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So, I bought my first sailboat a couple of years ago, a J22, because of its reputation as a great performer. I intended just to cruise around for awhile and maybe later ease into racing. Had hoped this would be a hobby that my wife and I would enjoy together. But a problem - she likes sailing as long as she doesn't have to constantly participate in handling the boat. I am a reasonable sailor, but there is no way I can handle jib, main, and tiller on this boat alone. To save my sailing hobby I'm now looking for ways to make the boat a little friendlier to get out on the water and single hand. I've already painted the bottom and put it in a slip. I'm now looking at installing a furling jib (has anyone here put one on their J22) and buying an outboard. Would love to hear comments and more ideas on how to help make this a single hander.
 

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I'll second eMckay. The roller furling jib alone would make a big difference. And the unit for a J22 is pretty small, so it could be a reasonable-priced but major upgrade. Of, course, you'll have to have a sailmaker modify the jib to work with roller furling, so there's some extra expense there. But still well worth it.

Alternatively -- If cruising is exclusively what you plan to do, maybe this is a good time to evaluate whether the J22 is the right boat for your circumstances? I love those J22s and frequently recommend them for folks looking to get into sailing and one-design racing. But there are better choices for laid-back cruising. Is it time to take the next step?

P.S. Welcome to SAILNET!!
 

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You must be married to My wife's twin sister :laugher

My wife is willing to helm while i raise and lower the sails and is also great about putting stuff away

The big issue Roller furling is really NOT going to help as on the 22 the winches are on the cabin top out of your reach ,on the 24 there much closer and i can helm and tack the 100% JIB

From a J24 point of view i would say the BOLT ROPE makes it hard to raise and lower buy your self ,I recently talked to my local loft and they would have no problems putting slugs on the mainsail which will make it much easier to raise, lower and flake

You will need a new cover and a slug stop to slip in the mast

I also use a homemade tiller tamer Which allows some time to do things



Also sometimes with the wife if its breezy i just go out with mainsail and it makes things much simpler
 

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I used a tiller tamer type of device on a small lake for years and it was a big help, but on a larger body of water, or when you want to get away from the tiller for longer periods of time, an electronic autopilot would be an excellent aid, but, then you have to start thinking about recharging your battery. I agree with John in suggesting it might be time to think about moving to a more cruising oriented boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have definitely considered moving to more of a cruising boat, certainly will do that in the future. But I guess I'm hoping for now that it's less trouble and expense to just make a few modifications to the J, despite the snickers. Thanks for all the good advice!
 

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single hand cruising a J22

Jeremy,

I singlehand a Catalina 22. The most important modification I made to make singlehanding possible was to install a tiller controller (tiller tamer). The next was to rig a means of doing virtually everything from the cockpit. Then, I rigged lines to ensure I could get back into the cockpit if I went overboard. Finally, I will often forego the 150% genoa (flying just the 110% because it's easier to handle)--and I always use a jib downhaul to keep the jib on the deck when I douse the sails.

I now have 6 lines leading back to the cockpit, organized to stay free of each other, 2 jibsheets, travellor and mainsheets, 3 winches, and a number of blocks and cleats to handle it all. I purposely chose not to use a roller furler because of weight, windage, and aerodynamics.

I cruise and race this boat, but she's primarily a weekend cruiser. With a few mods, you can make your J22 easy to singlehand and cruise without hurting her racing capability. I'm sure there are other J boat owners out there who have made similar mods to their boats.

Best wishes,

Pat
 

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I agree that the tiller tamer is a great accessory. But so is the ability to trim the sails so that she steers herself (no good for foredeck work but it allows you to tend to other things)

Neither of these books are new, but I found helpful advice in both:

Amazon.com: A Manual of Single Handed Sailing: Tony Meisel: Books

Amazon.com: Singlehanded Sailing: The Experiences and Techniques of the Lone Voyagers: Richard Henderson: Books

For the record, I single-hand much larger boats without difficulty, but with a lot of preparation. One is a '70s cruiser-racer with a huge J measurement, hank-on foresails and the halyard winch at the mast. I will motor out, go head to wind, crank up the main, leave it centered, pre-wrap both jib sheets on the winches loosely for when it is fully out on a reach (you can mark your sheets to indicate this), and then I will motor fast into the wind, throw the throttle back, throw the engine into neutral, and haul up the jib halyard (pre-loaded at the dock and with the sail either loose on the deck or barely held down with cotton thread) as fast as I can.

Usually, the jib is up and flogging before the boat can coast to a stop or fall off in either direction. I can get back to the cockpit and fall off one way or another and can trim or unwrap either winch, during which I steer with my legs or "by the seat of my pants". I'm middle-aged and the opposite of petite, so I figure most people can manage this, especially if the jib halyard runs back to the cockpit.

The bigger boat is a full-keeler with furling and hydraulic steering, making all this much easier (and more stately), as it tracks much better than the lighter fin keeler. The difference is that I get the main up at the mast, and simply unfurl the jib from the helm.
 

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I really enjoy sailing my J22 single-handed.
Yesterday I made a short coastal hop around the Dubai Palm in 10 - 12 knots, sailing solo.
While a tiller minding device like the one pictured would no doubt be great, I use a simple elastic bungee on the tiller to hold course while I go forward to attend to the jib(or the cool box!).
The elastic is tied between the two stern cleats with a central loop fitting over the end of the tiller. By taking extra loops of the elastic over the tiller, it's pretty easy to adjust the tension to maintain course.

I always sail in and out of the mooring on the mainsail - I've never yet used the outboard!

I always rig the jib flaked on the foredeck and retained with another elastic cord and a quick release snap shackle line back to the cockpit - it's usually not a problem to raise the jib when you're under way.

Having said all that, the J22 undoubtedly sails best with more than one person crewing.
When it's blowing more than about 10 knots close hauled and sheeted in, I find my weight (187 pounds) isn't really enough to keep the lee gunwale out of the water, and my new Quantum main doesn't have a reefing cringle.
I have to spill wind, or end up making too much leeway.

The return trip today with a friend crewing with me was much faster in similar wind conditions, just because of the extra weight keeping the windward rail down!
 

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Food for thought...while rigging your boat to be single-handed friendly, you should put some serious thought into how your significant other would handle the boat in cases of emergency. It is policy on my boat, if you are out with me...you are crew. The more you participate, the more you learn.....my .02.
 

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Some more thoughts...

Single handing a J22 is NOT crazy. But you need to establish some simple rules on modifications. First, NEVER make any permanent alteration that will take the boat out of class rules. The only one I think that may be broaching that is adding slugs to the main. In that case you can likely find a used main to replace it with if and when you decide to sell her. I don't know if adding deck hardware would be a big no-no or not, but adding gear to bring the halyards to the cockpit and adding a furler (I am sure this would be frowned upon but hey assuming you get a furler that can be as easily removed as it is add then no harm no foul. You may not be able to switch out winches for ST winches but with some cam cleats you can make do.

I don't race and have no plans to race. My boat is rigged with a roller furler and halyards led aft and I added lazy-jacks. I am considering a tiller pilot next (I have some nice big 30ST 2 speed winches for my spring projects.

One key to single handing (or perhaps more correctly, short handed) sailing is pre-planning. If you forget to get the chart-plotter out and plugged in before you hoist sails you may be stuck without it. Well, you get the idea. Of course you might want to get yourself a discreet bucket for those times when nature calls and the head is a long way off...
 
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