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Cashelmore

Singlehanding a J46?

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How easy is it to singlehand a J46?

Boat handling: Let's forget about the spin for now. Is it easy to hoist and drop the main and jib? Is it easy to tack the jib if an autopilot takes care of the helm? Is it doable to trim the main with or without an autopilot, or is handling the main and the wheel pretty much a two person operation?

Performance: Does it truck upwind pretty well in 0 to 30 knots without a few thousand pounds on the rail? Sure, you have to depower sooner than fully crewed boats and tacks will be slower. Will the boat be fairly well under control and sort of keep up with the jones, or will you be basically blown off the water in anything over 10 knots without a few thousand pounds on the rail? What about handling the corners of the course and transitioning to downwind? Transitioning back to upwind at the leeward mark? Transitioning between reaching and close hauled and vice versa?

Would W/L beer can races be doable and fun, or dangerous and a terrible idea?

What about doing longer races solo like the Transpac, N2E, King Harbor, Coastal Cup in So Cal, etc..?

More importantly, would it be a lot of fun? Or would sailing a J46 solo be a huge pain in the butt?

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I don't see why not. Not sure about the beer can races, or why you would even do a beer can race solo. 

 

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On 7/30/2020 at 5:57 PM, Cashelmore said:

How easy is it to singlehand a J46?

Boat handling: Let's forget about the spin for now. Is it easy to hoist and drop the main and jib? Is it easy to tack the jib if an autopilot takes care of the helm? Is it doable to trim the main with or without an autopilot, or is handling the main and the wheel pretty much a two person operation?

Performance: Does it truck upwind pretty well in 0 to 30 knots without a few thousand pounds on the rail? Sure, you have to depower sooner than fully crewed boats and tacks will be slower. Will the boat be fairly well under control and sort of keep up with the jones, or will you be basically blown off the water in anything over 10 knots without a few thousand pounds on the rail? What about handling the corners of the course and transitioning to downwind? Transitioning back to upwind at the leeward mark? Transitioning between reaching and close hauled and vice versa?

Would W/L beer can races be doable and fun, or dangerous and a terrible idea?

What about doing longer races solo like the Transpac, N2E, King Harbor, Coastal Cup in So Cal, etc..?

More importantly, would it be a lot of fun? Or would sailing a J46 solo be a huge pain in the butt?

Don’t know much about the boat personally, but there is a guy that singlehands his J46 in the Sea of Cortez and the Gold Coast of México. He loves the boat, and has no issues I know of sailing it. He’s got the roller furling boom, but he’d actually like to swap it out for a park avenue boom. He hates motoring and he’s seen frequently sailing through the anchorages as he looks for the perfect spot to anchor under sail. 

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I am a member of the Pacific Single Handed Sailing Association.  We are based in LA and in the winter do single handed and double handed races once a month.  There are a few boats of similar size to the J46 in our group that races.  Swan45, XP44, Open40 etc.  I don't see why a J46 would be anymore difficult.    Yes you will need a good autopilot but you don't have to forget about the spinnaker.  I think it sounds like a lot of fun!  Here is the website have a look.  https://www.pssala.com 

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I’d get a couple high quality battery operated variable speed angle drills with winch adapters 

maybe drift this thread or has it been done in GA?

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On 7/30/2020 at 6:57 PM, Cashelmore said:

Performance: Does it truck upwind pretty well in 0 to 30 knots without a few thousand pounds on the rail?

44s and 46s are pretty much freight trains upwind. Sure any boat likes weight on the rail but you’re probably better off with no crew hiking on a 44/46 than most boats.

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7 hours ago, Kenny Dumas said:

I’d get a couple high quality battery operated variable speed angle drills with winch adapters 

maybe drift this thread or has it been done in GA?

Lol. Would that actually work for more than a couple tacks in light air? It’d sure be a funny sight.

Why not just get powered winches?

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I have crewed on races, full crew and double handed on a friends J46.  He also singlehands quite often, pushing 70 years old.  He has in boom furling, electric primaries, and furling headsails.  Easy boat to sail with this setup.  

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The small cockpit is great for singlehanding. But can you swap the huge wheel for a tiller?

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On 8/3/2020 at 12:03 AM, pilotdave said:

+1 on the powered winches but many race rules outlaw them.  

Use the manual override during races. Problem solved!

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I have a Swan 44 and do this type of sailing, I don't think it will be too much of a challenge.  Forget about the kites though unless you get a sprit.  I previously had a Swan 48 with a sprit and was able to put asymmetric kites up with a sock.  As for racing W/L, not a chance!!  Maybe if you're doing JAM but no way in hell with kites.  You can do everything but it takes a long time and all maneuvers have to be well planned out.  Get the boat, when I bought mine it was on the short list.

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1 hour ago, Flying Solo said:

I have a Swan 44 and do this type of sailing, I don't think it will be too much of a challenge.  Forget about the kites though unless you get a sprit.  I previously had a Swan 48 with a sprit and was able to put asymmetric kites up with a sock.  As for racing W/L, not a chance!!  Maybe if you're doing JAM but no way in hell with kites.  You can do everything but it takes a long time and all maneuvers have to be well planned out.  Get the boat, when I bought mine it was on the short list.

Great feedback. What's "JAM"? Just a main?

How long does tacking and transitioning to up/down wind take at the corners compared to racing with crew (assume no kite)? Realistically one could only handle one sail at a time I'm guessing, so that means one or both sails are going to be out of trim for a period for time before, during, and after maneuvers.

I currently single hand a much smaller boat so I can still lee bow someone, tack, or gybe in a pinch. But with a 46' boat one would probably have to stay well clear of traffic to avoid an expensive afternoon.

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On 8/4/2020 at 10:56 AM, Foolish said:

The small cockpit is great for singlehanding. But can you swap the huge wheel for a tiller?

Wow. It's an honor that Foolish replied :)

Even with the most balanced rudder in the world, wouldn't a tiller be really challenging to manage in heavy air?

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1 hour ago, Cashelmore said:

Wow. It's an honor that Foolish replied

I'm just a boy, standing in front of a boat, asking her to love him.

1 hour ago, Cashelmore said:

Even with the most balanced rudder in the world, wouldn't a tiller be really challenging to manage in heavy air?

Sail trim is everything.  If you can't get it properly trimmed, you're doing it wrong.   I'm going to assume that the boat was properly designed for this.

2 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

What's "JAM"?

Jib and Main only racing.

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JAM= Jib And Main.  It's the only way I can do it for a race. 

Corners and roundings really are not that bad.  Going from downwind to upwind directly definitely does take some time to get the head sail in depending on the size that I am using.  I get everything set up way too early with the Main to really be effective.  On a Swan the way you sail effectively to your rating is in the upwind legs.  Once she is set and trimmed properly you don't really need to touch the helm much and she just steam rolls.  Minor changes to the head sail and and tracks are easy to make with out needing the pilot.  Don't shy away from it, you'll be glad when you choose to sail a long distance offshore.

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6 hours ago, Cashelmore said:

How much breeze can you handle solo? 20? 30? 40? Can you do W/L in 40 knots solo? 

Not sure I would leave the dock to do W/L if the forecast was 30-40, fully crewed or solo, on any boat.  Certainly no fun beating up yourself and the boat.

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On 8/10/2020 at 5:45 AM, yoyo said:

Not sure I would leave the dock to do W/L if the forecast was 30-40, fully crewed or solo, on any boat.  Certainly no fun beating up yourself and the boat.

The sentiment wasn't intended to be "yippee, it's blowing 40. let's go break stuff.".

I was more asking if one goes out in 20 or 25, can one comfortably sail and race with a reef or two? What if it builds to 30 and/or gusts to 35 or 40? If I were in a Catalina or Hunter I'd be worried about the boat coming apart. But I'm hoping in a J that one could press on and continue having fun after reefing and depowering to the extent possible. Or does that become survival weather when you're out solo?

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I figured that much.  Everyone makes choices and has their level of comfort.  For me W/L in 30-40 solo would be no fun and I wouldn't do it to preserve my health and the boats.  I would bet a solo W/L race would be canceled anyway with that forecast.  

20-25 should be challenging but doable.   Have fun....  

 

 

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As I get older, I can no longer single hand large yachts.

When young (up to about 50), I could and did, including doing single person watches on a Maxi and Swan 65 for tens of thousands of miles each. Hoists, drops, reefing, tacks, gybes, but never a spinnaker, with judicious use of an autopilot (Swan 65) or helm brake (Maxi). Many french single handers have no problems with very large boats.

Now I need to be careful to avoid injury, and I am no where near as strong as I once was. Getting old is a bitch. I tried a Santa Cruz 70, and there was simply no way I could do anything at all other than steer. Nope.

So instead, I got an Olson 40. I am having no problems. I use the very good advice from Foolish with the line+bungee for the tiller to hold course. No autopilot installed yet. Only jib and main at this point. Full battened both! Jib on hanks, main on Tide Marine Strong Track, so neither gets away during hoists or drops with even a modicum of care. The lower batten on the jib is perpendicular tot he headstay to the clew, so I can go wing and wing DDW without a whisker pole. By having no overlap, I can use the lazy sheet as a barber hauler. Easy!

Get good modern sails so you don't need to worry about multiple headsails or frequent reefing.

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