View Full Version : Another new boat thread: singlehanders!

11-04-2011, 02:23 PM
Is there a true singlehanded dinghy designed to handle a person that weighs more than 225 pounds without danger of drowning or death by hypothermia? Easily rigged by one and towed by a small vehicle? Launched from a ramp, a beach, or a one-ton hoist? And oh yeah, let's say a cost <$5K US used or new.

I had expressed in the past an interest in a Kirby Fox, sort of an 18' Laser with a small keel, but they didn't make many of those and they are hard to find. I have done the Beetle Cat thing but you can't keep a planked wooden boat on a trailer and expect to sail it without problems. I had a Megabyte, which they advertise as a 'gentleman's Finn'. It's nothing like a Finn and it'll tip just like any lightweight dinghy will. And I owned two Finns, which were really the best boat for a bigger guy, but not for one with bad knees.

I see lots of singlehanders out there but they are generally too light. I am getting older and don't want to go swimming these days unless it's in a pool (and then only in the shallow end).

What do y'all think?

Mickey Lake

Paul Pless
11-04-2011, 02:29 PM
That's a tough question.

11-04-2011, 02:34 PM
Yeah, I know. From that other thread you can see that I have owned a bunch of different singlehanders, and the Finn is the only one that could really support my size and be fun to sail, but I don't want to daysail a freakin' Finn all the time. I'd rather have something I can at least relax a bit in. Steve Clark told me that it's not a good idea to depend on a keel to keep you dry and I understand that, but I think it'd be better than having to try and right a Finn out in Mobile Bay on a choppy day.

And oh yeah, I don't really like those little pretend metre boats. That doesn't really look like that much fun to me. Probably the best idea would be one of the Arey's Pond boats, but those things cost a lot of money.

Mickey Lake

11-04-2011, 03:05 PM
I thought you already had a Beetle?

I had a hankering to build a Paper Jet. Now it's grown into an i550. What's in between those? I dunno.

11-04-2011, 03:13 PM
I had a Beetle. I sold it to some friends. And as I said, Beetle's leak. I have a Penguin but if I sneeze it flips, and sometimes I sneeze while sailing.

There was a huge craze to build i550's in New Orleans for awhile, mainly because of Ryan Finn's success in single-handed sailing, but I am not sure if anyone actually built one. We were sailing something in New Orleans once and I went and looked at Ryan's boat. It was darn sure cool and looked fun to sail.

Mickey Lake

Robbie 2
11-04-2011, 03:19 PM
I saw an i550 sailing one day here in the Bay of Islands and it was way cool Y>................BUT I don't think it would be a single hander.

Paul Pless
11-04-2011, 03:23 PM
So its definitely got to be a 'class boat'?

11-04-2011, 03:31 PM
John Welsford's AWOL would work, it's a performance cruiser that was designed with single handing in mind, but it's a very big dinghy, I'd ball park double your budget.


John Bell
11-04-2011, 03:50 PM
What do you want to do with it? Race around the buoys or something else? FWIW, I'm about your size and singlehand 95% of the time. I love my Core Sound 17 for the sailing I do. I got lucky and bought a pretty decent boat for under your budget. You could build one for 4-5 thousand, depending on how resourceful you were.

There is a very nice B&B Lapwing 16 for sale in Oklahoma right now, one that was recently featured in the Launchings section of WB. He wants around 10K for it, but I think you get a lot for that money with this one.

11-04-2011, 04:07 PM
How about a Bobcat? A plywood Beetle that can be dry sailed?

11-04-2011, 05:53 PM
So its definitely got to be a 'class boat'?

Nope. Not at all. I have no desire to race a singlehanded boat again.

Unless I change my mind again later on.

Mickey Lake

11-04-2011, 06:22 PM
How about Jim Brown's Jaganda? Good turn of speed, easy to put together, and very easy on the knees.

http://www.google.com/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://www.seaworthysolutions.net/i/SC 20 Sea Trial/tn_IMG_0179.JPG&sa=X&ei=una0TsGKGNTqgQermaGlBA&ved=0CAwQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNG9KYQTVrCQFCHsSPYK0zHsAjFimA

Paul Pless
11-04-2011, 06:58 PM





11-04-2011, 07:09 PM
Yep, and that would be a great choice! Now, go find one for less than $5K that will keep out the water. :)

Of course, I am not in the market. Just thinking about it. Unless something odd happens I still on getting the 210, but for the coming retirement years a singlehander is probably going to be a must.

Mickey Lake

11-04-2011, 07:57 PM
I think it might be good to define your parameters as to just What a singlehander is/does. I singlehand my 41' cat often (of course, it's not generally available at prices under $5k) So does a singlehander get defined by price? How about trailerability, launching and rigging by just one person? What about beachability? A Beetle cat can't really be dragged easily up a beach. Is it a stability thing? A SA/Disp thing?

I think that in part, I understand what you're looking for.... something that you can go out and spend an afternoon by yourself sailing without having to be an athlete, or soaked, or....? Perhaps you're talking something that's good for one guy to go cruise for a week instead of an afternoon sail. It'd help me a bit to understand better if you could give a short list of what would make a good singlehander for You. It's a great subject. All to often, we all want to go for a sail but don't have anyone to join us (at least not on short notice).

11-04-2011, 08:06 PM
Given the price point, I've thought that a played-outTempest would suit me for more exciting singlehanding with the jib on a roller as the wind comes up. Or a Johnson 18 with a lead bulb on a drop keel, likewise. Neither is officially a singlehanded dinghy of course, so I'd just roll the jib up when hiking starts to cause pain and live happily enough with the compromise.

11-04-2011, 08:09 PM
No, a daysailor, not a cruiser or anything like that. And of course, few boats are easily launchable off of a beach if they have a keel, but I was wondering what other people's experiences were and what they found fun.

Except for my racing boats the boat I spent the most time on and had the most fun with was the Beetle, but it was, to put it rudely, a pain in the arse to try and maintain on a trailer in our heat down here. Charlie York at Beetle had told me it would be like that, but of course, I knew better. But I am always interested in new boats and different ideas and opinions.

What about an MC scow? 440 pounds or so. Plenty of designed stability. The pound in a chop but there are places around here it'd be fun to sail, and I saw one earlier tonight for $1000!

Mickey Lake

11-04-2011, 08:11 PM
I've thought that a Tempest would suit me for more exciting singlehanding with the jib on a roller as the wind comes up. Or a Johnson 18 with a lead bulb on a drop keel, likewise.

Oh, Dave. I need to set you up with my buddy Kevin from SA. He is THE Tempest guru on the east coast. I am surprised his ears aren't burning already :).

There was an old Tempest at the Mobile YC one time that you could have had for the asking. I wish I had asked now.

Mickey Lake

11-04-2011, 08:50 PM
I saw one in Newport... and another on eBay a while later. I'm still happy sailing the boat I have. I decided to not race this past year in the local beer can races and found I enjoyed sailing even more. I just focused on making the boat go best wherever the wind was strongest and let the rest take care of itself. Highly satisfying.

Don Kurylko
11-04-2011, 11:05 PM
Thistle? Not exactly a singlehander, but stable, reasonably fast and kinda fun. Old ones are cheap.

Don Kurylko
11-04-2011, 11:07 PM

11-04-2011, 11:24 PM
I vote rhodes 19. One of my most favorite boats to sail, singlehanded or not. You could even get the keel model, and not worry about tipping over at all, but the centerboard model is more trailerable, obviously.

I have a boat that suits your requirements though it is very rare:
Also, rhodes 18, wayfarer.

11-04-2011, 11:28 PM
MC's are the Gentleman's Laser, kinda. Big, roomy, pretty fast, no power hiking. Lots of older guys are racing them in Bellingham, WA. I've sailed them plenty, and there's lots to love - but capsize an older one and you are pretty much needing a tow and a big pump. They are uncomfortable to race, too, but that's not an issue, I see. Big fleets in Dallas, or there were - think the Black Tie Regatta at Rush Creek.

If you really liked the Beetle Cat, then Bolger's plywood version, the Bobcat - as already mentioned - seems like the most obvious choice. Reputedly not bad sailors, with none of the maintenance issues.

Also, the freestanding mast makes rigging and derigging far less time consuming - a facet that I find directly contributes to how much a trailer boat gets used!

Trevor S.
11-05-2011, 06:13 AM
I singlehand my MK1 Drascombe Lugger quite often. Launching and retrieval so far has not been a problem. She is not a light boat, at over 750lbs without an outboard or any other gear onboard, but she will handle a dirty bit of wind.

11-05-2011, 08:10 AM
I might mention that MC scows can be raced with two people, as well as singlehanded. Great boats.

Paul Pless
11-05-2011, 08:31 AM
A Snipe might not be a bad choice. Its got a fairly deep open cockpit and pretty wide decks to sit on. Its not like you'd be crowling around on your knees, if you weren't overpressing things. You would probably have a wetass though. . .

11-05-2011, 12:34 PM
The MC's have grown in popularity on the Florida lakes. There are quite a few down there iirc. A Snipe would not be a bad choice. I have a friend who has cruised a Snipe singlehanded like that fellow Tom McGrath did the Townie. His wife drops him off on one end of the keys and she picks him up at the other end. She goes down to Key West and visits friends and he sleeps in a tent and gets there when he feels like it. Sounds pretty fun to me right now.

Mickey Lake

11-05-2011, 01:20 PM
Is something along the lines of Iain Oughtred's Caledonia Yawl out of the question? Lots of folks seem to enjoy sailing them single handed or loaded with family.


11-05-2011, 01:52 PM
A Snipe might not be a bad choice. Its got a fairly deep open cockpit and pretty wide decks to sit on. Its not like you'd be crowling around on your knees, if you weren't overpressing things. You would probably have a wetass though. . .A Snipe is the wettest monohull I've ever sailed, and ideal crew weight would allow Mickey someone weighing as much as 100 lb. for racing. That's why I designed Black Swan. More stable for single handing, I can move the center of lateral resistance for sailing under main only, and the boat will carry considerably more weight then a Snipe without slowing way down. Only problem is, the Snipe rig is a lot better for sailing off a dinghy dock than a launching ramp, because it's pretty complex.

How about Rowan?
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-C6cAZE838-s/Tm5wzPbWE9I/AAAAAAAACug/KKHB5K_kWHA/s400/Rowan%2520rowing%2520out%2520of%2520Port%2520Towns end%25209-10-2011%25203-24-53%2520PM.jpg

Paul Pless
11-05-2011, 02:05 PM
My first sailboat as kid was a Snipe.

11-05-2011, 02:21 PM
My first sailboat as kid was a Snipe.In warm water, they're great. Maybe Mobile Bay would be fine. They were designed for Florida, after all.

It's just that when the water is cold, they're not as much fun, because they throw a lot of spray on the crew.

It would be kind of nice to have a boat with a kick-up centerboard and rudder for working off a beach and a rig you can stick in it and go.

11-05-2011, 02:22 PM
The Caledonia Yawl is a great boat for single handling and I'm Rowan would be a great choice too. Neither will dump you in the bay if you sneeze and they're capable of comfortably carrying a load. But I admit to being biased.


P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-05-2011, 05:34 PM
You could follow Frank Dye's example.....

The US wayfarer association has THE MOST OFFENSIVE WEB PAGE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD - dedicated to the man

frank pedersen
11-05-2011, 08:39 PM
Hi Mickey,

I think a Wayfarer is a great idea. I have single-handed one many times, and they plane very nicely. Key would be to have a strong vang, Cunningham and outhaul with some power assist, and an easy to adjust traveler. Then you could de-power the main effortlessly when the wind picks up. Also I would have the jib on a roller furler. With the board up slightly, you can comfortably balance the helm with no jib. A Wayfarer is quite stable, so there is little chance of going swimming. Launching down a ramp is possible single-handed, but if you have a hoist it is easier. Also the mast can be stepped and unstepped single-handed. Your weight would be just fine.

Wayfarer 8705

11-06-2011, 12:55 AM
Wayfarer is quite the boat. easy to sail, and relatively stable....

My Dad has just downsized his fleet after a series of operations on his spine. He was looking for a stable, quickish, dinghy that he could easily singlehand, or take the granchildren out in. It did not need to be trailerable, but that helps. He settled on a Yachting World Dayboat. Available in glass or wood, relatively cheap. Oh and if you want/need to race it you should find a fleet.

11-06-2011, 12:57 AM
You know, the boat I learned to sail on, the Merry Mac, might be the ticket. Far more stable and civilized than a Penguin.

Ned MacIntosh isn't building them any more, but the plans must be out there, these folks are building one.


Don Z.
11-06-2011, 09:12 AM
Mickey, you want a small single handed boat that does not require athletics. You have a background in Dragons. Are you missing the obvious?http://www.inter24metre.org/

11-06-2011, 02:36 PM
I had a hankering to build a Paper Jet. Now it's grown into an i550. What's in between those? I dunno.

No offense intended, but the Paper Jet bothers me. The bow is too fine and I picture it pitch-poling like a catamaran. I used to sail a 505 and screams! It planes upwind under ideal conditions and it lifts out of the water on a plane back to the mast on a 3-sail reach. The 505 is NOT a single-hander. However, the hull flares above the water line and water rolls off the side of the hull in a sheet. I see the Paper Jet submerging like a submarine. The i550 looks better, but I would shorten the cabin and extend the cockpit to get the crew weight centered. Just my 2 cents - good luck on whatever you choose.

S.V. Airlie
11-06-2011, 02:54 PM
I don't have a small boat and don't know. I single hand mine most of the time. Don't even have a winch of any kind. It just takes practice and one has to follow a set procedure. She is always wet top sides...

11-06-2011, 11:12 PM
I was looking over the i550 design(s) tonight and I have to say the A5 and A6 variations without the cabin top really appeal to me. There was also one photo with a trapeze. If there were a local fleet I could build into, I would give it some serious thought.

11-07-2011, 11:21 AM
I don't have a small boat and don't know. I single hand mine most of the time. Don't even have a winch of any kind. It just takes practice and one has to follow a set procedure. She is always wet top sides...

I don't believe that your boat would meet the ramp-launching requirements, Jamie, lovely as she is. :)

There have been some great suggestions here. Thanks, guys. I honestly believe that the ideal boat for the criteria is a 'glass cat boat, but most of those are very pricy even in the 'used' category. Of course, I am mighty tempted by the idea of giving a scow a try. That's one kind of boat I haven't ever sailed.

Mickey Lake

11-07-2011, 11:59 AM
Don't reject the Bobcat because it's plywood. There's glass over it and it will take living outside under a canvas tarp quite well. I have the sail covered and canvas over the cockpit. I roll up the canvas, remove the cover, put the rudder in place and wheel the boat on its dolly to the water. I am usually under sail about 10 minutes after leaving my car.

It's great to have a boat that you really can use if you only have an hour or two

11-07-2011, 01:26 PM
I must admit that I have always avoided cat rigs on the idea they are not balanced, but the Sandpipers shown above are lovely little things and they really speak to me. Every sailor needs a boat they can sail for 2 or 3 hours after work without spending most of that time rigging. What lovely simplicity!

11-07-2011, 01:32 PM
Catboats are balanced in my experience. With a gaff rig, they remain balanced as you reef them, which was a real surprise to me coming from a marconi rig that I had to reef a lot

11-07-2011, 02:48 PM
Catboats are balanced in my experience. With a gaff rig, they remain balanced as you reef them, which was a real surprise to me coming from a marconi rig that I had to reef a lot

I've heard stories of death rolls, but maybe more in things like Lasers that traditional catboats. The explanation I got was the center of effort was always far to one side of the center of resistance when going down wind. That said, most jibs would not seem to provide much balance, so maybe it's as much the hull as the rig?

11-07-2011, 03:19 PM
Never heard of a death roll in a Cape Cod catboat. The Laser's a completely different animal.

11-15-2011, 12:03 AM
Here's an M scow for you Mickey: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Melges-M20-Cedar-Plank-Racing-Scow-/300623827921?pt=Sailboats&hash=item45fe9393d1#v4-41

Ian McColgin
11-15-2011, 12:32 AM
I've no hesitation single-handing a Thistle. Just depower a tad from where the racers are at by easing the vang, maybe reef more often, and move the jib sheets a little. Nice thing about the Thistle is it can become a hot boat when you want and you can bring along a friend, hamper and some frosties.

11-15-2011, 12:04 PM
Here's an M scow for you Mickey: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Melges-M20-Cedar-Plank-Racing-Scow-/300623827921?pt=Sailboats&hash=item45fe9393d1#v4-41

lol, Dave! Not no, but HELL no! If I did ever decide to buy a scow (and I might!), it would be some old 'glass beater that had outlived it's racing life and someone wanted to sell for a thousand bucks. There is no way I would buy somebody's 'furniture boat' and bring it here for me to singlehand. It'd be a wreck in no time and I would be one also after my wife got through slapping me around. Beautiful boat, though. Lovely.

Mickey Lake

11-15-2011, 12:42 PM
What!?! That yellow paint scheme doesn't send you into an irrational buying frenzy? I thought for sure it would....

You're getting WAY too sensible, Mick. |;)

11-15-2011, 01:16 PM
How about one of the B&B yachts like the Bay River Skiff http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com/brs.htm

or a Core Sound 15 http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com/cs15.htm

Will Wheeler
11-29-2011, 12:51 AM
How about Y-flyers? Relatively cheap, big enough (18'), lots of room to sit on deck. Active race classes. Build your own even. It's just setting up the rig that's slow. But, most any boat with standing rigging will take time to rig.