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Thread: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

  1. #1
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    Default What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I may be developing a case of "His eyes are bigger than his stomach", as we say of a toddler who asks for more food than he can eat.

    I know I can easily single hand a 20,000lbs gaff cutter* of 37ft LOA and 650 sq ft, and a 38ft masthead bermuda sloop** of 16,000lbs and 586 sq ft .

    Now, If I try this on a Bermuda cutter*** of 55ft and 38,000 lbs with 1,100 sq ft , will I come unstuck?

    * Wood, long keel, useless engine, good manual windlass, roller reefing mainsail.

    ** GRP composite, moderate fin and skeg, 30hp, manual windlass, slab reef main, roller headsail

    *** GRP, moderate fin and skeg, 45hp, slab reef main, hanked headsails, no windlass at the moment (but would plan on electric)

    Interestingly, my no.2 son's Squib keelboat, an absolute joy to sail, feels a bit "small and tippy" when I venture onto her foredeck.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    In addition to the windlass I would want;
    Self tailing winches
    Lazy jacks
    Auto pilot

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    We've been double-handing a NY 32 (26,000 lbs., with 1,000 ft of working sail), and recently are thinking about the aging process. Oddly, it is docking that is a big limiting factor--handling lines, etc. The sails in a squall are another one, which is infrequent enough to ignore until you are grappling with 650 sq. ft of canvass and a 24 ft. boom in 40 knots or so. Roller furling likewise tends to jam in such squalls. Might note that while we double-hand, the tiller location means almost all of the deck work is done single-handed. Might note that lazy jacks, roller furling headsail, and an electric anchor windlass have become more or less necessities. Also an electric tiller-mounted autopilot---which helps a lot launching and retrieving sails. Also, might note that Gypsy Moth IV was 53 ft. overall, albeit light displacement and short-rigged. Not much anchoring or docking, however.
    Last edited by Dan McCosh; 07-11-2018 at 09:47 AM.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Furling a big Genoa single handed when it has kicked up is a chore. The sheet has to be handled as the furling line is brought in. It is a two handed job minimum and tricky.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Thank you. Very helpful, It's not so much that I am intending to singlehand this beast as that I have a rule that I won't own a boat that I cannot singlehand.

    I would want self tailers (which she hasn't got!!) and an autopilot for sure, but I am not (based on my limited experience) a fan of roller reefing headsails or lazyjacks; the very expensive ones are fine but the less expensive ones (the ones I might afford!) seem less wonderful.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I had an old friend, he was the son of a Bristol Channel Pilot from the days when they were sailors. He sailed a Laurent Giles 30ft Wanderer class. As he got older he decided to downsize, he bought a Laurent Giles Lymington L. 23ft.It was not a success, he found the side decks too narrow and the motion at sea difficult, he was now in his eighties. After a bit he sold this boat and bought a 19ft open tosher. It was a revelation.He felt secure in it, it was easy to sail and manoeuvrable, it had no engine. We had may good days out in it. One day when we got back to the Club I offered to carry the oars home. "Oh no boyo, he said, people will think I'm past it" I think he was in his early nineties at the time.I am now approaching the years when this decision will need to be made, I currently have a 35ft Buchanan and am in my eighties. Personally I hope to go to the open boat route, but this is currently not popular with the crew. (Mrs). Anyway my question would be, Andrew why do you need a boat of such size? You will have far more fun with something that does not require huge physical effort, and is easily manageable in all its aspects. Your comments about a tippy foredeck also point to one of the problems of getting older, a decline in balance. Such is life!

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    In August 2016 I was in my sixties, just….in june 2026 I will still be in my sixties, just… i suspect a big difference

    Have you seen the vessels or is it hypothetical.? I have never single-handed unless you count crewing on a 14metre steel ketch where there were two of us but of course there are times when you're in the pit alone while the skipper's having a kip.

    If it was me, and I wouldn't do it now, I would take a competent crew and say ' You sit there .If I need you I'll call . ' and then have a good squally day or two out maybe the North Sea in October, over to the Freislands and back, knowing you aren't alone if it all is a bit much. kind of trial by fire, but it could be quite sobering, and if its all just a blast, go for it.

    If you are just going to mootch about in coastal and estuary stuff, I don't see size has a great deal to do with it. I crewed a 1895 Bacalhoeira 30 metre gaff rig, think Thames Barge without lee boards, to and fro from the Algarve to La Coruna a few times and never more than twenty nms from the coast, and the joy of the bigger boats is the slower pace of things. I get get more freaked on a Hobie cat, or Vaurien or Enterprise in a stiff breeze than than a nine metre in a gale. Not good with the twitchy stuff these days.
    'C'est la vie' say the old folks it goes to show you never can tell

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Last week I was giving a lecture at Madingley Hall, and, having some time to kill, I took the family punting on the "backs". It was a good forty years since I had tried it, and I was very hesitant about climbing onto the afterdeck with the pole. Indeed I toyed with the shameful idea of punting from the Oxford end. After a minute I sorted myself out and was quite happy, and, although I cannot make the speeds that I did when I was twenty, I was not at all tired when we got back.

    Jeremy - here's the answer:

    https://www.berthon.co.uk/yacht-for-...n-55-kukri.pdf

    I have always fancied these... and because she is too big, and not "fitted out as a yacht", she is correspondingly cheap.

    It's not that I intend to singlehand such a beast - it's just the thought that one might need to so.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I can see your point! Looks a bargain.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I am mid 60's, and single-hand most of the time, (wife is busy with the farm animals....her passion).
    As things get bigger we need (not just as older gentlemen) more mechanical assistance to manage. Obviously with more money and technology a single person can handle a much larger boat.
    Anchor handling....A manual windlass works up to about 100 lb anchor, plus chain. By that time, heaving up is pretty slow, and in a crowded anchorage or weather situations it may be difficult to get the hook home and secure and handle the boat....been there and done it....I'd fit a power windlass before I got to the 100lb hook.
    Sail handling.......The old rule of thumb, maximum sail for single handing 500 sqft. I think the point here is having control of the sail....suitable sheeting/vang's/downhauls/reefing.....winches...tackle.
    Headsails......Like Andrew I am not a big fan of roller furling/reefing in headsails. Particularly bigger genoas. I have had difficulties with this equipment just enough times that I am wary. I think cruising is very different from racing, and the necessary equipment for racing is not necessarily good for a cruising boat. This is partly because I do not want to be unduly concerned about the weather. I have a reef in my working jib....I have never used it in anger.
    Mainsails....I have never used roller reefing on the main...I think that is a British thing, I know a lot of British yachts and sailors have it. I have slab reefing and have the thing set up so I can tuck a reef in about a minute, and with my rig I don't even have to stop. On a larger boat in the past reefing was a bigger deal, but I always considered is a basic skill and set up the rigging so it was easy and safe. If it is not easy/safe, then there is a tendency for people to put it off until it is a chore/exciting. Of course each boat is a little different, some are more exciting in snotty weather than others.
    I like my lazy-jacks. They are self tending. They are snug when the boom is resting on the topping life. and when the sail is hoisted the boom hangs from the sail and the topping lift and lazy-jacks are slack. It is only occasionally that I release them and secure them to the mast....out of the way. They effectively gather the sail when it is dropped or during reefing and are slack and do not interfere with the sail in any other way. Self tending.....

    Berthing.....There is no doubt that a larger boat is more of a handful to come alongside than a smaller boat. Obviously a bow thruster can help, but getting alongside in a breeze and getting the lines out at least takes planning and preparation, and may be exciting.

    Navigating.....piloting and sailing....as things get bigger there are more things to keep track of. Other traffic, nearby dangers....The larger boat needs more room to maneuver and you need more space around you....the pucker factor increases geometrically as the boat gets bigger. Very often the larger boat will not have the same level of all around unobstructed visibility, so global awareness is hampered. Again modern technology to the rescue....chart-plotters take a lot of the guesswork out of piloting, and autopilots are like an extra crew that you don't have to argue with very often.

    More complexity in a boat are more things to break at the wrong moment. What do you do if something critical falls over while you are out, can you proceed with you voyage without it or fix it, or have a plan "B".....and ...."C". Your ability to single hand will be tested then.

    On the thread about anchoring. I have been reminded how much I like having everything simple and manageable by me. I am not sure I want a larger boat. I know I can handle a larger boat...have done so, but mine is large enough for my 'Adventures' and small enough to handle in situations that are just a little more exciting.

    I don't yet feel very limited by my age. I am fit and pretty robust. For cruising I prefer a divided rig, particularly in larger boats. All the elements are somewhat smaller and therefore easier to handle.
    Last edited by gilberj; 07-11-2018 at 12:26 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Twelve single berths might be saying something about single-handing.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    Twelve single berths might be saying something about single-handing.
    Funnily enough there is a sister vessel for sale in Noumea, a place where my Merchant Navy son has been but I have not, described as an "easy single hander". But she has had much more gear fitted. These boats were used for military "adventure training", hence 12 bunks, no windlass, no self tailers. etc...

    I would not envisage using either the genoas or the spinnakers that these boats come with; jib and staysail and good reefing gear on the main should help to keep things manageable. Like GilberJ I like reef points in my headsails. I'd rather put a reef in a headsail than change it.
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 07-11-2018 at 12:26 PM.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    It is worth noting that when a ship is assessed for a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate, there is a fairly complex calculation...which is mostly concerned with emergency situations. Normal duties could be accomplished safely with a relatively few people, but what happens when something hits the fan.....
    I think that way of thinking applies here as well.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by gilberj View Post
    It is worth noting that when a ship is assessed for a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate, there is a fairly complex calculation...which is mostly concerned with emergency situations. Normal duties could be accomplished safely with a relatively few people, but what happens when something hits the fan.....
    I think that way of thinking applies here as well.
    In my experience the SMC is assessed on "all hands and the cook for mooring stations"! But, applying the logic of doing an SMC properly, this boat needs a crew of four, five better, three minimal, as she is, I think.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I agree....That is a marvelous looking boat, with real expedition potential. I'd not be thinking single handed, probably even with a lot of upgrades....It is fun to let the imagination wander though.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Unless you're superman, you won't be changing headsails on that boat by yourself on the marina, it's not the sail area but more the weight and the bulk.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    FWIW, a friend of mine who owns the 42' schooner Malabar II, and who used to captain the 62' schooner When & If (among other vessels), once advised me that the defining limiting factor for singlehanding was not the sail area, which can be reduced proactively, but the ground tackle. You can't reduce the minimum size of the anchor you need in heavy weather, and getting it up and down, and safely stowed, if (when?) the electric windlass conks out, can make or break you. That advice was offered probably 35 years ago, and in the years of sailing since, it has come to feel to me as very good wisdom.

    Somewhat relevant to this thread: That same friend once assured me, "the amount of fun you can have in a boat is inverse proportion to the size of the boat." This was during a visit, with Malabar II swinging on our guest mooring, when he, given the choice, had jumped at a sail in my 19' sloop rather than going sailing in his schooner. Again, his wisdom stands unchallenged in my experience.

    All that said, I think the principle of not taking on a boat you couldn't singlehand in a pinch is genuine good sense.

    Alex

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    There's a lot of good stuff that I see here and reflects my own experience and feelings. I don't think handling a largish boat at sea is particularly hard but the docking / marina issue can be for sure. Riada is a 45 ft ketch of about 13 or 14 tons, so split sail areas and quite a lot smaller than that superb Nicholson.
    Furling/ reefing headsails, well... I would be sitting in an arm chair talking stories rather than sailing in a wide range of weather if I didn't have one, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Like every tool they need a skill set to use and they need maintenance. Our very heavy #3 do everything 5 to 50 knot sail is difficult to get off and onto its foil even with kiwislides because of its bulk . It might only weigh say 30 kg on the scales but when you have your arms stretched around it in its bag like its a barrel it is awkward to say the least. Changing headsails on that Nicholson will need a team. So mine stays on most of the time and does its 5 to 50 knot thing. Furling it? most people call it a large sail , we don't have an electric sheet winch and most of the time I furl it by hand , then go to a winch sometimes. Best technique is good ole Wykham martin style , bear away , blanket it with the main and depower it, furl by hand. By myself in a breeze I sheet out some and furl some , repeat.

    Electric windlass? We have one,just like tens of thousands of moderately large boats out there cruising far destinations. It has caused problems and many people do have problems. But most cruisers , myself included , have back up plans which range from buoying the chain and coming back later , to extra snub hooks on line back to sheet winches , to a secondary windlass either manual or another electric , to a whole replacement unit sitting down below. Ain't going without it.
    Lazy jacks ? they don't have to be complex. one set of lines just like topping lifts on a gaff can be really helpful. I have more to chuck my sails into a bag cover on the boom. I don't see an issue , they're set and forget, I don't adjust them to use them, they stay in one setting a year or so at a time.
    So if I was contemplating that red boat it would be jib furler , maybe staysail as well, lazy jacks, auto pilot , dodger, and a vertical windlass.
    solar panels , nav package ( band G or Simrad probably) watermaker, sat phone/ iridium go... I think I just spent another 25 k UKP for you Andrew. and that might an optimistic view.
    Last edited by John B; 07-11-2018 at 05:15 PM.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    We had a 55 foot steel ketch for several years which I mostly singlehanded in effect. My wife was not ashore with animals, she was on board with small children. The boat was well set up for single handing. She was actually built for a paraplegic. All sail,handling lines led back to the helms mans seat, where there were 2 electric winches. Not self tailing. Cam jammer before the winch, so each winch handled several lines. She was a cutter ketch. Furling headsails on Hood Profurls. Dutchman flaking on the main. Reliable Perkins 120 hp. Very strong electric anchor winch. As others have said, getting tied up at the marina is probably the hardest thing on your own, but she had good prop walk to port in reverse and behaved perfectly once you got a spring line on which helped a lot. My present boat is 50 feet and not quite as well set up. Reefing takes 2 people.
    Last edited by Phil Y; 07-11-2018 at 05:17 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    There's a lot of good stuff that I see here and reflects my own experience and feelings. I don't think handling a largish boat at sea is particularly hard but the docking / marina issue can be for sure. Riada is a 45 ft ketch of about 13 or 14 tons, so split sail areas and quite a lot smaller than that superb Nicholson.
    Furling/ reefing headsails, well... I would be sitting in an arm chair talking stories rather than sailing in a wide range of weather if I didn't have one, so we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. Like every tool they need a skill set to use and they need maintenance. Our very heavy #3 do everything 5 to 50 knot sail is difficult to get off and onto its foil even with kiwislides because of its bulk . It might only weigh say 30 kg on the scales but when you have your arms stretched around it in its bag like its a barrel it is awkward to say the least. Changing headsails on that Nicholson will need a team. So mine stays on most of the time and does its 5 to 50 knot thing. Furling it? most people call it a large sail , we don't have an electric sheet winch and most of the time I furl it by hand , then go to a winch sometimes. Best technique is good ole Wykham martin style , bear away , blanket it with the main and depower it, furl by hand. By myself in a breeze I sheet out some and furl some , repeat.

    Electric windlass? We have one,just like tens of thousands of moderately large boats out there cruising far destinations. It has caused problems and many people do have problems. But most cruisers , myself included , have back up plans which range from buoying the chain and coming back later , to extra snub hooks on line back to sheet winches , to a secondary windlass either manual or another electric , to a whole replacement unit sitting down below. Ain't going without it.
    Lazy jacks ? they don't have to be complex. one set of lines just like topping lifts on a gaff can be really helpful. I have more to chuck my sails into a bag cover on the boom. I don't see an issue , they're set and forget, I don't adjust them to use them, they stay in one setting a year or so at a time.
    So if I was contemplating that red boat it would be jib furler , maybe staysail as well, lazy jacks, auto pilot , dodger, and a vertical windlass.
    solar panels , nav package ( band G or Simrad probably) watermaker, sat phone/ iridium go... I think I just spent another 25 k UKP for you Andrew. and that might an optimistic view.
    Very helpful, John. Thanks.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Well, Francis Chichester sinlglehanded the ketch Gipsy Moth IV around the world in 1966-67 at age 65!
    10.4 tons,53' on deck, 38'6" waterline. 854 sq ft of sail, not counting the spinnaker.
    "Now that I have finished, I don't know what will become of Gipsy Moth IV. I only own the stern while my cousin owns two thirds. My part, I would sell any day. It would be better if about a third were sawn off. The boat was too big for me. Gipsy Moth IV has no sentimental value for me at all. She is cantankerous and difficult and needs a crew of three - a man to navigate, an elephant to move the tiller and a 3'6" (1.1 m) chimpanzee with arms 8' (2.4 m) long to get about below and work some of the gear."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gipsy_Moth_IV

  22. #22
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I had a really good look through Gypsy Moth IV when she was here.
    From the outside


    and the inside

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    I had a really good look through Gypsy Moth IV when she was here.
    hahaha
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I borrowed a library book last year about preparing a boat for the ageing sailor. I'm 41 but it struck me as important if I'm to build a boat to last me. Things like powered windlasses, winches etc. hand grabs in sensible places that will prove useful in 30 years when I'm not as young as I am now... It was an eye opening read and I can't recall the title of it. When I first read the OP I immediately thought of Sir Francis's Gypsy Moth as well. Even if I never read that book again while building my boat, I'll bear in mind that one day I will be older and less capable than I am now.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    For me part of the question is not "Can I", but "Should I"?
    WS is 39' lod, 48' sparred, 850sqft marconi ketch. The ketch rig makes her easier to handle in two ways: smaller sails and ease of heaving to. The mizzen is set and sheeted in, that keeps pointing upwind while I walk around and set sail. I do prefer a roller for the genoa as it is at the end of the bowsprit, about 400sqft (more?) and I don't want to go muzzle it in a breeze. I'm 56 years old, 6'5" tall, and fairly strong. In ten years I may want more sheet winches, in twenty a smaller boat. A friend in his seventies is talking about selling his Malabar II Schooner. If I could afford it, I still wouldn't buy it because of the huge gaff main. My anchors are an FX 23 (17#), CQR 35#, and 50# fisherman. I admire bigger boats, sometimes drooling over good prices. But this boat is big enough to cruise, small enough to singlehand, and plenty to keep up.
    Good luck, keep us posted, stay safe.

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    I borrowed a library book last year about preparing a boat for the ageing sailor. I'm 41 but it struck me as important if I'm to build a boat to last me. Things like powered windlasses, winches etc. hand grabs in sensible places that will prove useful in 30 years when I'm not as young as I am now... It was an eye opening read and I can't recall the title of it. When I first read the OP I immediately thought of Sir Francis's Gypsy Moth as well. Even if I never read that book again while building my boat, I'll bear in mind that one day I will be older and less capable than I am now.
    I was 42 when I came here..................cue hotel california

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    hahaha
    You like that eh? wait till I get to the light and airy interior..........

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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    You like that eh? wait till I get to the light and airy interior..........
    But did it still have the famous gyroscopically stabilised chair (a bit like the one in the King of Saudi Arabia’s 747)?
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I could list out my thoughts but John has covered of the points well.
    no cruising yacht should be without a furling headsail. you will do so much more sailing if it is easy to get the sails up.
    And in the same way no yacht should have a roller furling main.

    I may have missed it but whats the normal usage. ??? Day sailing, anchor over night, coastal passages, offshore.

    one addage that was quoted to me was boat length went something like 1 foot per year to the age of 50 then start subtracting 1 ft per year so by 70 you are back down to a 30ft boat.
    as size goes up so does cost and complexity to be able to handle it.
    Zq
    Ps 53' is a Lot of yacht. if you are arguing against roller furling on grounds of cost i would politly suggest buying a 45 yacht and using the savings to fit a furler.
    Having handled headsails in the dark on 30-40' yachts I would not want to do a headsail change with a 53' boat at night in 30knts. you would need 3 people just to hold it down plus someone on the halyard
    Last edited by Zane Lewis; 07-12-2018 at 06:38 AM.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Norwalk CT
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    963

    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    Roller furling headsail
    Slab/Dutchman reefed main
    Self tailing two speed winches
    Autohelm
    All halyards run to the cockpit
    Electric windlass with deck mounted step switches.

    The boat has to be big enough that when you do leave the cockpit to moor, reef etc. the side decks are wide enough that they can be navigated safely.
    Id consider the height of the freeboard. Is it a big step from a pier or slip? I cant just hop off onto the dock any more. I need to step off.
    Id not be comfortable with any much over 35 foot these days.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    45,511

    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    It appears to me that the sailing folk of our forum community have a good appreciation of the factors that go into single-handing. They boil down to no individual task that's a real test of strength and no evolution or series of tasks that jam you.

    For example, Goblin was a 43' Alden schooner. I often single handed her but it took a real understanding to what had to happen when to even tack much less gybe alone what with the jib sheets and running back stays. I did from time to time solo with the fisherman up but never if I might have to tack or gybe more than once in any six hours.

    It may seem odd to some but Marmalade is actually more work to single hand than any of my previous boats.

    At a certain point, smaller is not easier. For happy singlehanding you need a boat with a restful motion able to take care of herself while you fiddle. And if you're living aboard, not just weekend cruising, you need enough space for your necessaries, which no matter how big your yacht, will be far fewer than ashore.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Texas
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    10,270

    Default

    Andrew, I am confused. I thought you had bought a boat a year or so ago. Shopping again? What did I miss?

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    And now to enter spirited disagreement, tackling willing woodworks list.

    Which is not a bad list but I'm sure violating most of it with Meg, as I have with most of my boats.

    We certainly agree that easy slab reefing is a must. It's even easier if you have a fully battened sail and decent lazyjacks, the former being nice while the latter are a total necessity. (Perhaps "Slab/Dutchman" includes the Dutchman variation on lazyjacks that are, in essence, threaded through the sail and stack it, or perhaps the type with jacks that end in what then becomes the sail cover. ??)

    I really hate leading halyards to the cockpit because it's so much clutter. I have that on Marmalade but that's mainly because that catboat's layout makes getting out of the cockpit a hazard. I certainly found on my schooners that handling halyards and reefing lines is easier at the mast. And mechanically more efficient.

    The camberspar jib makes hanked on necessary but also very easily managed. But you must plan ahead. Jibs tend to "self hoist" in a real blow and if you are singlehanding you really don't want to be alone way out in the pointing end hauling on the jib's luff. But the solution to that is simply a light braided cord downhaul run through the hanks (so it doesn't slap around) and back to the foot of the mast. Now it's easy to stand safely while easing the halyard and trimming the downhaul till the jib is lying happily on deck. And then all that downhaul you have in your hands can be put to good use to 'sweedish furl' the jib to the lifeline. The 'sweedish furl' is a matter of casting a chain knot around the object to be contained. It's really fun to cast off, sort of like a zipper. When there's extra line anyway, I like it better than sail stops.

    Self-tailing two speed winches are needed if you have a jib controlled by straight run sheets. They are also necessary if you have a mid-boom main sheet. They are not at all necessary, no winches are necessary, if you design the rig with that level of simplicity in mind. And if you do that, so much less that needs care and servicing.

    Same with electric windlass. Yes a good manual unit is likely slower. If you're going fishing and anchor for a few minutes here and a few there, a power reel take up is just the thing. But a manual windlass can be almost restful, especially if you have a comfortably high forehatch about two feet abaft the windlass so you can sit, as I need to due to spinal arthritis, and raise the hook with a pleasant rocking motion.

    Some sort of autohelm is quite nice but it is far more important to have a boat that knows how to sit still. Most boats can if you listen to them. I think it a very bad habit to rely on powering into the wind to set, strike, or reef sail. You should be able to do any of those not under power and solo.

    Meg's official motto is "No varnish". But most sailors will be struck by her having no halyard or sheet winches. For luff tension the main and mizzen have sliding goosenecks and a 3:1 down haul. The camberspar jib requires less halyard tension and the 2:1 halyard does just fine.

    Different sailors evolve different ways of meeting the challenges with no one approach perfect in all respects for that sailor or at all practical for any other sailor. Even if we're really good with lots of background, there's always someone out there "doing it wrong" in a way that works better than what I do. Amazing what one can learn watching others.

    G'luck

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Alameda, CA
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    11,191

    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    I believe the answer always comes to a 28 foot boat. Personally I like fractionally rigged sloops. I miss Black Jack - she was near the perfect in single handing as a sloop.



    As things go, the Alerion 28 is near perfect as the single handers boat. It is the boat which you can sail without much assistance until they move you into a home.

    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    45,511

    Default Re: What is the upper size limit for singlehanding, for someone in his sixties?

    For daysailing and along-shore cruising the Alerion 28 is indeed wonderful. Most I've seen and the one I sailed on, like the one pictured, have no lifelines but can be worked from the cockpit. My sailmaker is a real fan of that bent jib boom and tried to talk me into one but it's not for me. Sheet handling is very easy and the boat I was on did not bother with sheet winches in the cockpit. Just one winch for the main halyard. With the right nosegear that could also be your anchor winch for a hard breakout but mostly you'd just sail over to capsize the hook. Were I living on Cuttyhunk I would surely have on sitting at the end of my private dock. Sail over to the Dog for breakfast.

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