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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 11-09-2011
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My new boat displaces close to 60,000lbs at max gross and I will single-hand it. It has in-mast furling for the main (indispensable for single-handers, IMHO), plus systems and backup systems to aid in singlehanding. Docking will be a chore at best, but I live on the hook most of the time in any case so will deal with that when I need to.
A large part of singlehanding any vessel is planning and making sure to stay ahead of the reaction curve, and that applies as much to a small boat as to a big one; just that the consequences of bad planning on a big one are much higher.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2011
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Jace, I think you're the one getting "pissy" here. Jeff gave you his opinion based on his analysis of the facts as presented to him. I for one have greatly appreciated Jeff's analysis over the years. Don't be so sensitive. It sounds like he was spot on with his analysis.
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Old 11-09-2011
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Yeah, guess I was just being a bit of a wimp. I try not to. I'd like to think of myself as a tough guy, you know, macho John Wayner and all that. But hey, gotta' express my 'chick' side, now and then.

Sorry, Jeff.

And thanks guys for all the help, it is really great to have all you 'saltys' come to my aid.
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  #14  
Old 11-09-2011
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Keep in mind, I'm a writer, so sometimes I write things just to see how well I can render a thought on paper.

But, of course, not here. No. I'm always serious in these forums. Really, I am . . . (ahem).
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  #15  
Old 11-09-2011
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when everything goes right and the boat has modern equipment I cannot see any problem in solo sailing a 50 ft. But tacking it out of the marina alone is another story, unless it has one of those modern systems that many boat manufacturers are commercializing now.

A problem would be downwind sails. Rising a spinnaker alone on a 50ft is completely out of question and even furling geenakers will be a bit of a problem to put up and hoist.

The really problem would be when things don't go right and they can go wrong for many reasons...and occasionally they will be wrong.

Then a 50ft boat will raise problems that can be too big to handle for a "normal" solo sailor, I mean, a stuck furling sail, breakdown on the autopilot, sails stuck on the lazy jacks. Simple things like to put sails inside a lazy bag or putting a storm sail can be very difficult and dangerous if you have to climb partially the mast (with the help of some small steps) in bad weather to do it.

I would not have a boat where I could not reach the top of the mainsail (when down) without climbing the mast nor would I have a boat with a furling mast.

I guess that in what regards consensus around here, the max reasonable limit is 40ft and the ideal is smaller, between 32 and 36ft.

On the Transquadra, a popular Transat raced by good amateurs in duo or solo the boats they use are mostly between 31 and 37ft. This year an Opium 39 won one of the legs, but as Jeff as said, weight is also important and this is a boat that weights only 5500kg. Bigger boats entered this year but they performed a lot worse than smaller boats.

If a lot of very good sailors found that the ideal dimension is over 30ft and less than 40ft, that is enough information for me

Regards

Paulo
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  #16  
Old 11-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
I guess that in what regards consensus around here, the max reasonable limit is 40ft and the ideal is smaller, between 32 and 36ft.
----
If a lot of very good sailors found that the ideal dimension is over 30ft and less than 40ft, that is enough information for me

Regards

Paulo

I frequently (mostly?) single-hand my 32-foot cat, and I consider her size about perfect for that purpose, for coastal sailing. Everything is small enough to handle, even if something jams up and requires a little manual labor. There is plenty of space, including storage and cabins I don't even use.

For the family, long distance, I might like a little bigger. I've sailed bigger alone, to move a boat from here to there, but I didn't like it better. Just more work.

Like vehicals, best depends on the purpose. The most fun thing is a bicycle... unless you aer going coast-to-coast with the family, in which case an RV is more practical. And though a single person could drive the largest RV, no question, a smaller one would be handier, not requiring parking out-of-town.
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
when everything goes right and the boat has modern equipment I cannot see any problem in solo sailing a 50 ft. But tacking it out of the marina alone is another story, unless it has one of those modern systems that many boat manufacturers are commercializing now.

A problem would be downwind sails. Rising a spinnaker alone on a 50ft is completely out of question and even furling geenakers will be a bit of a problem to put up and hoist.

The really problem would be when things don't go right and they can go wrong for many reasons...and occasionally they will be wrong.

Then a 50ft boat will raise problems that can be too big to handle for a "normal" solo sailor, I mean, a stuck furling sail, breakdown on the autopilot, sails stuck on the lazy jacks. Simple things like to put sails inside a lazy bag or putting a storm sail can be very difficult and dangerous if you have to climb partially the mast (with the help of some small steps) in bad weather to do it.

I would not have a boat where I could not reach the top of the mainsail (when down) without climbing the mast nor would I have a boat with a furling mast.

I guess that in what regards consensus around here, the max reasonable limit is 40ft and the ideal is smaller, between 32 and 36ft.

On the Transquadra, a popular Transat raced by good amateurs in duo or solo the boats they use are mostly between 31 and 37ft. This year an Opium 39 won one of the legs, but as Jeff as said, weight is also important and this is a boat that weights only 5500kg. Bigger boats entered this year but they performed a lot worse than smaller boats.

If a lot of very good sailors found that the ideal dimension is over 30ft and less than 40ft, that is enough information for me

Regards

Paulo
Agree with Paulo
For me personally, a very athletic but aging person, I limit my selection based on "Sail size".
What I mean by that is the largest sail area (and weight) that a normal person can 'manhandle' down and onto a deck when such a sail HAS to come off, and the deck is severely pitching/rolling/yawing, the wind is way up, the sail is sodden with water and I have to lift/wrestle with it ... and for me that limit is about a 400 ft. sq. (40 sq. m) sail. and that puts most boats at a MAXIMUM of about 40ft. / 12m.
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Old 11-09-2011
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Joe,

I apologize that my comments were written in a manner which would have seemed like i was being pissy. I meant you no disrespect. Unlike you I am not a writer, and the fast written comments of the internet do not provide the platform for the kind of nuance toned response that perhaps my comments should have had.

You have gotten some good advice and surprisingly consist points of view here. I think the take away in this discussion should be that you are considering a very ambitious plan. (Which I understand to be starting as a new sailor and buying a 53 foot boat that needs to be built from the inside out, and then single-hand her around world.) A strong, intellegent and disciplined person, with adequate financial resources might be able to make that happen.

But for most of us, that ambition would be heavily stacking against success. I don't know anything about you personally except what little I can infer from few of your posts that I have read here on SailNet and so make no conjecture about your chances of success or otherwise.

As I have said here before, the dream of voyaging under sail can be a powerful one. There was a period when several times a month I would receive an email from someone who is considering more or less what you are proposing. I have watched literally dozens of folks go through this. Some are successful in getting 'out there', some discover that they really enjoy sailing and find that they really have no need to 'go out there’; some have discovered that the sailing life is just not for them, and others have not even gotten past the dreaming stage.

From what I have seen, the most successful have been the ones who have been somewhat systematic about going. There is a lot to learn before one can safely venture offshore. No one would assume that they could buy a jet airliner take a few lessons and be able to fly around the world. I think most rational people would expect to start with a small plane and work their way up. But for some reason people assume that they can just go out and buy a big boat, take a couple lessons, read a few books, and then go safely cruising.

While there are people who literally taken a few lessons, read a few books and went out cruising, those that were successful following that route are far more rare than those who have done some kind of apprenticeship. Learning to sail and learning to cruise involves a lot of knowledge and no matter how much you know, there will always be more to learn, but I suggest that you at least take the time to learn the basics, and that just about can’t happen if you buy ‘a big sailboat’ and move aboard.

I find myself saying this a lot lately but here I go again. We all come to sailing with our own specific needs, our own specific goals and our own specific capabilities. The neat thing about sailing is that we all don’t have to agree that there is only one right way to go sailing. There is no more truth in expecting that there is one universally right answer about many aspects of sailing than there is in trying to prove that vanilla ice cream is universally better than strawberry ice cream. One area of sailing for which there is no one universally right answer involves the amount of knowledge one requires to go sailing.

For some, all they need or want to know about sailing is just enough knowledge to safely leave the slip sail where they want and get back safely. There is nothing inherently wrong with that approach. Lack of knowledge will impact the level of risk, cost, comfort, and performance, but if you want to get out there with minimal knowledge it can be done. But for others, like myself, there is much more to sailing than simply developing a rudimentary knowledge of sailing basics. If you fall into that camp, it is next to impossible to learn to sail really well on a boat as large as the one in question.

While I am in no way suggesting that this makes sense for everyone, for those who really want to learn to sail well, I strongly suggest that they start out owning a used 23 to 27 foot, responsive, light-weight, tiller steered, fin keel/spade rudder (ideally fractionally rigged) sloop (or if they are athletically inclined then a dinghy.) Boats like these provide the kind of feedback that is so necessary to teach a newcomer how to really sail well. Boats like these have small enough loads on lines and the helm that you can sail with others and all aboard can participate and learn together.

By sailing well, I mean understanding the nuances of boat handling and sail trim in a way that cannot be learned on a larger boat. Used small boats generally hold their values quite well so that after a year or even few years or so of learning, you should be able to get most of your money out of the small boat and move on to a bigger boat actually knowing something about which specific desirable characteristics of a boat appeal to you as an experienced sailor rather than the preferences of some stranger on some Internet discussion group.

In any event, I would respectfully suggest that you think about starting out by taking sailing lessons. If I were in your shoes, I would sit down and put together a list of all of the things that I would want to know before I set off voyaging such as:
• Boat handling
• Sail trim
• Rules of the road
• Weather
• Routing
• Boat husbandry, repair and maintenance
• Diesel/ gas engine maintenance and repair
• First aid
• Heavy weather tactics
• Legal restrictions on leaving and entering foreign countries
• Navigation, (Piloting, Celestial, dead reckoning and electronic)
• Provisioning
• Radio operators license exam requirements
• Safe and dangerous fish to eat
• Sail trim
• Survival skills
• Etc………..

Once I had what I thought was a complete list, I would set up a schedule to try to develop those areas of skill that I was currently lacking. This process could take as little as a year, but more often takes two to three years. The process itself can be very rewarding and can build the kind of skills and bonds that are required to be cast away on that oh so small island that a boat underway represents.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 11-09-2011 at 03:18 PM.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2011
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Originally Posted by PCP View Post
I would not have a boat where I could not reach the top of the mainsail (when down) without climbing the mast
This really got me thinking
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Old 11-09-2011
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Rather than length I think the bigger limiting factor is equipment. With lazy jacks, furling systems and electric winches one can more easily manage a larger boat. Certainly as length and displacement increase it makes docking more difficult. If sailing was the only factor I think I could singlehand a much larger boat than I'd ever be able to if docking is part of the equation (and it must be).
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