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gert

Singlehanded cruising, lines ending at mast?

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Hi forum, I'm new here. I've been sailing for about five years on mates' boats, but now I'm looking at buying my first boat and I'm interested in cruising —short trips for now, but like many others I'm dreaming of one day sailing off to distant shores.

 

There are currently two boats on the market that I'm interested in: a Carter 33 and a Cavalier 32. Both boats have tiller steering, furling headsails, and main halyards and reefing lines ending at the mast.

 

Since I'll probably do a fair amount of sailing on my own, I'd have to run up to the mast to raise or lower the main. Does that setup make it impossible to singlehand, or can it be done? How would it work?

 

Thanks heaps!

 

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welcome Gert.

 

Logically if you can deal with halyards etc without leaving cockpit its easier, and safer, but loads of boats have the same set up that you have described and it doesn't make it impossible by any means. I reckon single handing make you better because you have to anticipate/plan and do things before they are demanded . You got to allow more sea room to do things, you have to devise cunning little strategies.

 

It always amazes me how much time simple things take - when fully crewed these things are done just like that, but no so simple when single handed.

 

You'll have a ball, you'll cry in your beer some days but you will learn plenty and no matter which way it goes - well or not so well - its your doing.

Stay safe, enjoy.

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Welcome.

Its not impossible to single hand that set up.

Basically you need an autopilot. For hoisting or dropping the main, all it needs to do is hold the boat head to wind (i.e. make the boat go straight).

being tiller set up's, it will be easy to get a cheapy tiller pilot if they don't already have one.

Having to go to the mast to reef single handed is a bit of a headache. You would need a tiller pilot that can handle sailing in edgy conditions (i.e. blowy enough that you've decided you need to reef).

Pureists may also say you can lash the tiller etc. that would be fairly easy for hoisting the main, when you are just motoring in a straight line. It may be possible to make up a setup to tie off the tiller for putting in a reef, but while it is possible its a bit of a dark art, along the same lines as sailing without an engine (do-able but not reliable).

 

it is fair more preferable for single handed sailing to have everything back to the cockpit. Means as a single hander, you don't have to leave the safety of the cockpit. If you are still in a learning phase, and by this being your first boat, I expect you will be in a 'learning phase' for a few years yet, then it would also be preferable to have lines back to the cockpit.

 

Comes down to budget and your tenacity really. My boat is a 37 footer of similar era to those two, and all lines are at the must, and I occasionally single hand it, usually two handed.

I don't know the Carter, but a Cav 32 would be a 'reliable' design for short handed cruising as you describe.

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As long as you have an autopilot or self steering reefing lines at the mast works ok, and those sorts of details are often changed as you get used to the boat, its not that hard to change lines back to the cockpit which will make things easier and safer.

Most peoples first boat is not their last boat , just pick one at the right price so that you don,t loose too much if you later decide to  change.

Raising the main is sometimes easier at the mast, if you have to clear lazy jacks etc.

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Those boats have small mains so that will make your life easier. Furling headsails makes it easier again so you are already in a OK place for short handed and soloing.

 

As mentioned above grab a autodriver, a Raymarine ST1000 or Simrad TP10 or preferably the TP22. Once you have that you have the ability to get around the boat without it going loony on you. As Fish wisely mentions, some say lashing the tiller is fine, with all due respect those people are knutjobs when you can very easily get far better.

 

When I am solo and want to reef it happens like this -

- I put on Ray my Auto driver and get the boat sailing stable with that. Sometimes it can take a minute or 2 to tune the AP into the right place if the weather is playing up.

- I then drop my main halyard out to a mark I made on it then cleat it. The mark is where it allows the mainsail to come down to a point where the reefing eye in the sail is 150mm below the horns on the gooseneck, that makes it easy to get the eye onto the horns. My halyard is operated from the cockpit.

- I then dive up to the mast and flick the eye over the gooseneck horn then back to the cockpit again. This takes 10-15 seconds BUT IT IS A IDEAL MOMENT TO FALL OR GET KNOCKED OVERBOARD - DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN.

- I then pull like  bastard on the reef line that pulls the back of the sail down to the boom. Lock that off

- Then tweak the main halyard up agian.

- Done. I can do that in less than 45 seconds start to finish now. It's a 30fter.

 

I did have a single string system but prefer the above way as it is less fiddly so more reliable... and proved faster. The only downside it that short zip to the mast and back with the exposure you have while doing it.

 

Oh and the key to smart solo sailing is you never want to plonk down and say 'sh*t, I should have done that 10mins ago', that's bad. What you want to say is 'Glad I did that 5mins ago'.

 

Solo sailing is a lot more about boat and crew management than it is when you have more crew. 

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I did about 40,000 miles with the reefing at the mast on a Cav 32, no problem and could do it in well under one minute if i was feeling frisky. I used a wind vane, not an autopilot.

Today I occassionally single hand a 63 ft schooner, some thing, no worries, but it came with an auto pilot so I use that.

 

Carter 33 is a bit diamond shaped for my taste and probably a bit squirelly down wind. The Cav will deifinitely look after you but the standard rig (mine had an extra metre on the mast) will be slower than the Carter up to about 16kn true wind.

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My technique on a similar size boat is much the same as Knot Me's. In addition I have a bungy cord with hooks to hold the reefing eye onto the goose neck bullhorns while i return to cockpit to tighten the main halyard and leech reefing lines which lead aft. Lazy jacks help manage the drop.

Tiller pilot to hold the boat on course.

Jack stays running fore and aft plus safety harness are my insurance policy when leaving the cockpit.

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 In addition I have a bungy cord with hooks to hold the reefing eye onto the goose neck bullhorns while i return to cockpit

I am fitting some bung for the exact same reason. It's only fallen off once but it was a huge arse when it did.

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