Author Topic: Solo Sailing the 323.  (Read 8035 times)

The Great Godsea

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Solo Sailing the 323.
« on: February 18, 2015, 09:56:19 AM »
So, its my 3rd season sailing.
my third season with my new girlfriend.. "The Great Godsea".
Have taken her out many times sailing in NY Harbor, out into the lower bay, down to the highlands or out along the bight as far as fire island.
But sailing frequency is less than optimal.
So, i'm committing myself to get out and really work on sailing skills every week this summer.
To that end, i'm going out (in good weather) regardless of having add'l crew.

And so, Solo Sailing.
previous owner tells me he always sailed solo, using basically the Genoa only.
i'm trying to envision tacking and jibing while alone. the juggling of the lines while steering through the wind.
i dont have an autopilot that works currently... working on connecting the old one to the GPS....i'm told by the company that its possible. 

I seek Solo Sailing advice from you, my esteemed Pearson community members.
Thanks very much in advance.


selene

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 11:27:52 AM »
I sail solo quite often...but am no master!  I have an autopilot, but it does not have a tacking function :-( :-(

The PO comment on using the genny alone is interesting.  I have been experimenting with different sail plans, and found on Selene a headsail alone is stable, easy to handle, and points almost as well as main+jib.  It has become my favorite sailplan in heavy winds - 'cos a reefed main alone sucks (we are often 25-30knots in summertime....)

Tacking solo is still not smooth for me, through.  I am often in front of the wheel; I reach behind me to turn the wheel, tack like crazy, and then grab the wheel again - as a result I tend to oversteer.  In lighter winds I can hold the jibsheets at the wheel, each with a couple of wraps around the drum so I can release and at least partly pull in - when stable I walk around, adjust and lock in the working sheet...

Good thread - I'll be interested in what others say.

Rusty Pelican

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 11:32:29 AM »
I sail solo all the time, always under full sail
A good auto pilot and roller furling on the jib helps.
My "day" sails are in the greater Boston harbor so there are a lot of powerboat nut jobs out there.
Plan to avoid choke points, and always remember power boaters no matter the size will always cross you on the bow.
Never do anything in a hurry and remember the #1 rule in single handing is do not fall overboard.
The # 2 rule is "one hand for the boat, one hand for yourself"

BobG

The Great Godsea

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 01:43:32 PM »
Words of wisdom boys... WORDS OF WISDOM

selene

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 05:07:24 PM »
Oh, yeah - just remembered - I always have a portable VHF clipped to the belt when sailing solo.  Heard a story of a guy who just left his slip, heading up the channel, slipped and fell overboard.  Boat (on autopilot) sailed away...eventually grounded a few miles away...luckily he was close enough to shore to swim to safety.  But it always made me think - if you are solo, and trip or slip, it would be bad, especially in the cold water around here.

I also rig the jacklines a bit sooner when I am solo.  And I always have a length of line hanging down from the swim ladder as a quick release (remember the story of a group of people who jumped overboard for a swim, but forgot to lower the ladder - and all died because they could not get back aboard?).

As I say to people who are on my boat for the first time - the most important safety rule is to stay on the boat ("one hand for the boat, one hand for yourself"). My second big advice is to be careful of the boom.  It's big and heavy and your head won't stop it if it changes sides.

Frayed Knot

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2015, 03:35:12 PM »
Solo sailing is not the problem with me.  I just take it slow.  The Roller jib, full batten main and wheel brake woks for me, it's coming home and *docking* is what suck's .  Because I always back in... I hate docking in my marina.  Cross winds are strong most of the time and just not enough room also the boat does not backup well.  If I know there will be a friend of mine at the marina when I get back I will call him on the VHF and tell him to meet me at the slip, If not I wont even go... Makes it a sad day.     

Libations Too

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2015, 11:03:07 PM »
An auto pilot was the first addition to my 323 when I bought her. A wind vane came some time later when I started solo ocean sailing. Once you can get away from the wheel (and trust your auto pilot) managing the boat single handed is not difficult at all. Don't worry about the GPS-auto pilot connection. As long as the auto pilot has a fluxgate compass and can steer to a compass heading you're good to go.

When I sail solo I spend most of my time ahead of the wheel. In rough conditions and when tacking I work from my knees between the wheel and the bridge deck; it is easy to tack from that position since both winches are in easy reach. I have a dodger and the bridge deck is a great place to find shelter from wind and rain if needed.

I sail in the same conditions as Selene (summer afternoon winds routinely at 25 or more). I have learned to reef and enjoy sailing in strong winds; a single reef in the main and 95% jib on a furler are a good combination up to the low to mid 20s when I start to think of a second reef in the main. Practice heaving to...once balanced the 323 rides quite comfortably when hove to. I have found that furling the jib part way before trying to heave to makes it easier to balance sail and rudder.

Be honest with yourself about safety issues: you must provide for your own safety since no one else is on hand to help. Jack lines and a harness are SOP for me. I also have a PLB and VHF on my PFD. Yes, they get in the way sometimes but I think they'd serve me better than yelling once in the water with the boat sailing away on auto pilot.

I've sailed my 323 solo from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and back two times. One time I did a 400 hundred mile off shore qualifier when I was considering a solo race to Hawaii. On all of these long solo sails I was, at one time or another, frightened and worried. Good preparation and taking things one step at a time, slowly and easily, worked for me. I learned a lot about myself and my boat: the 323 is a great boat for a solo sailor.

Practice. Practice. Practice.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 09:27:24 PM by Libations Too »
Richard

The Great Godsea

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 10:09:36 AM »
Wow. this is just such great color folks. i can't thank you enough.
THREE KEY LESSONS YOU'VE ALL JUST TAUGHT ME AND WHICH ARE MY FIRST MOVES:
1. Get a JACKLINE.
2. Get the Autopilot working, at least to steer to a compass setting.
3. Learning how to properly and quickly reef the main (haven't ever figured it out yet).

Follow-up question.
i bought a rock climbing harness which i used for work up the mast. its not a harness that goes around your chest obviously..
Can i use this to attach myself to the jack line? or is the problem that falling over while attached in this way makes it impossible to properly orient myself to climb back aboard?



selene

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 10:44:47 AM »
Personally I use an offshore horseshoe lifejacket with built-in harness.  I know it is more money, but I think a good investment for both safety and convenience.  I use  tethers - often two - the second normally to lash myself to the mast!

I run the jacklines from the bow cleats to the stern cleats - which is often a pain as that invariably means they rest on or near the main winches.  If I was going offshore, I would probably add additional anchor points - one near the companionway (so you can clip on when leaving), and another near the helm station (for comfort). 

The Great Godsea

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2015, 09:52:57 AM »
I want to respond to the point made earlier about the difficulty with backing into your slip in the marina. i have found that move to be one of the most stressful moments whenever i go out. it is REALLY difficult to maneuver in reverse in a sailboat in any confined space... and the cross wind blowing you away from the dock just creates mayhem exactly when you have minimal fine control of the boat. I really like having the stern in too and i fought this battle for a year. but i've finally given up. for me, its just not worth it. now i nose in and i "haven't" had any problems. i can generally dock her myself and so far (knocking on the side of my head) i've had pretty good success. Bottom line, i no longer dread returning to the marina because i've reduced the stress of the docking wrestling match to a small fraction of what it once was.
the price for this convenience is
1. having to board visitors from the far end of the finger, which is less stable and always dipping and bouncing around because it floats with just a metal ring around the pylon.
2. cant see her name! i'm proud of her and would like to be able to see the name facing the dock.
3. have to drag the shore power line all the way to the back of the boat.

all in all, a fair compromise for me.

Bill1188

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 02:46:36 PM »
Sailed in Jersey for 15 years and know in Michigan for 20. Backed in on east coast. Everyone here, nose first. Scratching my head as to why anyone would want to back in now that I've done both.

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2015, 08:43:56 PM »
FWIW,

I'm on a mooring, can come in or leave in almost any wind/tide. Granted no shore power, or convenience of just hopping aboard, but it has it's perks......

Privacy.
Easier to ignore troublesome neighbors.
No BBQ restrictions.
I can enjoy a cigar w/o complaints.
Can swim off her.
$150/year vs $2100.

I use the Launch Service, so it's easy enough. Granted that's $850/year. Some years I forego it and use my dinghy.

Not knocking the slip, I've done both, I just prefer the mooring given a choice.

The 323 is a great boat to single handle, trimmed and balanced right she practically sails herself, so I personally never saw the need to autopilot. If I need an extended head break, I heave-to. For all intents and purposes, I pretty much do it all even with the Admiral aboard. I'm not to concerned not always executing the "perfect" tack either, anything can be corrected and I'm not a racer.
Yes to the aforementioned the safety considerations, jacking, pfd etc...mandatory. I use an auto-inflate pfd on the chance I'm "boomed" overboard. To reiterate, a great boat to single hand!!

"Sub" Ed

Now or Never!

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Re: Solo Sailing the 323.
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2015, 10:01:28 PM »
I have done very little solo sailing;  just when I am on watch and my partner is below asleep.  However, reefing the main is not a big deal.  I have one reef line attached to the luff.  This line is led back to the cockpit, as is the main halyard.  I can lower the main and engage the reefing line.  Then, since the aft end of the boom is easily accessed from the cockpit, it is a simple matter to pull the leech of the sail down tight with  a reefing line.