Does size really matter when you’re single handed?

Concerto

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Lovely.
And where does he show you how that works on the French and Dutch minimal buoyancy fingers that are a measly 3m long and have that natty loop for tying off at the end? Or the Baltic model, where you are expected to lasso two pilings en passent, while backing in with a forty knot cross wind and a long keel?
Duncan West's method for singlehanded or short handed, which I have used singlehanded, is to drop a folding dinghy anchor on a warp through the loop and jog it to open and pull the warp via the mid ship cleat. I have also moored on a Baltic type with twin piles. My method is to get only the windward pile and gently motor the boat orward until you can go forward to fix the bow and then move back and allow the wind to move the stern over to the other pile to fix the other line, finally adjust your position. Also possible to do it in reverse and you can usually loop both posts.
 

KompetentKrew

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Lovely.
And where does he show you how that works on the French and Dutch minimal buoyancy fingers that are a measly 3m long and have that natty loop for tying off at the end? Or the Baltic model, where you are expected to lasso two pilings en passent, while backing in with a forty knot cross wind and a long keel?
Page 83 of his book:


 

Poignard

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I have adopted a simple technique that I first saw a French yachtsman using.

Rig a bow fender.

Motor gently up to the walkway at the end of the catway so that the bow fender is pressed against it.

Leave the engine running slowly.

Put the tiller over towards the catway and hold it there with a loop of shockcord ( I have a loop each side)

The boat will stay put while you step ashore and attach your lines.
 
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Babylon

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I happily sail a traditional (narrow in beam, heavy, long-keeled, 2-3 single berths) 27 footer. Single-handed or two up at most, one still has to be disciplined about putting kit away below or space rapidly runs out. This would bother some people, however I know couples who happily cruise long-distances in theirs. A different more modern design of the same LOA would offer lightly more space, as would the 32ft (bigger sister) version of what I have.

I sometimes think I can do with something a bit bigger (say 30-34ft), but once one gets too big (say over 36-38ft) then lots of things get bigger - loads, expense, complexity, etc - and one starts to think in terms of bow-thrusters, electric winches, crew, not going into certain places, etc.

Just like to keep things small and simple... and have never been turned away from a berth nor been unable to get into one.
 
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Babylon

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Page 83 of his book:

Only snag - as he points out - is that doesn't work if there's already a boat on the other side of the French finger!

BUT, for me at least, there are no hard and fast rules: one just needs to keep versatile in one's thinking and come up with a suitable solution to each particular problem...

...e.g. in the past I've simply planned come in alongside and secure to the boat adjacent to me (especially if being blown off the finger) then simply warp myself over...

...or use Poignard's French method of a bow-fender detailed above...

...or whatever works for you.
 
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Daydream believer

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great Video! well in the short term I will be sailing Bristol Channel, West Coast, Eire and Scotland. Weekenders to Tenby, longer holidays to I hope Scilly or even Scotland. Post retirement, (6 years I hope) everywhere and anywhere. Definitely Baltic and Med then across the pond and beyond. I intend to have crew and company but don’t want this to be a dependency for use in any way. Budget is a tough one all being well I hope to be able to spend 50-100 but I’m not quite sure which end I’ll be at. An old friend who retired ahead of me got an Oyster 406DS to do the big trip but he had deeper pockets
At sea a bigger boat is easier & the platform is better as it is more stable. i sail a 31 ft boat & cover almost 2000 miles PA ( in non covid times) I nearly bought a 37 ft boat 2 years ago but decided that i was not fit enough & do not have the strength. I have done over 300 lock passages, 75% SH & in a 31 ft boat less than 8 have ever gone wrong. I have transited following 2 of my friends in their 40ft boat & when they get it wrong they really struggle with the weight & that is for 2 of them.
A bigger boat covers the ground quicker which means less time at sea so less tiring & 100 mile trips can be done in under 20 hours easily enough. That is quite dooable for a SH sailor in the Coastal & X channel waters that you mention. However, if one wants to go across the Atlantic then i would look for a 35-37 ft boat. This will let you sail locally & get you off ocean sailing OK.

What one has to remember is that one might be very fit 6 years BEFORE retirement but things change rapidly & 6 years AFTER retirement the ability ( & indeed the desire) to run about the deck etc does not come so easily. That is why I have stopped with my 31 ft boat. It has Self taking jib & all lines lead to the cockpit. I still like to sail it though & there are the options of 26 different controls lead aft if I choose to use them- although not all at once.

One thing that I would really look for in a yacht which is missing from mine is the ability to heave too safely in really heavy weather such that one can shut the hatch & go below. Just being able to stop & take count sometimes makes all the difference. In my last 2 boats i would get into a pickle, heave too, take stock, sort myself out, take a breather, settle down & then go off again. I cannot do that in my Hanse. However, the short fin makes manouvering in marinas an absolute doddle. Plus it is fast. So it is a trade off. You takes your choice

One final thing is space. one can sail a 31 ft boat anywhere & get in & out of most marinas. My 1.8 draft is rarely a problem & i sail on the east coast. I would never have bilge keels as I care about performance. If a marina is busy I have never been turned away but bigger boats have.

I can sail comfortably for weeks on my own. I can also sail for weeks with my wife without a single argument;). However, add my daughter ( 2 b..y women on a boat :eek:!!!) as much as I love them both, or go with 2 friends & 14 days is enough. Pushing past the saloon table to get to the heads from the bow cabin every 5 minutesso you have to keep moving. Or shoving clothes & bags everywhere & keeping the boat in a constant mess with damp towels hung up over the doors etc gets on ones nerves after a while.
So if you are planning on any long trips with crew think carefully about stowage & room & how many you intend to take & how long for. A bigger boat allows a bit of freedom, where one can curl up in a corner & let them get on with it, while you read a book & chill.
Believe me, we all need space on a long trip sometimes-- I love SH sailing (y)
 
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Stemar

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Can you not heave to in a Hanse by clipping back the self tacker ? Just asking as we have one (self tacker ) but I have never tried it
That ought to work, but it's quite a small jib, so you'd probably need to ease the mainsheet a fair bit to balance the two. There is, of course, only one way to find out, to get out there and look like an idiot for a few minutes while you work it out :)
 

JimC

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Can you not heave to in a Hanse by clipping back the self tacker ? Just asking as we have one (self tacker ) but I have never tried it
I think the problem is that you can't get the clew of the jib far enough to weather. My Hunter Channel 31 has a s/t jib and I tie a short line from the clew eyelet to a stanchion base to improve heaving to.
 

RupertW

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I have adopted a simple technique that I first saw a French yachtsman using.

Rig a bow fender.

Motor gently up to the walkway at the end of the catway so that the bow fender is pressed against it.

Leave the engine running slowly.

Put the tiller over towards the catway and hold it there with a loop of shockcord ( I have a loop each side)

The boat will stay put while you step ashore and attach your lines.
Or better still rig a couple of stern fenders and you have a wide flat surface to hold the boat against.
 

Daydream believer

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That ought to work, but it's quite a small jib, so you'd probably need to ease the mainsheet a fair bit to balance the two. There is, of course, only one way to find out, to get out there and look like an idiot for a few minutes while you work it out :)
Just to be sure, I am talking about heaving too in F8. Not in f4 with someone nudging the helm every few minutes. Lots of owners have tried it & i know of one owner who has deemed it impossible even in his 60ft Hanse. The fin is quite short- as for many AWBs & of course one can lock the ST over. I use haulers for when i am off the wind so I can easily keep the jib to one side. I have tried all variations of mainsail angle & tiller angle without lasting RELIABLE success. On my last 2 boats I could let the main right out & they would partially fillwithout actually flogging ; but on the Hanse the main flogs so much that it would soon ruin my laminate sails.
On thing I have not tried & will do once covid allows me to go sailing again, is to haul the fully reefed mainsail hard in to the centre line with jib furled. Lock the tiller ( not sure what way !!) & see what happens. An owner says that it works. Not sure it will, but will give it a go. Need at least an F7 & a bit of sea running first. What I do NOT want is a flogging mainsail.
 

Daydream believer

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Duncan West's method for singlehanded or short handed, which I have used singlehanded, is to drop a folding dinghy anchor on a warp through the loop and jog it to open and pull the warp via the mid ship cleat. I have also moored on a Baltic type with twin piles. My method is to get only the windward pile and gently motor the boat orward until you can go forward to fix the bow and then move back and allow the wind to move the stern over to the other pile to fix the other line, finally adjust your position. Also possible to do it in reverse and you can usually loop both posts.
I did a short article in our cruising website Stonemoorings.com ( by the way we have moorings available on the river Blackwater Moorings available ) & the article can be found at
box mooring
I did a trip up to Middleburg for a trial run prior to our later cancelled Dutch cruise, to practice single handed box mooring.I did not want the others see me mess it up:( Actually it went OK except it was made harder by the fact that the pontoon had rings which were a pain to get the bow lines through. Plus it was a job to see how far the bow was off the pontoon when standing at the helm.
 

oldmanofthehills

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Our choice of what might be our final boat was partly dictated by mooring and berthing considerations.

I admire the bravery of the man lasooing the finger berth. We once tried similar on a windy day and demolished the hosepipe reel on the cross pontoon, and that with our old more manoeuvrable boat. Mind you we now haver a long keeler so any manouvering a challenge at low speeds. Happily we avoid marinas and it is fine for alongside wharfs and pontoons, and on swinging moorings.
 
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