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  #1  
Old 04-22-2011
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singlehanding without cockpit routed lines

Can it be done? Is it wise?

I'm looking at a few boats, and one of the best options doesn't have much running back to the cockpit. It's got a wheel pilot, and is not too huge (Cal 2-29), but still. I need to be able to single-hand my boat - can it be done "safely" while you still have to move forward to change your sail, or do you HAVE to have all the controls at the helm?
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Old 04-22-2011
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Don't have to have everything back to the cockpit, the pilot gives you freedom from the tiller. I must get round to fitting one
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Old 04-22-2011
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Singlehand my 26ft Centaur most of the time. Often thought of bringing the main lines back to the cabin top but never got round to it.
Head sail is on a furler so few problems there tho the line has jammed in the drum requireing a trip to the furler on occasion.
All the other boats I have sailed on required a trip to the mast to reef and tie the spare sail down anyway.
I have a tiller pilot that holds the course well and can have the main reefed in a couple of minutes, tho I tend to reef early.
I can also reef with the tiller tied to hold her into the wind just in case the pilot fails again.
Going to the mast is no problem as long as you have good jacklines and are sure of the system you are using.
Practice in good weather is the key. Mine is roller boom reefing which is great on a rough day as the spare sail is wound round the boom as it comes down.
Sail shape isn,t so great after a couple of rolls but its not so crucial on an old cruising tub like mine.
Even with the best sail system I reckon a singlhander has to be ready to go forward when things go wrong, and thats usualy on the bad days.
Safe singlehanded sailing
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Old 04-22-2011
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Like CS I used to single hand my 26 Islander all the time. For the first 3 years I had to go to the mast to raise and lower the main. I have also changed out the hanked on head sail many times due to weather changes. The key is to pay attention and make changes and reef in advance to changing conditions.

My tiller tender was three bungee cords which allowed a little play in the tiller but kept the boat pointed into the wind. I also would center the main which would help keep the boat pointed into the wind.

After the 3rd year I decided to run the halyards aft to the cockpit along with the reefing lines. Still found myself on occasion having to go to the mast or for peak to take a sail down or untangle something.

I guess to answer your question it's fairly common to single hand without having all lines running aft. I am assuming you have the jib sheets running to the cockpit.
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Old 04-22-2011
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You will always need to head up to the foredeck anyway so its not obligitory to have everything run to the cockpit.

I am forever having to go forward to help the reefing lines when reefing. And the jib pole etc.

To make it safer you could set up jack lines.

I have one in the cockpit I can clip onto that lets me get to every place in the cockpit but not so far as to fall overboard

Going solo I just go a bit slower, think a bit more, and rehearse what I am going to do before I do it.


I just did the Med from France, Atlantic to Caribbean by myself and I did the video below for a bit of fun.



Have fun going solo
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Old 04-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwhite View Post
Can it be done? Is it wise?

I'm looking at a few boats, and one of the best options doesn't have much running back to the cockpit. It's got a wheel pilot, and is not too huge (Cal 2-29), but still. I need to be able to single-hand my boat - can it be done "safely" while you still have to move forward to change your sail, or do you HAVE to have all the controls at the helm?
Nope

I have single handed a number of boats including my current 44 foot cutter without having things running back to the cockpit. At 63 I am considering having granny bars at the mast in the future but still manage without. If you have roller furling on the headsail and some foresight on reefing the main then it is not too difficult to manage things without any great drama. Practice wearing your harness and how / where to clip in when at the mast.

I did talk to a singlehander who still has hank on headsails and manages OK. BTW he is older than me.
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Old 04-22-2011
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You didn't say what kind of sailing you're planning on doing. The Gulf Islands and San Juans are probably not going to give you any trouble regardless of how your lines are led. If you stay in waters with little fetch, heading up on deck will feel very safe.

The main difference is that you will have to give yourself more time than you otherwise would, since, autopilot or no, you're giving up some control when you leave the cockpit. So just plan ahead and stay the hell away from shore and you'll be fine
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Old 04-22-2011
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It is relative. I singlehand my C&C 30 most of the time (I'm singlehanding even when I have others aboard, since they're often not able to help) including racing. Having lines led back to the cockpit is helpful. But unless your traveler and primaries are back there, you still need to move around quite a bit. My primaries are actually workable from the helm, and my traveler is just forward of my pedestal, which I think is the perfect arrangement. I still use hank on headsails, but I have a downhaul also. The autopilot is the key. It allows you freedom of movement.
I need to leave the wheel, but not the cockpit, to raise or lower the headsail. I need to go forward to secure the headsail when it's dropped, or to reef the main (slab reefing with reef hook at the tack). Otherwise, I never leave the cockpit.
I'm so fond of the end-boom traveler I wouldn't have another boat without it.
Leaving and approaching a dock is the toughest part, since the autopilot doesn't help then. But you learn your own techniques.
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Old 04-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith10 View Post
I still use hank on headsails, but I have a downhaul also.
Could you talk a bit about how you have rigged your downhaul and your experiences using it? I also have hank-on jibs and have rigged a downhaul once, but there was a lot of friction and the only line I had on hand that was long enough was quite stretchy.
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Old 04-22-2011
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I use 3/16" braided nylon. Tie the forward end to the ring at the head of the jib or the the first hank. You may need to experiment with this part. Sometimes tying it to the halyard shackle or the ring at the head will cause the top hank to bind as you haul it down. In that case, move it down one hank. I've seen instructions to weave the downhaul in and out of the hanks as you rig it. This doesn't work- too much friction both up and down. After tying it at the head of the sail, I leave it on the same side for about a third of the hanks, then cross it to the other side for a third, then back again. I don't run it inside the hanks- again it's likely to get bound up. Just let it ride alongside the luff of the sail.
Now run it through a block at the base of the forestay, then back along inside the stanchions to the cockpit. I have one block that I attach to the toerail just forward of the mast to keep the lead fair. The aft end is tied to a stanchion base beside the cockpit and I have a small nylon cleat that I attached to the same stanchion with wire ties. This gives me a place to cleat the downhaul when the sail is down.
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Last edited by msmith10; 04-22-2011 at 12:35 PM. Reason: change
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