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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-04-2012 11:43 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Here is the problem I see with your plan.

You are trying to get too much out of one boat.

Single Hand
Under 30'

While Seaojoes boat looks like a beautiful boat to sail and camp on for the weekend, I don't see it winning any races. If you intend to race and win you need a boat set up for that meaning new sails, new lines, and maybe a new job. Almost any competitive racing boat I have seen has been stripped below and stuffed with sails. Even up to 41 feet, I have seen little room to sleep or cook.

On racing boats less than 30 feet the boats tend to be tight below but then when stuffed with sails, you'd be hard pressed to find room to even use the head.

A few suggestions around this. Figure out if racing or weekending are more important to you. You could do both but the same boat in the size range you are looking at won't be comfortable and competitive in the same boat. Except maybe the Ericsons or J-92.

If you live near Dana Point I have two solutions for you. Buy whatever boat you want and call me, I can be there 3 days a week so you won't have to single hand. Join Aventura sailing club. My sailing club in SD is affiliated with it, I wish I had joined there instead as it is closer and the boats are outrageously cheap to rent.
10-04-2012 10:40 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
I can't stress this enough, but a AUTOPILOT is an absolute GOD-SEND. Now they stink when the winds are crazy shifty, but when the winds are consistent, they give you an extra hand to actually do fore-deck work, or sort lines, or anything that requires 2 hands to do correctly (winch in a jib perhaps?).
I agree completely. While I have single-handed with my boat before installing the tiller pilot, it was awkward at best and dangerous at the worst. Now, after investing about $600. and an afternoon to install, I go out by myself on Lake Michigan all the time. Not having an autopilot would not be acceptable!

I have the ST2000 (Raymarine) on my C&C24. While the displacement would apparently allow the cheaper ST1000, I prefer to have the faster response time and higher power due to the immense loads imposed when cruising or steaming downwind.

10-04-2012 08:57 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

J/80 should be a piece of cake... roller furler and all.
I single hand race (freshwater) all the time, which definitely ISN'T the same... but with practice I don't know why it wouldn't be. The list of boats you mention will all have varying degrees of success as single handed racing/cruisers.

This board, WILL help teach you to cruise single handed... giving you some tips to get you there. Some configuration on your part will help.

Some suggestions, since the boat isn't purchased....
Roller furling (it's part of the OD of the J/80), but can be added on any boat you choose.

Ample long sheets, this allows you to "cross-sheet" to the windward winch, AS it starts to pipe up, you don't want to be low side grinding. if the winches are easily reachable from the helmsman's position, then, wrap 1 wrap around the leeward winch, then across the cockpit to the windward winch, now 2 wraps around that. Now you can grind and release from high-side. Since my boat is small (25 feet), this leaves me with a jib-sheet across my cockpit right at mid stomach height... I can forgo the winch handle, if I then grab this line, and lean back with it, this sheets the genny, I then hold the line with one hand, and cleat off the tag end... See here what I mean... About 7 minutes in there is a tack (which is hard to see, but you get the jist given the config you see before.

I have a dual headfoil, so my sail changes, and whatnot are forward on the bow, and not easy like a furler, but I just deal, because it's about speed, and I am not dealin with waves like you...

Also a consideration for you might be lazy-jacks for the main. They are a cruiser setup, but the extra weight, and wind resistance of the lines surrounding the main, is a small price to pay to be able to just head up into the wind and drop main... I have a boltrope main, and it's a PITA in wind to fight alone. I do it, but it's not my preferred way (I at the very least will buy my next main with sail slugs, this boltrope is just a struggle).

I can't stress this enough, but a AUTOPILOT is an absolute GOD-SEND. Now they stink when the winds are crazy shifty, but when the winds are consistent, they give you an extra hand to actually do fore-deck work, or sort lines, or anything that requires 2 hands to do correctly (winch in a jib perhaps?)...

My boat is a one design with a symmetrical spin... Believe it or not I've launched that single handed several times but only in super-light winds. I can't wrap my head around doing it alone in any kind of wind say past 10 mph. That being said, I'd love to switch to an asym, and perhaps with a sprit (like the J/80) where I suspect I could with a good auto-pilot launch the spin myself should I want that off-wind performance.

Now, you asked about boats, and you asked about people that single hand... I think you'll find MANY people here single hand, if not always, they do a lot, I suppose it's the nature of busy lives. That being said, I think you can get most your answers if you ask them pointedly here.

One more word... 22ft or 42 feet, they can ALL be single handed, properly configured. As far as what would work best in your waters, well obviously higher displacement in the SA/D formula will handle waves/wind better, but it's subjective, you can sail a cork with a t-shirt if you can put up with the bobbing. I think ONLY YOU can answer what size is "comfortable" for your waters. My best suggestion is to drop by on a busy weekend at a marina, and offer up crew services, so you can try out "other peoples boats."

Now cruising weekends... I'd think you'd want bare essentials... at least a decent sized porta-pottie, a sink with 5-10 gallons of water, human sized berths (6'6" or more).... a way to eat (if you can live on packaged goods alone, you're a better man than me), a stern pulpit grill is a cool way to eat but requires a sheltered area to use effectively, if you plan to be sailing an cooking, then you want something with at least a minimal galley (Cat 27 and 30 are good for that, but are slower than others you've mentioned)...

Finally PHRF, keep in mind, you want a boat that'll sail nicely to it's own rating, not necessarily be "fast." Decide if you are OK with being last across the line, and correcting over everyone (that's an exaggeration but point made)... The aforementioned Catalina 27, and 30 will sail real well to their ratings with decent sails, and some "tweaks" to their rigging. A J/80 on the other hand, or U20, or any of the other racers, are gonna get you there physically faster, but their ratings can be hard to sail to (as those making up the ratings almost all have tweaked and added sails), and be prepared for slower boats to correct over you if you go with one of them. I personally like go fast, and am OK with people correcting over me...

Oh and docking of the bigger boats is harder single handed, but still doable, just make sure to match the motor with the boat, and it'll still be doable.

Hope some of this helps.
10-04-2012 07:55 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

I singlehand my 30 footer without too much problem. I only have to go on deck to raise and lower the main, I have a wheel so I put her into the wind lock the wheel and raise the sail quick, same when dropping it. I will let the main lay on the deck and flake it as I make my way back in. Jib is roller furler so that that makes life easy as do the self tailing winches (which the boat came with) My buddy singlehands his cal30 and it is tougher without the self tailers, but you learn your boat as you go and adapt. It is all about practice and planning ahead, you will also learn what makes life easier and change your boat to fit you.

On the topic of weekending on the boat, I am moving on to mine full time. It is all about what you are comfortable with. Make a list of criteria you want and find a boat that matches. I needed to be able to stand up because I am 6', I have the stove, head, shower, and ice box. I wish I had a chart table but it was a sacrifice I had to make for all the other goodies and to stay in budget. Plenty of people cruise on boats in the 20's, use a coleman camp stove and couldn't be happier. As for the wave size it goes back to your comfort level. Capt. Aaron said in one thread that he likes boats under 30 feet in the ocean because of the way it sits nicely in the trough between swells. Generally you will find that a sailboat is a lot stronger than a person when it comes to handling big water.
10-04-2012 02:47 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Hi Richard,

First I have never single handed anything bigger than 22'. But that was without motor. Its not the sailing so much as the getting in and out of the slip by yourself. One concern I have about single handing is staying on the boat. I love Seaojoes boat but don't think I want to be out solo without any lifelines.

I think the size and style of the boat are less important than the layout. You want all lines led aft, preferably with clutches, jiffy reefing, roller furling and self tailing winches for jib sheets.

If you want to race and spend the weekends on a boat I would suggest something in a 30 foot range. A Catalina 30 if you want space an Olson 30 if you want to go fast and don't mind crouching, Ericson 29, 30, 32, J92, not sure of the price but a fun sailor with room for 3 to camp out on. One other thing to consider for finding crew is a Meetup group. I am in one in SD and sail 2+ days a week on strangers boats, although I am getting to know the owners. You can have people bring you lunch and beer if you take them sailing.
09-25-2012 01:45 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Thank you all very much. I really appreciate your comments.

I have been looking at Single-handed Race results for California and noticed several smaller boats that showed up often: Ultimate 20, Wilderness 21, Ranger 23, Ultimate 24, Moore 24, B-25, Olson 25, and J/80. Are you familiar with any of these boats?

They apparently work well for single-handed racing. Do you know if any of these would also work as a Cruise-Racer (enough stability and room for a weekend coastal cruise?) Which would be your choices for that?

Thank you, Richard
09-21-2012 10:36 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Continuation from last post....

Attached is a video of one of my first trips out on a windy day last winter. I have since made many improvements to the boat and to my technique - this was one of my first times out on the boat after working on it all summer last year. It is kind of long and may be boring to some, but I used it to improve the rigging and technique.

09-21-2012 10:25 AM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Richard - that's the way I sail all the time. I'm not sure if my it's my body odor or my personality, but I can't talk people into going sailing with me very often. Most of my neighbors (and family) prefer power boats so I usually just go by myself. My 31' boat can be a hand full when the wind kicks up but I manage. I will attach a video soon......

Fair Winds and Blue Skies
09-20-2012 02:54 PM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

Originally Posted by Brewgyver View Post
Seajoe, so it's a 24' (plus sprit) cutter? Sounds like fun! Do you have any other pics of her?

Thanks to all for your comments and interest.

Here's a link to the 'show me interior pics' thread on SN. I posted pics yesterday in the thread.

here's one of them:
09-19-2012 08:08 PM
Re: Single-handed Sailing, So. Calif.

There has been some great advice already, so I'll keep mine short. I would recommend a Catalina 30 for single-handing. They are lots of fun, and can be had for very cheap. I have single-handed my C30, my C36, and now my CSY 44, which is a bit of a handful. As mentioned earlier, plan your moves well in advance. The most stress and work will be docking, at least it is for me.

Enjoy, Bill
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