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Old 07-02-2010
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Question Single handing skills

I am looking for some advice on learning to single hand. There are going to be times when I will want to be sailing and the kids, well they are teenagers...... I am thinking the actual sailing part won't be too much of an issue. The boat I regularly sail is a Pearson 26 with an outboard and I have no problem reaching lines and what not. It has a roller furler jib as well. I am thinking that getting in and out of the slip is going to be the most difficult thing. Stopping as I come in I think would be the biggest issue. Anyone have any techniques they use to get in and out of the slip on thier own? Thanks!
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Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
I am looking for some advice on learning to single hand. There are going to be times when I will want to be sailing and the kids, well they are teenagers...... I am thinking the actual sailing part won't be too much of an issue. The boat I regularly sail is a Pearson 26 with an outboard and I have no problem reaching lines and what not. It has a roller furler jib as well. I am thinking that getting in and out of the slip is going to be the most difficult thing. Stopping as I come in I think would be the biggest issue. Anyone have any techniques they use to get in and out of the slip on thier own? Thanks!
There are a few good things about what you have, 1) with a boat that size you are able to use your hands and feet to push it around and keep it from crashing into the dock, etc, which is a big help, it just isn't that heavy and as long as you don't really ram it in there you can stop it with your foot. 2) Using an outboard that has reverse on it you can turn the outboard in different directions and do some tricks that a boat with an inboard really can't do. The biggest thing with bringing your boat into the slip alone is going to be getting a line on/from the pile that's between you and the next slip, the one that you can't walk to, if you can catch that line as you are coming in to dock then you've got it made, but if you miss it then it is going to be much harder to get later, so have that boat hook handy! Same thing when leaving, you have to put the line up so you can get it back when you bring the boat back in. As always, take it slow. You can pretty much get the boat drifting into the slip then leave the cockpit and get the lines all arranged as you are coming into the dock. Edit-- as for technique, on that boat you'd probably just get the line off the hard to reach pile as you are drifting into your slip then quickly grab the line from the other side and just use those two lines to slow the boat down, then tie them off and quickly move to the other end of the boat at the dock end and tie those lines off, then adjust all of them. That's what I would do.
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Old 07-02-2010
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Best advice is to have an amidships set of cleats with lines on them.

Read Jack Clang's docking instructions and using a single amidships springline, you should be able to dock the boat singlehanded under most conditions.
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Old 07-02-2010
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All of the above are good suggestion.

For effortless 'dock/slip' landing .... tie a 'sissy line' between the longest distance between to the pilings that are on the 'usual' windward side. Affix a 'line' somewhere near the middle of the boat and affix a large 'carabiner' to the end. When 'coming in' just snap the carabiner over the sissy line and let it slide along the sissy line ... will hold the boat in place temporarily quite well.
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will have to try them out. Not sure when I will take that plunge but I suppose sooner rather than later would be best. Think I might try it out with someone onboard for that "just in case" factor.
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I will have to try them out. Not sure when I will take that plunge but I suppose sooner rather than later would be best. Think I might try it out with someone onboard for that "just in case" factor.
probably a wise idea... At least until you get the hang of it.
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When I decided I wanted to singlehand, I started with a rented 22 foot dingy. After I felt comfortable with that, I went up to the Catalina 25.

The dingy let me learn (on somebody elses boat) what problems I would run into. But when I went to the Catalina 25, I quickly realized the cabintop mounted winches were going to be a real PIA. I quickly discovered I really needed all of the sheets and lines to be fairly close to the tiller/wheel if I am going to singlehand.

Eric
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I sail a San Juan 24 with an outboard and regularly take out complete boat newbies when I go sailing so while I have others on board I usually take care of leaving the slip and docking by myself(well other than bringing in/putting out the fenders)
I have my spring line attached to a stanchion near the bow but far enough back that the line reaches all the way back to me in the cockpit. I don't bother backing the boat out anymore, but rather walk it out and swing the bow into the fairway prior to hoping on and putting the outboard in gear.
On the way in my procedures are: cut power to as low as possible once I enter the fairway, slip outboard into neutral about 4-5 slips away from mine. This gives me just enough momentum to retain steerage but enough time to hop off the boat and secure the spring line.
Only downside is you really only get one chance at getting it right. I can’t wait till I have some regulars on the boat and can just relax when in the marina. HA
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Old 07-04-2010
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I single hand quite a lot, and pretty much do what Colb218 says above. the best advice is to take it real slow. It's been said that you should approach the dock with as much speed as you're willing to hit it with!
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Old 07-04-2010
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I use Colbs method of putting the engine in nuetral but if I come up a few feet short of my slip I just push my tiller back and forth real fast. Makes the rudder act like a paddle.
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