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post #21 of 35 Old 10-20-2006
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Single handed sailing...

I am a 56 yr old woman ( 5'0"), who "solos" my Bristol 30 footer.

I can not do it without my autopilot . I set my auto pilot into the wind
to hoist and bring down sails.

Second, for practice when I was just learning how to handle my boat solo,
I worked my way up to gale force winds. Every time there was a good wind I jumped on board to get the experience. I would accept help to come with me, at first, but found I always leaned on someone when they were there. Therefore, not to lean on crutches, I would go out, knowing they were on shore (ALWAYS have a handheld radio for safety), and made myself better by doing. I always encouraged myself to just do it.

I also used the wheel brake to hold my position, if you don't have a wheel, then may I suggest getting an autopilot for a tiller.

I have been solo sailing for 3 years.

Hope that helps,
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post #22 of 35 Old 11-17-2006 Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your good advice.

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post #23 of 35 Old 12-25-2006
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Late post but hopefully helpful. I have a number of years experience singlehanding on SF Bay and Coastal Pacific. Where you're singlehanding makes a big difference. Most of my single handing was in a Catalina 27, have sailed Catalina 22's a fair amount, currently sailing a Hudson Force 50 (57').

I found that the many technics to tie down /remote control the tiller without using a tillerpilot (autopilot) were a big limiter to conditions that you can sail in singlehanded.

Both the C27 and the C22 are not good heaving-to boats. They can be made to heave-to but they end up broad reaching and wander more than a boat with more keel. If you're in any kind of waves/wind, the possibility of an accidental jibe is too great for a single-handed crew. I rigged my C27 with main halyard led back along with two sets of reef lines back to the cockpit. I could reef in about minute with this setup including going to the second reef in a good blow. Run lines/fittings on the main boom just aft of your reef points (jiffy reefing). I ran separate lines to forward and aft reef points because with some resistance on the sail and single line reefing system will sometimes hang up. I had rope clutchs on the cabin top for these lines although you can use cleats to save some cost. I led the jib halyard back to the cockpit as well.

While single-handing, I'm always conservative on sail area. On SF Bay (often picks up to 15-20 knots) I would seldom set out with a genoa. Usually would use a conservative jib that I didn't need to reef. As you probably know, reefing the main on a C27 or C22 makes the boat a real beauty to handle in pretty good winds.

I tried using those "convert your regular winch to a self-tailing winch" with poor results. I ended up eventually getting self-tailers for the jib winches although I sailed a lot without them as well, handling the tiller most of the time with one hand or knees while trimming with the other.

I can't say how much different you're singlehanding life will be if you have a tiller pilot (like the Raymarine ST1000). Makes all the difference in the world. You can't really depend on them to steer in any conditions requiring large deflections on with the tiller quickly, but you can easily trim up high and the have the autopilot hold you for a minute while you're reefing.

My humble opinion is that to single hand, you need to set up the boat so that you don't leave the cockpit. It's too easy on this size boat to hurt yourself on the obstacle course outside of the cockpit (and outside the boat).

Once you get the processes down that you need to use, the sailing single handed part really is a lot of fun and rewarding. One of the processes that I still scramble a lot with while single handing is setting and weighing anchor. I don't like moving fast while single handing, but a crowded anchorage kinda forces you to sprint back and forth.

Hope this helps,

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post #24 of 35 Old 12-29-2006
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Single Handed Sailing

I single hand in Buzzard's Bay on a Hunter 25, use a shock cord to hold your tiller arm in place but keep in-mind if you fall off your boat may keep going. Make sure you have a roller furler (I don't), you have jiffy reefing so your lines should be all-set, make sure you have a hook if you use a mooring. One hand should be on the tiller/pedestal and one on the hook to grab the mooring line, I wait until it passes to my Laboard side. Keep a fm/am radio on board or you may start talking to yourself, let many folks know where you are when you are leaving and when you expect to return and keep a cell phone on your person in a plastic well sealed bag in case you go overboard, keep a life preserver on and if possibly keep a line on you.

Have fun.
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post #25 of 35 Old 01-31-2007
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Don't worry too much aboiut anything when you're sailing alone - it's not much different from having crew. When you want to tack, loosen off the mainsheet while you head the boat into the wind. Just before it rounds over - let go of the tiller/wheel and loosen the jibsheet from the windward cleat. Now shove the tiller hard over to complete your turn, sheet in the jib and slowly sheet the main in. When it comes time to dock - well - be careful !
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post #26 of 35 Old 02-02-2007
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As a general rule, you should always raise the mainsail first, and take it down first.

Most sailboats will sail nicely on a close reach, (about halfway between a beam reach and a beat) using a simple tiller tamer or similar device to hold the course. If the boat heads up a little too close to the wind, the mainsail will luff and the boat will bear away from the wind. If the boat bears away too much, the increasing force on the mainsail will kick the stern to leeward, and the boat will come up gently to windward. Sailing in this manner, the boat will be sailing at low speed and with very little heeling, which will make it much easier for you to move around the decks. (From my description, it might sound like the boat will be oscillating on and off the wind a lot, but the motion is much more gentle than that, and it really doesn't oscillate significantly.)

If you raise the jib first, the boat won't self-steer very easily, and it'll go much faster, bounding over the waves. It'll also heel much more, making it more difficult for you to raise the mainsail.

Thus, if you raise the mainsail first, and set a tiller tamer to steer a course as described above, the boat will sail indefinitely, unattended, allowing you as much time as you need to hank on and raise the jib, tilt up the outboard motor, untangle any foul-up, or do anything else you need to do. Of course it's important that you keep a sharp eye out constantly for traffic nearby, while you're rigging the sail.

When you raise or lower the jib, the boat doesn't need to be head-to-wind. The jib will go up and come down nicely on a close reach. If your jib halyard is led aft to the cockpit, then you can steer the boat head-to-wind and simply let the jib fall onto the foredeck. If your jib halyard is cleated at the mast, then you have to let the jib luff while the boat is sailing on the mainsail alone on a close reach, and go to the foredeck and catch the jib with one hand while you gradually release the jib halyard with the other hand.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 02-02-2007 at 09:32 AM.
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post #27 of 35 Old 02-09-2007
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I sail the C22 almost every week here in English bay, Vancouver, Canada.

I have found the C22 to heel a lot more when I'm out by myself instead of with more people, so I reef in just about 11 knots of winds and it makes sailing a lot more comfortable. But then again, I'm a fairly light person.

With 3 people the boat can run under full canvas and heel almost 50% less up to a certain wind speed, I have found.

Also, about heaving to in the C22. This is from my experience....

Once the wind gets above 17-20 knots you will not be able to heave-to as well with the normal "back the jib" technique people often recommend. The bow will just move off the wind and you'll start making way and heeling over more.

If you're still making way, you are not heaving to, you're sailing.

Instead, reef the main and take the jib down or furl it in.

Then... release the main sheet until you have very little way on... (1 knot is good)

Lock the tiller to lee ward and tighten the main sheet in.

The boat should stay at a 45-50 degree angle off the wind and you'll be drifting at about 1 knot to leeward.

In stronger winds you do not need the backed jib especially with a light boat like the C22. The wind on the forward side of the hull should be enough (assuming your main is reefed down enough)

However, if you try to heave-to with too much way without the Jib, it's likely the boat might tack through the wind. Hence I recommend reducing speed before you do it this way.

If the boat continues to point into the wind too much, reef the main again if you have a second reef, or try unfurling some of the jib.

I strongly recommend "Storm Tactics" by Lynn and Larry Perry on more heave-to stuff, that book is price-less when it comes to heaving to in stronger winds.

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post #28 of 35 Old 02-09-2007
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My V-21 has no winches, just cleats. Tacking singlehanded is simply tacking slowly enough to loosen the lee sheet and reset it about 5' further down (each boat is different) sliding over to pull the new lee sheet tight as she comes through the wind, cleating down and straightening your course. I've gotten where I can tack and be set on the new course in less than 15 seconds singlehanded. I don't have reefs so if the wind comes up I just either make the cabin windows a planing surface or pinch up tighter and move the mainsheet down since I have no traveller. It makes for as wild of a ride as ya care to do if ya like it that way. Practice, practice and more practice is the best way to learn the boat.
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post #29 of 35 Old 09-03-2012
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Question Re: Single Handed Sailing

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Often your polars (you can usually get polars from other owners, or from USSA) will show that you should drop from a 150 to a 100, and/or put the first reef in the main, in speeds as low as 12-14 knots. Yes, sometimes it really is that low and you can pick up speed by doing it. (I don't know about your boat, just generalizing.)

If you can't get polars, experiment. Reef and unreef, get practiced at it, and compare boat speeds and wind speeds.
This is the first time I have heard the term "polars." What does it mean? What are polars?

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post #30 of 35 Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Polars are just a chart showing what speed you should expect on different points of sail.
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