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Thread: 35-2 Single Handing, Possible?

  1. #1
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    35-2 Single Handing, Possible?

    My 1970 hull #154 35-2 has primary and secondary winches in the cockpit (primaries are way out of reach from the wheel helm) and a rudder post head for a tiller (which I do have) though have never used while under sail. I have no turning blocks, no cabin top winches, and no cabin top cleats, just 3 winches on the mast (port, stbd, and aft) and two cleats near each mast winch.

    Has anyone rigged a 35-2 for solo sailing, if so how did they do it? I would love to put a mast-stepped plate for turning blocks to attach to, but alas removing the mast is not in the cards for this season. Has anyone ever seen a mast strap / clamp that provides a way for turning blocks to be installed? Can turning blocks be fastened right to the cabin top? I really want to be able to single hand the boat and I feel I'm almost there, but I don't know if I can work the jib sheets along with the tiller or not! Comments welcome,
    1970 35-2 Hull 154, formerly 'Virgo'

  2. #2
    Curator of Broken Parts toddster's Avatar
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    From the Alfred E Neuman school of sailing:

    Admittedly, that is a a bit more boat than mine, but single-handing is certainly possible with a bit of planning. And I don't even have self-tailing winches.

    I have seen turning blocks on some boats that are through-bolted to the deck, a few inches away from the mast. If it's like mine, built around the same time, there is a section of the cabin-top about two-feet wide under the mast step that is plywood-cored, instead of balsa cored. With a decent backing plate, I don't see why you couldn't bolt a block to that. But... consider not doing it. With a tiller pilot or tiller lock, it's not that difficult to step forward to the mast to handle sail-raising and reefing. And it keeps a lot of excess string out of the cockpit. The first couple of times can be daunting, of course.

    It's my mainsheet traveller that's out of reach from the helm. If I can keep the sheet within reach, I can cleat & de-cleat it by "cracking the whip" but forget about adjusting the traveller, unless on autopilot.

    As long as you can reach them, it's not that difficult to handle the tiller and jib sheets at the same time. A tiller-pilot with an auto-tack function makes it easy. But half the time, I just control the tiller with my knees or one hip and work the winches with my hands. Just takes a bit of practice. OK, sometimes there's that situation where the boat is on its ear and you don't dare let go of the tiller, but can't quite reach the sheet that needs to be eased. They say proper planning and set-up helps. IDK. Somehow, it all works out.
    s/v arcturus E29 #134

  3. #3
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    One of our site members has solo raced his 35-2 to Hawaii and back. He should be checking in.
    There is a great shot of his boat in the rotation in the site splash screen, too.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

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    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I suggest getting a Raymarine wheel pilot.

    It steers, you're free to sail the boat with the setup it has. And nothing wrong with your setup.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  5. #5
    Principal Partner markvone's Avatar
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    Autopilot

    Hi,

    I single hand my E36EH 90% of the time. My main traveler is on the bridge deck out of reach from the wheel and my primaries are next to it in the forward cockpit. I have a 48 inch diameter wheel that blocks easy access to the forward cockpit. The only way this all works for me is because I have an auto pilot. Mine is an older underdeck Autohelm but it works pretty well in our lighter winds. I usually sit in the cockpit ahead of the wheel when Auto is steering. I'll spin the instrument pods around to face forward so I can see the autopilot control on one and the chartplotter on the other. I usually auto-tack or auto-gybe (a 2 button 90 degree turn) using the autopilot with the main locked on center while I release and grind in the genoa from the front of the cockpit.

    I wouldn't add aft led halyards for single handling if you have a roller furled headsail. My boom is short (12 feet) and I currently have full battens and slugs (no lazy jacks or sail track) and I have a solid vang, so dropping the main is pretty fast and doesn't get in the way. Even with aft led halyards, I always raise the main at the mast while motoring under autopilot. In our normal light winds, I usually drop the main sailing downwind under autopilot with the genoa pulling and the main very lightly loaded (my 150 genoa is 2x the size of the main). I can roll up the genoa, start the engine and steer from behind he wheel.

    It's typically light wind on the Chesapeake so loads are small and things happen slowly. However, since my boat is optimized for 0 - 12 knots, any time it actually gets windy I have to do major adjustments up to changing roller furled headsails.

    For a windy location like yours, I would recommend spending the money on a good under deck autopilot that can be trusted to steer in wind and waves. On a tiller steered boat of our size, I wouldn't want to deal with a tiller pilot. For windy sailing conditions, I would want more power than you can get with a wheel pilot. Hands down the best single sailing related feature my boat came with is the autopilot.

    I did upgrade my primaries to larger self-tailers but that was for more power and convenience not for single handling.
    The solid vang saves having to deal with a topping lift on fast main douses.
    Having your autopilot control always in front of you when facing forward (vs looking aft like I do) helps to prevent accidental auto-turns in the wrong direction (ask me how I learned this).
    I have port and stbd speed/depth readouts back at the wheel which I can not see when sitting forward in the cockpit. This data is also displayed on the rotated chartplotter but I will probably add another readout forward in the cockpit that I can see when sitting ahead of the wheel. The bulkhead location on either side of the companionway that is always blocked by someone sitting in the forward cockpit turns out to be an excellent location for readouts when you are sailing solo.

    Mark
    Mark & Ronnie Vinette
    E36RH #21 GLIDE
    Annapolis, MD

  6. #6
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Traveler out of reach....

    Addressing single handing and the bridge deck traveler, I lead the free end of the main sheet back to the back of the cockpit and drape it over the binnacle.
    Our Harken traveler (main sheet system) has one of their ball-bearing cam cleats and it works easily enough that I can "pop" the sheet in and out of it from aft (at least in light and medium air).
    That still leaves the traveler controls out of reach, but as others have noted engaging the AP is a good solution too.

    We sail on a river that is often crowded with powerboats of all sizes, horsepowers, and skill levels and also high-tonnage barge traffic, so it's good to stay behind the wheel for quick course changes.

    FWIW our tall rig is about a 50-50 proportion (E vs J) in contrast to an IOR-based rig, so our main is good sized, if that makes any difference.
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 07-19-2019 at 11:07 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  7. #7
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    It is really easiest with an autopilot involved. I do like having an auto-pilot for when I tack I can complete my turn and then press the autopilot to hold a course while I adjust the head sail. I always get my main set (traveler) like I want just before I tack, so when the boat swings around the main is fairly close to where I want it. Then I just need to attend to the head sail.
    I have rigged boom preventer lines to manage jibes or wing on wing. I have blocks tied to the bow cleats and run lines through them from rope clutches, up to blocks and back around the shrouds to mid-boom. Works fine for me.
    You'd need to have a way to lock your tiller while you attend to your sails. Tiller autopilot is my vote.
    I single hand my E-380 often and autopilot is what makes it easy. Of course my boat has all the lines run to the cockpit, so I can take care of everything more easily. I do need to go up to the mast to reef the main.
    Leslie Newman
    E-380 #15 "Osprey"

  8. #8
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    You should be able to single hand your 35-2. I single hand about 90% of the time and although a Autopilot makes it easier, I still sail sometimes without it on. You are more limited on trimming your sails without the Autopilot on and you must reef much earlier when you single hand, at least I do which provides me with more control and less weather helm as balancing the sails is critical and minimum weather helm.

    Practice different methods, dropping your main sheet towards the helm, make sure your sails are balance (unless they were out of balance prior, if you pull in the genoa a bit... you should adjust the main), keep your lines to the cockpit organize so when you grab a control line, it is NOT tied up with another line, like your boom vang or cunningham, so that your actions are smooth and precise not delayed, and if you have a wheel, (Ericson's has a good size wheel), don't sail behind the wheel but to the side of your wheel so that you have access to the lines, sheets, view of the your sails / trim and so on. Like Leslie stated, I also set up the traveler on my main and mainsheet so my immediate focus while tacking is my headsail, I trim it accordingly and then I re-address my mainsail trim.

    Anyways, I think it's something you get use to. I am 50 yrs old (damn... getting old) and been sailing since I was 12 and I would say that majority of my sailing is solo. Even now, my kids have much better things to do in their teenage years than sailing and my wife only prefers sailing at 10 knots of wind or less.
    My previous sailboat had a tiller and I installed a Simrad autopilot but most of the time I tacked with the tiller between my legs. Also with a tiller, you can set up a bungee cord self steering and it helps keep the tiller from moving as much but you still have to tend to it.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by patrscoe; 07-19-2019 at 10:56 AM.
    Patrick
    E34-2 sv Panacea
    Chesapeake Bay

  9. #9
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Here's my video pitch for the wheel pilot. Even on a 38, it works well up to 15 knots, and sometimes beyond if the sea is fairly flat.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzXkixctc74

    Name:  1-wheel pilot.JPG
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    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
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  10. #10
    Principal Partner Alan Gomes's Avatar
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    If you decided to make use of that rudder head and fit the boat with a tiller (whether in addition to or in place of the wheel), you might want to consider getting a Pelagic tiller pilot. Very robust, and it will steer the boat in conditions that an ST4000 or EV100 Raymarine wheel pilot won't touch. The price is also very reasonable. www.pelagicautopilot.com.
    Alan Gomes
    1984 E26-2
    Yanmar 1GM
    San Pedro, CA

  11. #11
    Principal Partner steven's Avatar
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    The E35-2 is a joy to singlehand (in protected waters. I do not have experience offshore).

    In moderate conditions, handles very easily with working sails (main + 110% jib) . For heavier air, shorten the main and combined with the 110% jib and you are ok into the 20kt apparent range. For light conditions (under 10kts apparent) I have a nylon 150% genny set flying.

    I use the wheel, sitting forward of it, usually on the low side. Also sails fine with a tiller. Then go back and use the wheel when under power.
    There are a number of other things you can do to make it easier to solo, but in general this design is very forgiving and easy to manage alone.

    --Steve
    Steve and Paula
    Indigo E35-2 #446
    Annapolis

  12. #12
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    Hello Farlander,

    I have sailed my E35MKII across the Pacific single handed 5 times and once double handed. The first two times with just a wind vane. The next four times with an Alpha auto pilot. I had a ray marine wheel pilot that the MKII eat in short time. Good below deck auto pilots are expensive but worth it. Three of my crossings were in the SSS Single Handed TransPac Race. I won my division twice and overall once. So yes it is very possible to single hand these boats. I recommend you join the SSS Single Handed Sailing Society since you are here in the Bay Area. It's how I learned everything about "how to do it". I was commodore for two years.

    I would invite you over to checkout my boat but she live in La Paz Mexico now. If you are on face book I have a few thousand photos of "Sail a Vie" in albums on my wall. My settings are private so if you want to do that send me a PM and we will work it out.

    Cheers
    Phil
    E 35 MK II 184

  13. #13
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    Phil,
    Very impressive solo sailing experience.
    Patrick
    E34-2 sv Panacea
    Chesapeake Bay

  14. #14
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    Thank you Patrick. Anything to get away from work...
    E 35 MK II 184

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