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Old 04-20-2010
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Single Handed Sailing-necessary features

I know that there are a number of threads that talk about single handed sailing but I would appreciate it if someone could describe what I should look for or require in a 34-36 foot cruiser such as a later model Tartan or Sabre for example. My sailing would be in the Puget Sound area-not offshore. Single handed sailing would not likely be for more than about a day.

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Old 04-20-2010
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Well, a cup holder right close to the tiller is a must.

Anyone else have anything?
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Old 04-20-2010
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Lead your halyards back to the front of the cockpit. And your furling gear if you have it. make things so you don't have to go forward once you are underway.

Have something to quickly fix the tiller or wheel so you can leave the helm for a minute to take care of something. Learning how to heave-to is also helpful in the same way.

Hand-held radio ready. Basically have everything you might need near the helm.
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Old 04-20-2010
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Having all lines leading aft to the cockpit will make sailing the boat easier. Ditto for reefing.

I'm leery about recommending jack lines. They may be great for night sailing or heavy weather sailing with crew, but I have read about some bad experiences for single-handers.
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Old 04-20-2010
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An esky in the cockpit is a necessary safety feature.

Saves you going below to get a brew!
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Old 04-20-2010
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Other things might include having the switches for the navigation lights and such mounted near the companionway, so you wouldn't have to go down below to turn them on as the sun sets.

Also, making sure the genny sheet winches and mainsheet traveler are readily reachable from the helm is a good thing.

An autopilot is invaluable, since it can often make tacking or gybing the boat much simpler when sailing solo. Most autopilots have an autotack/gybe feature that triggers a turn through about 90-100˚. This allows you to deal with the mainsheet, mainsheet traveler and genoa sheets while the AP does the steering.
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Old 04-20-2010
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Thanks guys. What about roller furling, cleats etc.
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Old 04-20-2010
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I have been single handing for years and the ' must have ' is a good autopilot.

A roller furler headsail is next on the list.

I have sailed a boat with all lines led to the cockpit and it was OK but I am quite happy to go to the mast to pull in a reef.

An electric anchor windlass that can be operated from the helm is a good thing to.
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Even when I'm with my wife Iwe're effectively singling handed sailing much of the time. So my 2 cents:Autohelm's a must. The Rollerfurl depends on how you like to sail... we have pretty light winds in the summer. if you want to be able to change out jibs hank on is better. Same with lines led aft. I prefer going forward but my dodger is easy to fet around.
Other non-necessary things to think about:A stainless steel dodger frame that's strong enogh to hold on to when going forward. some have handles. A VHF with DSC in the cockpit or easily reachable from the cockpit is a good idea. A boarding ladder on the stern. Theoretically that's how you'll get back in the boat if you fall overboard. Fathometer visible in the cockpit. I have a GPS chart plotter and radar display in the cockpit so I don't have to go below. Some boats have these on the swing arm below so they can be swung in the companionway. Electric bilge pump with an alarm audiable from the cockpit. A handpump operable from the cockpit is good idea. Bow mounted anchor on a roller. You'll eventually want a harness and jacklines, the latter are easy to make. Deck lights/spreader lights. Inflatable dinghy... that's your lifeboat. You don't last long in the northwest waters. Lifelines preferably 24 in and doubel (with an intermedaite line in the middle).
The "ISAF Special Regulations Governing Offshore and Oceanic Equipment and Preparation” is an interestng list to look over for ideas but definately overkill.
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I trail a 100' poly line and I have a Plastimo safety ladder on the transom that I can reach from the water. I also use a harness and jackline. Hey sailjunkie - what are the downsides to using a jackline that you have read about? Are they truly worse than watching your boat sail over the horizon?
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