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Hi there... new... just starting to do my research?

Is it impossible, super dangerous, etc to single hand a 40 foot boat? I don't have a partner but I want to do this. I want enough room on the boat to take one of the berths and turn it into an office instead (I work in IT).

I'm looking to find something older (what I can afford) and maybe take it to South America/SE Asia to be refitted due to the cheaper costs.

Also, super dumb question- Are colored sail bad besides showing sea spray salt more?

Thank you!!! :)
 

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As evidenced below, I routinely single-hand a 38 footer and I am as Gary says, an old folk.
<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/35774305221/in/dateposted-public/" title="Synergy under Spinnaker Approaching Bridge 2"><img src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4262/35774305221_1c9ee5d50f_m.jpg" width="240" height="160" alt="Synergy under Spinnaker Approaching Bridge 2"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>



But if you don't need a 40 footer, I would get something smaller since 40 feet is a pretty large boat to be pushing around if you don't need to.

The idea of bringing a cheap boat to South America/SE Asia to be refitted rarely works since you need to put the boat into decent shape just to get the boat there. But also the cost of parts can be more expensive in remote areas of the world. The people that I have known who successfully did that bought boats in South Africa and fit them out down there where there is good workmanship, parts readily available and its a reasonably easy trip across the Atlantic if you time it right.

As to having a colored sail, it all depends on what you sail are talking about. Spinnakers are typically nylon and nylon fibers takes dyes without losing strength or resistance to elongation. (That is a nylon spinnaker in my photo) But mainsails and jibs would typically either be polyester or a high modulus fiber. Polyester loses significant strength or resistance to elongation when the fibers are dyed so much so that heavier weight fabric should be used and that damages sailing ability in all wind strengths. High modulus fibers cannot be dyed. When you look at modern race boats that have wild graphics on their sails, the graphics are painted (printed) on or applied as printed film. That is an expensive process and not one for the faint of heart. Its also not clear how long that would last since racing sails are rarely used for more than a season, and might only be used for one or two race series.
 

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People single hand much larger boats, racing around the world, through the worst weather and latitudes, imaginable. Even couples out cruising together, in reality, one of them is a singlehander, as the partner is seasick in the bunk for days at at time, lacks interest in learning or for a number of reasons, not much help. It isn't hard to single hand a boat. Just takes practice like anything else in life.
 

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As Jeff_H says, S.E. Asia is not a good place to have work done. We just spent several years in S.E. Asia and I can highly recommend NOT going there, especially Phuket, Thailand for boat work. There are many, ripoff, horror stories to tell. One boat owner who went to Thailand for boat work, based on very bad advise, wished he had stayed in New Zealand and had the work done there. S. Africa sounds interesting.
 

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I am 71 and frequently single hand my 44 ft monohull.

But I started with a chunky 38 ft ketch. I would recommend a cutter or a ketch with roller furling headsails.

Jeanne Socrates circumnavigated single handed on a 38 ft boat at age 71.

As to finding inexpensive places to have work done. Assuming you are in the USA Trinidad is probably the closest, reasonably accessible place with good facilities and competent craftsmen. I had my boat repainted there it would have cost 10 to 20 k in the USA 4 k in Trinidad.
 

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I would recommend a cutter or a ketch with roller furling headsails.
This is very traditional advice that unfortunately is somewhat out of date. Fractionally rigged sloops are generally much easier to singlehand than cutters, and in most areas with moderate wind conditions are also much easier to handle than a ketch as well. The reason this is true is that most fractionally rigged sloops have smaller headsails than would be used on either of these and headsails require more strength to handle than the boom and mast mounted sails. Fractionally rigged sloops generally get by with sails that can be depowered rather than reefed and so are easier to sail across a wider wind range.

Jeff
 

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This is very traditional advice that unfortunately is somewhat out of date. Fractionally rigged sloops are generally much easier to singlehand than cutters, and in most areas with moderate wind conditions are also much easier to handle than a ketch as well. The reason this is true is that most fractionally rigged sloops have smaller headsails than would be used on either of these and headsails require more strength to handle than the boom and mast mounted sails. Fractionally rigged sloops generally get by with sails that can be depowered rather than reefed and so are easier to sail across a wider wind range.

Jeff
I am going to disagree with you here Jeff. While a fractionally rigged boat might be easy to handle when the winds are 10 to 2o knts if you are faced with 30 knots that is a big old main to wrestle.

I was a very cautious sailer when I had my 38 ft ketch as I was cruising on a shoestring. I also had limited big boat experience. Being able to drop the main and jog along under mizzen and headsail with the option of rolling away more of the headsail if it got really snottie was comforting. Ketches may be out of fashion but that might be due to the extra costs involved in the new build. I think it is worth noting that Henri Amel favoured ketches and he new a thing or two about building cruising boats.

Nowadays with my 44 ft cutter I will pull in the reef in the main before I leave and headout with main and staysail matching the strongest winds I expect to see. I will add headsail when we are in light winds.

Three sails gives you a more flexible set of options and for a single handed sailor that has to be a good thing.
 

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I am going to disagree with you here Jeff. While a fractionally rigged boat might be easy to handle when the winds are 10 to 2o knts if you are faced with 30 knots that is a big old main to wrestle.

I was a very cautious sailer when I had my 38 ft ketch as I was cruising on a shoestring. I also had limited big boat experience. Being able to drop the main and jog along under mizzen and headsail with the option of rolling away more of the headsail if it got really snottie was comforting. Ketches may be out of fashion but that might be due to the extra costs involved in the new build. I think it is worth noting that Henri Amel favoured ketches and he new a thing or two about building cruising boats.

Nowadays with my 44 ft cutter I will pull in the reef in the main before I leave and headout with main and staysail matching the strongest winds I expect to see. I will add headsail when we are in light winds.

Three sails gives you a more flexible set of options and for a single handed sailor that has to be a good thing.
I respectfully sugges that very much represents the viewpoint that I had until I started sailing fractionally rigged sloops on a regular basis. It is true that in a building stiff breeze a cutter rig offers the ability to shorten sail by dousing the yankee and reefing the mainsail, and sailing under reefed mainsail and staysail alone. Similarly the ketch can go jib and jigger by lowering the mainsail (as long as the ketch was not flying a genoa).

With my fractionally rigged sloop I do have to put in a first reef in my mainsail at around 20 knots of wind, but I don't have to change or reef my jib. But I can typically sail with that single reef using my full jib to around 30 knots after which I would need a second reef in the mainsail. The reason that works is because a 110% jib on a fractionally rigged sloop is roughly the same sail area as the staysail on a similarly sized cutter. Once reefed the fractionally rigged boat is a nice snug mast head rigged sloop with a mainsail no bigger than most cutters. In other words pretty much the same sail area as cutter with its mainsail reefed and only a staysail flying. Plus you can depower the sails on a fractional rig so that they behave like much smaller sails. That is why my current jib has a wind range between 3-4 knots and somewhere in the low 30 knots range. (The original poster David witnessed the jib performing on my boat from a less than 3 knot wind to slightly over 20 knot wind when he was in Annapolis last year)

The other nice thing for singlehanding is that, if you are trying to work in close quarters, most fractionally rigged boats will sail well under reefed mainsail alone, making it easy to short tack and change course with only one self tacking sail to deal with.

I will say that there is a point at which a fractionally rigged sloops stops being convenient. That range seems to be somewhere in the mid- 50 foot range. But if you look at the majority of modern offshore cruisers they pretty much all have shifted to fractional sloop rigs.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting points all around. I was thinking Krabbi since I have watch a lot of videos about SV Esper on YouTube and IIRC, her refit was done in Krabbi and I think that boat looks very nice... A bit too much white inside for my liking (I tend to like modern but still looking like some Gothic dungeon) but the interior seems very nice and spacious. Esper is a ketch too.

Since we're talking about sails- what about Junk rigged boats or even junks? Are junks even able to do blue water?

Also, someone like me would want to steer way clear of South Africa. I've had great experiences in SE Asia... they seem to like me there and are fair with me, at least. :) But that's just diving and training in Muay Thai... bringing my own home across this time is definitely a different kettle of fish!
 

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TQA, Jeff_H makes some interesting points but I still have to side with your choice for a world cruiser and one to single hand. Jeff's might be okay for around the bay or coastal hops. I have sailed for many, many, days at a time with the main stowed under the sail cover. In the trade winds, as Bill Seifert says, "It is easier to pull a boat than to push it." A main sail has little use to me when off the wind. A big jib is what is needed the most and a stay sail is at the ready, on roller furling, when the wind really pipes up. They can't make one boat and one rig to suite all situations.
 

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Single-handing a larger sailboat should not be impossible it's more about knowing how to setup various lines and sheets and halyards for mechanical advantage and cockpit location once a good understanding of that is in one's mind it's not too difficult to sail any boat.
 

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Interesting points all around. I was thinking Krabbi since I have watch a lot of videos about SV Esper on YouTube and IIRC, her refit was done in Krabbi and I think that boat looks very nice... A bit too much white inside for my liking (I tend to like modern but still looking like some Gothic dungeon) but the interior seems very nice and spacious. Esper is a ketch too.

Since we're talking about sails- what about Junk rigged boats or even junks? Are junks even able to do blue water?

Also, someone like me would want to steer way clear of South Africa. I've had great experiences in SE Asia... they seem to like me there and are fair with me, at least. :) But that's just diving and training in Muay Thai... bringing my own home across this time is definitely a different kettle of fish!
An Oyster 435 would be quite low on my list of boats to single-hand offshore. While I am a big fan of Kim Holman's design work, these are really big 43 footers to push around single-handed. The control line loads would be beyond what I would want to handle short-handed. These are also comparatively high drag designs relative to their stability which means more frequent sail changes which on a boat this big would grind a physically fit single-hander down. I suggest that you look for boats that have displacements below 20,000 lbs and more ideally down around 15,000 lbs.

Jeff
 

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Med... Do you actually have sailing experience?
 

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Depends on how it is "set up". Lots of tasks on a sailboat... some can easily be done by one person... sequences may be more challenging... Forces increase rapidly as size increases. You need to ask why you need a particular length boat and how to set up for short and single handed sailing. Example... anchoring.... chain trumps nylon rode... manual windlass trumps hand over hand tackle handling.... electrical windlass trumps manual windlass... 2 way electric trumps UP only...Remote control electric trumps bow only controls. Each step up makes it easier to single hand ANY size boat. Bigger boats will need the anchoring upgrades for single handing.

You decide.
 

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People single hand much larger boats, racing around the world, through the worst weather and latitudes, imaginable. Even couples out cruising together, in reality, one of them is a singlehander, as the partner is seasick in the bunk for days at at time, lacks interest in learning or for a number of reasons, not much help. It isn't hard to single hand a boat. Just takes practice like anything else in life.
Not ALL partners are as you generalize. Wow.
 

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Lol Donna, no, not all, but it is very common. And I'm one of the first to argue for equality in sailing
Not ALL partners are as you generalize. Wow.
 
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