Originally Posted by michaelwbernard
I have owned a 23-foot sloop rigged day sailer for about 15 years and have sailed seven or eight times a year on average, mainly in the bay area near my home in North Vancouver, Canada. I have taken a certified cruising course several years ago and have taken a Power Squadron first-level course. I am looking at 28-foot sailboats because I would like to spend some time exploring the southwest coast of BC and Washington state. Having boarded a few 28-footers while shopping, it seems like a lot more boat, particularly when it comes to docking. Should I be postponing buying a boat in favour of joining a local sailing co-op to obtain experience on larger boats or is should I grin and bear to jump up given that it is probably natural to feel somewhat intimidated when moving up to a larger vessel? BTW, I am 63. Appreciate feedback on this. . .
I single hand my 26 footer quite often. It's not a big deal. You'll adapt quickly.
You can try this trick while docking-
Tie a long line off on a forward deck cleat (or amid ship cleat). Run the line along the outside of the boat and hang on to the bitter end. Come in nice and slow, into your slip, and loop that line around a dock cleat and tie off the bitter end on the boat. Put the engine in forward. When she hits the end of the line, she'll stop and snug up to the dock on that side (have your fenders out). Leave her in forward and you can fuss with the dock lines all day. Remove after you're all tied up.
Of course, make sure the length of line is such that it'll stop the boat before she hits the front of your slip.
I've also got a line rigged across the slip to catch the boat should I miss the dock cleat or have to come in a bit hot (prevailing winds make my slip a cross wind landing) and keep her from running into the dock.
I've also seen single handers back their boats in. I'm not sure of the advantage. Mine isn't all that maneuverable while backing so I haven't tried it.
I really wish I had an auto pilot so when the wind is a little stronger, it would keep the boat pointed into the wind while I'm hoisting or lowering sails. But I've managed without it so far.