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if the lines dont run all the way back, is there a way to make them longer without having to buy a whole new longer line?
Not really. While you can splice new line to extend it, old line is very difficult to splice. The best you may be able to do is to repurpose line, using a long enough line from one place in some other location and then buy a longer line for the original located.

Jeff
 

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I'll be sailing a cutter and will be eliminating my staysail boom. Any cutter sailors who singlehand sail who can share their experiences with this cutter setup. Thanks
 

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I don't single hand that much any more . I think having a auto pilot is really the key to the whole thing . On Westsails people do get rid of the staysail boom but you have to put T tracks on the house to give the staysail shape . Back to the single handing , many beers ago when we got our little cutter we did not understand how to reef it correctly . when the wind would build we would first haul down the Yankee and sail with Main and Staysail , that would create bad weather helm . For our boat the proper way to reef is to first reef the Main and if need be double reef it . Second would be reef the Staysail and a bit of the Yankee . Hope that helps . What boat do you have Ze'K ?
Edit : I see Cape Dory .
 

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I don't single hand that much any more . I think having a auto pilot is really the key to the whole thing . On Westsails people do get rid of the staysail boom but you have to put T tracks on the house to give the staysail shape . Back to the single handing , many beers ago when we got our little cutter we did not understand how to reef it correctly . when the wind would build we would first haul down the Yankee and sail with Main and Staysail , that would create bad weather helm . For our boat the proper way to reef is to first reef the Main and if need be double reef it . Second would be reef the Staysail and a bit of the Yankee . Hope that helps . What boat do you have Ze'K ?
Edit : I see Cape Dory .
Lol @ many beers ago. You're correct I picked up a CD30 cutter. Thank you for pointing the reefing steps I'll try that technique. I thought that I was going to reef the dory that way too. Bring Yankee down and roll with just a reef main and staysail.
 

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I'll be sailing a cutter and will be eliminating my staysail boom. Any cutter sailors who singlehand sail who can share their experiences with this cutter setup. Thanks
Tacking our Westsail with loose footed staysail was a piece of cake though the Aries normally steered the boat. Would set the Aries for the other tack, release the yankee when it began to luff and then the staysail, haul in the staysail's other sheet by hand and cleat it, haul in the yankee sheet and trim it on the winch if necessary, go back to the staysail and trim it. Usually didn't have to do much to trim the staysail as pulling the sheet tight by hand could feel the proper tension with the sail luffing as the bow passed through the wind. The vane would have the boat steering on the new tack and work was done. Wouldn't be much harder without self steering. Just keep the tiller between the legs and steer that way while you are working the sail.

Running the staysail loose footed is way way better than having it on a club. Sail sets better on all points of sail by simply adjusting the sheet. With the boom, it would kite putting a big belly in the sail as soon as you cracked the sheet off. The only way to get a well trimmed sail was to vang the sail down which defeated the whole self tacking issue. Worst part was the boom was physically dangerous unless strapped down hard and I have the scar to prove it.

Very high aspect ratio rigs lend themselves much better to a self tending set up but still have issues with trim on some points of sail no matter how they are set up. For light air with a normal rig you need an overlapping to keep the boat moving optimally which negates self tending.
 

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I'll be sailing a cutter and will be eliminating my staysail boom. Any cutter sailors who singlehand sail who can share their experiences with this cutter setup. Thanks
Tacking our Westsail with loose footed staysail was a piece of cake though the Aries normally steered the boat. Would set the Aries for the other tack, release the yankee when it began to luff and then the staysail, haul in the staysail's other sheet by hand and cleat it, haul in the yankee sheet and trim it on the winch if necessary, go back to the staysail and trim it. Usually didn't have to do much to trim the staysail as pulling the sheet tight by hand could feel the proper tension with the sail luffing as the bow passed through the wind. The vane would have the boat steering on the new tack and work was done. Wouldn't be much harder without self steering. Just keep the tiller between the legs and steer that way while you are working the sail.

Running the staysail loose footed is way way better than having it on a club. Sail sets better on all points of sail by simply adjusting the sheet. With the boom, it would kite putting a big belly in the sail as soon as you cracked the sheet off. The only way to get a well trimmed sail was to vang the sail down which defeated the whole self tacking issue. Worst part was the boom was physically dangerous unless strapped down hard and I have the scar to prove it.

Very high aspect ratio rigs lend themselves much better to a self tending set up but still have issues with trim on some points of sail no matter how they are set up. For light air with a normal rig you need an overlapping to keep the boat moving optimally which negates self tending.
I'm definitely taking notes. Thank you.
 

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Have a hydrovane and an autopilot. Find on autopilot it’s easy to tack. Set up the traveler to midships. Set up the lazy sheet with two wraps but not in the self tailer. Hit the auto tack button and wait a second or two to throw off the working sheet. Then pull on the new workingsheet. Put a wrap then the self tailer and use the button for power to get the last little bit. Reposition the traveler.
Find it’s easiest when hard on the wind so go to that point of sail to start. After tacking go to desired course and trim.
When on the hydrovane it’s much harder to tack. Do the same thing as above but on occasion get caught in irons. The continuous loop that rotates the vane goes to the stern rail so it’s a bit of a struggle to get everything done in time. Find sometimes best to turn on the engine briefly after moving vane setting to more of a reach. Sort things out and then retrim to course. This means turning on a cold diesel, running it briefly, then turning it off. This is bad for the engine. Also my AP has a wireless remote. When I screw up it’s a help.
So don’t use the hydrovane when coastal just the AP. Had the same issues in prior boats with
Servo pendulums (Fleming, Monitor). Believe if you’re going to single an AP is a better choice to use then a vane. Think this is true regardless of size of the vessel or brand of vane.
Of course offshore a vane is a thing of beauty. No electrical draw. Spot on to awa. Noiseless.
Would mention if I need to gybe will do a chicken gybe. Turn the AP to standby. Put on a slight bit of wheel break. Have both sheets out of the self tailers (still with 3or 4 wraps) and in hand. Do the gybe while handling the sheets. Open the wheel brake and turn on the AP using wind angle. Usually set it to a reach. Sort myself out. Reset course and trim.
I don’t use this technique with the vane. Rather roll up the jib, chicken gybe, roll out the jib. Have the vane fixed amidships and reach back to play the wheel. It’s cumbersome even with another up to help let a lone when one up. Frequently if going down wind for awhile have no main. That’s easier. Have one sheet in the self tailer and push the button as needed as you ease the other while doing a standard gybe.
 

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Reliable strong AP is mission critical to single or short hand. Driving for hrs on end... is usually boring unless in very spirited weather demanding you "steer" the waves. As OutB describes tacking... this is easy peasy... and unless you are constrained you're not short tacking... so it's little effort. I have to AP over steer the tack and then trim and steer as high as I feel works.

AP on a set course and when there are few corrections for yaw because of sea state should draw very little power. I can run instruments and AP on a sunny day if the AP is not doing a lot of "corrections" on a 110 watts of solar. Offshore I will run the diesel at least a few hrs a day to cool the refer (engine drive) and make hot water... and lift up the batteries.
 

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Have a hydrovane and an autopilot. Find on autopilot it’s easy to tack. Set up the traveler to midships. Set up the lazy sheet with two wraps but not in the self tailer. Hit the auto tack button and wait a second or two to throw off the working sheet. Then pull on the new workingsheet. Put a wrap then the self tailer and use the button for power to get the last little bit. Reposition the traveler.
Find it’s easiest when hard on the wind so go to that point of sail to start. After tacking go to desired course and trim.
When on the hydrovane it’s much harder to tack. Do the same thing as above but on occasion get caught in irons. The continuous loop that rotates the vane goes to the stern rail so it’s a bit of a struggle to get everything done in time. Find sometimes best to turn on the engine briefly after moving vane setting to more of a reach. Sort things out and then retrim to course. This means turning on a cold diesel, running it briefly, then turning it off. This is bad for the engine. Also my AP has a wireless remote. When I screw up it’s a help.
So don’t use the hydrovane when coastal just the AP. Had the same issues in prior boats with
Servo pendulums (Fleming, Monitor). Believe if you’re going to single an AP is a better choice to use then a vane. Think this is true regardless of size of the vessel or brand of vane.
Of course offshore a vane is a thing of beauty. No electrical draw. Spot on to awa. Noiseless.
Would mention if I need to gybe will do a chicken gybe. Turn the AP to standby. Put on a slight bit of wheel break. Have both sheets out of the self tailers (still with 3or 4 wraps) and in hand. Do the gybe while handling the sheets. Open the wheel brake and turn on the AP using wind angle. Usually set it to a reach. Sort myself out. Reset course and trim.
I don’t use this technique with the vane. Rather roll up the jib, chicken gybe, roll out the jib. Have the vane fixed amidships and reach back to play the wheel. It’s cumbersome even with another up to help let a lone when one up. Frequently if going down wind for awhile have no main. That’s easier. Have one sheet in the self tailer and push the button as needed as you ease the other while doing a standard gybe.
I am going for a CPT autopliot, I have not read the review on auto tack but will research on that now. I will have to rehearse all this steps when we rig the boat next month.

Thank you appreciate the wisdom.
 

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Reliable strong AP is mission critical to single or short hand. Driving for hrs on end... is usually boring unless in very spirited weather demanding you "steer" the waves. As OutB describes tacking... this is easy peasy... and unless you are constrained you're not short tacking... so it's little effort. I have to AP over steer the tack and then trim and steer as high as I feel works.

AP on a set course and when there are few corrections for yaw because of sea state should draw very little power. I can run instruments and AP on a sunny day if the AP is not doing a lot of "corrections" on a 110 watts of solar. Offshore I will run the diesel at least a few hrs a day to cool the refer (engine drive) and make hot water... and lift up the batteries.
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.
 

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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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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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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 don’t 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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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.
l
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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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 100-120° 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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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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This was an article that I wrote for a magazine last year:
STARTING TO SOLO
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.

Jeff
 

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From what I gather, seems you have a 22' sailboat with a very light draft; that's actually going to be more "difficult" to handle than a larger boat since it's lighter and has less draft/ballast etc. When you move up to a larger vessel I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how much smoother it handles.
 

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From what I gather, seems you have a 22' sailboat with a very light draft; that's actually going to be more "difficult" to handle than a larger boat since it's lighter and has less draft/ballast etc. When you move up to a larger vessel I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how much smoother it handles.
Either that, or else when the original poster moves up to a larger boat they will learn that they are handling a lot more line under much heavier loads, covering longer distances to reach anything on board, while having to navigate more carefully, and not being able to manhandle the boat when things get dicey. And so the OP may perhaps be surprised that although the boat's motion is gentler, single-handing a bigger boat isn't necessarily as easy as single- handing a smaller boat.

Or not.....
 
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