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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 12-30-2011
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How many sail solo

Im just wondering how many sail single handed no one else on the boat just you? Also what do you do diffrent becasue your by yourself? im just wondering to see were i can improve my self by saiing solo.
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Old 12-30-2011
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I do.

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Originally Posted by smallboatlover View Post
Also what do you do diffrent becasue your by yourself?
Bring fewer sandwiches.
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Old 12-30-2011
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Nearly every time I sail. (Maybe I have bad breath, I dunno)

What do I do differently? If I'm alone, I definitely wear an auto-inflating PFD/harness combo, and clip on.

I pre-rig and pre-stage everything possible, from drinks & snacks, to tools so that I'm not leaving the helm unattended any longer than necessary.

I usually make a greater effort to let someone know where I'm going, when I expect to return, and when they should start worrying after me.
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Old 12-30-2011
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I sail alone more often than not. I'm so used to doing everything, it surprises me when I have crew. Primarily to me singlehanding is about forethought and caution. Don't cut anything too close. Always keep a lttle in hand, a little sea room, a little time, a little energy. Don't hurry or put yourself in a position to hurry. If you're unsure about an operation or approach, stop and figure it out first. If you don't like an approach to a dock or mooring, circle around and try again. Always leave yourself an out, a "plan B". keep your ground tackle ready to use. And so on.
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Old 12-30-2011
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I primarily sail on weekdays, a time when most of the go fast boats, jet skis and crazies are at work. I prepare everything before leaving the dock, or anchorage if I'm out on an overnighter. I also keep the cell phone and handheld VHF handy at the helm. I wear a harness anytime I leave the cockpit and clip on before climbing out of the cockpit.

It takes just a few seconds to retrieve a cold drink or sandwich from the fridge located in the cabin, and I also have a small cooler chest next to the helm seat. Unfortunately, you consume lots of fluids while sailing, especially in hot weather. This, obviously, is soon converted to urine. A plastic, sealable urinal comes in real handy and can be dumped in the toilet when you stop for the night to anchor, or return to the dock.
I also keep a chartbook and binoculars in the cockpit.

This winter, I intend to install a bilge-pump alarm, which will be in the form of a light that will turn on in the cockpit to tell me the pump is running. When you're sailing single handed you may not be aware there is water filling the cabin, especially at night. Something as simple as a pinhole in a thru-hull hose can sink a boat if it goes undetected for any length of time. A blown, engine freeze plug can fill the entire cabin with water in a matter of minutes. Of course you must routinely check the bilge pump and alarm to ensure it works.

For anchoring, I just installed an electric, anchor windlass that can be operated from the cockpit, or from the bow using a wired remote. Pulling or lowering the anchor is merely a matter of firing up the iron genny and pushing a button in the cockpit.

Roller furling for the jib is a must for singlehanded sailors. Sure, you can use a hank-on sail and operate it from the cockpit, but the sail will have to be hanked on the forestay and tied down or bagged prior to leaving the dock. Roller furling is a much safer option.

I always have the reefing lines in place on the main sail, and I have practiced single and double reefing on days when the winds are a bit brisk--just so I feel comfortable reefing the main while singlehanded sailing. I intend to install a single-line reefing system this coming spring, which will allow me to remain in the cockpit while reefing the main.

If the weather is a bit marginal, which is often the case in mid summer, I keep a rainsuit in the cockpit. If a sudden shower springs up, there's usually no time to do much more than put on the rain gear before it hits.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 12-30-2011
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Lots of good suggestions so far. I would say that as a single hander, one of the best things you can practice is heaving-to. Many tasks can be executed from this position..even if it's just to take a break to eat a sandwich.
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Old 12-30-2011
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i almost always sail alone except for my dog,shes doesn't bitch too much and don't seem to care if i'm sailing or motoring,besides not many people want to go out with a drunken redneck,go figure
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Old 12-30-2011
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I sail alone and as others have said, plan it all out. From leaving the dock to coming back in. I wear an auto inflate PFD. I sail on an inland lake in the city, heck I think it is at most 2-3 miles wide so not as much going on as some of the other folks. Just think it all through before you do it and you should be fine.

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Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post

Bring fewer sandwiches.
And you also don't have to worry about anyone else drinking your beer.....
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Old 12-30-2011
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I would think it depends on the size of your boat. I always single hand but on my boat it's really no different than with crew, then I just don't need to handle the jib.

I've got everything run back to the cockpit, except for the halyards, but I operate them by standing on the cabin berths.

As far as safety it's the same - except for MOB of course - that would be bad. I sail in 0 to 2 foot seas at worst and the water is temperate so unless I'm out of the cockpit there is no real danger of going overboard.
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Old 12-30-2011
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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...
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