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merlin2375 06-02-2008 09:42 AM

I have some experience singlehanding but whenever I was out alone, I only sailed with the main. Now, I want to go out and sail the boat with both a mainsail and a headsail. My question for you guys it how do you deal with the tiller and sheets through maneuvers.

I am talking about monohulls without self-tacking equipment. So let's say you execute a tack or gybe. Do you deal with the mainsail then get the boat steady on its new heading then let go of the tiller to deal with the headsail?

Any tips or tricks? The two scenarios I'm thinking of are:

Singlehanding: Alone
Singlehanding: There are others on the boat but they are not sailors. Do you teach them what to do?

blt2ski 06-02-2008 10:01 AM

When I tack my boat and spouse is aboard but say below, I preset the main where I want it on next tack, then tack while releasing the jib lines, then attempt to pull jibs with one hand and then two as I straighten out, then with a foot or equal on the tiller, I pull in the sheet with one hand, and turn winch with other. Joys of non self tailing winches!

You just do this as simple and to a degree slow to a point, then fix everything as you can. It will not be as fast as when you have two or more. You need to find a "what works best" for you and your boat.


arbarnhart 06-02-2008 10:04 AM

I am guessing you are talking about bigger boats than mine, but I can generally keep the tiller in my off hand and work the sheets one at a time with the other hand. My kids like to hold the tiller sometimes, which can help. The key is to pay attention to which side they (they being anyone who doesn't respond to sailing commands) are sitting on so you can ask them to "push the handle away" or "pull the handle toward you" and always say "a little". My free footed jib will make a mess of the sheets if you let it flap, so I tend to deal with it before the main (other than ducking under the boom). But I am not a very good sailor, so take this all with a big grain of salt. I generally get to where I planned to go for the day and get back to the dock, but not necessarily with a style you would want to copy...

CharlieCobra 06-02-2008 11:35 AM

When I SH Oh Joy, I set the tack up by getting three wraps on the Leeward winch prior to the tack or gybe. I then tack through and backwind the Genny prior to throwing off the old Leeward sheet. As the sail comes across, I hand trim like mad trying to minimize grinding, even if I go around further then I want. Once I've gotten as much of the new Leeward sheet in by hand as I'm gonna get, I adjust course, put my knee against the tiller and grind the last bit. Gybing is tougher because the pressure never really lets off the headsail. Then again, you can take more time trimming it offwind. Gybing the A-sail can be tough if ya screw it up but easy in light air if your launch correct to start with. I do outside Gybes with mine.

chucklesR 06-02-2008 11:39 AM

Try it with just the jib, work up to jib and main once you have the jib down. I'm not tiller, not monohull, and have (but don't use) self tacking equipment, but -
that's how I figured it out and got comfortable with it.

blueranger 06-02-2008 11:49 AM

I kept the sheets as organized and as far separated as possible. Center the main over the traveler, tighten down the boom vang and traveler so the boom moves as little as possible. Get the winch handle ready under my leg.

Once I was sure I had enough headway I'd move to the side I wanted to be on, push the tiller all the way over and hold it there with my foot <hey, it worked> while hauling away on the foresail sheet wrapped around the winch. Get the sheet roughly trimmed and cleat it off.

The main thing I had to watch was making sure that the sheets were sliding cleanly with nothing to snag them.

Getting the foresail over the lifelines was always a bit of a PITA but with something small like a 110 it shouldn't be a big deal. Then when I got heading in the direction I wanted I'd tweak the boom vang and main sail. It took about 15 seconds and was not graceful but it worked. This is from a fin keel 22 foot fractional rig with a hanked on foresail BTW. Even with the 150 I never needed the winch too often except to fine tune the foresail once it was full.

In my very limited experience so far in any sailing manuever the best thing to I can do is think out what I plan to do and how I'm going to do it and then make sure nothing is in the way that will hang up the manuever once it's in motion.

I always sailed with a foresail. Wasn't the boat hard to handle or out of balance with just the mainsail? I've never tried that. I'd guess tacking and gybing will be easier than what you're used to with the extra power. What was the purpose of just using the main? Just curious.

Best Regards,

camaraderie 06-02-2008 12:48 PM

I suggest a tiller tamer or tiller pilot to free your hands to attend to the sheets.
Davis - Marine - Tiller-Tamer™

LakeEscape 06-02-2008 12:59 PM

I single hand alot and have got some pretty reliable routines. Number one, keep the cockpit neat, no spaghetti on the deck. When tacking, I preset the stops on my traveler, get the main sheet in hand, straddle the tiller, get 3 wraps on the windward winch and take the leeward sheet off the cleat. Using my legs, take the tiller to lee and hold back the jib sheet to let the wind assist in bringing the bow around. As the bow comes about and the traveler shifts, I release the now windward jib sheet and unwrap it from the winch with a lariet kind of action, then I quickly pull in on the now leeward sheet. Notice there is no mention of a winch handle. With practice you should be able to get the jib in really close. I generally sheet in very tight and then trim the sheet out.

To gybe, it's pretty close to the same routine, just more main sheet action. Again, I preset the traveler stops and get my sheets in hand. As I start the gybe,using my legs, I'll haul in the main and ease it through the cockpit, holding back the jib and letting the wind push the sail to the lee side. Release the windward and haul in the lee, trim and return to your refreshments.

Practice this is fun and actually gives some purpose to that otherwise lazy day on the lake.

Fair Winds,
Charlotte, NC

SSBN506 06-02-2008 01:05 PM

I put the tiller between my legs so I can step from side to side to steer and have both hands free.

Plumper 06-02-2008 01:23 PM

I agree with the tiller tamer suggestion. Once your third "hand" is holding the tiller then it gets pretty easy. I just use a line to both sides of the cockpit abeam the end of the tiller with three wraps around the tiller. It easily slips off when I want it free and it holds it well when I want it held.

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