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What mods have you made to make single-handing easier?

Jan 18, 2016
592
Catalina 387 Dana Point
1. Autopilot
2. Lazy jacks/stack pack.
3. Autopilot
4. Autopilot

Even with crew, Otto steers 95+% of the time. (Unless I've got newbies on board that are turning green, then they steer)

I'll pop Otto on in the harbor to go adjust a line, or launch the main. Once out in open(ish) water, plenty of time for sail trimming and whatnot. Dropping the main is turn upwind, Otto steers, go drop the sail.

Home slip - I leave all the lines at the slip, so pull in, blast of reverse, step off and tie up. For fuel dock or somewhere else, a midship spring is the #1 line to go on. Nice thing about a long midship spring is I can drop it on a dock cleat with a boathook - then a little in forward turned away from the dock and the boat is stable as can be against the dock to get the rest of the lines on. Also good for fuel dock attendants that tend to grab whatever line they can and pull. That doesn't work so well with a bow line.
 
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Apr 2, 2021
94
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
It the clocking was in my Lewmar manual. You want them to strip into the cockpit if possible but they need to be oriented correctly.
Agreed. At least the sbd one needs the stripper to be reoriented (ahem), maybe port too.

May convert the port cabin top winch to electric to help with the extremely long cranking sessions getting the main in and out. I have a furling main (much gnashing of teeth would much prefer standard rig), so its the furling line not the halyard thats the challenge.

Smokey73, really like your idea for pre-marked dock lines, esp for the aft spring that's soooo much help "parking". Such a simple idea, will def mark up my lines once I get into my "home" slip in a week (Skull Creek, HH Island).
 
Oct 26, 2010
1,327
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
Smokey73, really like your idea for pre-marked dock lines, esp for the aft spring that's soooo much help "parking". Such a simple idea, will def mark up my lines once I get into my "home" slip in a week (Skull Creek, HH Island).
flightlead - I have my boat over at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club out on a mooring. Its really the marking on the spring line that is the most useful and since its not always tight when you first hook it down it allows it to reach its "marked" length right were you want to end up.

Smokey
 
Oct 2, 2008
3,483
Pearson/ 530 Strafford, NH
I tell my wife to stay below. (Stick with me for more marriage advice). We have all the stuff mentioned plus a variety of lines and fenders for the constantly evolving mooring balls and docking set-ups. For example docks with cleats, docks with pilings, floating docks, fixed docks, mooring balls with pennants, without pennants, or chain (thankfully only in Annapolis). Knowing ahead of time is very helpful.
 
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Jul 12, 2011
960
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Single handing the boat at sea is not the problem for me, it's docking the thing. I leave dock lines at my home slip, and the boat-end is either a spliced loop (drop over) or marked with a zip-tie threaded through that goes on the cleat. Sometimes coming in it seems like the line should be in another spot, but I just have confidence that the zip-tie touched the cleat when I left, so it goes back there. Spring lines are wonderful, if you do not like doing fiberglass work the next weekend!:banghead:

Never try to back-in - sailing for years, and I cannot get a single-screw keel boat to back straight in a crosswind no matter the practice.
 
Jan 22, 2008
271
Hunter 34 Herrington South, MD
I tell my wife to stay below. (Stick with me for more marriage advice).
My wife really loved to go sailing with me, then something happened in our relationship - we got married! Going downstairs to fetch, etc. became an issue. AUTOPILOT is the best marriage advice!
 
Apr 2, 2021
94
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
Single handing the boat at sea is not the problem for me, it's docking the thing. I leave dock lines at my home slip, and the boat-end is either a spliced loop (drop over) or marked with a zip-tie threaded through that goes on the cleat. Sometimes coming in it seems like the line should be in another spot, but I just have confidence that the zip-tie touched the cleat when I left, so it goes back there. Spring lines are wonderful, if you do not like doing fiberglass work the next weekend!:banghead:

Never try to back-in - sailing for years, and I cannot get a single-screw keel boat to back straight in a crosswind no matter the practice.
I actually like to back in, as long as the slip is on the port side coming down the fairway. I come down close to the port side very slowly, and when my stern is parallel with the corner of the finger pier or piling I get some reverse in to move the stern over. I agree its a bit more challenging if you've got any tail wind coming down the fairway and its difficult to impossible to get the bow to come up into the wind if its significant.

I also have a bow thruster though :)

I have been able to get my 38 to back straightish and steer making sternway. I learned rapidly having to wait for 473 bridges between Ft. Lauderdale and Brunswick :). But, I have to start very, very slowly and add power at a snails pace.
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,252
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Bluetooth connectivity is a nice option. I have BT connection with my solar charger and battery meter allowing me to stay in the cockpit and water power management. Not vital but lessons the climb in and out of the cabin. I don’t know if it has been mentioned as it is kind of a standard equipment thing but a fore sail furler is almost the ultimate single handed item.
 
Jul 12, 2011
960
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Now that @MikeHoncho mentions it ... I've got a foresail roller-furler, too. You have roller-furling in both sails, I believe. One problem I see people get into if they have roller-furling forward and slab furling on the main, is to only unfurl the genoa for a goofing-around sail. The problem with sailing with an unbalanced rig is that when the wind builds, you are stuck and may be in trouble trying to handle the boat. Perhaps overly cautious, but that's one skill I think helps in single-handing - think and plan for your risks.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,300
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
:plus:

think and plan for your risks.
Single handing, short handing or with a full crew this is is a hallmark of good seamanship.

Sailing solo just means you have only yourself to do all the tasks. You need to set up boat up to allow you to do these tasks without drama. Sailing with crew means you have to instruct the crew to do them without drama, and perhaps be willing to let them do the task even if it is not the way you would do it. As long as they won't hurt themselves, the boat and you. These bring up great teaching moments when you can share your seamanship secrets.

Like... Look up at the halyard and follow it all the way to the top of the mast to be sure it is free of all obstructions before you attach it to the head of the sail.

Or did you run the sheets over the life line and outside of all stanchions before you lead them through the sheet blocks?
 
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Jul 12, 2011
960
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I'm surprised we got this far in this discussion without someone bringing up Andrew Evans excellent book "Singlehanded Sailing- Thought, Tips, Techniques, and Tactics", which is even available free at: https://www.sfbaysss.org/resource/doc/SinglehandedTipsThirdEdition.pdf?_sm_nck=1

I sprung $18 for the paperback so I can read sans Wi-Fi - "Help send Jeff to SPACE!" It's well worth it as he goes into not only the techniques but the psychology and motivations of single-handing.
 
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Jan 19, 2010
911
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Main to slab reefing in the cockpit. Topping lift also in cockpit. Adjustable Genoa blocks. Acquired a Milwaukee 28v right angle drill with winch bit. Main hoists in seconds....
 
Mar 24, 2012
60
Hunter 34 531 East Patchogue NY
I just this year ran my topping lift line back to the cockpit. This eliminates two trips to the mast! I also fabricated two teak “covers” and bolted them over the bottom of the outside of the shrouds. They prevent the jib sheets from getting caught under the shroud bolts. I have however, learned to always keep the lazy sheet taught enough to prevent it from getting caught under various things like hatches and the spinnaker pole mount. This year I also installed an electric winch with a foot operable helm switch as well as deck switches at the winch. All that plus adding AP has made my single-handed life much easier. Now, if I could only find a wheel brake for when my AP decides to have a glitch, I’d be golden. All of the threads regarding wheel brakes for a Hunter 34 are outdated. Anyone with info on where I can obtain?
 
May 19, 2020
48
Hunter 30 Quincy
Now, if I could only find a wheel brake for when my AP decides to have a glitch, I’d be golden. All of the threads regarding wheel brakes for a Hunter 34 are outdated. Anyone with info on where I can obtain?
Who makes your pedestal?
 
Apr 2, 2021
94
Hunter 38 Ft. Pierce
... also fabricated two teak “covers” and bolted them over the bottom of the outside of the shrouds. They prevent the jib sheets from getting caught under the shroud bolts. I have however, learned to always keep the lazy sheet taught enough to prevent it from getting caught under various things like hatches and the spinnaker pole mount. This year I also installed an electric winch with a foot operable helm switch as well as deck switches at the winch.
I like the boxes for the shrouds, my brand new jib sheets, all pretty and white and pink, now have a few snags from the cotter pins. Need to tape or box those.

I too learned about having the hatch in the V berth open lol
 
Mar 24, 2012
60
Hunter 34 531 East Patchogue NY
I like the boxes for the shrouds, my brand new jib sheets, all pretty and white and pink, now have a few snags from the cotter pins. Need to tape or box those.

I too learned about having the hatch in the V berth open lol
I can send you.a photo tomorrow if you’re interested and the hatches were closed and the sheet still gets caught under the small hatches if I’m not attentive to keeping the lazy line somewhat taught.