Single Handed Sailing

Moderator: GreenLake

Single Handed Sailing

Postby Tipster1 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:02 pm

My first mate has tendered her resignation. Back problems preclude changing sides each tack, which is frequent in our shoal draft waters, even at high tide. Constant tending of CB is getting "old", too. The self releasing down-haul works well, but I'd almost like it to be on a spring. Or just heavier. Jib down-haul worked beautifully the one time I used it. Motoring, even just in and out of slip drives me nuts. Give me a mooring any time. My problem is that I am 5'7" and reaching everything single handed seems impossible. I've had no problems with a 14' "Designers Choice", or AMC Puffer just because they are more my size, but they are more lake than bay boats.

If I am to sail single handed, so far I can think of needing a tiller tamer of some sort and lazy Jacks.

What other modifications would you all suggest :?:

Thanks.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby GreenLake » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:19 pm

Tiller tamer can be as simple as a bungee cord strung across the cockpit. Some people wrap it around the tiller directly. I prefer a small triple loop made from second piece of shock cord. That will slide if pushed hard by you, but hold usual tiller induced loads. Then add a tiller extension, so you can sit further forward, and then you can reach anything. Lazy jacks are only needed if you flake your sail and keep it on the boom. Perhaps that is what you do.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby Tipster1 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:36 pm

Hi greenlake! I knew I could count on you for first responder. Tiller tamer seems obvious 1st move. How do you keep main under control and out of the way when you're resting at anchor or motoring into dock or slip? Right now I have a topping lift rigged to keep boom out of the way at dock.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby GreenLake » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:30 am

I usually sail up to the dock and then drop the sail into the cockpit. Later, I roll it up. Normally, I don't tie up at the dock for any length, except when the dock is at the destination. In that case, I use the main halyard as a topping lift, and then I might "flake" the sail more or less on the boom. As it's temporary, I don't sweat neatness, just to get the sail out of the way.

Occasionally, I have the motor rigged and use it for the last few hundred feet to the dock. I leave the sails up, because usually the reason I use the motor is that I don't have wind.

If I beach the boat, I drop the sail pretty late, also just let it go into the boat. First secure the boat, then secure the sail. Takes a bit of planning to not drop the sail on the side where the dock is, so I can reach the dock to tie up.

This is with the old sails, which were very soft and therefore tended to "bunch" rather than flake. Also something I did in a hurry, because we needed to be somewhere before closing time. And you don't see the main acting as a topping lift (because we forgot?).

713

With stiffer sails, flaking or rolling get easier. Someone here described a way of flaking the sail not on the boom, but into a pocket made from the last yard of sail close to the boom, then folding that one over to help secure everything. Never tried that, but seems cool.

(I'll look to see whether I have another photo somewhere).

I occasionally go for longer solo sails (at night no less) and there are times the wind dies for extended stretches and in more confined areas (canals, between trees, under bridges). I don't always drop the sail (esp. if I think there'll be wind behind the next headland, or turn), but if I do, I would go in the same stages. Drop the sail first. If I expect I'll raise it again soon, I may leave it, otherwise I reattach the halyard as a topping lift and then secure it to the boom. Same with jib. If little wind or short time before it gets raise, I may just drop it. Otherwise I loop at least a bungee over it. Overnight I would take it off, and if I ever had to sail with it down (which would presume stronger winds) I would probably make a very tight package of it.

More ideas about reaching.

My jib cleats are not "captive", which is something I like, because I can "drop" the sheet into the cleat from above. I can pull the sheet tight from wherever I sit and then just have to be able to reach the CB (or press down on a tight line with my foot to make it go into the cleat). The other thing this allows me to do is to tie the ends of my sheet together, so that to get hold of it, I can grab any part of it. Because of open cleats, I can release and recleat without having to sit in-line with the sheet.

The other configuration that works similar is if the cleats are directly on the jib car. What doesn't work well, is CB mounted cleats that are captive. One boat (not a DS) that I sailed on had the jib cleats on the opposite deck. That works well, esp if you hike out a lot, but it will block part of the cockpit because the sheet is going across it.

I'm sure you figure it out.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby ChrisB » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:58 pm

Tipster,

+1 on the tiller tamer/tiller clutch/DIY bungee device. I'm a lifelong single-hander and have always used a tiller tamer of some sort. You also need a hiking stick; the longer the better. This allows you to move about the boat without having to rely on the tiller tamer and allows me to sit on the coaming for extra ballast. Mainsheet ALWAYS in my hand or laying across my knee. I don't use a topping lift. I have the scissor boom crutch but only use it for long stops. When heading out, I lay the end of the boom out on the coaming and cleat the mainsheet to keep the boom from dropping into the water. Both halyards are attached to the sails before leaving the ramp. My launch ramp is shallow water and almost always facing into the prevailing wind so I motor out from the ramp. I keep a deployable anchor under the tiller in case the motor coughs on the way out. I use a jib downhaul so I never leave the cockpit to lower the jib. I drop the main into the boat and then roll the sail up and tie to the boom.

Chris
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby Tipster1 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:00 pm

Thanks for suggestions, everyone. Hopefully more will come. Sounds like the topping lift may go away, except maybe if I moor the boat with the main furled on the boom. I also have a scissors type boom crutch but it doesn't seem to be compatible with the outboard. Besides the jib down-haul, I saw somewhere here the jib "un-stucker" for when it catches on mast on tacks. Another challenge that wasn't unique to my boat.

Also will have to learn to heave-to. And transfer dryly from kayak to boat and back if it's on mooring.

I am still getting the "stink-eye" from mate. She's a very skeptical non-believer.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby ChrisB » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:33 pm

Tipster1 wrote:And transfer dryly from kayak to boat and back


If that were myself, I can say without hesitation that it would not end well.

Another suggestion for boom support on a mooring. Back when I kept my boat in a marina (on the trailer, mast up), I did not want to trust the boom crutch to stand up in a strong wind so I made a support for the boom (so I could cover the cockpit with a tarp). It consisted of a 1x10 board long enough to lay across the seats at the rear of the cockpit. In the middle of the board was a vertical 1 x 4. The 1 x 4 had a "U" shaped notch in the top to accept the boom. I don't recall the exact length but it kept the boom more or less horizontal. I didn't want to use a topping lift because I'd be putting a constant backward pull on the tip of the mast from the weight of the boom, mainsail, and tarp (which was heavy canvas).

I agree the boom crutch gets in the way of the OB. That's the primary reason I don't use mine much.
Chris B.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby ChrisB » Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:42 pm

BTW, where do you sail in New Jersey and Pa? I learned how to sail on Lakes Hapatcong in NJ and Wallenpaupack in Penn.
Chris B.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby TIM WEBB » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:19 pm

Chris, you've seen my boom tent setup live and in person, and know that it relies on the topping lift for support of the aft end. I've deployed it several times without seeing any issues with the backward (although it's more downward than backward) pull on the tip of the mast. I haven't taken any precise measurements, but I find it unlikely that the forces generated on the masthead by the topping lift, whether in use with the boom tent or just holding up the boom, are any greater than the forces generated by the main when it's sheeted in tight or the vang is on? I suppose the main difference is that it's a point load, rather than being spread out along the luff. What do you think?
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby GreenLake » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:05 am

ChrisB wrote: I use a jib downhaul so I never leave the cockpit to lower the jib.

I don't have one, and I also never leave the cockpit; I find that a paddle gives me enough reach to coax the jib down if gravity isn't sufficient. Caveat: I mostly only lower the jib on approach to the dock or beach, both of which are a bit sheltered. In open water, and to secure the jib once down, this may be different.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby GreenLake » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:17 am

On boom loading. To permanently bend a mast profile sideways (the narrow direction) takes at least 600 pound foot. (I found that out when straightening my mast, recently, and I was applying point loads). Could even be a bit more, but let's leave a safety factor for when we don't actually want to bend the mast.

What bending moment would I get for 100 lbs at the middle of a 10 foot boom? About 500 foot pound.

Now this bending moment is applied to the wider mast section (for and aft), so I think it is comfortably below what it would take to inelastically deform the mast. That's for static (or average loads).

Now, the boom isn't rigidly attached to the mast, but the force travels via the topping lift to the top. That means that dynamic load spikes are not transmitted fully, because they would first bend the upper mast elastically, which tends to blunt them.

Given that, I would expect a boom tent like Tim's setup to be fine, but if anyone has better estimates, chime in. (Wind loads on a boom tent would only partially add to the total downward load).

Edit: is there a lower threshold for slow deformation from forces applied constantly over a long time? If there are, I don't know how to estimate them.
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby ChrisB » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:52 am

Tim,

Your boom tent setup is a different animal from the tarp I used when I drysailed my boat. Your boom tent is lightweight nylon and is used occasionally. My tarp was very heavy canvas that was a permanent cover while on the trailer. It had to stand up to spring and fall heavy winds, summer rains, and occasional ice and snow in the winter months. I just didn't want that load permanently on a topping lift even though it was capable of supporting it. Factor in also that it was easier and less expensive for me to build the boom support than to install a topping lift. I built the boom support out of scrap wood I had in the garage.

Chris
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby jeadstx » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:46 am

I have a tiller tamer and tiller extension. I installed a jib downhaul back to the cockpit. My jib sheet cam cleats have been moved to the centerboard trunk for easier access. I also use a topping lift that is adjustable to keep the boom up when the sail is down. For my topping lift I added a tang to the masthead to attach a piece of 3/32" cable to (old piece of a Mariner backstay in my case). The upper end attached to the tang which came out enough to not interfere with the halyard, the other end I added a loop to which I added a clip. The cable comes down to about 3' from the end of the boom. At the end of the boom I attached an 1/8" diameter line. This line runs thru a block that I clip to the cable when I rig the boat. The line runs from the aft end of the boom to the block and then to a small fairlead and cleat mounted 6" to 8" from the end of the boom. When sailing, the line is un-cleated and slack so as not interfere with the sail, but will not let the boom drop all the way to the deck. When the sail is dropped, I can pull on the topping lift line to raise the end of the boom as much as I need, or like Tim, I can raise the front of the boom as well to use a cockpit cover to provide more room inside the cockpit.

John
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby ldeikis » Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:54 pm

I nearly always singlehand. I have a lot less DS experience than some here, but a thing I didnt anticipate that I have found helpful is an anchor, vaguely accessible, always onboard. I have twice heaved that thing overboard to stop the boat when things go further awry than a quick heave-to will address. As long as youre shallow enough to use it, it really gives you a moment to catch your breath and make a plan, which is really helpful when things are pear shaped and you're rapidly blowing into a rocky leeward shore... Plus, you can't heave-to if your problem is related to the sails or a dismasting.

Hiking straps, a tiller extension, and reef points will make it possible to singlehand in much more engaging conditions, but probably aren't necessary if you only sail in mild conditions. But what fun is that?!

I have a cheap ultra simple jib downhaul which I like, but it's really only good if I'm dousing both sails, as I've found that my boat sails unacceptably poorly with just one (either) sail, especially if it's really blowing. However, getting really comfortable heaving-to, and having a reefing system that is comfortable and easy enough to use that you can do it in rough water and unintentionally strong wind is amazing. It can be the difference between a great day and a bad time, or even a bad time and a real disaster.

When I drop the main, I just gather it loosely around the boom and secure it with those short loops of bungies with the balls on them. If the wind is very light when I'm coming in, I just let the main out as I approach the mooring.

I don't like the feel of the bungee system on the tiller, but the price is right and it functions well enough to scoot forward and raise or drop a sail, or tie in a reef. I usually leave it in place but unattached when I'm able, as I prefer the feel of the tiller without the drag.

I actually like the captive CB jib cleats... I can toss off the line while coming about and grab the new one as I cross without any fear of them whipping outboard, and if its really blowing and I'm hiked out,it's still easy to get the in the cleats without any contortions. I usually sail with the mainsheet over my leading knee and the jib sheet trailing over the coamings in front of me. In an emergency both are easy to release.

I also tether myself to my boat with a cheapie Jim Buoy harness I got used off eBay if I'm alone. My rule is if I tie in a reef, that thing has to be on. This may be overkill, but when the wind is blowing or the current is swift, even a boat with uncleated sheets would be a pain to catch swimming. An accidental gybe or something similar could send you over without capsizing, and leave your boat sailing away. Without a river current, tides, and traffic in the mix that would probably be totally overkill--and maybe is anyway--but it's reassuring. I just have to remember to cross over BEHIND the mainsheet or things begin to get twisted.
'74 DSII sailing Haverstraw Bay and the lower Hudson River
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Re: Single Handed Sailing

Postby Interim » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:41 am

Tipster1 wrote:
I am still getting the "stink-eye" from mate. She's a very skeptical non-believer.


My first mate doesn't like me single handing either, but her choice is whether or not to go. Not whether or not I go. But we do a couple things that ease the concern. I txt her when I'm putting in, and when I get out. And I trail a 25' line behind the boat (not sure if that is to save me or the boat).

--john
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