Does size really matter when you’re single handed?

Daydream believer

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It’s not just Vancouver’s though -you can do the same to a Hallberg I suspect
And a Moody :D
Actually I was sailing up the Wallet one sunny Sunday, next to a Halberg 35. He had full sail up &, because I had a self taking jib, & it was a dead run I had only my mainsail. Suddenly from 12 kts of wind & without warning a gust of over 25kts hit us. For the first time ever, my bow started to dig in . Water came over the deck. I was seriously worried about the boat going offline & possibly gybing. What I did was put the helm hard over & spun round into the wind & amid flapping sails etc. sailed on a close reach for a few minutes whilst I sorted the mainsheet & got over the shock. Then waited for the gust to go before returning to my course.
When I looked over to the HR, which was now some way in front, the bloke was still helming & I doubt if he even noticed much difference.. All looked calm & serene aboard. The difference in design :)& I expect the Vancouver sailor would have been the same.
A lesson in it not being all about performance.
 
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Poignard

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I think that a good autopilot is really important for single handed berthing. It gives you the time to lay out warps and fenders, study the sketch plan, case the joint, etc.
They are very useful but having had one suddenly fail with no warning, I don't trust them any more and I feel happier just heaving-to if under sail or drifting if not (always depending on the circumstances, of course).

A favourite way is to grab an unoccupied mooring buoy while getting things ready for the grand marina entry.
 

Daydream believer

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They are very useful but having had one suddenly fail with no warning, I don't trust them any more and I feel happier just heaving-to if under sail or drifting if not (always depending on the circumstances, of course).

A favourite way is to grab an unoccupied mooring buoy while getting things ready for the grand marina entry.
I have been let down on a number of occasions by my Raymarine AV100. It is a death trap.:eek: So although my boat does not lend itself to wind steering, being directionally unstable, I have an aeries which has saved me on many difficult trips.
 

dunedin

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I have been let down on a number of occasions by my Raymarine AV100. It is a death trap.:eek: So although my boat does not lend itself to wind steering, being directionally unstable, I have an aeries which has saved me on many difficult trips.
There is no doubt that a boat with an underdeck ram driven and modern autopilot makes singlehanding massively easier. Able to be flicked on instantly whenever needed, and able to sail downwind in waves in a blow. This is one reason why a slightly bigger boat can be easier to single hand than a smaller boat, when away from the pontoon.
 

LadyInBed

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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.
I used that technique once, but sans bow fender - no time, and didn't get off, coming into Roscoff marina on full flood. The engine was revving at a rate where I would be doing a good 5 knots!
Looped over a pontoon cleat up at the bow, then a finger cleat near the stern. It worked very well.
 

Poignard

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I used that technique once, but sans bow fender - no time, and didn't get off, coming into Roscoff marina on full flood. The engine was revving at a rate where I would be doing a good 5 knots!
Looped over a pontoon cleat up at the bow, then a finger cleat near the stern. It worked very well.
Pretty fierce that current there. :eek:
 

Birdseye

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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?
Knox Johnson took a 60 odd footer round the world single handed aged in his 70s so I dont think it is about size or your age so much as design and your skill and the boats equipment.
I started with a HUnter 26 which was an excellent starter boat but a bit of a big dinghy where you could never leave the tiller to do something else without an autohelm - and the latter wasnt that good at keeping control. In my list of boats was a 33 ft Prout cat with hydraulic steering and at sea you could leave it to potter on under its pilot and read a book - but berthing was not that easy. My current boat is a Starlight 35 which thanks to a hydraulic autopilot, a big rudder and good design will hold course in all weathers and all day. And in this case it isnt a problem at all to berth single handed without any sort of thruster.
So instead of size you need: low windage/ medium displacement ( ie not a big dinghy), decent pilot ( below deck), well mannered design ( doesnt round up when pressed), well laid out deck ( easy access to winches, reefing, instruments etc), The Starlight is quite the best such boat I have ever come across.
 

Birdseye

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I think that a good autopilot is really important for single handed berthing. It gives you the time to lay out warps and fenders, study the sketch plan, case the joint, etc.
But what is a good autopilot? It certainly isnt the Raymarine stick thingies that go between tiller and side deck - far too unreliable. For me its something like the one I inherited on my boat which is a below decks hydraulic system originally to a Robertson design but now sold by Simrad. Mine is 25 years old, has never ever failed and importantly is connected directly to the shaft of a big rudder with a decent skeg. It has happily kept me under control in 40kn winds (avge) , a spring tide and rolling waves in the Bristol channel.
 

KompetentKrew

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But what is a good autopilot? It certainly isnt the Raymarine stick thingies that go between tiller and side deck - far too unreliable. For me its something like the one I inherited on my boat which is a below decks hydraulic system originally to a Robertson design but now sold by Simrad. Mine is 25 years old, has never ever failed and importantly is connected directly to the shaft of a big rudder with a decent skeg. It has happily kept me under control in 40kn winds (avge) , a spring tide and rolling waves in the Bristol channel.
This model of Raymarine tiller pilot uses the same brains as the below-deck ones: Raymarine SPX/ SPX-5GP Removable Tiller Drive Autopilots

For a few hundred quid you can buy the Evo core pack without the tiller-pilot arm itself, and use a Pelagic actuator arm instead.

Yes, a below-decks autopilot is superior, in that it's out of the way and protected from the down below; you don't have to disengage it manually.

But the Pelagic is surprisingly competent, and copes just fine - I've used it in force 7+, so it would seem to be just as strong as many below-decks models.

The Pelagic is just an industrial actuator arm, and it should be possible to get them more cheaply directly from the Chinese e-commerce sites. I'll be looking into this this week, with a view to getting a spare.

(Disclaimer: I'm actually using an older Raymarine SmartPilot brains at the moment, not the Evo, with the Pelagic actuator arm).
 

Daydream believer

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This model of Raymarine tiller pilot uses the same brains as the below-deck ones: Raymarine SPX/ SPX-5GP Removable Tiller Drive Autopilots

For a few hundred quid you can buy the Evo core pack without the tiller-pilot arm itself, and use a Pelagic actuator arm instead.

Yes, a below-decks autopilot is superior, in that it's out of the way and protected from the down below; you don't have to disengage it manually.

But the Pelagic is surprisingly competent, and copes just fine - I've used it in force 7+, so it would seem to be just as strong as many below-decks models.

The Pelagic is just an industrial actuator arm, and it should be possible to get them more cheaply directly from the Chinese e-commerce sites. I'll be looking into this this week, with a view to getting a spare.

(Disclaimer: I'm actually using an older Raymarine SmartPilot brains at the moment, not the Evo, with the Pelagic actuator arm).
if you do source a Pelagic & it does work Ok I would love to know as my raymarine ram is carp. Recently it has started to stop working & I have to leave it for 30 mins before it will work again in rough down wind conditions. I am not sure if that is the "brains" or the ram

The brains of the EVO cannot cope with a boat broaching. My hanse will broach ( not so much broach but go round in the sea. the rudder still has grip) in a quartering sea in F6 . The old ST 2000 & Simrad TP32 would gradually bring the boat back on course. However, the Evo100 gets to 70 degrees off course & then reports a course error & cuts out.

This leaves the tiller locked hard over. If one cannot get to it, because one might be below., the boat will then finally come right round & go into a massive gybe. Not what you want in a F6. That is why I switch to my Aeries. It steers a wiggly course but GENERALLY brings the boat back on course, then straightens the boat up for a while, before the boat once again luffs up. So I end up steering well above my intended course.

I would like to know if the pelagic ram is better than the Raymarine one. It needs to be much faster ( for my boat at least) If it can hold the boat near to course it does not need to hold so much load. But once the boat is off course a lot, the load becomes very high. Sail trim is irrelevant. I have tried all settings.
 

pandos

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This model of Raymarine tiller pilot uses the same brains as the below-deck ones: Raymarine SPX/ SPX-5GP Removable Tiller Drive Autopilots

For a few hundred quid you can buy the Evo core pack without the tiller-pilot arm itself, and use a Pelagic actuator arm instead.

Yes, a below-decks autopilot is superior, in that it's out of the way and protected from the down below; you don't have to disengage it manually.

But the Pelagic is surprisingly competent, and copes just fine - I've used it in force 7+, so it would seem to be just as strong as many below-decks models.

The Pelagic is just an industrial actuator arm, and it should be possible to get them more cheaply directly from the Chinese e-commerce sites. I'll be looking into this this week, with a view to getting a spare.

(Disclaimer: I'm actually using an older Raymarine SmartPilot brains at the moment, not the Evo, with the Pelagic actuator arm).
I am sure that the the pelagic below deck unit is from these guys. Hydraulic Projects Ltd | Hy-Pro Motion & Control Solutions

If you find a chinese version please post a link as I'd like one to use with pypilot and a motor controller..

Autopilot Computers

AFAIk the difficulty with a below deck model is that it remains physically connected to the quadrant but once switched off you need to be able to back drive the ram without doing harm,
 

pyrojames

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I am sure that the the pelagic below deck unit is from these guys. Hydraulic Projects Ltd | Hy-Pro Motion & Control Solutions

If you find a chinese version please post a link as I'd like one to use with pypilot and a motor controller..

Autopilot Computers

AFAIk the difficulty with a below deck model is that it remains physically connected to the quadrant but once switched off you need to be able to back drive the ram without doing harm,
I bought a pump from HyPro but specified my own rams. All you need is a bypass valve on the hydraulics to back drive the ram. I am sure that this would be in the hypro assembly.
 
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geem

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They are very useful but having had one suddenly fail with no warning, I don't trust them any more and I feel happier just heaving-to if under sail or drifting if not (always depending on the circumstances, of course).

A favourite way is to grab an unoccupied mooring buoy while getting things ready for the grand marina entry.
A good below decks autopilot that operates at the press of a button is like a reliable crew member. You still need to keep one eye on where you are but it does free you up to do pre docking jobs. Faffing about with a tillerpilot is not the same
 

James W

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I bought a pump from HyPro but specified my own arms. All you need is a bypass valve on the hydraulics to back drive the ram. I am sure that this would be in the hypro assembly.
Hypro are a UK company and, from my experience, couldn’t be more helpful. They make the rams for a lot of the big name companies, only without the big name markup!
 
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