Single handed sailing-no autopilots/windvanes/tiller - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 03-30-2011 Thread Starter
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Single handed sailing-no autopilots/windvanes/tiller

I've been trying to find tips on what small lake sailors do when going out by themselves. All of the single handed info I've come across uses autopilots and windvanes which, due to frequent gusts and windshifts where I am, aren't usable.

I just wonder what people do to get the mainsheet up. The wind will blow my little boat off course in a jiffy even if I were able to lock the wheel.

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Last edited by Sublime; 03-30-2011 at 05:34 PM.
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post #2 of 35 Old 03-30-2011
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My way (wind >10kts):
- motor on, half ahead,
- lock the wheel heading on to the wind,
- ease the main sheet, set the main,
- fall off 30deg, lock the wheel, motor stop
- set the jib, set heading
- off we go.

When the wind is light (<10 kts) i just ease the main sheet heading 0-30 deg off the wind and set it up.
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post #3 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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Hoist fast. Keep sheet loose, so as it falls off, the sail is not powering up, and getting stuck in the track. I found most things easy single handing my Catalina 22... in light air. In heavy air there where a few things that were almost impossible.
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post #4 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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Make sure the sheet is off, the vang, and cunni also. Blow the backstay as well. It'll help with the hoist.

If you have a tiller, tie a bungie to the tiller and then to the boom. Blow the mainsheet, and as you're raising the sail, the main filling and luffing to either side will keep the boat into the wind by pulling on the tiller.

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post #5 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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If gusts and shifts make it impossible to use a tiller pilot... Wouldn't they also make it pretty much impossible to sail...? You, sir, must have some of the craziest wind conditions on the planet.
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post #6 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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there is tonnes of good information in this free downloadable book: Singlehanded Sailing - Interesting Read although it is all tiller specific (I think) it does walk one step by step through his system of hoisting
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post #7 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaredC View Post
If gusts and shifts make it impossible to use a tiller pilot... Wouldn't they also make it pretty much impossible to sail...? You, sir, must have some of the craziest wind conditions on the planet.
The reason it's impossible (actually not impossible, but very impractical) to use a tiller pilot or autopilot is that the wind shifts and twists around so much on a lake that you would be constantly adjusting the heading on the autopilot. There's really no point in using an autopilot if you've got to adjust it every 2-3 minutes, it's just as easy to hand steer.

On my boat it seems to help if I throttle up. The boat falls off much faster if I'm going slow. Like others have said, just get her head to wind, release the main sheet and hoist like mad.


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post #8 of 35 Old 03-31-2011
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Could you run the mainsheet back to the cockpit? I am thinking of doing that. I experience the same problems you are talking about.

Keep the expenses low and the good times high.

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post #9 of 35 Old 04-01-2011
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Could you run the mainsheet back to the cockpit? I am thinking of doing that. I experience the same problems you are talking about.
You can. The boat I race on has the halyards run to the back of the cabintop. You still have to let go of the wheel long enough to hoist the sail. If you have a tiller, you can put the tiller between your knees while you hoist from the cockpit.


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post #10 of 35 Old 04-01-2011
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As a newbie to sailing I didn't like leaving the mainsheet loose while hoisting the main. I'd sit backwards on the cabin top and hoist (one part hoist, two parts feeding sail, five parts unjamming) and the boat would wander off course and the boom would head my way (not a big deal on a tiny boat in light air) but the sail would practically smother me. So I installed a topping lift (best $6 I ever spent on the boat) and would pull the main in tight before raising sail. That was actually easier for me. It jammed just as much but it didn't knock me off the cabin top. After that ordeal was over I'd plop back into the cockpit and figure out where I was. Not something I'd even joke about doing in a shipping lane or crowded harbor, but on an empty lake it works. This weekend I plan to install a prefeeder and a block at the base of the mast so I can reach the tiller while hoisting. I ditched my cheap tiller tamer and installed a Wavefront TillerClutch which I'm very impressed with so far. (haven't tested it in the water yet)

Keep the expenses low and the good times high.

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