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My experience has been very small sailboats or 30 ft with another person years ago.

Now retired and divorced I'm looking at something 30 -35 ft that can be sailed alone. I'm thinking I'd need a roller furloughing genoa, maybe also a jib and then some kind of auto pilot or what I rememberer as a tiller tamer. Raising the main is no issue if the lines come back to the coxpit but the fore sail I think is an issue especially when you bring it down and it tends to fall over the side and you have to go forward and retrieve it onto the deck. Did I get that right?

So I've been looking at boats that have an autopilot where I thought I could set it and if necessary go forward or down below to grab a sandwich. Now my sailing will probably be on the Columbia river in Oregon so the need to tack back and forth, short tacks, will be and issue.

I've looked a a few boats mainly with the furloughing genoa because of the above but I found one with the normal jib/genoa and was wondering if that could still work or would I have to purchase a furloughing genoa and some kind of autopilot etc??
First consideration should be safety for yourself and other boaters. Single handing adds additional risks such as if you have a heart attack or you go below on autopilot and the duration causes you to cross commercial shipping lanes which exist in any major body of water and locations where bays exit to oceans. Other factors to safety are your local geography where you sail, for instance if you sail in the north end of the chesapeake bay you want a shallower keel that is you are in the southern bay, if you sail the Columbia River, the bar at exit to ocean is very treacherous even at slack tide. For all of these safety considerations there are mitigations for a single hander, such as top mast quality VHF coms, mid mast radar reflector, jack lines that are convenient, reliable maintenance of your auxilary, quality fuel filters that can be visually checked easily, flare guns easily available, communication plan, always let someone know where you generally will be sailing and what time you will be back and you call them when you return, this can be a friend or the marina office. Always wear a life jacket that has a strobe if alone. Have good condition and oversized ground tackle, nothing worse than a soft mud bottom and a small "lunch" danforth that drags and you hit some else while below. This has never happened to me, because I stay above until I am sure the anchor cannot be dragged.

These may all be second nature to you, hopefully advice not needed, but it is very important to understand that a friend aboard is always a good safety practice until you are 100% sure you are capable and setup to address anything that nature throws at you.
Just my 2 Cents!
D. A. Davis
 

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Yes you are absolutely right but consider the alternative : a wife may divorce you, take your boat your house and your money, a girlfriend may give you herpes. In my case Craig the watch woke me saying "big ship really close" he was right. It sank us . We were offshore and got in our life raft. Now when I sail by myself this hasn't happened yet because I stay away from ships. With crew its always "not my boat"
 

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My experience has been very small sailboats or 30 ft with another person years ago.

Now retired and divorced I'm looking at something 30 -35 ft that can be sailed alone. I'm thinking I'd need a roller furloughing genoa, maybe also a jib and then some kind of auto pilot or what I rememberer as a tiller tamer. Raising the main is no issue if the lines come back to the coxpit but the fore sail I think is an issue especially when you bring it down and it tends to fall over the side and you have to go forward and retrieve it onto the deck. Did I get that right?

So I've been looking at boats that have an autopilot where I thought I could set it and if necessary go forward or down below to grab a sandwich. Now my sailing will probably be on the Columbia river in Oregon so the need to tack back and forth, short tacks, will be and issue.

I've looked a a few boats mainly with the furloughing genoa because of the above but I found one with the normal jib/genoa and was wondering if that could still work or would I have to purchase a furloughing genoa and some kind of autopilot etc??
 

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If remote and single handed, this is done all the time. I'd be very careful, however. I've had APs randomly drop off line, even begin to strangely command a unnecessary turn. We were once motoring out of the Bay, in near zero wind, and had the AP on. Suddenly, the boat started turning notably, while I was at the helm. We had sea room, so I decided to see what it was going to do. It held the turn for a full 360 degs, before I hit standby. I hand steered for a minute and then put it back on heading and it held for the rest of the trip. Never fully trust George.
I have a 37 cutter. All old style Hank on jib. Genoa. Nothing. Fancy. I like it that way. Like real sailboats should be. And I can single hand her. Altrough sometimes. Takes a little longer to dock or something. Someone always steps up and helps with a line or 2
 

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I have a 37 cutter. All old style Hank on jib. Genoa. Nothing. Fancy. I like it that way.
The advantage of hanked on is simplicity. No furler mechanism to jam. No furler line to trip on. Easier to change sails. I find them no problem to douse: pull the jib sheet tight, go head to wind and let the halyard go. You may need to tug a little on the leech to bring it all down on to the deck. A shock cord attached to the stem is handy for stuffing the jib underneath to keep it from blowing off until docked.

-Doug
 

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While I actually like hank on jibs for short-handed distance cruising, I respectfully suggest that the comment that there is "no furler line to trip on" or that dousing a hank on jib in heavy air is simply a matter of easing the halyard and tugging the leech a little, is a bit of an over simplification. In high winds, the jib is actually blown up the forestay (a problem that is more serious on a true cutter since it's headstay is more horizontal than a sloop.) This is typically addressed with a jib downhaul this is run down the headstay and then runs along the edge of the deck in much the same manner as a furler line.

On the subject of short-handed and single-handed sailing, SpinSheet magazine has done a number of short podcasts on the subject and which can be found here.

I have done two of them.

Jeff
 
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In high winds, the jib is actually blown up the forestay (a problem that is more serious on a true cutter since it's headstay is more horizontal than a sloop.) This is typically addressed with a jib downhaul this is run along the edge of the deck in much the same manner as a furler line.
Thanks. That is a valid point. I believe that the larger the boat and sail, then the more problems one can have dousing a hanked on foresail and the downhaul can make good sense. Judgement call.

-Doug
 

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My Contest 36s is set up for single handing without leaving the cockpit... but in heavy weather when storm sails are required one has to go on deck, set up the inner stay, hang on the storm jib, lead the sheets (already on the sail) feed the try sail onto the mast track and drop and tie the mainsail to the boom. Of course you need to snapped onto jack lines. Leaving the AP to deal with waves is not the best thing when doing this. If bad weather is contemplated the storm sails can be ready to hoist.... this makes things a lot safer.... but the main still needs to be dropped and tied to the boom.

Sailing in less than storm conditions with can be done from the forward end of cockpit which gives me arms length distance to winches, engine controls, AP controls and instrument displays (buttons). Coach roof has 8 line stoppers...main halyard, topping lift, vang, 4 reffing lines (2 reefs) out haul... and 2 winches. I can reef from the cockpit.
Bridge deck is T shaped allowing me to sit under the dodger if need be or on either side depending on how the boat is heeled. the traveler is at the aft end of the bridge deck making gybing easily done standing forward of the binnacle (bracing oneself). Same for tacking. I will turn the AP dial about 100 deg, do the sheets and then adjust the course knob as needed. (boat does not point very high).

I can deploy and retrieve the anchor from the cockpit as there are remote up & down switches for the electric windlass. I only do this in benign conditions.

As I store on a mooring... or anchoring when cruising I don't have to enter or leave a slop. But I can come along side a dock single handed.... basically using the mid ship cleat. Bow and stern lines are left ready draped over the life lines at mid ship and can be grabbed from a dock person or I can tie them myself after the mid ship line is secure and tied "short" allowing me to de board to the dock at mid ship... take the waiting bow and stern lines and complete tying the boat. Departing I will remove the bow line, mid ship line and double the stern line back the cockpit . I pull one end of the stern line to bring the stern quarter to the dock and then motor forward pulling the line back the cockpit. I try to do dock visits when the wind is NOT blowing the boat toward the dock. So I wait for the right conditions to do a dock visit for fuel or water.

The key is to PLAN all maneuvers in advance and have "things" ready and handy... lines, winch handles etc. Practice everything in light air and then in windier conditions. I use the engine and AP to keep the bow eye to wind for raising and dropping the main.... and try to do this in protected waters without waves and away from other boats. Set up jack lines and wear a harness. I usually set up a boom preventer if I will be sailing down wind.

Sequence is important. Do everything in the right order. Mark lines and halyard for reefing.

I use a assym chute with a sock which is easy to deploy and douse but does require work on the fore deck. I don't deploy it unless I have a long tack... but it can be gybed from the cockpit.

You need roller furling, AP, self tailing winches... lines led to the cockpit... and all "controls" set up for easy reach.
 

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Like real sailboats should be.
I take that with humor. Who says a real sailboat is frozen in the time period that yours was made? Diesel engines, weighted keels, winches and marconi rigs, as opposed to old wooden square riggers. How about the junk rigged canoes, before them.

As far as I'm concerned, a fully powered sail plan, with a bow and stern thruster is still a real sailboat. :)
 

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I remember my frozen fingers trying to unclip jibs while racing at night, offshore, in winter.

I love a furler :)
 

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I'd love to have a crew. When my wife was still alive I could rely on her. For the last 10 years I had different crew: but it's not their boat and they don't seem to realize that it is their lives too. One guy didn't see a ship on collision course, even though we had radar. He called me on deck saying that there was a ship real close. He was right, it sank us. 2 Women, 3 Men, we all survived. The son of a ***** should have drowned. We were very lucky. Good crew is hard to find and therefore I must sail by myself. I have a first class boat, a vintage Swan and good gear like a B&G hydraulic pilot. but it doesn't replace another pair of eyes because there is stuff floating out there that I may not see. I like women as crew because they are cleaner and I'm a lousy cook. So, if I'm real lucky I find crew. In the meantime, I singlehand, eat sandwiches and watch out for stuff
 

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There's a wonderful sense of independence solo sailing.
The people waiting for crew, for a Saturday afternoon race, for flying in for a passage, are neutered by their crew.
Grow some, and go by myself. I never wait for anyone 😊

As for the risk of hitting s floating shipping container... Start adding up zeros. And mostly those shipping disasters are in the wrong season. Either in winter or hurricane season (typhoon/cyclone etc) when I'm not sailing anyway. I only sail in the Right Season.

😊
 
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