When were you ready to single hand? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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As always I see nothing but good advice here.
Light winds.
Take your time.
Motor out, head into the wind. Raise main.
Fall off to close haul, or close reach, and sail a bit.
If you are comfortable, head up again, unfurl jib sheet in...
fall off to close haul, and sail.. if all is well, shut off engine.

Congratulations on your first solo sail.

Also, for tacks... Single handed... Do a partial stop of the turn mid-way (into the wind), let the wind back the jib nicely before you release and try to sheet in on the opposite side. The wind backing the jib makes tacking easier, and the stall halfway through the tack, gives you time to regroup if you have to work your way around the tiller or wheel.

Jibes? Chicken jibes as I call them, in light wind, Sheet in the main to center, turn the boat slightly, pull the boom over, then release. In higher winds, doing a270 is easier single handed until you are more comfortable with jibing.
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post #22 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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-Run as many lines aft as you can
-Get far enough away from land so that you have room to drift while you're putting up the sails.
-Make sure you have the pole ready so when you come back in, you can easily grab dock lines.
-If you're dealing with waves, I'd recommend a way to clip yourself to your boat for when you need to go forward.

I started with a reefed main even though winds were light. It gave me a chance to go through the motions without a sail at full power. Then I went out with the reefed main and jib. Then full sail.
Tacking is easy if your jib sheets run back to the helm. I'm not comfortable gybing in higher winds single handed. I don't know if it's the proper way but when I do gybe, I concentrate on the main and get it over. Then I uncleat the jib and let it come over.

It's intimidating and that won't change until you do it. I single hand more than I want to but it does give me time to enjoy quiet and appreciate a crew. It also lets me work on and obsess about sail trim without someone asking me questions as to why I keep adjusting things.

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post #23 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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Thinking about your question again (when were you ready?) you know I always feel apprehension, maybe that is a good thing, keeps me on my toes. The hardest part for me is docking and undocking- don't want to hit someone's boat. I have sailed small boats and never felt the apprehension, but a big boat is a lot more to handle, but like I say, some apprehensioin is probably a good thing. When we become complacent, bad things can happen.
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post #24 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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i make sure when gybing that i either sheet the main in then back out, or walk it by hand if i can.
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post #25 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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I didn't notice if anyone mentioned it, but an autopilot is extremely helpful when you're singlehanding. Thanks to my lazy friends, I pretty much always singlehand even when I take them out. Their only job is to throw everything that floats in my direction if I fall in.

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post #26 of 46 Old 09-08-2011
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Yes Mike, I know how that goes!
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post #27 of 46 Old 09-10-2011
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I have a checklist I use before I leave the dock (sample below). Anytime you are sailing, it's a drag to look into the Salon, and realize you left a hatch or sink valve open and have water coming in the boat. It's even worse when you have your hands full single handing. I provide it as an example, obviously your list will be somewhat different.%

Last edited by L124C; 09-10-2011 at 01:46 AM.
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post #28 of 46 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: When were you ready to single hand?

I can relate. Bought my 30 Catalina and she sat in the marina for 3 weeks all alone except for my daily visits. Easy winds and a bucket of courage and we were out sailing with the jib alone. Then a reefed main and jib. Then all was up. I love sailing with my great sailor/wife but the whole feeling is different when I am alone and the sails are up and I bend down and shut off the diesel (now a Compac 27). The silence takes over and the feel of the wind in your face, the accomplishment of single handling. I sail conservatively and try to do things early. My instructor taught me the importance of heaving to, something very useful especially when alone.
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post #29 of 46 Old 06-13-2014
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When were you ready to single hand?

It took me about 4 years, from age 10 to 14 but I could probably done it sooner. I was working for a marina that rented boats off moorings. Rentals would return to a beach and we'd sail them back out to the mooring. About 2 weeks after I started at the yard my boss told me to take an 18' boat out and moor it. No one was available to crew for me so off I went. Gig the mooring on my 2nd try.

My wife solo'd after about a year. We had a GP14 and were sailing along one day with her driving. She said that she felt good so I flipped myself off the gunwale (without a lifejacket) and told her to come back and get me. She sailed off cussing, but eventually made it back before I drowned. True story.

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post #30 of 46 Old 06-13-2014
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Re: When were you ready to single hand?

Hard parts are getting on/off a dock. If you've figured that out, sailing is a piece of cake IMHO.

When sailing alone, my single biggest worry is falling overboard on autopilot and watching my boat sail away at 6 kts. Just don't. I use harness and jacklines if leaving the cockpit or if the weather is bad even in the cockpit. Yea, I'm a little sloppy about this rule on a perfectly sunny calm day, but I probably shouldn't be....can't live in a bubble

Go have fun...in some way's it's easier because you don't need to worry about anybody else.
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