Does size really matter when you’re single handed?

Kukri

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My boat is a fraction the size of yours but even on mine I’d be reluctant to step onto pontoon until at least one line is made fast. Are you saying that you step onto pontoon with a line in hand before any other line has been made fast? If things go tits up I’d rather be on the boat than on the pontoon watching the unmanned boat going off on its merry way.
Well, yes. The boat is heavy and has quite low windage so in any normal conditions there is ample time to step down and throw a line round a pontoon cleat, assuming that she has stopped, relative to the pontoon. That’s never been an issue.

The lasso a cleat idea works if (a) there is a suitable cleat to lasso (b) the wind doesn’t blow your loop of line back at you, (c) you are good at lassoing things.
 
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Concerto

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Also worth saying that with boats, sometimes practice doesn't make perfect, it makes damage and repair bills. If the boat doesn't handle a certain way then repeatedly bashing into your neighbors and the pontoon won't change that no matter how many times you ignore it and try.
If any one has that amount of problem berthing, perhaps some professional training on their own boat should be undertaken. Once the knowledge of understanding how to handle your own boat is known, then practice will make perfect (well most of the time as we all can make a mistake).

The alternative will be to ask for an easier berth.
 

lustyd

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If any one has that amount of problem berthing, perhaps some professional training on their own boat should be undertaken. Once the knowledge of understanding how to handle your own boat is known, then practice will make perfect (well most of the time as we all can make a mistake).

The alternative will be to ask for an easier berth.
Your arrogance is astounding. For what it's worth, two RYA instructors have been aboard my current boat and both gave the same advice. Neither agreed with your narrow world view.
 

Concerto

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Your arrogance is astounding. For what it's worth, two RYA instructors have been aboard my current boat and both gave the same advice. Neither agreed with your narrow world view.
Sorry, I forgot what you wrote in post #3, 10 pages ago.

I could sail any sized boat single handed with ease. Could I moor one though? My 36 is a challenge to leave and return a marina berth solo. I reckon I could do a mooring buoy alone, and I'm certain I could handle it on a calm day. That said, there's an identical boat in my marina and he comes and goes solo so maybe it's practice.

I was not trying to be patronising to you, but it was a general comment. However, your last sentence seems to agree with what I said.
 

lustyd

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However, your last sentence seems to agree with what I said.
Indeed, some of us learn over time and I now understand how he managed alone. In a windless marina (Port Solent, inside a lock and surrounded by buildings) on an easy pontoon he reversed up a fairway parallel to his berth to end up against the pontoon which he reversed against for stability while he stepped off of the stern. That's fine for a lucky home berth (well not lucky it's his personal berth next to his house), but not a strategy to rely on in the wild. It doesn't help with a cross wind on a finger berth in a tide.

So yes, my opinion does change over time as I learn new things.
 

SailingEd

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Evening all,

what do you think? I intend to do a fair bit of single handed but Mrs B like a bit of space and comfort. I’ve got ambitions for longer passages when I have more time so my question is about boat size. A lot of my sailing friends think anything over 32 would be tricky but I love the idea of a go anywhere boat and have been eeying up nauticat 35-43, moodys, westerly oyster and bavaria oceans. I’ve seen plenty of you tube videos of folk happily sailing 40ft plus boats so what are the pro’s and cons?
my 2 cents;

I'm happy to single hand anything up to 40ft ish while out at sea (with the right kind of equipment), to be honest the bigger boats are usually less harsh on the body and you get a more comfortable ride, where you may fall foul is in marinas especially if you go the long keel route of a nauticat, and also enclosed pilot house, where there's many obstacles between the helm and your cleats and if trying to dock in a bit of wind it will certainly test your patience.
after all you will find millions of video's of folk sailing them solo in open water, not so many of them docking a longkeel singlehanded in a blow / cross tide, a modern keel will turn on a sixpence without any bowthrusters etc. and a bav ocean will handle completely different to a nauticat is my point anyway, one being easy to dock, the other more... docking and going astern where she wants to.

also on your list of boats is moody, oyster, westerly etc, but boats of that vintage unless modified wont have all control lines led to the cockpit, and fighting with a halyard or reefing line at the mast isnt my idea of fun soloing, but to each their own.

it will all come down to a compromise, most boats are...

smaller boats are cheaper, to buy, maintain, and purchase equipment for (anchors, lines, winches etc) easier to "manhandle" in a marina, but they're slower, less room (both for people and equipment) and less stowage, i would also say they're a little more of a bumpy ride in the rough stuff but perfectly capable, but even so if you don't have enough room on a 32ft for two people just sailing on holidays etc... your packing the wrong stuff ;)

its not just about boat size though its more about equipment, and how able you are personally when (not if) that equipment fails, for example pulling up an anchor on a 16ton long keel boat by hand is a whole different world to a light smaller fiberglass boat, especially when its windy! you need to be a bit heath robinson and able to deal with those scenarios on your own out at sea and it will be a struggle. (every solo sailor is a bit of an engineer and problem solver, you need to be!)

finally 32ft was plenty for me, my partner and two kids for many years sailing most of Europe, it was cheap fun sailing!, We have 40ft now for my circumnavigation, but then we do live on board full time now, (well i do, my other half flies out and skips some of the longer passages, hence solo sailing 40ft) the more space you have is just more room to fit in crap you dont need, our spare cabin is full of folding bikes, inflatable kayaks and paddle boards!

but we're also doing a circumnavigation with a few friends and buddy boats we've met along the way, the smallest is 32ft, another couple has a 56ft with full electric winches and everything... the price per month we all pay cruising to see and stay in the exact same places is a HUGE difference.
 

doug748

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If you are single handed,100% of the crew are on the pontoon belaying the midships line to the pontoon cleat. This means that the whole crew will have to get back on board to put the engine back into gear. Quicker to take a bow line and belay that and then a stern line, or vice versa (your vessel may vary).


Yes, midship cleats are grand if you can also find an onshore fitting adjacent to it, even then there is plenty of margin for the bow or stern to fall away, in strong conditions. If the two cleats don't line up, the scope for losing the bow or stern is magnified - hence the advice to motor against the line. Of course if you go to the sidedeck and, for whatever reason, miss the shore cleat then things can get out of hand, with you marooned. In a boxed finger berth, you reach a point where it is better to do nothing and light a cigar.
I have tended to revert to the idea #202 of: midship line then getting ashore with bow and stern lines ASAP. However, as we all know, every day/berth/boat is different. But you know all this, I am telling you nothing. Except with a 50ft boat our spirit and good wishes ride with you 🙂

This is from first principles, I have never had to take a large boat alongside but I sailed with a pal who singlehanded his 48 footer, he had an easier job than the rest of us because he always radioed ahead and bagged an easy berth, rather than the hurly-burly of a pontoon finger.



"Many modern boats would drift sideways way before you got to your berth............."

Indeed, on the business of going slowly, the slower you go the greater the effect of any current of wind, which may very well throw you at the last minute. As you slow, you suddenly find you are being carried past the berth when you were heading right for it. I prefer to have a bit of way on, any boat will stall at some point at if that happens on the approach you are in a pickle. Downtide is worst, in many boats if you stall trying that approach you are odds on to end up 90deg across the head of the berths - or hitting something.

.
 

dunedin

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Getting one line ashore from a midships cleat and motoring slow ahead against it is my normal drill when two handed.

If I were more proficient at lassoing cleats, this would work single handed. Or perhaps I should dig out my Grabit boat hook…
What I have started doing, based from comments on here, is using a rope with a large bowline on the end, but with the loop of the bowline threaded through flexible plastic water pipe. This holds the loop open so makes much easier to get round the cleat.
Sometimes also use boathook, with one bit of tape to hold loop to pol, which can be detached easily once looped. Bringing back from mid cleat to genoa winch is crucial, as once looped on can pull on tension to avoid slipping off backwards, then gentle power on ahead to pun boat in. Kettle on then sort ropes :cool:
PS. It doesn’t always work so smoothly, but better having to swap to Plan B when safe in the cockpit than standing balanced on a pontoon trying to stop a large boat from blowing off.
PPS. I have successfully used a Hook & Moor to get a Mid rope through a pontoon with just small metal rings, but that is definitely more tricky to get through, back and secure before blowing off.
 

Slowboat35

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And as you glide gracefully into position, stop the boat inch-perfect, hop lithely out of the cockpit to the centre cleat and swing the bight to lasso the .. er...oh --- whaaat?? Aaah! Fuggit!

Staple!

My home marina uses these abominations and won't change them. I now use a stainless carabiner-type device that deploys on the boathook to snag the aft staple abeam the cockpit with two lines attached, a stern-line and one running to the centre cleat and back to the cockpit. with a bit of engine ahead and wheel away from the dock she usually stops nicely. If the bow pays off too much or too fast I let her ease forwards until the bobstay catches in the gap between the planks of the finger. Not neat, not very seamanlike but it works.
I do wish marinas published the means of attachment in their bumpf...
 
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