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Gear to aid a aging sailor


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I am in the process again of looking for another boat, it will be my fifth and could be my last. I am fine now but dont want a boat that I will have to sell in the future because I cant handle it anymore. Looking at gear or designs that could allow me to sail without having to call up crew to go out for a daysail. A roller furl headsail I have had in the past and love but thinking about a furling main? or a very easy stack pak system for dousing?  I have used a electric winch before for halyards and thought that worked great, jib winches maybe? keeping the traveler out of the cockpit would make moving around easier. Lines led to the cockpit is common now too. A good autopilot to steer when needed. I know a lot of people will look down at some things like furling mains but I want to be able to sail and not be kept at home dreaming about it. My last boat was 40 feet and I was solo half the time and want to be able to do it again. Any other ideas? 

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I worry about the complexity and reduced performance of a roller furling main, but many of the people who have them point out they sail more often because it is so easy. A friend had a roller furling boom on her Hunter and I have to admit the ease of use, super easy reefing, and not needing a sail cover was appealing. 

I have a tides marine sailtrack system, combined with a good two speed self tailing halyard winch in the cockpit and dyneema lazy jacks. This combo allows pretty easy control of my 300 sqft main without the need for a powered winch. The working jib is a 110, not quite self tacking, but so much easier than the 130 my old boat needed. The hardest chore is getting the mainsail cover off and on, so someday a stack pack will become appealing. Having the traveler in middle of cockpit makes sailing simpler, but more modern boats from my manufacturere now mount it recessed in the sole, a better system.

I am pretty athletic but the biggest challenge single or short handing is returning to the dock. In my marina help is not available so having a very maneuverable boat with a Maxprop on a saildrive makes docking less stressful.

 

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1 hour ago, Benytoe said:

I am in the process again of looking for another boat, it will be my fifth and could be my last. I am fine now but dont want a boat that I will have to sell in the future because I cant handle it anymore. Looking at gear or designs that could allow me to sail without having to call up crew to go out for a daysail. A roller furl headsail I have had in the past and love but thinking about a furling main? or a very easy stack pak system for dousing?  I have used a electric winch before for halyards and thought that worked great, jib winches maybe? keeping the traveler out of the cockpit would make moving around easier. Lines led to the cockpit is common now too. A good autopilot to steer when needed. I know a lot of people will look down at some things like furling mains but I want to be able to sail and not be kept at home dreaming about it. My last boat was 40 feet and I was solo half the time and want to be able to do it again. Any other ideas? 

Hmmm.    Budget?    Find a boat that allows you to be physical as you can now,  while having the luxury to add labor saving over the next few years (or decade). I'm in the use it or lose it camp,  + ibuprofen.

So priorities would be correct traveler location,  furling and making sure getting in and out of the cockpit is OK when your knees go to crap. 

Best thing I've added is a diesel heater.  Nothing better than being able to thaw out when chilled to the bone. 

Other stuff later.  I'd rather buy a boat for a good price without the fancy stuff now,  and add new features so they have a10 year minimum lifespan before overhaul,  than buy someone else's upgrades that need to be overhauled in say 2 to 5 years time. 

Ymmv

 

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36 minutes ago, dfw_sailor said:

Hmmm.    Budget?    Find a boat that allows you to be physical as you can now,  while having the luxury to add labor saving over the next few years (or decade). I'm in the use it or lose it camp,  + ibuprofen.

So priorities would be correct traveler location,  furling and making sure getting in and out of the cockpit is OK when your knees go to crap. 

Best thing I've added is a diesel heater.  Nothing better than being able to thaw out when chilled to the bone. 

Other stuff later.  I'd rather buy a boat for a good price without the fancy stuff now,  and add new features so they have a10 year minimum lifespan before overhaul,  than buy someone else's upgrades that need to be overhauled in say 2 to 5 years time. 

Ymmv

 

yes you are right, deck layout will be the key

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@Benytoe Do you have a length in mind? Are you looking for a cruiser? Day sailer? Weekender?

I'm 72, and pretty fit. I have a 27-foot H-Boat. It's fine for daysailing and weekending. I have 110 jib on a furler. The main is standard stuff, but has a Harken track for the luff. It's easy to furl and secure with sail ties. I actually enjoy doing it. Tiller steering with a "TillerClutch" gizmo. Lines led to cockpit. The only inconvenience is the traveler - it bisects the cockpit. Auxiliary power is an OB (electric), however, in the interest of laziness, I'm probably going to switch to an electric pod drive soon. 

I single hand quite a bit.

My advice is: Do it now. You'll have more time to enjoy it.

Cheers.

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One thing that can help is to develop an exercise plan to improve your fitness.   Just before I retired I started an exercise routine and now at 65 I am more fit than I was at 50.  Eventually time will catch up with me - it's just been put off for a number of years.

As far as a boat goes, things I would look for would be ways that reduce the physical effort needed and things that accommodate a reduction of balance as you get older.  

I'd look for a boat that needs smaller jibs, controls led back to the cockpit so you don't need to go forward, major controls accessible from the helm to minimize movement around the cockpit when singlehanding.  Wide sidedecks.   Easy access below with not too many steps, not too steep, and good places to grab as you go below or back on deck.   Good handrails and places to brace your feet as you move around belowdecks.

As far as the mainsail goes each system has their benefits and drawbacks.   My boat currently has a full battened main with the Dutchman system and slab reefing.   In the future a powered halyard winch may be added if needed.   A stack pack type of arrangement would be the next step to eliminate separately putting on the sail cover.  I'd take in boom furling over in mast furling as the final change.

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My father is well into his 90s.  He played tennis until 80.  I am just a spring chicken.

When I move my body around, I do it for my brain.  I am looking for help anywhere.

There is no young lady who would choose me.  If she did, I wouldn't choose her.

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My Dad is 89 and exercised until about 6 months ago. I got him back into it and he went from 2.5lb dumbbells back to 10lbs in 2 weeks. He admits that the intermission has left him weaker and he is working to reverse the effects of Covid laziness.   
 

As far as boats, get one small enough with long benches and a berths below decks for a quick nap at anchor to re-invigorate the soul.

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Hiya Benytoe, 

The things I found most beneficial in short handing the boat:

  • Lazyjacks and a boom bag; 
  • Cars and mast track for the main luff; 
  • Furling headsail; 
  • Electric winch for the main halyard; and 
  • Damn good autopilot.

I'm not a fan of furling mains, too much risk if it jams in the wrong spot. 

Mainsail cars are just awesome for downshifting. Set a reef going to windward and if the wind goes from fresh to frightening just dump the main halyard, it's down in seconds in the lazyjacks and you're back to full control.

It really sucks that a good autopilot is so expensive, but it's worth every cent. Being able to leave the helm in any conditions. that was a game changer. You gain so much more time for looking after the boat (and yourself) , the nav and the trimming. Embarrassing to admit, it also taught me how to steer the boat better..er, I went from moving the helm a good quarter turn on a wave  to a few inches.

Sounds like a fun challenge!

Cheers,

SB

       

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34 minutes ago, shaggybaxter said:

Hiya Benytoe, 

The things I found most beneficial in short handing the boat:

  • Lazyjacks and a boom bag; 
  • Cars and mast track for the main luff; 
  • Furling headsail; 
  • Electric winch for the main halyard; and 
  • Damn good autopilot.

I'm not a fan of furling mains, too much risk if it jams in the wrong spot. 

Mainsail cars are just awesome for downshifting. Set a reef going to windward and if the wind goes from fresh to frightening just dump the main halyard, it's down in seconds in the lazyjacks and you're back to full control.

It really sucks that a good autopilot is so expensive, but it's worth every cent. Being able to leave the helm in any conditions. that was a game changer. You gain so much more time for looking after the boat (and yourself) , the nav and the trimming. Embarrassing to admit, it also taught me how to steer the boat better..er, I went from moving the helm a good quarter turn on a wave  to a few inches.

Sounds like a fun challenge!

Cheers,

SB

       

Yea I like the cars, the main will fall faster then you can let go of the line.

 

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42 minutes ago, shaggybaxter said:

Hiya Benytoe, 

The things I found most beneficial in short handing the boat:

  • Lazyjacks and a boom bag; 
  • Cars and mast track for the main luff; 
  • Furling headsail; 
  • Electric winch for the main halyard; and 
  • Damn good autopilot.

I'm not a fan of furling mains, too much risk if it jams in the wrong spot. 

Mainsail cars are just awesome for downshifting. Set a reef going to windward and if the wind goes from fresh to frightening just dump the main halyard, it's down in seconds in the lazyjacks and you're back to full control.

It really sucks that a good autopilot is so expensive, but it's worth every cent. Being able to leave the helm in any conditions. that was a game changer. You gain so much more time for looking after the boat (and yourself) , the nav and the trimming. Embarrassing to admit, it also taught me how to steer the boat better..er, I went from moving the helm a good quarter turn on a wave  to a few inches.

Sounds like a fun challenge!

Cheers,

SB

       

+1

I've recently gone from a 44' cruiser to a 30' daysailer for similar reasons. Old boat had a roller furling (boom) mainsail which worked fine but had to be set up just right. New boat has a fully battened main with new track and slides, and lazyjacks - so far very easy. 110% jib, traveller is aft of the cockpit, small tiller autopilot, all lines to cockpit. Docking singlehanded is no problem as the boat is small and light enough with low freeboard that I can just step off with a line fastened amidships which I cleat on the dock as I step off. That stops the boat alongside the dock. (Not possible with the old boat - 13 tons....) No electric winches, no need so far.

As with most things sailing, it's important to think ahead and plan manoeuvres through beforehand, if possible!

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7 hours ago, Benytoe said:

I am in the process again of looking for another boat, it will be my fifth and could be my last. I am fine now but dont want a boat that I will have to sell in the future because I cant handle it anymore. Looking at gear or designs that could allow me to sail without having to call up crew to go out for a daysail. A roller furl headsail I have had in the past and love but thinking about a furling main? or a very easy stack pak system for dousing?  I have used a electric winch before for halyards and thought that worked great, jib winches maybe? keeping the traveler out of the cockpit would make moving around easier. Lines led to the cockpit is common now too. A good autopilot to steer when needed. I know a lot of people will look down at some things like furling mains but I want to be able to sail and not be kept at home dreaming about it. My last boat was 40 feet and I was solo half the time and want to be able to do it again. Any other ideas? 

I went for the fuller at 66 on a 33 footer with a masthead rig. Its great provided it doesn't jamb.  I solo about 70% of the time. Lazy jacks for the main make life easier but i dislike them, and now that my main is a few years old, I don't use them. My dock mate has a Sabre 45. He sails with his wife.....which he says is like sailing solo...hes got the stack pack and loves it, in contrast to lazy jacks. 

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2 hours ago, Bull City said:

Me too!

Good for you. I gained 10 needed pounds and have kept it mostly north of my belly button and increased my flexibility after a bad situation a few years ago

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63 and starting to feel it LOLI still take the J35 out solo a lot. I'll race it with the Genoa sometimes but if just out sailing I'll stick the #3. my main has slugs, no other lowering assist devices.

getting the headsails down on the 35 is a total pain in the ass and requires a lot of hustle with sail ties. the main is a little easier if I can control the descent with one foot and alternate the folds between the slugs, it pretty much flakes itself if I pull on the leech. If I were to keep this boat, and still wanted to race it... maybe light lazy jack system. 

I had a Bene 36.7 with two headstays I could switch out. One was for a roller furling #2 . Have thought about doing that for this boat two, but not familiar enough any more with the furling systems out there. 

 

I'll probably unload this boat in the next year or so and seriously thinking about an Alerion 28 or 33.. Lifes to short to sail ugly boats ;)

no, they're not the latest and greatest go-fast, but they're easily handled by 1, and  look good rowing away... 

 

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Like some other posters I have sail tracks on the main. Also a Dutchman system that controls the main pretty well on the drop and a 1/2” right angle Milwaukee drill with winch socket bit that grinds the 433 SF main up easily while Otto steers into the wind. My boat has a german main sheeting arrangement that is de rigeur for racing with a dedicated main trimmer but a PIA for me short handed. I adapted a 4 part preventer I had made up previously with suitably sized shackles as a mainsheet tackle and it takes 5 minutes to convert back and forth. With more than 8 kts of wind I do have to luff up to get enough leech tension so may make up another with more purchase soon. If I were to keep the boat another five years I might relocate the cockpit spanning traveler to the cockpit sole. Finally, I ditched the big headsails and sail with a jib unless it’s too light, in which case I crack a beer and sit in the cockpit at the dock. At 75 I’ve finally quit beating myself up just to prove I can. Boat is 40 ft LOA give or take.

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Eventually I will be on an Alerion 28.  I like the ability to get on and put the boat away safely and quickly.  The biggest challenge for older sailors is the step on or off. Most folks get hurt or parish in the marina when they fall in and can't get back up. A lower freeboard should make it easier to step on and off. Main sail cars, a furling jib and a stainless stern boarding ladder are on that list. 

Can we start to talk about comfortable pipe berths for afternoon naps and why they make the boat?

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I bought a SeaClipper 28 trimaran and had to disassemble it in New Jersey to load on a trailer and tow it down here to the Gulf. That was such a chore (demountable beams and amas) that when I got it reassembled I vowed to never go through that process. I was so sore and wore out after all that I named the boat TRIBUPROFEN

 

 

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Get the boat you will want in 10 years, not the boat you want today. That way you will be happier & happier with your boat every day for 10 years, and it will take another 10 years after that for you to want to move on.

I am in my 12th year.

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You do not detail how you will use the boat which will help. 

Some excellent advice has been given to you.

 

Having retired couple months ago, i have started down this journey.  In my case I am upgrading my current boat.

Over the years I have seen too many folks retire,  buy a boat 10-15 feet larger and after 1 cruise they own a boat too large to sail and/or maintain an it never gets used.  If the SO is not doing much today to help sail it, that will not change in the future.  Do not buy more boat than you will be able to single hand, as chances are your crew will start to die off and those who hang around are too frail to handle lines like they did 15 years ago.

In my case my 32 footer will be just fine for sailing the bay and runs to New England.  Systems are such that small enough I can deal with the loads.

Moved down from a 155 to a 135 headsail. About as small as I can go on the Chesapeake and it's light airs in the summer.  To make up for it, I had my sail maker design a A1.5  to be flown off a retractable bowsprit in an ATN sock.  I wanted a furler for it, but was told they really are meant for code zeros. over 15 knots, I do not need the kite.

Ensure your roller furler is bulletproof and can furl with little to no friction.  Your upper body strength will wane over time and having to fight to furl it will be another excuse not to get out.  I like to disconnect and dunk my lower furler several times in a 5 gallon bucket of fresh water each spring to get all the dirt and dried salt out of the bearings.

Having my sail maker build a stack pack and install a Tide Marine Strong Track system to allow dropping the main and not having to deal with it until back at the dock. I have already added Garhauer ball bearing sheeves at the masthead and their blocks led back to ensure no friction.  New main is polyester cloth instead of a laminate so it folds easily into the stack pack.

Went to a rigid vang and ditched the topping lift. Always holds the boom up when you release the main halyard.

Dual reefs lines led aft so I do not have to go forward to add a reef in snotty weather.

Motorized winch is nice and likely needed for larger boats.  In my case I am upping the winch from a 16 to a 40 and it will be a self-tailer as I am likely by myself.  The main sheet will be moved next to the main halyard so they can share it.

Change to a multi-purchase low friction main sheet system to give you more leverage.

Built a bimini.  I find the sun beating down sucks the energy out of me when it gets over 90.  Make sure it has easy to egress for docking and going forward. 

My dodger was very low and made it hard to quickly go below as I am tall and not as nimble as 40 years ago.  I had the new loose footed main cut up 6 inches in the back which allowed me to raise the boom which allowed the canvas maker to reconfigure the dodger to make it 4 inches taller.  Now it is a piece of cake to go below  and whatever little I lost in sail area can be added to the roach instead.

Make sure the main winches can run on 12 inch handles for 20 percent more leverage and relocate if the dodger or bimini structures are in they way.  A double handed handle will allow you to get your shoulder into grinding in that last couple of inches without pain.  I also use handles that you can squeeze so it is a one handed operation as you can use the other to brace yourself.

Use sheets that will not easily hockle. You do not have time for such bs.

Clean the deck of stuff you can trip over.  If you carry a spinnaker/whisker pole, mount it up the mast so it is not a trip hazard.  Remove or tape on those Davis shroud coves so should have grab at one when falling, it cannot come off.

Double check all hardware to ensure it runs smoothly.  I have been on boats where the damn camcleats and travelers were so salted up we were fighting them all day on a blustery October sail.  The owner never reset a thing as it was too difficult.   Do not be that guy.

Windless if you expect to anchor out much.

Use instruments that allow you to have large digits and vivid graphics for those failing eyes.  I like multiple pages that can be customized so I have pages for sailing stats and others for when motoring with HUGE digits.   May want to think about going up a size on your chart plotter and use the larger fonts to make it easier on the eyes.

Integrated systems so you pick a point on a chart plotter and the autopilot takes care of the rest.  I suggest AIS if you do not have it.  It helps keep you our of trouble with the big boys.

Go below, stand in the saloon and stretch your arms.  Are there places to grab onto when in sloppy seas as you cannot afford to fall and break a bone when moving about.  Some of these wide ass condo queens have zip to hold onto and it is 12 feet down should you fall due to wave.  Add solid handholds if you find any gaps.

If doing cruising, look at upgrading the cushions.  As we get old, it gets harder to sleep soundly, so quality cushions or mattress will help you get your sleep.

I am partial to the classics as they look beautiful on the water and more importantly, usually have small cockpits over these new floating condos.  They are built to protect you when the SHTF.  the downside is a bit more work to move about.

Double check that ant-iskid and replace if it worn.  You cannot afford to slip.

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2 minutes ago, glexpress said:

Personally, as I get older I've found that the best gear to have is plenty of Motrin in the first aid kit.  :lol:

My favorite is Vitamin "A" aka Advil.

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8 hours ago, Foreverslow said:

You do not detail how you will use the boat which will help. 

Some excellent advice has been given to you.

 

Having retired couple months ago, i have started down this journey.  In my case I am upgrading my current boat.

Over the years I have seen too many folks retire,  buy a boat 10-15 feet larger and after 1 cruise they own a boat too large to sail and/or maintain an it never gets used.  If the SO is not doing much today to help sail it, that will not change in the future.  Do not buy more boat than you will be able to single hand, as chances are your crew will start to die off and those who hang around are too frail to handle lines like they did 15 years ago.

In my case my 32 footer will be just fine for sailing the bay and runs to New England.  Systems are such that small enough I can deal with the loads.

Moved down from a 155 to a 135 headsail. About as small as I can go on the Chesapeake and it's light airs in the summer.  To make up for it, I had my sail maker design a A1.5  to be flown off a retractable bowsprit in an ATN sock.  I wanted a furler for it, but was told they really are meant for code zeros. over 15 knots, I do not need the kite.

Ensure your roller furler is bulletproof and can furl with little to no friction.  Your upper body strength will wane over time and having to fight to furl it will be another excuse not to get out.  I like to disconnect and dunk my lower furler several times in a 5 gallon bucket of fresh water each spring to get all the dirt and dried salt out of the bearings.

Having my sail maker build a stack pack and install a Tide Marine Strong Track system to allow dropping the main and not having to deal with it until back at the dock. I have already added Garhauer ball bearing sheeves at the masthead and their blocks led back to ensure no friction.  New main is polyester cloth instead of a laminate so it folds easily into the stack pack.

Went to a rigid vang and ditched the topping lift. Always holds the boom up when you release the main halyard.

Dual reefs lines led aft so I do not have to go forward to add a reef in snotty weather.

Motorized winch is nice and likely needed for larger boats.  In my case I am upping the winch from a 16 to a 40 and it will be a self-tailer as I am likely by myself.  The main sheet will be moved next to the main halyard so they can share it.

Change to a multi-purchase low friction main sheet system to give you more leverage.

Built a bimini.  I find the sun beating down sucks the energy out of me when it gets over 90.  Make sure it has easy to egress for docking and going forward. 

My dodger was very low and made it hard to quickly go below as I am tall and not as nimble as 40 years ago.  I had the new loose footed main cut up 6 inches in the back which allowed me to raise the boom which allowed the canvas maker to reconfigure the dodger to make it 4 inches taller.  Now it is a piece of cake to go below  and whatever little I lost in sail area can be added to the roach instead.

Make sure the main winches can run on 12 inch handles for 20 percent more leverage and relocate if the dodger or bimini structures are in they way.  A double handed handle will allow you to get your shoulder into grinding in that last couple of inches without pain.  I also use handles that you can squeeze so it is a one handed operation as you can use the other to brace yourself.

Use sheets that will not easily hockle. You do not have time for such bs.

Clean the deck of stuff you can trip over.  If you carry a spinnaker/whisker pole, mount it up the mast so it is not a trip hazard.  Remove or tape on those Davis shroud coves so should have grab at one when falling, it cannot come off.

Double check all hardware to ensure it runs smoothly.  I have been on boats where the damn camcleats and travelers were so salted up we were fighting them all day on a blustery October sail.  The owner never reset a thing as it was too difficult.   Do not be that guy.

Windless if you expect to anchor out much.

Use instruments that allow you to have large digits and vivid graphics for those failing eyes.  I like multiple pages that can be customized so I have pages for sailing stats and others for when motoring with HUGE digits.   May want to think about going up a size on your chart plotter and use the larger fonts to make it easier on the eyes.

Integrated systems so you pick a point on a chart plotter and the autopilot takes care of the rest.  I suggest AIS if you do not have it.  It helps keep you our of trouble with the big boys.

Go below, stand in the saloon and stretch your arms.  Are there places to grab onto when in sloppy seas as you cannot afford to fall and break a bone when moving about.  Some of these wide ass condo queens have zip to hold onto and it is 12 feet down should you fall due to wave.  Add solid handholds if you find any gaps.

If doing cruising, look at upgrading the cushions.  As we get old, it gets harder to sleep soundly, so quality cushions or mattress will help you get your sleep.

I am partial to the classics as they look beautiful on the water and more importantly, usually have small cockpits over these new floating condos.  They are built to protect you when the SHTF.  the downside is a bit more work to move about.

Double check that ant-iskid and replace if it worn.  You cannot afford to slip.

Thank you for your reply, I am planning on being local in the bay area with offshore trips south maybe as far as Catalina island? my last boat was a 40 foot Mexico/hawaii vet that was fully equipped but I was not ready to do mexico at the time so the boat was a waste and covid changed everything. My plan now is to start again but do the lng distance passages on other boats. I dont plan on racing my new boat either, I have plenty of race boats that I crew on.

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On 2/21/2021 at 9:41 AM, steele said:

I am pretty athletic but the biggest challenge single or short handing is returning to the dock. In my marina help is not available so having a very maneuverable boat with a Maxprop on a saildrive makes docking less stressful.

One of the biggest improvements I've made for single-handing is a midship cleat at the beamiest point on my boat, and a corresponding cleat at the adjacent point on the dock.

This single line connecting the two is the last line off when leaving, and the first line back on when docking.

It hugely simplifies single-handling, because even though the boat can pivot around it, the boat won't hit the neighbouring boat or otherwise go anywhere with this line attached. 

It doesn't replace the standard dock lines, and is actually slackened when not in use to allow for normal boat movement at the dock. 

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1 hour ago, 'Bacco said:

You wont find anything easier to sail than this. Halyard, mainsheet, choker, reef lines. That's it.

 

INA home pg 3.jpg

 

 

I have come to the realization that the Nonsuch 30 is my dream boat, for the reasons you mention.  I'll save the fast sailing for racing on other people's boats.  Although the BYC North Channel Race (St Clair River) had 8 Nonsuches on the starting line last year.

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The Bay Area has many sub-venues, and you can pretty much pick your wind strength if you start on the Estuary.

Mooring in Berkeley not so much, something to consider.

Get a Westward heading slip, you can more readily dock into the wind, than down wind, and backing out downwind is easier to control than up. Rig your slip with "Training wheels" so you can slide along the finger piers, and put a stop line at the forward end to arrest. Rig your springs with spliced loops that go on the dock cleats, and dress them along the lifelines so that you can step off and slip them on. 

A larger more stable (heavier) boat will be more seakindly, and stable and easier all around if your balance is not what it once was, as long as you can dock it. Possibly a tri or catamaran ? 

Consider a divided rig; I can sail short/single handed with a partial genoa and mizzen and the boat balances, and is  upright and dry, doing about 2 kts less than if the main were up. 

Back when I  was on the Estuary, the Main (300 ft^2) with lazy jacks and a permanent cover (Sailrite kit) was feasible to handle if you have an autopilot to hold course, or a mizzen to keep you head to wind. 

Oversize your halyard and sheet winches in advance, and put extra falls into your tackles, we went from 4:1 to 6:1 on the coarse trim of the mainsheet and it made a world of difference

Get modern self furling gear, it's improved a lot in the past 20 yrs, though my ca 1970 Harken Mark 1 is still going strong 50 yrs later. (replaced the Barients a few years back)

Remember Square/Cube law of scaling:  half the LOA is 1/8 the displacement, and 1/4 the the sheet loads, makes it easier to do everthing, but the bouncing/pitching will be a worse ride. 

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Current boat had autopilot, electric halyard winch, nice side decks, electric windless, winches adjacent to helm.  Been singlehanding since I bought my first boat more than 30 years ago, along with cruising and racing.  Next B day I will be 75, still soloing my 38 footer.  But with knees, shoulders and hands raising hell, I have gone to boom furler and small headsail.  Being in good physical condition (weights, cycling, lap swimming) and many years of sailing experience allows me to do what I do.  To you younger guys, old age will be here soon, so take care of your selves and you will live to enjoy the later years.  And I agree on many of the previous posts on simplifying your boat and downsize for the future.

 

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Lots of good points.  Having had hernia surgery 6 months or so prior to taking delivery of my last boat, I also specified an electric winch for the mainsheet.  Don't forget an anchor windlass and treat yourself to a salt water wash down up front too!  Low freeboard and spring cleats as mentioned above are other things to throw in the mix.

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5 hours ago, gspot said:

One of the biggest improvements I've made for single-handing is a midship cleat at the beamiest point on my boat, and a corresponding cleat at the adjacent point on the dock.

This single line connecting the two is the last line off when leaving, and the first line back on when docking.

It hugely simplifies single-handling, because even though the boat can pivot around it, the boat won't hit the neighbouring boat or otherwise go anywhere with this line attached. 

It doesn't replace the standard dock lines, and is actually slackened when not in use to allow for normal boat movement at the dock. 

we have 6 foot finger piers off the fixed main dock that we have to come in bow first due to water.  not a lot to work with and it sucks to climb up a bow with lots of freeboard when the tide is really low (have a step).

I have pre-measured spring lines that are attached to the pilings near the stern.  Spliced nice big eyes to putting over the cleats.

the spring lines lay on top of lines tied from the forward and aft pilings on each side. This way they are mostly out of the water and keeps them off the mud bottom..

As I come to my slip, I have specific speeds at certain distances. The most important is I am doing .9 of a knot SOG as the bow starts into the slip.    I have the wheel brake on so the boat goes were I have aimed it which centered in the slip.  I step onto the deck from the cockpit, snag the stb spring line with a boat hook and drop it onto the stb amidships cleat. 

The boat is still moving forward as I walk to the bow and put my boat hook under the bow pulpit.

Right about then  that spring line has been stretched stopping forward motion and swinging the boat to starboard.   Perfect time to snag the stb bow line which is right below me. I have 2 large Taylor fenders attached to the forward stb piling and the boat bounces off it without leaving a mark on the Awlgrip.  No need to fend off.

as the boat starts to go in reverse as the nylon spring line recoils, I grab the port bow line off the dock and put it on the cleat.  That line is on a dock cleat more to center (more on this later).

The boat is going nowhere now, so I can take my time and grab the port spring line, then the port stern line, and then push off the piling with my hand and grab the stb stern line.  The boat is near it's finger pier on stb side.  When done for the day, I climb off, grab the other end of the port bow line sitting on a piling on the dock (it has loops spliced into both ends) and pull it to another piling further to port.  This centers the boat in its slip.

The powerboaters are usually throwing back cold ones and watching.  they appreciate I can single hand dock the boat every time with drama or banging into their boats.

Have enough play for the bay's 18 inch tidal change but it can handle 7 high to low.

IF a hurricane comes in, i replace the bow lines with longer lines which allows the boat to float up with the storm surge even if the docks go under water.  No worry about wind loads as the boat sits in what Chesapeake Magazine called the 2nd best hurricane hole on the East Coast.  

 

No matter where I dock, I always use spring lines to snub any way still on.  It is the most import line from tight maneuvers.

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Thank you everyone for your ideas, I knew some of them but there was other good points to consider. My goal is to just be able to sail for as long as I can because then I will miss it for the rest of my life.

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As a side topic... a number of  you have alluded to singlehanding (or preparing to do so in the future) due to lack of crew or other circumstances... I'm curious as to what safety paradigm you are adopting vis-a-vis MOB (of yourself!)... regular/religious  wear of PFD/harness combo and clipped in to jackline, or just wear a PFD, or just a harness (clipped to jacklines or whatever is handy) , or nothing unelss bad weather or ?  And if on autopilot and not clipped in, what is your mechanism for not having the boat sail away from you?

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31 minutes ago, JoeO said:

As a side topic... a number of  you have alluded to singlehanding (or preparing to do so in the future) due to lack of crew or other circumstances... I'm curious as to what safety paradigm you are adopting vis-a-vis MOB (of yourself!)... regular/religious  wear of PFD/harness combo and clipped in to jackline, or just wear a PFD, or just a harness (clipped to jacklines or whatever is handy) , or nothing unelss bad weather or ?  And if on autopilot and not clipped in, what is your mechanism for not having the boat sail away from you?

Rhetorical question: "How were Larry Klein and Jon Santorelli equipped when they kicked the bucket?"

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On 2/23/2021 at 2:47 PM, glexpress said:

 

 

I have come to the realization that the Nonsuch 30 is my dream boat, for the reasons you mention.  I'll save the fast sailing for racing on other people's boats.  Although the BYC North Channel Race (St Clair River) had 8 Nonsuches on the starting line last year.

Don’t forget the Nonsuch 26...a very good choice for the aging sailer as well.

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15 minutes ago, fufkin said:

Don’t forget the Nonsuch 26...a very good choice for the aging sailer as well.

Agreed, but in my part of the world there are many 30's who do at least two races OD that I know if.  Another positive of the Nonsuch style is sailing in colder weather, great fall sailing boat in colder climates.  Incidentally those two OD Nonsuch 30 races I'm thinking of are fall races.

I've blasted by Nonsuch 30's in the first 30 minutes of a 56 mile BYC North Channel race on the Express 27.  Already wet and cold, wondering which of us got the right idea.  Sure I'm home by the fireplace warming up when they're still racing, but maybe they never left home comforts?

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1 hour ago, JoeO said:

As a side topic... a number of  you have alluded to singlehanding (or preparing to do so in the future) due to lack of crew or other circumstances... I'm curious as to what safety paradigm you are adopting vis-a-vis MOB (of yourself!)... regular/religious  wear of PFD/harness combo and clipped in to jackline, or just wear a PFD, or just a harness (clipped to jacklines or whatever is handy) , or nothing unelss bad weather or ?  And if on autopilot and not clipped in, what is your mechanism for not having the boat sail away from you?

Wear auto inflatable PFD whenever required by SI's, singlehanded (or only competent sailor), reefed, or after dark. 

Wear a harness off of it to jacklines & pad eyes when afterdark, or offshore, tether short enough to keep body inside lifelines

Boarding ladder rigged with in-water trip line. 

Autopilot doesn't (yet) have an interrupt to go head to wind if MOB PLB activated, but not doing any active passages at the moment. Could put the bluetooth remote for autopilot on lanyard around neck, but would have to activate pretty quickly due to range

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Noticed this story on power winches/single handed sailing as we get older in the Marin Journal. 
https://www.marinij.com/2021/02/20/s...anded-sailing/

As anyone who races with the Singlehanded Sailing Society in the SF Bay knows, power winches are a topic of great debate for shorthanded racing. From a daysail/coastal cruising perspective, it's hard to beat the Alerions.  Self tacking jib and you can go full power winches if you want to. There are a number of them in the Corinthian race this Saturday (181 total boats in the race!). It's interesting to check out the entry list to see what kind of boats are being single/double handed. Some with power winches/some manual - https://www.jibeset.net/entrylist.php?A00=JACKY_T006050885&A01=671e9d0e6661d2031ea44bb13503ff53

I have a power winch on my Tartan main, but will be turning it off for the race to stay in the main fleet. I think a number of other sailors will be doing the same, but it is really nice to have the option when not racing.

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3 hours ago, JoeO said:

As a side topic... a number of  you have alluded to singlehanding (or preparing to do so in the future) due to lack of crew or other circumstances... I'm curious as to what safety paradigm you are adopting vis-a-vis MOB (of yourself!)... regular/religious  wear of PFD/harness combo and clipped in to jackline, or just wear a PFD, or just a harness (clipped to jacklines or whatever is handy) , or nothing unelss bad weather or ?  And if on autopilot and not clipped in, what is your mechanism for not having the boat sail away from you?

Hi JoeO,

When I'm offshore solo:

  • Manual PFD;
  • 3 point tether; 
  • EPIRB;
  • AIS PLB;
  • Sat phone;
  • MOB Transmitter/autopilot remote. (Boat goes head to wind on activation);
  • PC is always recording the track. Any MOB alert is recorded and time stamped on the track. Backup MOB alert position/time stamp on the NKE system.    
  • Transom ladder in position but clipped up. Floating line on lowest ladder rung attached to lower transom safety line with halter hitch;
  • Dyneema lashings on all safety lines at each pushpit, knife on the centre stanchion on the transom;
  • Backup rope ladder in transom (works if the boat is upside down or right way up unlike the transom ladder); and
  • Soft valise life raft in rear hatch, accessible if the boat is upside down.  

If its calm I don't bother tethering on, but I wear it at all times I'm on deck. I don't like auto PFD's habit of triggering at inconvenient times, I'd rather take the chance I'm not unconscious when I go over. . 

Cheers,

SB 

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Something I don't do anymore.

Although it could be the subject of another thread, I take my dock lines (1 stern line, 1 double ended bowline) with me. I use them to control the boat when I cast off from the slip, and when I dock. I remove them and toss them below after leaving the dock and before I raise sails, and the reverse on the way back.

When leaving the marina, I would scurry to the foredeck to remove the bowline, and leave the boat pointed away from the marina with the motor running. NO MORE! Now, I go dead in the water, within a short swim of the dock, remove the dock lines, toss them below, return to the cockpit, motor out of the marina and then raise sails all from the comfort of the cockpit.

This will be even safer when I get my electric pod drive to replace the electric OB. Then I won't have crawl along the 4 foot after deck to fuck around with the OB. I will have to keep that argument in reserve for Mrs. Bull should the need arise.

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3 hours ago, Greyhound37 said:

I am 70 so I have the same concerns. The ideal boat for me , easy to handle and good flat working surfaces is the Class 40.

See the source image

Me too, I love the acreage of room. You can deploy a liferaft in the cockpit if you wanted and still not foul any controls.

Mind you, its hard to slow them down in fresh conditions even with the cruise-ry models, and the (stiff) action takes a bit of getting used to. First world problem admittedly.   

021_zpsz0hnfzq0.thumb.jpg.b961458ea56b418a8df58240d4c2695a.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

Me too, I love the acreage of room. You can deploy a liferaft in the cockpit if you wanted and still not foul any controls.

Mind you, its hard to slow them down in fresh conditions even with the cruise-ry models, and the (stiff) action takes a bit of getting used to. First world problem admittedly.   

021_zpsz0hnfzq0.thumb.jpg.b961458ea56b418a8df58240d4c2695a.jpg

 

Don't you need two people to drive one a them sumbitches?

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6 hours ago, Greyhound37 said:

I am 70 so I have the same concerns. The ideal boat for me , easy to handle and good flat working surfaces is the Class 40.

See the source image

 

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On 2/21/2021 at 8:43 AM, Benytoe said:

I am in the process again of looking for another boat, it will be my fifth and could be my last. I am fine now but dont want a boat that I will have to sell in the future because I cant handle it anymore. Looking at gear or designs that could allow me to sail without having to call up crew to go out for a daysail. A roller furl headsail I have had in the past and love but thinking about a furling main? or a very easy stack pak system for dousing?  I have used a electric winch before for halyards and thought that worked great, jib winches maybe? keeping the traveler out of the cockpit would make moving around easier. Lines led to the cockpit is common now too. A good autopilot to steer when needed. I know a lot of people will look down at some things like furling mains but I want to be able to sail and not be kept at home dreaming about it. My last boat was 40 feet and I was solo half the time and want to be able to do it again. Any other ideas? 

Prior to buying my own boat, I had a fractional lease (Sailtime) on a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 for a year.   What was great about this boat was the way it was set up to sail very easily.  It had a battened main the was more powerful than a mast furling sail, but it came down into a nice stack pack (with lazy jacks)  with simple canvas straps and clips to connect when you put it away.  It had a German mainsheet setup with no traveler and used only one winch - all lines came back to the cockpit.  

The jib was a self-tacking jib, so you only needed to use one of the cabin top winches for the jib sheet.  The self-tacking track on the foredeck was the type that was low profile - it didn't sit on these raised brackets like other designs.  It had one electric winch which was used primarily for the main halyard. 

The boat was so easy to sail, I would leave the slip in newport beach harbor, put the main up right away with the e-winch and short tack it right at of the harbor single handed without making any sail adjustments...  

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20 hours ago, glass said:

Rhetorical question: "How were Larry Klein and Jon Santorelli equipped when they kicked the bucket?"

For my particular situation, staying on the boat is priority #1, so PFD w/integral harness... and staying clipped in would be my MO. Unless in the harbor itself, if I fell in even with PFD (auto or manual) I can't count on someone coming to pick me up. My situation is, as Lioness expressed, "singlehanded (or only competent sailor)" during day sails.  As others have stated, for SH offshore, a number of other considerations come into play (personal EPIRB/PLB, autopilot shut off, etc.).  

Having an "easy -release" line for the boarding ladder also a good idea, even if the ladder is basically reachable (lowest "rung") from the water. Using a Tylsaka or similar with a "remote release" line run through the trigger aperture (like used to be done to blow afterguy shackles on big boats in the old days) might be the way to rig the baording ladder quick release.

Thanks for the responses.

 

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50 minutes ago, JoeO said:

For my particular situation, staying on the boat is priority #1, so PFD w/integral harness... and staying clipped in would be my MO. Unless in the harbor itself, if I fell in even with PFD (auto or manual) I can't count on someone coming to pick me up. My situation is, as Lioness expressed, "singlehanded (or only competent sailor)" during day sails.  As others have stated, for SH offshore, a number of other considerations come into play (personal EPIRB/PLB, autopilot shut off, etc.).  

Having an "easy -release" line for the boarding ladder also a good idea, even if the ladder is basically reachable (lowest "rung") from the water. Using a Tylsaka or similar with a "remote release" line run through the trigger aperture (like used to be done to blow afterguy shackles on big boats in the old days) might be the way to rig the baording ladder quick release.

Thanks for the responses.

 

I had a line hanging down to the water so i could grab and pull the ladder down. Before that boat I didnt have a ladder on the boat so i hung a knoted line from cleat to cleat on the transom hanging down low enough that i could grab and pull myself out of the water. The knots helped with griping and pulling myself up.

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Two quickies. I got dinged in an ins survey yesterday for no apparent way to reach boarding ladder if overboard. The other is I used to trail a line with a float on the end. One day it was gone. Something bit it clean off. 

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18 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

Me too, I love the acreage of room. You can deploy a liferaft in the cockpit if you wanted and still not foul any controls.

Mind you, its hard to slow them down in fresh conditions even with the cruise-ry models, and the (stiff) action takes a bit of getting used to. First world problem admittedly.   

021_zpsz0hnfzq0.thumb.jpg.b961458ea56b418a8df58240d4c2695a.jpg

 

Isn't that a little undercanvassed?

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5 hours ago, kinardly said:

Isn't that a little undercanvassed?

I used to sail on a 60' Crowther, it could do 6 knots under bare poles so I thought I'd give it a try. I worked out I was missing about 80' of freeboard.  

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22 hours ago, Bull City said:

Don't you need two people to drive one a them sumbitches?

I lobbied for a third wheel for years but Shaggy wouldn't spring for it.

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25 minutes ago, LB 15 said:

I lobbied for a third wheel for years but Shaggy wouldn't spring for it.

LB, I think you're on to something. I can see the benefit of another wheel. It's like razor blades. When I was a downey cheeked lad, one blade was enough. How many are they up to now? Gillette has a 5 blade shaver. You need to look at the Gillette website and then talk to Edson. Heated wheels! NFL wheels! Ladies' wheels!

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It was a long walk across that boat and no backstay to hang onto on the long march either. As some of his crew are just coming off their first flush of youth, it was a challenge. A third wheel or a little bench to rest on would have helped. 

We pioneered the helmsman each side well before that red haired Italian chap started doing it. But instead of doing tactics and ‘flying the boat’ on fusion the leeward helmsmen would rest, take refreshments and make a make a few smartarse remarks- and often even posting on here!

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electric furling for the main and headsail, powered winches. autopilot. will some "purists" or "tough guys" look down on your for having powered/ furling sails and powered winches? maybe, but fuck em. you're still sailing. 

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3 hours ago, LB 15 said:

It was a long walk across that boat and no backstay to hang onto on the long march either. As some of his crew are just coming off their first flush of youth, it was a challenge. A third wheel or a little bench to rest on would have helped. 

Surely you should have a signpost as well, pointing the way to the other wheel.  In large print, for the visually-challenged  ... with a braille version too.

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10 hours ago, frozenhawaiian said:

electric furling for the main and headsail, powered winches. autopilot. will some "purists" or "tough guys" look down on your for having powered/ furling sails and powered winches? maybe, but fuck em. you're still sailing. 

Eleanor Roosevelt:  " What other people think of me is none of my business."

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20 hours ago, LB 15 said:

It was a long walk across that boat and no backstay to hang onto on the long march either. As some of his crew are just coming off their first flush of youth, it was a challenge. A third wheel or a little bench to rest on would have helped. 

We pioneered the helmsman each side well before that red haired Italian chap started doing it. But instead of doing tactics and ‘flying the boat’ on fusion the leeward helmsmen would rest, take refreshments and make a make a few smartarse remarks- and often even posting on here!

I'm sending this to Finot Conq. Catering to all body types.

We'll make millions I say. Millions.

Pogo.thumb.jpg.4664089bdf0536b566150aa7229c4e8a.jpg  

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get a Winch Rite- it’s not as slick as a dedicated electric winch, but it’s damn close, and it’ll work on all your winches.

Then get one of these (pic below), and it’ll be faster than most sailboats.  Planing is easier than getting over powered down wind and sinking into your own wave.  The way the Paradox 1050 is powered up, you really shouldn’t need the kite in anything but the light stuff.  
 

I’ve also thought a reefable A cat with a wishbone rig blown up to 30’ with a crawl in sit up only cuddy on the deck would be nice, put the can in one hull, and the kitchen in the other one.

something like an una rig unstayed Newick Rozinante around 25’ would be cool, with a remote for the motor, and a really long tiller extension so you could stand on the dockside ama when you come in.  I think Dragonfly is missing a bet not offering a version of their 25 with a simpler unstayed rig.  Even Nigel Irens  is starting to doodle them-  the cool thing is you can feather, reef & lower the main downwind, tri amas have low freeboard, and they are light.  Add a wishbone boom and you’ve got automatic lazy jacks along with stability and speed, and just 2 sails.
 

 

AB8A0D79-256A-41F5-BB4B-32E59805B931.jpeg

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Apparently there is a gent out there who got himself a Marshall 23, and changed the foils to modern ones, and replaced the gaff rig with a taller unstayed mast with a full battened square head on it, and by all accounts she sails really well.  He came from high performance trimarans, was looking for something to downsize to, and is very satisfied with the results.  I think he used Beirig for the sail.  But as long as I’m on this horse, it has long bugged me that someone hasn’t taken a mini type hull and rigged it with a full battened una rig and a light air kite.  NO JIB.  <_<  Like a big RS Aero.  There’s no reason a catboat has to be heavy and slow.  
 

This isn’t a pic of that Marshall, but it is a pic of a normal Marshall, and it’s great boat porn.  Even a gaff rigged Catboat is cool....:)

 

 

 

6C8C03D1-D8A0-43C1-AADD-D581546D3367.jpeg

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We’ve had a Winchrite for 10 years or so, just got a new one.  Much cheaper than an electric winch.  Rechargeable batteries.
 

 

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1 hour ago, Amati said:

Getting around it though, esp in a hurry? :blink:

going thru it would be faster. I did see someone do that last weekend. He had a better wheel for it. I had not even thought of that as an option till I watched duck thru it. Great way to adapt. 

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18 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

Surely you should have a signpost as well, pointing the way to the other wheel.  In large print, for the visually-challenged  ... with a braille version too.

And a pub along the way

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1 hour ago, Amati said:

We’ve had a Winchrite for 10 years or so, just got a new one.  Much cheaper than an electric winch.  Rechargeable batteries.

$780 - why not a cordless right angle drill for roughly half the price? (well you have to buy the star winch socket adapter)

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-M18-FUEL-18-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Brushless-Cordless-GEN-2-SUPER-HAWG-7-16-in-Right-Angle-Drill-Tool-Only-2811-20/309824232

270722XC501.png?mw=520&hash=31D2B63DBA1B

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3 hours ago, Zonker said:

why not a cordless right angle drill for roughly half the price? (well you have to buy the star winch socket adapter)

Is there a difference in waterproofing?

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6 hours ago, Amati said:

get a Winch Rite- it’s not as slick as a dedicated electric winch, but it’s damn close, and it’ll work on all your winches.

Then get one of these (pic below), and it’ll be faster than most sailboats.  Planing is easier than getting over powered down wind and sinking into your own wave.  The way the Paradox 1050 is powered up, you really shouldn’t need the kite in anything but the light stuff.  
 

I’ve also thought a reefable A cat with a wishbone rig blown up to 30’ with a crawl in sit up only cuddy on the deck would be nice, put the can in one hull, and the kitchen in the other one.

something like an una rig unstayed Newick Rozinante around 25’ would be cool, with a remote for the motor, and a really long tiller extension so you could stand on the dockside ama when you come in.  I think Dragonfly is missing a bet not offering a version of their 25 with a simpler unstayed rig.  Even Nigel Irens  is starting to doodle them-  the cool thing is you can feather, reef & lower the main downwind, tri amas have low freeboard, and they are light.  Add a wishbone boom and you’ve got automatic lazy jacks along with stability and speed, and just 2 sails.
 

 

AB8A0D79-256A-41F5-BB4B-32E59805B931.jpeg

did you read the title?

Telling you right now, us old geezers are not crawling anywhere other than out of a bar at daybreak...

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11 hours ago, Foreverslow said:

did you read the title?

Telling you right now, us old geezers are not crawling anywhere other than out of a bar at daybreak...

Practice makes the cuddy practical!  A nice soft 1” cushion on the entryway, wife and dog snoozing on a nice mattress inside the cuddy on a day sail, staying out of the rain.......  ah, PNW happiness....

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