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Well, for one thing, when I am single handed, relying on the AP or wheel lock to hold her steady in a gust to wrestle with putting a reef in the main and standing on the foredeck is daunting!
It's not only daunting, it's unrealistic, if you don't have a reliable means of self steering while you're away from the helm. I've been on a sailboat when a full race crew was barely able to get the sails down when she was caught in a sudden microburst. If you had been singlehanding at the time, and had to leave the helm virtually uncontrolled while taking down the sails, I have no doubt that the boat would have gone down, as did a bigger boat in the same storm. Regardless of whether you're singlehanding or fully crewed, and whether you're racing or cruising, you can't allow yourself to get into a situation in which the conditions are beyond your ability to cope with them. When singlehanding, you have to anticipate worsening conditions, and prepare for them while you are still able to do so. It doesn't really matter whether you're racing or cruising.
 

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Even when single handing, it's simple to but the boat into a heaved-to position and comfortably add the reef...have lunch while you are at it.
With respect, sailingfool, you weren't there. I was. We were just to windward of the Bay Bridge when the microburst struck, and had no sea room to heave to and let her drift uncontrolled. My point was not to recount all the details of that incident, but to express my opinion that it is foolish in the extreme for a singlehander to think that, if one is caught in a 55 kt microburst, all one must do is to heave to and enjoy a casual lunch. It's irresponsible to lull a singlehander into believing that heaving to will, in all circumstances, save him from disaster. I stand by my advice that a singlehander should anticipate a worsening of conditions, and get ready for them while he is still able to do so.
 
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