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Tanny 11-05-2009 09:59 AM

Single handed cruising
Hello everyone!
I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.
I'm trying to find some resource material regarding single-handed cruising, in particular in the Caribbean.
I am 57 years old and have no family or spouse - and my dream is to live aboard a 34-40 foot boat that is designed and equipped for living 'on the hook' and capable of being handled by a single person.
I am trying not to go into this with my eyes shut, and am doing what I can to learn as much as possible before jumping in with both feet.
I've read many posts here, and learned quite a bit from your experiences. I have also bought and am reading Mark Nicholas' book, "The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat" - which is sobering and encouraging at the same time.
Despite my efforts, there are many questions that I still have and seem unable to find answers for. Maybe some of you can help?
I'm not going to ask all my questions in this post - and don't worry, I already am aware of many of the requirements for living on the hook, such as adequate tankage, power generation, water conservation etc.
Here's my first question.
What rigging and sail plan works best for single-handed sailing?
I realize this depends on the experience and abilities of the sailor. Although I did some sailing when I was younger out in Vancouver, B.C., I will be having to brush up on a lot of things. I'm going to the US Virgin Islands in April for a one week ocean sailing and navigation course, which I am looking forward to immensely.
I'm interested in a cutter rig - in particular, a Tayana 37 which seems to have the fuel, water, waste capacity and sturdiness that would seem to suit my needs. But I don't know how two fore-sales could be handled by a single person. I'm not set on the Tayana, but from what I've seen they seem like good boats. Any others that I should be looking at?
I know what a self-tacking jib is, but I don't know if a cutter could be fitted with one. I think I know what a club-footed sail is, but I'm not completely sure how it works. I also don't know how dependable furling sails are, in particular mainsail boom furlings.
If any of you can help with these question, I would be very pleased to hear your words of wisdom!
Thanks, and I'm looking forward to becoming a regular contributor to this forum.

timmynocky 11-05-2009 10:48 AM

How about a Junk Rig?

It's the ideal cruising rig, especially for the singlehander.


DIY Wood

CaptainForce 11-05-2009 11:32 AM

In earlier times and up to about thirty years ago, many people favored a split rig, most commonly a ketch, in order to single hand. This kept the size of the largest sail smaller and easier to handle. Now, with all the furling systems, I would think that the best performing and easiest rig to single hand would be a cutter with both jibs and main furling. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

deniseO30 11-05-2009 12:46 PM

I single hand my O 30.. the best and most important thing we did to my boat was route the main halyard to the cockpit. then the new traveler lines are also back to the helm. I generally don't have to leave the cockpit. in higher winds the genoa gets rolled in jiust enough that one doesn't have be muscle bound to manage it.

Tanny 11-05-2009 06:04 PM

Thanks folks - for the replies so far!
I didn't know you could fit anything but a 'Junk' with junk rigging - or that it was as versatile as timmynocky tells me. It just looks odd to me - but hey - keep all options open!
I'm learning about furling systems, and I think I understand most of what they're about, but I still wonder about self-tending and club footed foresails. Can they be combined with furling systems? and does anyone know if they work with a cutter like a Tayana 37?
Thanks again for the responses!

sailingdog 11-06-2009 07:04 PM

Instead of a cutter rig, I would recommend a sloop rig, which could be fitted with a self-tacking jib. A hoyt jib boom or similar setup is not possible on a cutter rigged boat for the main headsail, since the inner forestay would be in the way.

Tanny 11-06-2009 07:51 PM

Hello sailingdog,

The cutter would give more options with smaller sail areas wouldn't it?
I think whatever I get, I'd like a self-tending headsail, or in the case of a cutter a staysail with a jib-boom. I think the staysail on a cutter can be equipped that way without interfering with anything, couldn't it? And then use a 100% yankee on the foresail so it won't get fouled on the inner forestay when tacking.

And then of course, I'd have to look at an autopilot or air vane to allow me to leave the helm occasionally...

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