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Old 08-10-2008, 08:13 PM
 
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How big of a sailboat can one man handle safely by himself...22ft? 28ft???

How big for a crew of 2,4,6etc......
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Old 08-10-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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The answer to all those questions is "Depends." A 45-footer can be rigged to be singlehanded.

You probably won't get many satisfactory responses on this forum. I would recommend the bulletin boards at www.latsandatts.net/forum for the expertise you need.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:14 PM
 
295 posts, read 153,556 times
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thanks a lot!
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:14 PM
 
Location: San Fernando Valley, CA
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Dad has a 50 footer...I mean he could handle it alone, but that is just cruising in perfect conditions. It's always best to have a min. of 2 for his boat. HE races regularly with 6-8 people though....those same people could easily handle a bigger boat though.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:42 PM
JnR
 
Location: Central Coast, Ca
1,709 posts, read 619,155 times
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We had a 65 ft MacGregor sailboat that hubby and I cruised around Mexico and Southern Cal. He took the boat out by himself as well. So, yes, it depends on how well it is set up for single-handed sailing.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
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Get a sailboat with roller reefing for ease of single-handeness. These are the boats you see when the main sail is wound around the mast in a unit that allows for easier deployment.

Also make sure you have a safety harness so you don't get left behind while the boat cruises off without you.
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Old 08-15-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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It depends upon so many factors ... the waters you intend to sail and the prevailing conditions, what your "risk tolerance" is for sailing safety, the type of sailboat and how it's rigged, what your expectations are for a "good day" on the water, passagemaking vs day sailing use, etc. etc. etc.

I've delivered a 1960 built 63' Ketch from the CA West Coast to Hawai ... singlehanded. The boat wasn't set up for singlehanding, but was relatively mellow to handle, albeit rather slow. I had to anticipate wind changes and reduce sail very early, erring on the side of caution/safety, which made the trip slower and longer in duration. But I was comfortable with plenty of food and supplies onboard, and it didn't matter.

I've got friends who consistently singlehand 38' wooden boats built for cruising in open waters, all the way up the West Coast to Alaska, and over to HI. On the inland passage to Alaska, they plan on having to lay over some number of days due to weather and conditions. Again, it's prudent planning, good information, and a properly set up boat that make the risks manageable.

I've been on some boats that I wouldn't leave the dock without a fairly sizeable crew, because the boats were laid out for many hands in lots of locations.

I've done ocean passages (and races) with more people on board. It makes the sailing work a lot easier, with lots of hands to take on a lot of tasks on a 24/7 basis. We've never had a roller reefing main, but we've had good reefing systems and prudent on-board management. Lazy jacks and multiple headsails (roller furling) helped keep things a bit more under control at times.

There certainly are a lot of ways to minimize the rig loads and labor requirements ... it just comes down to how much physical labor you are willing to take on, how much complexity you want on your boat, how many companions you are comfortable with re the social, workload, and physical accomodations are, and how big your sailing budget may be.

Sometimes a "bigger" boat is the solution to your sailing ideal and needs/wants.

Sometimes a smaller boat will perform adequately, safely, and happily, too.

It's such a personal decision that you may find yourself not making the ultimate "best" decision until you've sailed/owned several boats. Each of them along the way will teach you a lot about what you need/want, and what you'll settle for. Any boat is a compromise ... you just have to learn what factors are most important to you and find the boat that "best" meets your needs.
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