Single and Double hand

So suppose a young fella was wanting to know a little bit more about the world of single and double handed racing. How would this guy develop his interest, and more importantly, get started in this type of racing? FInd some beater boat and make mods and and try single handed cruising? I don't know of small single and double handed events. I know of people who would never ever consider it, and folks who are already far down the path of this discipline and are sailing big events, but not many in between. How did the mini sailors on this site decide to take the leap? What were the defining experiences for their development as solo ocean sailors? How would they suggest somebody try to get started with double/solo racing. I doubt the answer should be "work your ass off and buy a boat and go." There has got to be a more sensable thing. Is this really such an all or nothing endeavor? Either you single hand in a huge campaign or never go sailing alone?

 

mccroc

Anarchist
609
381
Sydney
So suppose a young fella was wanting to know a little bit more about the world of single and double handed racing. How would this guy develop his interest, and more importantly, get started in this type of racing? FInd some beater boat and make mods and and try single handed cruising? I don't know of small single and double handed events. I know of people who would never ever consider it, and folks who are already far down the path of this discipline and are sailing big events, but not many in between. How did the mini sailors on this site decide to take the leap? What were the defining experiences for their development as solo ocean sailors? How would they suggest somebody try to get started with double/solo racing. I doubt the answer should be "work your ass off and buy a boat and go." There has got to be a more sensable thing. Is this really such an all or nothing endeavor? Either you single hand in a huge campaign or never go sailing alone?
Where are you from?

 

Infidel

Super Anarchist
There is a growing trend towards DH in LIS and I've just started myself. Recent Stratford Shoals event had about 12 entries. Go to the LIS Racing Association/PHRF site and I think there is a DH page.

In terms of a boat- I would think stable- maybe even big back end. Just look at those minis. Fast downwind, good platform to move around on by yourself. Size depends on your budget. Roller furler would help but not absolutely necessary. Solid autopilot. Lastly, and most importantly- lots of practice by yourself. Know your boat- like how many steps is it to get to the foredeck? Mark all halyards. Camcleats on the mast to park on. Consider a sprit. Just some of a zillion thoughts on a busy day.

Welcome.

 

JeffR

Super Anarchist
2,728
3
Newport, RI
Narragansett Bay Yachting Association www.nbya.org holds 4 to 5 events a season and has been hosting a DH class for the past 3 years. It is a great way to get started. The bay offers a lot of water without ever really getting any significant sea state. The courses are point to point type so you get a little bit of every point of sail and have plenty of time to plan for roundings and the next leg.

Once you get a taste for it, you'll probably love it. With a little confidence and expereince you can do the NE Solo Twin. It has ocean (sound actually) courses from 70-120 nm beginning and ending in Newport. It is a great race and there is a lot of good comepetition.

If you want to do single handed the next step would be the Offshore 160, also out of Newport and as the name implies is a 160 nm single handed race. It is a qualifier for the Bermuda 1-2.

As for the boat, almost any boat can be double handed. The NBYA events have seen everything from J22 to Bene 40.7. If you want to do the offshore races you might want a bigger boat, but last year a J24 won our division in the Solo Twin in very rough conditions. There is a Moore 24 that usually does the single handed division.

The key to boat set up is to make sure everything works well. You can't afford to fight the equipment. Roller furling is very nice to have. Leading most controls to the cockpit helps a lot as well. The biggest prep that needs to be done is mental. You have to know the entire boat, if you are doing DH both people should be capable of sailing the boat by themselves. Then it is just a matter of staying focused and planning things well ahead. Spinnaker hoists, douses and jibes take a little longer and it is important to double and tripple check everything before doing it so that you don't have to fix somehting short handed.

 
180
0
No that I would recommend this approach, but..

I followed all of the singlehanded events for several years and was very interested, but didn't have a boat, and was living a long way from the ocean. I moved to the East Coast to take a job, and decided that I was going to try for the Bermuda 1-2 that was 12 months away. I started shopping for a boat, and in the meantime went to about a million courses to learn as much as I could. I had no experience with sailing offshore, navigating, etc. I went to a weather course, a sleep seminar, coastal navigation, celestial navigation, and safety at sea! So, no practical experience, but got to listen and ask a lot of questions anyway..

I finally found my boat - an Olson 30 and purchased it in April, and delivered it from LI sound to southern NJ with some friends who had never sailed before. That was interesting! I spent a month doing small repairs, and buying safety equipment, an autopilot, etc., went sailing a couple more times, and then delivered the boat to Newport as my qualifier. I also set the chute the first time solo on this trip. It was a huge learning experience, and probably scared me more than made me feel secure about racing to Bermuda!

A couple more weeks in Newport to try to get the boat ready to go, and off we went. The story of the race is another whole deal, but I finished, fairly safely, and not terribly fast, but survived, and was hooked after that! I have since done a crewed Transatlantic, another B1-2 on my own boat, and was return crew on a Hobie 33 last time (which dismasted!). Those, and numerous other small races..

The last two years of my life has been building a boat, so I haven't had much sailing time, but that is going to change REAL soon. The new boat should be in the water in a matter of weeks.

So, as I said, not the recommended way to go for sure, but I still think that the way to get into singlehanded racing here in the US is to "just do it". You just have to want to. Just start a little smaller!

Regards,

Drew Wood

www.usa650.com

 

j_dirge

Super Anarchist
10,284
0
outer sunset
I doubt the answer should be "work your ass off and buy a boat and go." There has got to be a more sensable thing. Is this really such an all or nothing endeavor? Either you single hand in a huge campaign or never go sailing alone?
There's much to be done in the middle between extremes.

Its hardly Open 60 vs take up bowling.

Buy a Santana 22 or similar in decent shape for $2k or so, install an ST2000 ($750)or similar AP and get going... NOW. ..before the years start fading away and you're stuck in a job with a couple of kids tugging on your pant leg...

Sail some more... then even more. Get on as many OTHER boats as you can in the meantime. Study the tactics. Sailing as crew will help fill out your experience and help show you what makes a boat go well. Much of the "crewed" style transfers to solo sailing. Knowing how to sail solo will make you better crew.

What you DON'T want to do is wait around for the "right time".. What you DON'T want to do is waste a ton of money and time "making mods" to a boat you will likely sell in 3 or 4 yrs..

oh.. and did I say? DO IT NOW.

 

bored broker

Anarchist
One word

EXPERIENCE

Sail everything you can get your hands on and your butt into. Sail alone, sail with people. Go out when every one else is coming in. Working in the industry helps as well. It will give you more access to boats than you can imagine. Find a mentour (spelling?). Stay singe. Read, read, read..... Practice navigation. Even practice navigating while driving a car. The speeds may be different, but you can get in lotts of practice. Get realy good at fixing things yourself and coming up with creative solutions for problems with limited resources. Practice jurry rigging. Lastly, ride in the trunk of a car doing the Bajha 1000 while wrapped in bags of ice and eat nothing but freeze dried food. :p

Searously, set goals, plan a path, be realistic but agressive and have fun.

 

Foolish

Super Anarchist
1,711
389
Victoria, BC
You won't get very much experience if you wait around for singlehanded races. There are too few. Go out and race singlehanded against fully crewed boats - every week. You probably don't want to do round-the-bouys races because of congestion at the turning marks, but certainly do lots of distance races. I've done this for 5 years now and it has improved my racing ability. I fly a #1 pennant on the backstay (look at my avatar on the left) to let people know I'm alone (In Victoria I'm known as "that singlehanded guy"). And I do stay away from crowds at turning marks if necessary. Overall I've done very well. I've even won numerous races and several race series against fully crewed boats.

On top of this, practice, practice, practice. Head out and do a dozen spinnaker launches and douses in 15 minutes. And throw in a few gybes too.

Andy

Foolish Muse

 
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TeamFugu

Super Anarchist
5,049
19
SLC, UT
I single hand my O30 quite a bit. I've led all of the haliards and control lines back to the cockpit. I also have all self taling winches and a furler. I do not have an auto pilot so gybing the spinnaker is an adventure.

The best advice is to get a boat that you can sail and get out and sail it a lot so that you get used to sailing the boat and how it feels. My club does not keep me off the course if I sail single handed so I have raced against fully crewed boats and have actually won some races. My biggest problem is old worn out sails. A boat with an asymetric will be much easier to handle and I'd lead as much aft to the cockpit as possible. You want to keep the time before the mast to a minimum to be safe. I even have the reef lines run back to the secondary winches through stops so that I don't have to run up and fight the main if I get caught.

Again the big thing is to get a boat and get out on the water.

 
Thanks fellas. little info about myself, I have round about 5k ocean miles and tons of inshore stuff. Work as a sailmaker and have sailed lots on fully crewed boats. Just have never heard or seen about single/DH programs on the inbetween stage. You either hear/see nothing or its the velux5/vendee globe/mini craziness. But I certainly think I'm interested enough to give it a go in the smaller events. Reckon I'll have to start cruising with just me and my gal on borrowed boats...

 

2high2tight

Super Anarchist
3,520
0
i do a big double handed every year. love it.

here is the deal.

low to mid 30 footers. Can go to 40 with aysms. Fractionals are better, but mastheads are ok if you avoid anything with really big foretriangles and huge chutes (mid 80s C&Cs for example)...too exhausting grinding the gennys, and anything you put up you have to be able to bascially get back down and down below by yourself -- and if it squalls, that can be a bitch.

Experience. This is a different game. both you and whomever you are with need to be long time sailors who know exactly what to do without setting up a conference call and having a vote. This means no novices. A good bar to judge yourself against is -- are you comfortable jibing your chute by yourself -- because a tug just came out of the fog and you need to crash jibe, and your partner is down below taking a dump and you have 30 seconds before steel meets fiberglass -- in winds up to 12-15? If not, practice some more. oh, and can you doing it without taking a crap in your pants at the same time?

Strength. No wimps allowed. you may have to haul somebody back on deck by yourself.

Smarts. Know enough to change down or reef early. Think ahead so if the squalls blow up you are sailing with some protection from open fetch, etc. This is a third variable to the usual wind prediction and tide/current variable. Also, smarts means NOT EVEN THINKING about not wearing a PFD, not clipping in before you come on deck, and not clipping on while headed up front. I don't care if it is dead calm.

Prep. Go over the boat before, and during the race. check all pins, fittings, etc. Know how to jury rig and fix stuff. Can you tie a bowline one handed around a jib clew while it is blowing and you need another hand to hold onto the boat.

Autopilot. Not some piece of crap. The real deal.

 

max-on

Member
Drew, please be more specific about the courses; where did you take them, were some better than others. Last year I took a celes nav course at the Museum of Yachting (Newport, RI), which was very informative.

 
I single hand most of the time because when I get a chance to go sailing I go! and don't want to waste time calling people. safety is very important because its just you, always wear PFD with harness if sailing at night or very windy and rough. I use harness with jacklines when I go to the bow (made a promise to the kids that dad will come home) auto pilot is my best buddy to steer the boat while I hoist and drop sails, change the CD or get a beer from the galley. sound engine that will start and get you back to the slip. know your boat and its limits as well as yours when you are alone. add racing and it gets fun.

 
Thanks fellas. little info about myself, I have round about 5k ocean miles and tons of inshore stuff. Work as a sailmaker and have sailed lots on fully crewed boats. Just have never heard or seen about single/DH programs on the inbetween stage. You either hear/see nothing or its the velux5/vendee globe/mini craziness. But I certainly think I'm interested enough to give it a go in the smaller events. Reckon I'll have to start cruising with just me and my gal on borrowed boats...
we have here in bay area the single handed sailing society which is all single handed races in the bay and out to sea, as far as SF to hawaii. don't knowabout east coast?

 

JeffR

Super Anarchist
2,728
3
Newport, RI
I love the DH racing and we have been doing pretty well over the last 4 years or so. I've given a lot of thought to making the jump to single handing.

Aside from the lack of companionship my biggest concern is the autopilot. For the most part DH racing means one person drives and the other does almost everything else. It is nice to get a spell from the tiller! The partner I race DH with and I share the jobs equally depending on the situation.

I have a 30' S2 9.1, tiller steered w/ transom hung rudder. The rudder is balanced some, much less helm than say a J30. I have a 2003 Simrad TP30, which on paper is overkill for my boat. Still I have never been able to get the thing to steer well in any kind of sea. It is especially poor downwind in any kind of sea. That is what concerns me. There aren't a lot of people I trust on the helm enough to go to the foredeck and jibe the kite at night, no way am I trusting that machine! I've tried playing with the gain setting but have not had luck. I plan to interface it with the instruments this off season. Maybe it will hold an AWA better than a compass course down wind, but I doubt it. Especially if the boat is rolling, which sends the AWA all over the place. Maybe getting speed data will help the logic in the tiller pilot auto adjust it's gain. Not enough in the budget to buy an expensive autopilot like the NKE.

Any tips to get better performance out of the TP30?

 

Rail Meat

Super Anarchist
7,193
175
Mystic, CT
If you are in RI and are interested in speaking with a bunch of people who have made the same transition you are thinking about, come to the Bermuda 1-2 meeting on November 4 at the Newport Yacht Club. Check out the Bermuda1-2 website for details.

A bunch of anarchists will be there, and would be happy to talk to you about single and double handing.

My own story - own a C+C 35 III. Liked to race, did not like to deal with the hassles of finding crew. Also liked the offshore stuff. So I spent about a year doing all the things to my boat to get her prepped for short handed sailing, such as the equipment tips you saw in other posts. Did a lot of coastal short handed sailing. Then I took the big leap, and single/singled to Bermuda and back in 2002 as my qualifier for Bermuda 1-2. Done that race a couple of times along with a bunch of the other races in the NewEngland area. There are a few single handed options in the area for coastal racing, but there are lots and lots of double handed options. Virtually every mid distance race of note offers a double handed option.

 

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