I'm still alive
I've moved into my j/24 at indian harbor beach, FL. I took it out alone for the first time 2 days back and had a great time while out.
I'm still having anxiety getting out of and into the slip. I'm hoping it will get easier with time. Out on the river, I feel a lot more comfortable.
Going out alone has given me several things to think about that I guess I'd like to bring up in case there are any solid opinions out there from the mmore experienced:
* I need to work out some way of remote steering. The j/24 is very responsive. If I take my hands off the tiller it will pretty quickly head up. I know I need to work on balancing the sails to remove some of the weather helm, but I'd still like some way to steer while moving around. So... run two lines from the tiller around turning blocks to either side, run lines forward and carry them as I need to run about. they can be tied off or actively used to steer while at the mast, bow or just inside the companionway. Look out for fouling the steering lines as I run around.
* Raising and lowing the main is difficult on this boat. It has a boltrope where all the mains I've used before had bullets. With the boltrope, I have to leave the boltrope out of the mast track until time to raise the sail, and while raising it has a tendency to jam in the track throat. It takes me over a minute to get the sail up, and I'm blowing around all over the place while doing it. Getting the sail down is faster, but I have to drop the whole boltrope out of the track and the sail on the deck with the wind blowing it. I haven't worked out a way to keep it in a managable pile yet. With the bullet type, furling on the mast was pretty easy. Are boltropes usually difficult, or am I doing something wrong here?
* Coming into dock, I have problems timing everything right. It would be a little easier if the outboard had reverse, and center mounted. As is, there are so many things going on that I just haven't worked out a smooth operation. Key here will be having the dock lines worked out. I need have the bow line run back to the motor and the stern line in the same place. Both need enough length to be doubled over so that I can toss a bight over a piling or cleat on the dock, and reattach near the motor. In other words, both ends of the dock lines need to be on the boat, and tied off to something near the motor at one end. Currently I only have one line long enough to do so. Coming in the other day, I had it attached to the bow, and run back to the cockpit, in hopes that I'd be able to swing it around a piling and back inboard to a winch. This was to help slow me down before bonking the bow into the dock. I failed. BONK! But, no one was looking, and no damage was done to the boat, so only my pride hurts.
* Handling the jib sheets is akward from typical steering position. The traveler is between the tiller and the winches/cleat, so adjusting the jib sheets from the tiller involves reaching way around the main sheet. I eventually took down the jib because I was too frustrated. I think the remote steering from above may help, as I can move just behind the winches to have easy access, and the main will be just to my other side. The steering sheets would be in my lap.
What think thou? Well, single handing will get easier. More practice.