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post #11 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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Originally Posted by addict View Post
I pretty much always sail alone. After my first solo sail I almost prefer to sail solo. When I do have company on board I give them the option of being crew or passenger, and to be honest I hope they pick being passenger.
My biggest precaution sailing solo is wind speed and reefing sooner than later. I normally get a quick buoy report from a few locals and set a reef at the dock if need be...
Addict makes a good point that I forgot- It's far easier to put a reef in at the dock, than it is to put one in while you're single handing. If the breeze gets light, you can always shake it out, but putting it in alone is harder.

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post #12 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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I'll second what others have said.

Our boat is 50' long, so I value a clear path forward. It takes longer to get to the bow or even the mast. That's the primary difference. (Or rig isn't proportionally higher, so the sail forces are probably akin to a 45 foot boat.) When I need to hurry, there is nothing in the way that will trip me up.

When docking in winter, I sometime kick my heavy (warm) boots off, in favor of being quick on my feet as I approach the dock.

Keep the dock lines tied onto the boat's cleats; tie the other ends to the life line, right next to the gate (fore and aft). That way when you step/jump onto the dock, the lines are right there for you. If the lines could possibly reach the propeller, tie them to the lifeline with a knot. For thick lines, even a single half hitch will sometimes be enough.


I always tend to over-reef too, and end up going forward to shake out from 2nd reef to 1st reef. That's ok by me.

I also try to minimize my time out of the cockpit (true when other crew is below decks too), and sometimes will keep a reef in much longer than needed, so I don't have to go forward. It's not like I'm in a rush to sail that extra know faster. (If needing to get to a destination before dark, I'll turn the engine on.)

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Last edited by Bene505; 12-30-2011 at 02:28 PM.
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post #13 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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Forgot about reefing too. My rule of thumb is, if I think about whether I should or not before I get on the boat then I put in a reef. Like others have said, better to shake it out on the water then put one in.
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post #14 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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I sail solo almost 100%. When someone else is aboard it makes sailing more difficult because I'm so accustomed to doing everything myself I wind up "making work" so the other(s) have something to do. It is always good, however, to have rope handlers in docking or someone to steer while I fiddle with something up at the bow. Sometimes.... no... OFTEN, you get stuck in the cockpit for many hours. Having a checklist of things to have on deck is important because when you cannot get away from the wheel, little things like having a cup of coffee or getting rid of the recycled coffee or not being able to dig around for your rain gear or that chart you need can become a problem.

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post #15 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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I sail solo most of the time as well.

The big difference between having crew and not is that I try to anticipate things far more when I'm alone.

I always have my lines flaked and ready (or draped over the lifelines etc.) when approaching a dock. I have my boat hook extended and within easy reach. I always have my anchor unhitched and the rode flaked before entering an anchorage. When I have crew the anchor is generally prepped as we are in the channel. When alone, I always stop and check to ensure that all lines are running free and look for trip-hazards etc.

We always wear PFD's regardless of conditions, so wearing one when solo is not an issue. What's different is that, when alone I run jacklines and clip on when leaving the cockpit.

When I'm alone I tend to get a much earlier start in the morning. I usually don't have an itinerary so I might stay at an anchorage for a couple of days or a couple of hours, depending on my mood and conditions.

As much as I love having a crew on board, I think I secretly prefer to be alone on the boat. Maybe not so secretly.

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post #16 of 93 Old 12-30-2011
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I sail alone about 60% of the time I'm out. It's relaxing, good for your body and mind, and a hell of a lot of fun. I generally wear a PFD, and offshore, use jacklines. I don't have halyards run back to the pit so I spend time on the foredeck, but my wheel locks so I can maintain course within about 10 degrees.

About the best thing I've read on the subject is that the superior sailor uses his superior judgement to avoid using his superior skill.
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post #17 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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Almost always solo....I am just a bit more cautious....takes me a while to relax actually....but its VERY nice to be able to do it.

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post #18 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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I enjoy the challenge of sailing alone, but don't get to do much of it mostly because my wife is happy to come along... And I'm not inclined to mess with that!
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post #19 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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post #20 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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Like Faster my time alone is somewhat infrequent as my wife loves to be out as much as I. She works (nurse) every thord weekend giving me the option either to invite friends or go it alone.

I enjoy the challenege of going alone. As others have said it hones the skills by making you reakky preplan many of the maneuvers such as exit or comming into the slip, anchoring etc, sail reefing.

I am more conservative as far as sail area deployed when single handing and ofteen have furled in the job long before I would when with company. I usually plan my pee breaks etc to when the water is wide oipen and I can set the autopilot safely and head below.

It is far different however when I am not doing a daysail or a small overnighter.

I have done a few coastal passages solo along the NORTH EAST coast so it has taught me differing and more refined tactics such as sleeping in the cockpit with one eye open as well as alarms set. being alone for seven days inj blue water really challeneges your skills as well as gives you an entirely different perspective and trust of your skills as well as for your boat.

When I have done longer open ocean passages I keep my mantra...whats the safe thing to do in the forefront of my mind on every planned move out of the cockpit. Even in my moves up and down the stairway into the cabin. Cannot afford to get injured on a stupid move. Seems when you are alone on a longer voyage you enjoy some of the pleasures even more like a shower, shaving, reading etc. What do I miss on these. A good nights slepp.

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