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post #31 of 37 Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

Originally Posted by Ze'K View Post
The consensus is the AP is a must for a smooth and effective tack. At the same time for me the staysail should be self tacking without a club.
Autopilots cannot turn the helm hard over... and so a very tight tack is not possible... and not necessary in 99% of the cases.

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post #32 of 37 Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

My tiller-pilot doesn't seem to steer far enough on auto-tack. Normally, I just put the tiller between my legs and steer through the tack, or pop it off it's pin, tack, and put it back on after the tack. And, regarding what SanderO said, my tiller pilot is, also, not fast enough to keep up in choppy seas (normally the case on Lake Michigan). AP's are probably the most important bit of kit for single handing, but, not the end of the story.

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post #33 of 37 Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

The auto tack function on my RM is tuneable. I believe most APs allow you to tune how many degrees and speed. The tech talked with me about my sailing and tuned it when I had him onboard for another reason. Check your documentation. Yours maybe tuneable as well. I have it falling off more than how high I can get. After autotack adjust awa and trim. Found this more convenient as in seas donít want to pinch at all and sometimes tack from a reach to a beat or vis a versa.
The AP steers 99% of the time under power and 95% of the time under sail (except when using the vane) worthwhile to exploit it. Initially never used autotack now use it a lot.

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post #34 of 37 Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

I single hand my O'Day 322 most of the time. One of the criteria for buying the boat was to have the genoa winches back within reach of the helm when behind the wheel.
1 - prep the windward winch with a wrap or two
2 - begin the turn
3 - when the jib breaks, release the tensioned winch sheet and take ALL the wraps off
4 - pull in the (soon to be leeward sheet) as the jib comes across
5 - when it passes the leeward shroud then winch in fast, cleat and then stop the turn with the tiller/wheel and fine-tune.
6 - the boom takes care of itself, and if the traveller is properly adjusted, both tacks have the same set, no need to fuss with the main.

The one thing that makes it a breeze is a smaller jib. It is a bear with a 140 genoa. with a 125 it is fairly easy, with a 110 it almost can be done without a winch, with a 90 it is effortless.

Practice makes perfect. I use an autopilot 90% of the time single handing, though I tend to tack by hand and re-engage after completing the tack.
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post #35 of 37 Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

Alpha 3000 doesn't have a tack or auto tack feature. That means YOU learn how many degrees you need to turn and that will depend on wind and seas... and turn to the course you know the boat will not end up in irons. I generally turn it about 100-120į prefer to not get headed by the wind... so I'd rather head up as I trim. This is not for racing...

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Last edited by SanderO; 03-30-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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post #36 of 37 Old 03-28-2019
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I think all of this stuff is pretty obvious. It's pretty easy to sail single handed. Just do it, start out with just the Mainsail, then add the jib, and then you'll figure it out quickly. You'll also figure out what you need to change to make things easier.

What I find to be difficult is getting in and out of a crowded marina, especially when it's windy. For that, my advice is to practice and plan ahead. If you're finding yourself especially worried about threading a tight needle, my advice would be to practice in the Open Water. Choose a buoy or bit of flotsam and sail up to it as though it was the slip that you're sailing into. A standard practice drill is to throw a Life cushion overboard and retrieve it.
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post #37 of 37 Old 03-28-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

This was an article that I wrote for a magazine last year:
For most of us, one of the joys of sailing is spending quality time with family, friends and crewmates, so, it is easy to think, ‘Why would I want to single-hand my boat?’ That is until ‘that day’. You know ‘that day’. It’s the day that you go down to the boat, the temperature and winds are perfect for a sail, but you are alone and can’t find anyone to play with. And suddenly the idea of soloing does not seem so unappealing, except you have never done it, and it seems impossible as your boat is set-up.

While there are boats that are more ideally set-up to single-hand and boats that harder to sail short-handed, there are very few boats, which cannot be sailed single-handed with some careful thinking, a bit of preparation and a little practice.

The process of starting to single-hand begins at the dock with sails not set, but with the traveler control lines, mainsheet and jib sheets run to their normal positions and all of the sail control lines run normally. Standing near the helm, with a notepad in hand, think through and list each step of doing the more common maneuvers; leaving the dock, raising sails, tacking, jibing and coming back into the dock. List each step in each maneuver in the order that they would normally be performed when there is crew onboard.

In doing so, it may seem like there will be tasks that appear to need to be performed almost simultaneously and as such, will require you to be in multiple distant places at once. Think about which of those tasks may be performed slightly ahead of the other. Think about how much time can lapse between one task and the next, and finally, what can be done to allow those tasks to occur more rapidly. Then while still at the dock, physically practice walking through each step one at a time.

For example, when practicing leaving the dock in a cross breeze you can try releasing all of the leeward lines and only have a windward, bow, spring and stern line attached. Then experiment, perhaps removing the spring line and pulling the boat up to the windward side of the slip with the bowline. With the bowline still cleated, let go of the bowline, walk aft to stern line perhaps stowing the spring line as you go and to see whether you can get the stern line off the cleat before the bow line snugs up. This will provide a sense of how long you have to do that task whether you can walk slowly or move with deliberate haste.

If you find that there is adequate time, you have figured out a plausible process to safely get out of the slip. If there is not adequate time, then more preparation will be important. Lines should be rigged with eyes on the boat end so that they can be quickly be removed when leaving or quickly dropped onto cleats coming in. If you are of the mindset that a boat should be tied up so that line length can be adjusted from onboard, then the lines with eyes might only be light weight 3-strand lines that are only used when leaving and arriving at the dock until the permanent lines are reattached.
Rigging a taut line between the slips, might provide a way to pull the boat back up to windward or control the longitudinal position of the boat as you walk to the other end of the boat. Hanging a short loop of line on the line between the slips gives a line that can be quickly dropped over a cleat or winch to buy a little time by preventing the boat from falling off to leeward on the way into the slip.

Similarly, while still in the slip, walk through various sailing maneuvers. Look at how you move during that maneuver and how you might change the position your body or the sequence of the maneuver. You might try standing between the helm, and the control lines during a maneuver rather than your more typical position at the helm. It may mean adjusting the traveler for the next tack before putting the helm down to start the tack, or breaking the leeward jib sheet early to provide time to move to the new working sheet. It means coiling lines with figure 8’s to make sure that they are free to run reliably.

Preparation may include adding locking winch handles so that the handle can be placed in the winch before the tack taking one more step out of the tack. On a tiller boat it may mean adding a length of heavy shock-chord that is run across the cockpit at the end of the tiller and which can be looped several times around the end of the tiller to hold it in a chosen position. The loops can be rotated around the end of the tiller to make fine adjustments and shock-chord allows a quick adjustment in course without releasing it.

When you think you have it all figured out, go out and try it all with an observer on board. Practice each maneuver single-handed with the Observer watching. The observer is only there to help you if something does not go as planned and to watch each maneuver and make suggestions on how they might be performed more easily. Don’t be in a rush to solo.

Do not rush to make large changes to your boat. The more you practice even with people on board, the better your techniques will become and the more natural single-handing your boat will seem, so that ultimately when ‘that day’ happens again, it will only be just another day on the water.


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