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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 09-03-2012
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Lightbulb Small Boat for Solo Sailing

Hello all;

I am looking for a "good" small boat for single-handed day sailing (little or no overnight cruising). An open cockpit 17'-20' boat is my preference but I would consider up to 25'.

I sail in the ocean just off the coast of So. California. The winds are usually light to gentle, often < 10 mph, occasionally up to 15 mph.

I would prefer a boat that is trail-able and dry stored, perhaps with a lifting keel. However, I don't want to overlook an otherwise good boat just because it doesn't meet this preference.

I have been told there are two ways to approach this search:
* 1.) look until you find the "right" boat for single-handed sailing or
* 2.) select a boat you like and modify it for solo sailing.

Which option is better? How much effort and money may be involved in option #2? (Roller furling jib, roller reefing, self-tacking, smaller sails, etc.)

I have also been told that a centerboard boat of this size is probably not a good idea because of light crew weight (< 200 lbs). Adding fixed ballast would make self-rescuing very difficult, so a keelboat is safer in the ocean swells.

In addition, they tell me that modifying a centerboard boat to make it a lifting keel boat is seldom feasible due to the added weight and centerboard trunk/floor stress.

Do you have any ideas? I would like any comments you may have.
Are there any other good single-handed sailing forums online?

Richard
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Old 09-07-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

Your best option may be to look around where you sail and see what's already popular. There is no point in reinventing the wheel, or getting something that won't suit for one reason or another. The last time I was in SoCal I saw a Mercury being launched. Fairly heavy keelboat about the size you're talking about. There's a comfortable cockpit. The light air you mention might be a problem for something that heavy, though; they seem to have bigger fleets further north where there's more breeze. A Lightning is a relatively stable centerboard boat (the steel centerboard is pretty heavy) that does well in light air. The large cockpit is comfortable, and there's a big enough deck to stretch out on if you want. A small motor on the transom can get you home when the wind totally dies. That might be another option to explore. Happy hunting!
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Old 09-08-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

I don't think you'll have any problem finding what you want. There are lots of great swing keel designs in that size range, and many are already set up for single handed sailing. Small Craft Advisor small ads are one way to go. Found this straight away :

Small Craft Advisor - West Wight Potter 19

In answer to your question about equipment, it might cost about $2k to buy a roller furler for the jib, get the jib adapted to suit, bring all the reefing lines and main halyard back to the cockpit, and buy a tiller pilot. I had lazy jacks but took them off, did more harm than good.

But there are so many smaller boats out there set up for single handed, I don't think you'll have any trouble finding one.
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Last edited by MarkSF; 09-08-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-08-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

You'll always be better off financially to get what you want up front. To add a roller furler will probably cost you about $800.00 with used stuff, a used furler and a used jib at Minney's will be around $500.00 and then you need line & fairleads and some hardware and it adds up fast.
Spending a little more up front will make a huge difference.
Don't worry about self tacking, you'll get it down really fast anyway and self tacking limits easy fore sail changes.
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Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

We had a Rhodes 22 that had a centerboard, imf and a roller furling genoa. It can easily be single handed. You can find used ones with all those features. The other thing to look for is a pop top. There isn't a lot of headroom in any boat this size and this adds a lot in the main part of the cabin.

Most of these boats also have a stove, a sink and a head, which makes overnighting more comfortable - as do the filler boards you can put in the cockpit if you want to sleep there instead of inside. It's a big bed out there, and you can get an enclosure that turns it into a big tent.
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Old 11-29-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
I don't think you'll have any problem finding what you want. There are lots of great swing keel designs in that size range, and many are already set up for single handed sailing. Small Craft Advisor small ads are one way to go. Found this straight away :

Small Craft Advisor - West Wight Potter 19

In answer to your question about equipment, it might cost about $2k to buy a roller furler for the jib, get the jib adapted to suit, bring all the reefing lines and main halyard back to the cockpit, and buy a tiller pilot. I had lazy jacks but took them off, did more harm than good.

But there are so many smaller boats out there set up for single handed, I don't think you'll have any trouble finding one.
I agree with MarkSF on all points.

I'm sailing a 26 foot Pearson Ariel that's well behaved in the even sometimes-challenging conditions in the SF Bay and in the swells of Half Moon Bay, and yet, she's got enough sail area to do 3 knots in 6 knots of wind. It's better to be poking around a little slower than you'd like and have some stability under you.

I've sailed many times from Marina Del Rey to Catalina, and sometimes the conditions down there can be more challenging than predicted. I'd want a boat that can stand up and take more than I'd want to go out in because, inevitably, the time will come when those Santa Ana winds will come screaming through when you didn't expect them.

I have an old school hanked on jib because - it'll always come down. I've seen too many people up on their bows trying to unfoul a roller rig -- and sailing single handed -- you want to avoid ever going up to the foredeck.

Last edited by patrickbryant; 11-29-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlltrash View Post
Hello all;

I am looking for a "good" small boat for single-handed day sailing (little or no overnight cruising). An open cockpit 17'-20' boat is my preference but I would consider up to 25'.

I sail in the ocean just off the coast of So. California. The winds are usually light to gentle, often < 10 mph, occasionally up to 15 mph.

I would prefer a boat that is trail-able and dry stored, perhaps with a lifting keel. However, I don't want to overlook an otherwise good boat just because it doesn't meet this preference.

I have been told there are two ways to approach this search:
* 1.) look until you find the "right" boat for single-handed sailing or
* 2.) select a boat you like and modify it for solo sailing.

Which option is better? How much effort and money may be involved in option #2? (Roller furling jib, roller reefing, self-tacking, smaller sails, etc.)

I have also been told that a centerboard boat of this size is probably not a good idea because of light crew weight (< 200 lbs). Adding fixed ballast would make self-rescuing very difficult, so a keelboat is safer in the ocean swells.

In addition, they tell me that modifying a centerboard boat to make it a lifting keel boat is seldom feasible due to the added weight and centerboard trunk/floor stress.

Do you have any ideas? I would like any comments you may have.
Are there any other good single-handed sailing forums online?

Richard
Have you thought about a sharpie design? Usually on have one sail and easy to handle sprit rig. A drop in unstayed mast. I had 19ft one when I was a kid and it was a great boat. Easy enough for me to handle by myself. Just a thought.
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

I am considering a Santana 20 for the days when I can't assemble crew or just want to sail a new area for a change of scenery. It is a trailerable keel boat with a small cabin that can be overnighted in for one or two.

It has a very active one design fleet in SoCal and is fairly fast for a displacement hull of it's size. The downside is that it is intended to sail with crew but at only 20' it should be very easy to rig as a single hander.

It's also on my short list because I know of a good boat with trailer for sale really cheap.
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

As with all of these threads my first question is what's the budget? There are a huge variety of boats that could meet your specs, so narrowing down what you are willing to pay is critical.

Second question is where will it be stored? If you have to tow it home, then ramp launch it to go sailing, a boat that is quick to set up and step the mast is much more critical than if it will be stored mast up at a boat yard.

Any other special concerns? Like OD racing, racing at all, speed, ect...

From the first post my initial thought would be either a Viper 640, or a VX OD. but both are going to be on the high end price wise. But they can also go from mast down to sailing in less than 30 minutes, have lifting keels (which makes them a dream to trailer), are rocket ship fast even in light air, and are very controlable single handed.

But you could also look at everything from a Fin (but no camping out on it), to a flying Scott (most uncomfortable boat I have ever sailed on) but bigger, Rhodes 19, ect...
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Old 12-08-2012
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Re: Small Boat for Solo Sailing

Non traditional recommendation here,
Hobie 17
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