solo sailing...rigging a boat. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-15-2003 Thread Starter
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solo sailing...rigging a boat.

I am presently looking to buy a 23 to 27'' full keeled sailboat. What ever I buy I want to be sure I can handle it alone. Does anyone know of any books that touch on this topic in regard to rigging? This would include everything from vane steering types to ways to rig off line and blocks. ( Auto pilot out of my price range!) Would also touch on lazy jack rigging and such. If any of you would like to tell me how you manage sailing by yourself and whats important, I''d love to hear from you!
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-15-2003
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solo sailing...rigging a boat.

I have done quite a bit of single-handing over the years. A lot has changed in the years since I single-handed my Folkboat back in the 1970''s to single-handing my 38 footer today.

Folkboats make great single-handers. They are long keeled 25 footers that track well and yet still offer reasonable maneuverability. Their fractional rigs have smaller jibs which are easier to tack than those on a masthead rig boat. They have an outboard rudder which is pretty easy to adapt to a wind vane by adding a counterbalanced trim tab on the trailing edge that can act as a servo to turn the steering rudder.

If you chose to go traditional, which it sounds like you are inclined to do if you are seeking a full keeled boat, then I would try to find a used copy of either Ian Nicholson''s book or Richard Henderson''s book on single-handing. Both are a little dated but I have not encountered a good, more up to date book on the subject single-handing. I would also suggest that you try to find a copy of Richard Baum''s book ''By the Wind'' which is about a fellow who did a lot of single-handing in a 35 foot engineless cutter after the second world war. It gives a lot of good ideas about single-handing simply.

As I said a lot has even in the 15 years since these books were written. Low friction blocks allow lines to be more easily lead back to the cockpit. High quality sheet stoppers have made slab reefing easier to use and reduced the number of winches required to operate a boat. Fin keels and spade rudders have reduced the load on the helm making longer steering times less tiring and require less draw from a autopilot or less strength from a windvane. Autopilots are less expensive to buy than a well made windvane and are more useful in a wider range of conditions. On small boats it is helpful to be able to do as much as you can without getting too far from the tiller or tiller extension.

Otherwise, single-handing is mostly about developing a sequence for doing things, thinking well ahead of yourself and asking a lot of ''what ifs'' and having as many answers as you can thought through and lastly it is about developing a sense of timing for how quickly things happen on the boat and when each step of a task needs to be done. The good news about that is the best way to develop that skill is simply to go out there and sail.
Good luck,
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-15-2003
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solo sailing...rigging a boat.

Hurry up and get started. The only way to learn is by doing after you''ve read about it. Make yourself a fixture at your local library and get out on the water every chance you get. You''ll be surprised at how fast the comfort level rises.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-16-2003
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solo sailing...rigging a boat.

I just bought a catalina 27 that has an auto pilot. I would have never considered an auto pilot if the boat didn''t come with one, but now i couldn''t live without it. It makes it so easy to sail alone and now there is no more yelling at the wife (i set the auto pilot and do it myself). i think if you are planning on sailing alone you should reconsider the expense of an auto pilot. my unit is a low end (price) unit but it''s really great.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-18-2003
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solo sailing...rigging a boat.

A lot of us who have others aboard are just about single handing anyway. The solutions that work for a couple on a big boat will probably work for a single hander on a smaller boat. For that reason I would add to the excellent literature review provied above and suggest you look at Steve and Linda Dashew''s cruising encyclopedia. Dont feel like you have to be as wealthy as they are to learn from their book. There are tons of inexpensive soltuions to common problems burried in the book. The two of them sail a 70 footer.

I put lazy jacks on my norsea 27 before I headed out to Hawaii a few years ago on a single handed crossing. After the second night I cut the lazy jacks off the boat. one of the nettles (little lines that hold the bunched up reefed sail up to the boom) tied it self in an incredibly complex knot in 35 kts of wind, at night.

I never saw much benefit to the lazy jacks on my full batten main...all I had to do to get the sail under control when it came down was pull the lowest batten parallel to the top of the boom and get a gasket (sail tie) on it.

My new boat is much bigger and I let the dealer put lazy jacks on it but think Im going to take them off this boat too. They are something else to go wrong and the little blocks in them bang agains the mast when they are retracted while sailing. This requires two additional shock cord ties...more and more stuff to deal with when you want to use the lazy jacks...

Just figure out a way to get the main furled quickly and forget the lazy jacks.

The Dole stack pack in another matter. That seems to work very well but is not cheap.
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