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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 ass and not worth the effort?


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It’s not a problem. It’s an excellent boat for short handed sailing. Like any boat it has trade offs, but it lacks little. 

The perfect singlehander....no. It is not a class 40. Perfect fast short handed racer/cruiser: comfortable enough to spend time on and quick enough to enjoy sailing...darn close. 

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  • 6 months later...

all depends on how you set the boat up. I owned a J44 and we were required to have a metal headfoil for class rules, so we all had the split drum harken furler. 
I rigged the boat with a cut down racing genoa on a roller furler, so it was short on the bottom compared to a racing sail and was probably a 140% jib. I had a dacron main with slides that stayed captive in the mast. I did not use lazy jacks. we also had a good hydraulic ram autopilot. 

I would go out for day sails in any decent breeze and could just unroll the jib and go. dropping the main and cleaning it up on the boom was probably the only real PITA, but not horrible since the front end stayed captive. 

The autopilot or a good co-pilot is key. 

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