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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 01-02-2012
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Biggest boat you an comfortably single hand?

Just curious...whats the ideal singlehanded boat size? At what point does it become too much boat to handle by yourself? My only experience being in a 30...I'd like to know what others sail alone...wheel vs tiller? I know when you get above 35 ft or so most have wheels instead of tillers...I am a bit partial to tillers...but maybe at a certain point wheels have an advantage?
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Old 01-02-2012
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This is a vague question with no concrete answer. It depends on the boat, and how it's setup.

A 25' boat, with hank-on headsails, no tillerpilot or tiller clamp, and no lines lead to the cockpit can be a real PITA to singlehand. On the other hand, Bene505 singlehands his 50 foot Benetug regularly. His boat is probably extensively setup for singlehanding.

Generally speaking, I'd say that it's common to singlehand boats up to 35 or 40 feet. That's just a vague generality.
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Old 01-02-2012
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Brad Van Liew can handle 60', but he's a pro! I've heard that it takes nearly 10 minutes for him to tack that thing, but it shows at least one class of boat set up for singlehanding. Not in my wildest imagination would I ever do something like that, but it shows the level of equipment that can be applied to give mechanical advantage on very big boats if you have the money and don't have crew. I don't have much experience singlehanding anything other than our little 24' boat (and I don't enjoy it as much as I do when we have at least 2 other people along), but there are lots of other folks doing just that in almost any hull length as mentioned above. I hear Brad's boat is now up for sale: Team Lazarus Racing

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Old 01-02-2012
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On our 31' Corvette we have a locking wheel, there are no lines back to the cockpit but the boat holds its course very well while I hit the cabin top to raise the sails. Single handed this can be done in about 2 min away from the cockpit then 2 hours of pure bliss, followed by 4 min of prep before hitting the dock..
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Old 01-02-2012
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Single handing and leaving the cockpit. Not a good plan.
Jim
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Old 01-02-2012
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Only in the proper conditions will I go out single handed, any bit of a chop and I am in pfd and tied off. Always saftey first, pleasure second.
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Old 01-02-2012
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I am a 64 year old full time liveaboard on a 44 foot cutter and single hand about 50% of the time.

Roller furler on the genny, hank on staysail, slab reefing main and a electric anchor windlass + a good AP.

I feel that this is about as much boat as I want to cope with at my stage in life.
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Old 01-02-2012
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I singlehand my Hunter 40. With roller furling jib and autopilot it's not too bad. With a good breeze I find it easier to just use the headsail.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimrafford View Post
Single handing and leaving the cockpit. Not a good plan.
Jim
That's your threshold of risk. Some of us feel otherwise, especially when geared up with an auto-inflating PFD and jacklines.
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Old 01-02-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
...A 25' boat, with hank-on headsails, no tillerpilot or tiller clamp, and no lines lead to the cockpit can be a real PITA to singlehand...
I have sailed solo in various conditions with hank-on jibs and no lines led back to the cockpit in my prior P26 and in my current P28, with a makeshift tiller lock and a locking wheel. It's challenging but no big deal if you are in good shape and experienced with hanging on in rough conditions. After having raced on larger boats, I am not sure I could sail that way on a boat much larger than about 35', given the much greater forces generated by greater displacement and larger, heavier sails.

With the right equipment and set up, you could sail solo on much larger boats, 60' or more, as evidenced by the solo ocean racers, as long as everything works and you have electrical power. My concern would be what happens in storm survival conditions when you lose electrical power and/or engine power, the jib will not furl back in place, or you lose the necessary mechanical advantages.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 01-02-2012 at 09:41 AM.
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