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  Topic Review (Newest First)
4 Weeks Ago 11:47 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

B- just wonder if you ever had the opportunity to sail a cruising schooner such as a Murray Peterson or a Daniel Bombigher or a staysail schooner like a Cheribini?
Tack- just throw the wheel over.
Reef and lazy- just throw off a halyard to strike a sail.
Now with no need for gaffs a schooner or ketch with a decent size mizzen may be the easy rig to raise,strike and reef. Performance hard on the wind maybe slightly worse than a sloop.DDW as well. But most cruising avoids those points of sail if at all possible. Hate wing and wing. Reluctant to leave on AP when doing that and gentlemen don't beat to weather. Actually usually fall off to 40-45'apparent just for comfort.
4 Weeks Ago 10:32 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Easiest boat to singlehanded? Anything that has an autopilot. Except perhaps a schooner.

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4 Weeks Ago 10:15 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Would suggest some of the diversity of answers reflect factors not mentioned. Will try to explain by example.

Setting- prior to current boat had a PSC 34. She sat on a mooring in Marion. We had launch service. She was a total dream to single and often would take her a fair distance up or down the coast. With a mooring regardless of weather could berth her by myself. With launch service getting stuff on and off the boat was no issue. She was a strong boat so no concerns if the weatherman got it wrong. Now spend summers in Barrington. That PSC would be on C dock. Narrow slip with with finger docks shared. Would need to wiggle out of berth and then wiggle out to get to channel. Without bow thruster and good control in reverse difficult. In a crosswind or heavy wind a tight sphincter situation. Would be reluctant to leave depending on weather as due to concern about coming back. Our current boat is on AA dock. Straight shot out. No neighbor on finger. Given not shared able to modify for us. Able to have room to get pushed in to finger by cross wind and sort things out once a spring is set. Current boat is 10' larger than prior. Once in the ocean bigger is better and ease of sailing the same. In fact due to winch placement and deck set up the O46 is if anything easier. Being able to lift the dinghy on davits by myself is a big deal. Cruising pulling a dinghy is. PIA.

Sailor- Jon likes things at the mast. Less complexity. The one thing that makes single handing hard is not when everything works but when it doesn't. Without line organizers there is no chance a twist in the line will cause a jam in an organizer or clutch. I have bad wheels. Due to knees getting to the mast is harder. I'm willing to flake and reflake all lines to eliminating twist. I'm willing to go through each line when putting the boat to bed to make sure there is no twist. This takes time. If the boat is to used as a day sailor a PIA. This is true for a Nonsuch, Freedom or Outbound. This is not much of a concern for a boat with stuff at the mast.

Where you sail- on a Marion to Bermuda we were soundly beaten by a Nonsuch 36'. At the time owned a Tayana 37'. Race was a reach to far reach in mostly 10-20. But if you need to go down wind on way out and beat home, which most of us do, and you will be cruising in all wind speeds any cat rig especially with the fat mast of an unstayed rig will not perform like a sloop. Especially if you have an asymmetrical or like light air sail. Cat rigs usually give some helm going to weather. Especially when it's blowing dogs off their chains. A sloop, solent or cutter is easier to balance. Different hulls track better or worse. Even with just the wheel locked or let free the PSC, the Outbound and even racing one off I owned would track straight once sail plan was balance. Suspect you won't get that from a cat rig except in ideal settings. When singling this is a great help as you can leave the helm for a moment to take care of a detail. Just walk away. If I had the Bucks would build a CF schooner with square head sails. The business of one sail is probably over rated. Remember schooners were for "A man and a boy" to sail in all weathers. Sail sizes were smaller. Options greater. So even without powered winches big boats were easily sailed.
4 Weeks Ago 09:42 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Ease of single handing is more about how you rig than what boat IMHO. Things that really help include autopilot, roller furling jib, smaller jib (fractional) and bigger main vs big genoa and smaller main, lines lead aft if done well (can be too much friction if not, lots of threads on that), a main sheet reachable from the helm, primaries located within reach, slab reefing lines lead aft, well maintained systems because you are more reliant on them, chart plotter on the pedestal, VHF remote mike as well, etc., etc.

Size - when we had the 52 I single handed it rarely and it wasn't hard at all, but the issue is if something goes wrong you might not be able to handle it without help. For example, hefting the dead weight of a sail in a bag exceeded my capability. But with power winches and power in mast furling, and a thruster you could argue when everything works it's easier to single hand than our current boat, 38 ft. Of course when things break, it's a different story. On offshore legs, I'd frequently take on younger stronger crew to help if the .... hit the fan.

IMHO you could take any high 30's low 40's boat, and rig it for good single handing. With more technology and systems dependence if you're comfortable, you can go bigger, but I will say we broke stuff on the 52 in far away places, and it was a PIA when that happened.
4 Weeks Ago 08:49 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
......I would prefer best as solo Jeanneau 54......
Just seeing this old post for the first time. I'm inspired....

Actually, while I've never actually been alone aboard at sea, I've often been in the cockpit singlehanding her. Primaries are easily accessible from the helm. The AP auto-tack, actually works very well. Offshore, she's a breeze. We each took single watches overnight this past summer.

Ironically, even when my wife is in the cockpit helping, if anything goes wrong, I'm all but singlehanding anyway. She would admit, she become a set of eyes. I put the boat on Auto and go fix the problem. She monitors and watches for traffic. Indeed, she is more capable than that, but it's what happens when she gives up.
4 Weeks Ago 08:43 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
The OP's comment, "...I don't plan on support crew, although the wife would be onboard." is strange. I wouldn't have a boat that my wife couldn't single hand. Nor would she go out with only me, if she couldn't single hand the boat.
I get your wife's perspective, as she would be alone, with no way to help herself, if you fell overboard or became incapacitated. OTOH, just about anyone can learn to use the radio in 5 mins.

As for the OP, if one is pursuing the idea of singlehanding anyway, it doesn't really matter if the passengers can't help. Although, in some circumstances, an incapable passenger can be a burden.
4 Weeks Ago 04:16 AM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

We sail a Jeanneau DS40 with the helm on the forward bulkhead. I single handed her my first year out from Miami to Hadley Harbor and back and anchored or picked up mooring balls most of the time. I never had to leave the cockpit to do anything except drop the hook. All sailing is done from the cockpit and easily handled right next to the helm.

My sig other joined me the next year and we have been out ever since and I do most of the sailing as she does pull watches on overnights and helps with furling the genny and does a bit of trimming on the genny and that is about it. There is a lot of room for 2 people as we have lived aboard now for something like 8 years. She is a go anywhere boat as we have sailed both sides of the Caribbean and crossed the Atlantic with a 2 person crossing and now year 3 in the Med.
She is shoal draft so when we spent 2 winters sailing the Bahamas we had no issues with draft. And she sails really well and can be quite fast.

We do not think we could have found a better boat. And if at any time I would have to sail by myself I would not hesitate sailing her anywhere.
4 Weeks Ago 04:09 PM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

The easiest boat I have seen to singlehand is a boat with in-mast furling. You don't have to hoist two heavy sails up the mast. You don't have to lower the mainsail, furl it neatly on the boom, put on a mainsail cover. When you want to sail, you unroll the mainsail, and unroll the jib. When you're done, you roll up the jib and roll up the mainsail. If you need to reef the mainsail, you just release the outhaul, and pull in the furling line, just like the furling line on the jib. You don't have to leave the cockpit to furl or unfurl them, or to reef the mainsail.

With advances in sail design, in-mast mainsails are available with a better, more powerful shape than in the past.

An elderly singlehander could easily handle an over 40' boat with an autopilot.
4 Weeks Ago 12:26 PM
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

Whenever a question like this comes up (best boat to solo), the answers are usually what attributes of a boat make it good to single hand, not what boats. What may be even more helpful to the OP, is what attributes would make a boat UNDESIRABLE for single handed sailing. There are some undesirables that could be changed (mainsheet out of reach), and some that couldn't (sail plan too big to be handled by one person).
10-17-2015 09:49 PM
NJ Mc Call
Re: Top 10 Sailboats Easiest & Best to Single Hand

I agree that setup is critical. It is easy to rely on things like roller furling and autopilots to allow us to single hand. It really hurts trying to do a head sail change on your knees with the bow dropping out from under you when the autopilot quits and no one else is aboard.
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