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I'm 26 and inherited my boat from my dad when he passed this spring. It's a 29' Bayfield. Been learning to sail this whole summer on Lake Ontario. Took a basic crusing course. I was going to go out with a buddy yesterday when he bailed last minute. Winds were light so I decided that it was a good a day as any to try singlehanding. I'd practiced a few times by having passengers on board but not really doing anything, and I'd docked once without any assistance, but man, it is different when you're out there alone! Sailed with just the headsail, a nice big genoa, no main, winds were pretty light but I was cruising around 3.5knts. Overall, what an experience. Next time, I'll haul the main up too.
 

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Hey,

Congratulations! It can be a lot of fun to sail by yourself. Practice practice practice. Think each step through before you need to do it.

And have fun.

Barry
 

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Mmmmm...singlehanding. I love it.

Nothing but you, your vessel and the elements. Just the wind in the rigging, and the water against the hull.

I looked up your boat. Wow, a cutter? Looks like fun. Enjoy yourself, and raise a glass to your old man while you're out there.
 

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Ya, it is a cutter. I have only sailed it in sloop config so far though. My dad had just rigged up a 130% genny on a furler, and it wouldn't slip through the gap of the inner forestay when tacking, so I had to get rid of that stay. Eventually though I am going to get it back to cutter configuration. The sloop has been much easier to learn on, and I definitely toast to him every time!
 

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The majority of my sailing is singlehanded. When I'm alone on my boat nothing else in the world matters. You'll get good at handling any situation on your own.

As Gary Lucas said in his post above "Stay on the boat".
I don't routinely wear a life preserver when I'm sailing with others in good weather, but I ALWAYS wear one when I'm alone, usually a belt-style inflatable in good weather and an inflatable vest with harness and jacklines in bad weather. I'm looking over personal locator beacons now since that seems to be a logical addition for a singlehander.
 

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Any tips for docking singlehanded?
Yeah. Go slow. With that keel and rudder configuration, she won't turn on a time. Make sure you get lined up well in advance, if possible.

You prefer stern in, or bow in?
 

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Yes, but you'll have to take me out before I can show you. :)

What marina are you in. Some are easier than others. Outer Harbour Marina is easier than anything!

And yesterday was the perfect day for your first solo.
 

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The key to docking is to have your lines set up ahead of time. I have a line that attaches to a stern cleat that's just the right length to keep the boat from hitting the dock. I hang it on a bar that sticks out from the end of the dock and swivels so it's easy to reach but won't get hung up on anything. After attaching this line (its on the starboard stern cleat) I turn the wheel hard to starboard and give the engine a little forward. That pins the starboard side of the boat to the dock and allows me to attach my other lines at my leisure. I also have an "OH SH**" line on a piling at the center of the boat, so if things go bad I can grab that line and direct the boat anywhere I need to.
Practice on a calm day. See what the boat will do with different line, rudder, and engine combinations.
 

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Aside from getting a mooring...
I rig a dock line from my winch (mid ship cleat would be better)
and then grab a mid or stern cleat on the dock...leave motor in
forward gear on idle or low rpm's with wheel turned towards dock...boat will snug up to dock...then at your leisure gently step
off boat and attach bow/stern lines...makes me look like I
know what I'm doing every time!
 

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Any tips for docking singlehanded?
Dock whatever way the conditions favor. You're already tied up when departing so you have more control. And it's been said before, don't approach the dock faster than you'd like to crash into it (ha!).

Also, as suggested above you don't want to practice a man overboard drill with the Captain in the water. I used to trail a line over astern with a big knot in it. Yeah, I might not could climb out but if it ever happened I wanted half a chance.

I'm pretty sure your dad would be pleased.
 

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Jawbone,

Congratulations. If you plan ahead single handling is fun and safe. The key is thinking ahead and knowing what you will do when a situation raises its head. Hopefully they will all be as simple as a hat overboard successfully retrieved.

For docking I would suggest looking up Capt. Jack Klang on the Quantumm sail site. He has some great tutorials. In my estimation your best friends are a mid ships line, whether a cleat or a shroud, slow speed, and using your prop walk to your advantage.

Enjoy.
 

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As mentioned, go slow. Go as slow as you can and maintain steerage. I go bow in first with the pier finger on port. When I give a shot of reverse thrust, prop walk pulls me to the dock and stops the boat. If the wind is behind you go to neutral earlier than you would normally think. I leave the dock lines on the dock so when cleated on the boat it's perfect every time. I step off with the oh sh** pole, aka boat hook in hand (if windy) and cleat the midships springline first, then the stern, and bow last.
If there are people on the dock, pretend they are not there unless they offer help. Then tell them exactly what you want.
I find it almost easier to do by myself than with crew assistance.
Everyone has their own method but this has always worked for me even in windy conditions.
BTW, I really enjoy taking people out but singlehanding a sailboat is one of the greatest pastimes known to man/woman.
Also, if you don't wear a PFD in the cockpit, at least put it on if you leave the cockpit.
 

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Well done !

One day you'll start a family and you'll be teaching your little one the joys of sailing like this Father is with his 4th grader:

 

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Originally Posted by jambone
Any tips for docking singlehanded?

Keep your dock lines at the ready, life line gate open, fenders hanging and never approach the dock faster than you are prepared to hit it!
 
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