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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 09-24-2012
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Sailing alone??

In my quest to become a sailor, I've stumbled onto a strange paradox. I have battled with myself (and spouse) in trying to find the right sized boat. I now realize that this idea of sailing has become a personal ambition not equally shared. While she has agreed that this will be fun, I understand what she is saying is that she will come along but don't expect her to be the crew. To be fair, I do know she does enjoy the ride and will be there, just not as a crew. That brings me back as a beginning sailor to a BIG dilemma of just how big (or small) a boat should I get. Can a beginner handle a 22'r by himself? Will a 15' dinghy be too small? My question is this: how many of you sail alone... that is, without a crew? I don't mean alone as in there is no one else aboard, just that they are along for the ride.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

I single handed by Gemini quiet often - a 34 foot cruising catamaran.

It really depends on the ability of the person and gear on the boat - size, in this case, truly doesn't matter.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

Me, 30 footer. Sailed with my buddy on his for a couple years and then bought one. I am often singlehanded and if my girl is there I am still usually doing it by myself. Take her out on nice days and let her steer maybe she will like it and get in to it. If not it is nice to have a bringer of food and beverage and a maker of sandwich on board. Company is nice
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

Regardless of whether you do or do not sail alone, you should be capable of it. Being capable of handling the boat for one's self in an emergency is just prudent seamenship. As long as you know what's what on the 22'r and you sail conservatively in fair conditions until you learn the "ropes", I think most 22 footers are friendly for solo sailing.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

I have no problem solo sailing a 33 Morgan Out Island. My loving wife of a half century is not physically capable of doing anything other than riding along and enjoying the scenery.

Good luck,

Gary
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

Same here, the Admiral comes along for the ride & will help but, most times I end up handling the boat by myself (34' Hunter).

What you need is the lines led aft & in easy reach of helmsman.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

Your wife may be more comfortable, and thus be more willing to sail, on a larger keel boat. It has more conveniences, generally dryer, more comfortable, stable.... My wife loves to sail, but her helping out means she takes the wheel if I need to go up front for something. I also do sail alone quite often and as long as your sheets run to the cockpit, it's no problem at all.

All that said, there's nothing like learning to sail on a little dinghy. But depending on your wife, it may not be her thing.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

You def. want somwthing big enough the she can stretch out and realx with out getting in the way of your need to handle the boat. A 30 foot or so cat is perfect for this. I ran a 30 foot cat single handle as a 6 pack back country charter with no problem. The deck is big and stable and safe. I could get all over the place with 6 lounging guest's and never say" excuse me" You want something she can invite friends on and the fact that they don't heel much and can get into shallow water, run up on a beach even, a huge plus. I had a self tending club footed jib on a windsurf boom and the main was light enough I could raise with out the winch. Hand raise the anchor as well. That boat is called the Java Cat. You can prob see it online at Key West eco-tours. I wish I owned it.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

If your spouse is not a 'keen' sailor then small, light, tender boats like 15 foot dinghies and lightweight trailer sailers may not be the right type. Something more sedate like a Catalina 27, Ranger 26/29 or newer boats of that size and type may suit better. These can easily be sailed solo if properly set up.

As boats get larger the biggest hurdle to singlehanding is usually the docking/undocking routines, esp if breezy or strong tidal current conditions persist in the marina. Kinda like flying.. the takeoffs and landings can be the tricky bits most days.
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Old 09-24-2012
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Re: Sailing alone??

Your story is very common; one lones sailing, the other is happy to come along, may even enjoy helping sometimes or with some things, but does not expect to be crew or to be involved continuously.

a. You'll be happier with a boat you can single hand, even if she does grow to like it, as the reality of couples cruising is that there will be single-handed days. Anything up to the mid-30s is reasonable and roomy enough.

b. 22 feet sounds like a great starting size and a great day sailing size. If you cruise farther or if the local waters are very rough, you may move up a bit. But 22 feet is a fun size where you can really feel the elements and learn. Bigger boats are about systems and planning more than sailing, IMHO.

c. I've had 3 catamarans. The first was an 18' rocket and was too much for many non-sailors. 15 feet can be a bit small for couples unless the waters are very sheltered. My second was a 27' rocket (perhaps the same wieght as most 22' monos) that was OK for nonsailors if I kept it calm. We could cruise and daysail in moderate conditions. My third is a heavy 32' cat and suits everyone, but it is BORING when the wind is below 15 knots and for daysailing. Great for 1-3 persone cruising. For day sailing, I really wish I still had the other 2 boats--more fun. So, yeah, I think a 22' boat is a valid starting place.
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