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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Common production boats I can singlehand?
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Thread: Common production boats I can singlehand? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-21-2011 10:35 AM
craigtoo I regularly singlehand my Sabre 34. I've redone all the running rigging to run control lines aft. My boat does have a cabin top traveler. I've installed a completely new system which allows traveler controls to be handled while at the helm. Additionally, I installed a 6:1 block on the mainsheet so I wouldn't need to control it with a winch. I've thought about single line reefing but I've never needed it on the bay, I just reef way early if I see weather coming... be aware!

The first two years of singlehanding I didn't have an auto-pilot, but I worked out a system where I would stand in front of the pedestal and reach behind me to steer. Everything else is within comfortable reach. Furling, Sheets, vang, cunningham, halyards etc. etc.

This year I installed an auto-pilot. I can say without hesitation it has made the experience 100x more enjoyable!

If I had to do it all over again.. I'd make sure that the boat had a deck layout that was conducive to redesigining the running rigging and make sure that you have a least one place in the cockpit where you can really be in total control so that you don't have to move much to do the important things. I'd probably buy the same boat!

Special thanks to JeffH for the inspiration. I saw him on his Farr a few times and I thought.. Heck, if HE can do it SO CAN I!
10-21-2011 02:31 AM
saltwatercowboysdaughter My dad loved his boat that he was planning on taking around the world. He sailed single handed for most of the trip. His boat is a Union Cutter 36 "Tenacious". He wrote me about many crazy experiences on the trip through horrible storms (I seem to remember him saying something about 50 ft waves) and how well his boat handled every storm, though they took a toll on him after a while.

I'm afraid I don't have any experience myself, but thought I would share this. Hope it helps.
10-20-2011 12:37 PM
Jeff_H While I can't comment on the Sun Fast, I would also agree that the easiest to sail, decent performing, single-handers in that size range will generally have all major control lines lead aft, the traveller and mainsheet controls in the cockpit just forward of the wheel, and the genoa sheet winch just forward of the wheel as well. This ususually means stepping over the traveller, but it gives you much better sail shape control without having to run around the boat. In some cases, where boats are cruiser-racers intended for single-hnading, the spinnaker sheet winches are purposely sized the same as the jib sheet winches and are placed near the helm.

In Europe you also have access to a range of purpose built offshore capable, single-handed racer cruisers. These are a little stark, but they are fast and pretty easy to handle.
10-20-2011 12:07 PM
blt2ski I'd take an SF over an SO ANY DAY of the week because it HAS the traveler in the cockpit, so I can reach it while at the wheel/tiller. Winches are also near me etc. The SO models have the main traveler on the cabin top, so no way to reach it and dump the main from the wheel/tiller of that model.

Also the SF37 in comparison to the SO and other SF models, has a lead keel, some will consider that to be better than an iron one. 6 and 1/2 dozen or another in my book.

BUT< reality is, ANY boat can be made to SH easy enough. Some will be easier, or are already more or less ready to go. The how you vs I set them up will also be different. With Jeanneau's, I'll take an SF, or my older Arcadia BECAUSE the main traveler is IN the cockpit!

Marty
10-20-2011 11:48 AM
RobGallagher Probably a no brainer, but... Make sure all the winches are self tailing.
10-20-2011 11:13 AM
PCP I agree with BobPerry but a boat that has winches that you can reach staying near the wheel has an advantage. Another one and even bigger advantage will be a boat with the traveler near the wheel and preferably with a direct mainsheet with a purchase system. That will give you complete control of the main sail from the wheel...and if the winches for the Genoa are at hand...it will be perfect

Some Dufour will have it, almost all Comet, Some Elan, the First and all Salona, among others.

A boat with a good D/B ratio, a stiff boat that can forgive a lot, will also be an advantage.

Regards

Paulo
10-20-2011 11:00 AM
JimsCAL Many boats can work well for single handing. Equipment is more important, particularly for sail handling in a boat that size. Roller furling genny of course. A roller furling main is nice (as long as it works well), or a Dutchman system (or good lazy jack system) for the main. The ability to reef the main from the cockpit is important. And an autopilot essentially gives you the "second crewman".

I single hand my 33 footer regularly. Roller furling genny, main with Dutchman system and reefing from cockpit, autopilot. The hardest part is getting back on the mooring alone if the wind is up. Sometimes takes a couple of tries. I also bring it into the club dock alone and that requires planning and experience to do well.
10-20-2011 10:48 AM
bobperry The ability to single hand any boat is more about you than it is the boat.
But an auto pilot sure comes in handy when you want to go below and make coffee.
10-20-2011 10:22 AM
night0wl That Sun Fast is a a cruiser/racer...kinda like the Beneteau First series. I'd agree - those boats aren't my first choice for single-handing. But to be truthful, most any boat with a modern rig and lines led aft can be single handed. My guiding principle for single-handling is keep the captain safe, and that usually means in the cockpit rather than up on foredeck or other areas managing the boat. Avoid older designs specifically the IOR era boats as they require a lot of manpower just to keep going.

While some may crucify me for saying this, if I were you I'd actively look at boats with in-mast furling system. When these systems work (and most do work well), the added safety of taking 3 steps from the helm to the coachroof to deploy or reefing the main is a *HUGE* value-add. I cant imagine being on a rough sea trying to set a reef by going forward on the mast. For me, reefing is 5 turns of the winch while the autopilot or wheel is locked for a minute.

I'd also look for a boat that has an owner that took the time to put in an anchor windlass...and put a remote on it or has buttons or a switch led to the cockpit as well. Pure luxury and more things to maintain...but again, my guiding principle is to keep Cap'n in the cockpit. Imagine being able to deploy and back down on an anchor while at the helm vs running back and forth between the anchor locker on the bow and the helm.

Additionally, Id be looking for boats with a sugar-scoop transom or other ways to quickly get back on board if you fall in the drink. In a nightmare scenario, imagine going overboard, but being able to snag one of your trailing safety lines...a miracle in itself. You claw your way back to the boat...but now, you're deadlifting yourself aboard? Not gonna happen. Look for a boat that has some way to scamper aboard...sugarscoops are good, but make sure there is a boarding ladder or swim ladder that can be deployed from the sea.

I'd also look at lifelines that aren't so low that they act is leg clippers and are substantial enough to take your weight if you were to slip/fall. Lots of anchor points for your harness...d-ring that have backing plates rather than just drilled through the coachroof top. Lots of areas to run your jacklines.

For single-handing, docking can be a scary...so I'd be looking for cleats forward, midships and aft (and beefy ones too) so that you can quickly grab any line and get it on a cleat and move to the next chaotic moment while docking.

Single-handing is seriously risky sailing...but can be sublime.
10-20-2011 10:19 AM
Zanshin If you can get a boat with an auto-pilot, especially one that has a wind direction sensor, then most boats in that size can be single-handed. I had no problem at all on the Jeanneau 43DS and 49DS but I never was in a great hurry, so tacking was usually a comfortably slow affair (hit the "tack" buttons on the autoilot, boat tacks through 110 degrees and while it is changing headings I loosen the genoa sheet on one side and winch it in on the other, if I get the timing right then I don't even have to winch much under pressure. If I have the traveler off the centre then I loosen it to the appropriate angle before tacking and don't have to touch any mainsail controls until I take the play out of the traveler after the maneuver.
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