching your boat sail off means you are having a very bad day, indeed. Hook yourself to the boat. Period.

That, btw, is experience. I was motoring out of Long Beach alone one day, autopilot on, not much wind, small seas, and went to hank on the jib. To make a long story short, I was very glad I'd put nylon lifeline nets on the boat, or I would have been swimming without a life jacket and my boat and dogs would have gone to Two Harbors without me.

Since that day, I have always worn a harness when I'm out alone, or even if I'm standing a midnight watch alone on a fully-crewed boat.

Cap'n Gary
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Old 07-07-2008
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No lecture on size, BUT...

Headroom is important, unless you enjoy a permanent crick in your back. And pop-tops (found on many boats of the size you're looking at) might be okay for occasional use in temperate, bug-free weather, but they have their limitations.
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