SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-01-2016 06:37 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Have a look at the Hanse range. They are a bit pricey, but you pay for what you get.
You will need experience. It has been said that "'s the hard edges that kill you...", meaning the contact with land, docking, shallows, etc.
Deep, open ocean can be simple if you know what you're doing.
I'm aiming for the Hanse 675. Brand new boat, but it has all that I need. Electric winches, bow thrusters, etc. (only good if you can fix them if they break down), but can be sailed single handed.
Hope you find something you like....
03-15-2016 10:13 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

As a total newby to sailing and a wash with the choices in sailboats It was great to read the comments by all.
I am also considering to buy a boat knowing full well that i will be the master sailor most if not all of the time.
In the mean time i will gladly sail with anyone who needs a hand to help my experience grow.
03-15-2016 08:34 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

A couple of single handed docking suggestions.

First, whatever your go-to critical dockline is (usually a spring line, but sometimes a stern line), make it a different color. This way, if anyone is nearby on the dock, you only have to ask them to hand you the "red line". They may have no idea what a stern, spring, etc line is and pointing won't help, if there is more than one lying on the dock.

Second, keep them a bit loose. Once you're secure, you can snug back. Even if you're tied two feet off the dock, you're still secure. The extra length allows for some wiggle room, if you don't nail the landing.

If you don't leave line behind, or are landing a transient slip, I highly suggest watching Capt Jack Klang's method for tossing a line over a dock cleat, from the boat. It's the only way. In fact, his video series on single handed docking is terrific.
03-15-2016 06:58 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

I am currently trying to master single handing a 40'. It is actually easier than my old 26' in all areas EXCEPT docking!
My berth unfortunately has a stiff cross breeze most of the time, however I am treating this as a learning curve that I need to master eventually, so what better way to learn than everyone time you come into your own berth!
One thing I need to do is make the stern line secured on the dock accessible as I come alongside. I have a ton of advice, but I still can't work out a simple solution yet (my dock is flat and aside from the dock cleats there is nothing else)
Onwards and upwards!
03-15-2016 05:41 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

I've never taken our current boat off the dock alone. However, often just being the two of us, I find myself "single-handing, with passengers". We may even have guests that are more of a liability than a help and I ask them to just sit in place. I can raise and douse sails, tack, jibe, etc, all alone (both sails on furlers). Autopilot helps too, but I can brake the wheel, if I have to. I would not want to have to remove a sail alone and it would be near impossible to go up the rig to fix a problem alone. I can get her off and on the dock in either calm wind or an on-dock wind that will pin me down to it, while I run the length of the boat. If things were sporty and I was truly alone, I would just wait for a better weather window. If cruising, that becomes an option.

Interestingly, we have a condition at our current slip that I'm highly inclined to wait out, regardless of number of crew. To get in our slip, we have to make two opposing turns, while backing down a fairway that is narrower than our LOA and then essentially parallel park between two other vessels. With wind in excess of 20kts from the north, it is a nightmare to get the stern to move, before the bow is blown off. We've done this in as much as 25 kts, but I swear, every time it's above 20kts, I claim we're never coming back in those conditions again. If I was single-handing, I would mean it.
03-14-2016 10:31 PM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Thanks S6- other trick I found helpful is playing "let's pretend ". When the bride or crew is with me I pretend I'm alone. She's hanging off the shrouds ready to drop down on the finger pier. Even better is to have line handlers on the dock but ask them to not make a move until requested. Last summer we were berthed next to a $2.5m Zeelander or some type of spaceship. Raised the pucker quotient a bit.

We are now at a level where we are playing the same game with her pretending to be alone.

Think everyone should try this exercise both for docking and evolutions such as reefing, striking, raising and tacking sails. We sail >90% of the time as just a couple. I feel much better knowing she can run the boat by herself if I get sick or hurt. I further think if you are cruising having a boat so big you can't single her is unsafe. I think this size is mid forties for us but accept it may be bigger for some.
03-14-2016 01:03 PM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Was scared ( and still am) of singling my boat. Oddly on passage it's actually easier to run by yourself than my smaller boats. It's much bigger than anything I had previously. Now realize things go slower on a bigger boat. Boat is much more forgiving so you can move slower. Underway size doesn't matter. Berthing is the issue but surmountable with a bit of forethought.
Same here, but I seldom have crew, so I was forced to either learn how to singlehand the boat, or sit at the dock. The only time I find sailing singlehanded challenging is when the weather suddenly pipes up. It's difficult to tuck in a reef alone when the boat is already bucking and heeling. The best solution is to get the mainsail reefed before the wind hits.

The other challenge is maneuvering in close quarters and docking. I won't try to discuss the whole subject here, but the most useful tip I can offer for docking singlehanded is that, whether you are docking alongside, or in a slip, the first line that you usually want to attach is a breast line. A breast line, from a cockpit cleat to a piling, will limit the boat's ability to drift fore and aft, and will give you time to attach the other lines without being rushed.

One other tip I can offer is that you look at an article in the July 2012 issue of Cruising World magazine, at pg. 58. It's the best illustration I have seen of various methods of docking alongside and coping with favorable and adverse winds and currents. If you can't find a copy of it, you might be able to order a back copy from the publisher on it's website. Some of the maneuvers described there can be done singlehanded, and some require one crew. I have just now emailed a request to Cruising World, asking them to post a copy of it on their website.
03-14-2016 11:26 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

My top ten under 32' to single hand would include-Catalina 27 &30,
O'Day 25, 27,30, and Hunter 27 & 30. I sail in S.F. bay. Have
sailed eight boats on the bay. O'Day was my favorite.
03-12-2016 10:12 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Good on you Tom.

Was taught a few tricks to make things easier.

As soon as you tack set up lazy sheet for next tack. Two wraps and pull until just short of moving clew. Now able to tack without using a winch handle or pushing the button if I time it right.
Before tack set up traveler so you won't need to move car on next tack. May have to go on deck to do if dodger in the way.
Use Solent not Genoa. Have mast head rig. Self tacking jibs kill ability to shape head sails and kill boat speed on a masthead. Moving a car is easy if you do it before a tack. In general easier to single with just head sail on a masthead. May be easier with just main on a frac. but like both sails up.
Forget docking if at all possible. Pick up moorings or anchor.
If high winds pick up mooring ball from stern backing down straight into the wind. You can use bow thruster to move stern around and to steer the boat. Rudder won't do much as you are going too slow.
Put pendant on stern cleat. Thread dock line through it while it's on cleat. Bring that line outside shrouds and to bow. Run through anchor roller and to windlass or winch on mast. Ease pendant off stern cleat. Go forward and tighten dock line until you can slip eye of pendant on bow cleat.
If you want to pick up pendant from bow overshoot it a bit to windward. As boat drifts back you can snag it with a boat hook and get it on bow cleat before it's loaded and too hard to hold. If you miss drift back so no chance of fouling prop make a circle and try again.

Was scared ( and still am) of singling my boat. Oddly on passage it's actually easier to run by yourself than my smaller boats. It's much bigger than anything I had previously. Now realize things go slower on a bigger boat. Boat is much more forgiving so you can move slower. Underway size doesn't matter. Berthing is the issue but surmountable with a bit of forethought.
03-12-2016 08:51 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

I single hand my boat, most of the time. Sometimes I ask for help but it's usually very easy by yourself.

This track on the ipad would be a typical sail for us. Against a bit of current - and into a very light (under 5 kts at times) wind - you have to love sailing in conditions like this. These are our home sailing grounds and we know the water, (and ledges), well.

Boats under power (both sail and power), will pass you. A few will even be annoyed in the tight quarters as they may have to slow down to allow your right of way.

All the work in a tight sail like this, is in tacking the headsail. We have a 130% on the roller furler.

Good timing helps as the lower boat speed (2-3 knots) makes for slowish - but steady - tacks with our boat (long keel with attached rudder and centerboard down).

There is a pause in handing the genoa sheet as the wind lays the sail on the shrouds. Then you can release and hand the sail over to the leeward winch.

This is the one maneuver it helps to have someone on each winch. I can do it alone, I just have to move faster.

In these conditions, you hate to give up any of your hard earned boat speed as you coast through tacks in the lee of land close off your bow.

In my mind, an easier boat to single hand would have a self tending jib or a small -easy to tack- headsail. But with our old yawl, most of this tacking would be done with the main and mizzen sails cleated and self tending.

This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome