Join Date: Apr 2009
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Re: First time singlehanding, bad things happen, the sound of breaking fiberglass, et
I had similar learning lessons when I first ventured solo south (from VT). My experience was mostly floating docks. I was lucky to have a hand at my first set of piles. Otherwise it would have went viral on youtube for sure.
I was told (as stated above), that long sacrificial boards (fenders on you, boards on piles) and springs were the way to go. After several lone attempts early in the mornings (calm waters, and no witnesses :-) ), I got the hang of it.
As to the tether. Jacklines run just off center on each side, bow to cockpit, hard cleated. If using web, twist the web every 6-8 inches, this helps to not slip on the flat surface. I always double cleated when in the cockpit (one to each side), yes a pain, but felt very safe. Then when moving forward for hanking(yes), reefing, etc, un-cleat one side and move up the line. Should not have anything in the way for snags. Practice at the dock (or hook). It should be fluid.
I couldn't tell from the post if you were cleating, and un-cleating your way forward... IMHO this is a bad idea (unless you are using 2 tethers). Having been airborne on the bow several feet above, I couldn't imagine not being tethered or in the process of tethering at the time.
Anyway (hard won lessons) my 2 cents...