Delta Sailor

Single handing a Laser Bahia. Possible?

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So I am a big fan of Dinghys such as the Laser Bahia, Sport 14 and Wayferer (and on occasion Redwings). I love the feel of racing through the waves in Boats bigger than Fevas and Topaz. We have a decent number of sailors in the Handicap when racing at my club. However occasionally I don't have a crew when I am supposed to go out. So my question is: Can you sail a Bahia well by yourself? (eg would furling the jib and maybe reefing work). (I do have a plan to singlehand one in a few days in 20knot winds, call me crazy but any useful suggestions would be appreciated)
Thx

 

-Note if anyone has experience in other boats that are roughly the same size, pls feel free to give me some advice.

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I have been racing a Holder 14 single handed that originally came with a Harken 240 style swivel block. It made things easy being able to use the cam cleat when sheeting the jib. It also made me downright lazy when tacking upwind. In 12~14 knots I could cleat the main and not have to touch it for 2 or 3 tacks upwind. The trouble for me was racing in 18~22 knots with gusts. I would sometimes sink the rail before I could un-cleat the main, yet the sheet loads at 20 knots were a tearing up my hands using only the fair-lead. I had the genius idea to switch to a 57mm ratchet block. My half assed attachment to the 240 fairlead was quick and easy, but my first race not being able to cleat the main was a shit show. I lost time at every tack trying to hold the main sheet and the tiller in one hand while chasing the tail of the jib. 

So what I learned is you need a tall stand-up swivel base that correctly matches your 57 mm ratchet block and it must be easy to cleat when tacking. So a Harken 144 or 150 is the style needed. I bought a cheap Nautos 57 ratchet, so now I will have to track down their tall stand-up swivel base.

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50 minutes ago, Eddie_E said:

I have been racing a Holder 14 single handed that originally came with a Harken 240 style swivel block. It made things easy being able to use the cam cleat when sheeting the jib. It also made me downright lazy when tacking upwind. In 12~14 knots I could cleat the main and not have to touch it for 2 or 3 tacks upwind. The trouble for me was racing in 18~22 knots with gusts. I would sometimes sink the rail before I could un-cleat the main, yet the sheet loads at 20 knots were a tearing up my hands using only the fair-lead. I had the genius idea to switch to a 57mm ratchet block. My half assed attachment to the 240 fairlead was quick and easy, but my first race not being able to cleat the main was a shit show. I lost time at every tack trying to hold the main sheet and the tiller in one hand while chasing the tail of the jib. 

So what I learned is you need a tall stand-up swivel base that correctly matches your 57 mm ratchet block and it must be easy to cleat when tacking. So a Harken 144 or 150 is the style needed. I bought a cheap Nautos 57 ratchet, so now I will have to track down their tall stand-up swivel base.

 

Thx for the information. 

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Just wondering, as I wont be able to cleat the jib eaily. Should i ditch it or keep it furled for the most part. Until I can spend some time doing maintenance on the cleats?

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Well, try it and see. But it will probably handle a lot better with the jib.

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1 hour ago, JimC said:

Well, try it and see. But it will probably handle a lot better with the jib.

I am going to give it a go. The only downside being I do not think I am heavy enough (65kg) to keep it flat. (The helm has no trapeze)  I heard that some people tie the jib sheets together or attatch more rope so they can use it as they helm. Just thinking in 20knots I will probably capsize?

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28 minutes ago, Delta Sailor said:

How bad would boat handling be if I did not use the jib?

I think you just have to try it and see. Tying the jib sheets together is a very good idea. 20knots might be pushing it. Work up to it.

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Just now, JimC said:

I think you just have to try it and see. Tying the jib sheets together is a very good idea.

Thx. Thats what I was planning on doing. Question: Would you suggest reefing the main aswell (conditions are force 5 gusting 7 roughly 20knots gusting up to 30)

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I should probably note I am about 60kg sailing a boat that is more like 180kg. With a sail area of probably 12m squared. (with jib) Jib is about 3m squared.

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sounds as if reefing the main and a smaller jib would be sensible. smaller jib is a better option than trying to use a furler to reduce jib area.

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6 hours ago, Delta Sailor said:

How bad would boat handling be if I did not use the jib?

Every boat feels different without a jib. I used to think it was just mast position and rake angle. After trying it with a few boats, I'm just not sure and there seems to be other forces at work like dagger board placement and hull shape. The old Laser 2 sails fine without the jib as does a Mariner/Rhodes19'. My Holder is terrible without it. If it's a problem beyond needing some extra rudder pressure, it will show up as being hard to complete a tack and getting stuck in irons if you don't wind up hard and slam it over.

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We have Bahias at our club and I have singlehanded them a lot. Generally I just tie the jib sheets together and set the jib for whatever point of sail I'm on and otherwise leave it alone. For tacking if it's lighter wind I'll leave the main cleated in close and focus on the jib, if it's heavier I'll ease the main quite a bit before tacking so I have time to deal with the jib before getting fully powered up and won't be totally screwed if I end up overtacking a bit. 

I'm also on the lighter side so reducing sail is important. Boat sails OK with main only but I would definitely reef the main first and keep the jib up rather than having a full main and no jib. Sometimes I'll also furl the jib to go upwind and then unfurl off the wind to get a bit more power. If you have a long tiller extension singlehanding form the trapeze is a blast, really easy upwind once you get on the wire, kind of terrifying off the wind in any kind of waves but super fun. If you are racing you will have to practice tacking A LOT, otherwise will really suffer, but if just out for fun sloppy tacks are pretty easy. 

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