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singlehander for older 60kg with bad knees

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Choosing a boat
Forum Discription: Ask any questions about the sport!
Printed Date: 18 Aug 18 at 12:44am
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Topic: singlehander for older 60kg with bad knees
Posted By: singlehander
Subject: singlehander for older 60kg with bad knees
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 2:50pm
At the start of the summer I finally joined the (mostly racing) club on the local lake, and started sailing again after a few decades. I originally learnt coastal inlet daysailing in Wayfarers and Enterprises. I've been sailing singlehanders this time round, and wish I'd done it earlier. Have tried racing for the first time, and quite enjoyed it. I'm aiming for competence and enjoyment.

Bitten by the sailing bug, and starting to think about possible boats to try out, with a view to buying secondhand next year. I am late 50s, 5'6", 55-60kg, not that much upper body strength, and my knees are knackered through past injury.

I've been out in GP14s, but the crewing issue remains. I prefer singlehanded sailing, but I can manage more wind/gusts in a 2-hander with the extra weight of crew.
A Pico was far too painful and small : I need to sit in not on.
The club has Laser sailors and it seemed to be expected that as a lady sailor I would move from GP14>Pico>Laser, but I think the Laser is probably too tippy for me, even with the 4.7 rig, and not deep enough for my knees.

At the moment, I am sailing an oldish (early 3000s) plastic? Solo that someone at the club has very kindly lent me, and it feels very comfortable. With the B Plan (hardly used, still has that new sail sound), not the full sail, but the battens are not changing easily in lighter winds and the sail seems to be not sitting right; the idea was that I could handle the boat better in the gusts and tricksy, shifty winds that we get here with the smaller sail. I need to try the full size sail which should sit better, and trim properly - but I wonder whether I can handle the boat with full rig :

Typical winds on the lake early evening are force 3-4 with gusts of 4-5. I find the upper end of those ranges hard to manage at the moment, and have been swimming (not a problem). I have righted the Solo on my own, but find it difficult to get back in without a leg up from the rescue boat (Pico was far easier). Do not want to be the person who needs rescue boat help all the time, and I'd love to be able to rig, launch and get out for a sail and back without needing back-up.

A couple of the older men (all larger than me) at the club have Solos. We are a mixed club - more GP14s and Lasers, with Toppers, Picos and Oppis for younger folk. Various other types. I could try out a Mirror singlehanded, but do I want a jib sheet as well ?

So : have heard the Solo described as 'the old man's Laser'. What's the 'old lady' equivalent ?
Still a Solo ? Am I too light for the Solo with the full sail ? I'm guessing I probably have 10 good years of sailing left, though what I gain in ability and confidence, I might lose in physical strength over that time.

I would be keeping a boat at the club outdoors, and my DIY skills are not great though I love the idea of a wooden boat, and I maybe have £1.5-2K max to spend, including renewing sails etc. My current car won't tow, so I'd have to factor in eventually changing vehicle for one that will if I were going to sail or race elsewhere.

What would your recommendations be at this point for singlehander boats to try/consider ? If the Solo is a good bet, I'll maybe take up weight training or kayaking, to build strength, and see whether that helps.

Posted By: cad99uk
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 3:19pm
Welcome to the forum. Have a look at a Streaker. Designed by Jack Holt when the Solo was too heavy for him to handle onshore.

We have a lady at our club who sails one. Aged in her mid seventies probably weighs 52kg. Absolute bandit in light airs.

Reduced sail is available (wave sail).

Regards and good sailing

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 3:29pm
If you were at our lake they'd all agree the Streaker is for you, they also tell me it's for me but so far I've managed to ignore them being (in my mind) a relatively young person.

Other than that folk also suggest boats like the Lightning, the Europe (ladys used to sail it at high level not quite sure what happened but they went away) a boat called the Splash that a chap at our lake can get good results in if it's windy.

Do dump that solo, has it got spiders living in it? The one I tried did, cheeky thing even tried to bale out when it spotted who was at the helm, so I had to crash into something to get me out of the embarrassment of the two of us at either end of the boat.

If you are ahem fully financially independant then you should cast a glance at the Devoti D0 with it's blue rig a very nice modern boat as also is the Aero 7(or5) which won't break your back hauling it onto the trailer.

There, that's about your choice I expect there maybe some others I've missed but welcome back to the sport and onto the forum, keep us posted of your adventures.

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Posted By: Neptune
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 3:30pm
I reckon a streaker too, light, decent depth cockpit, but actually pretty low freeboard for climbing back in.

If money isn't an issue perhaps an RSAero with a 5 rig ?

RS300, ex Musto Skiff

Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 3:53pm
If you would really like to take the strain off your knees the" rel="nofollow - Farr 3.7 is your answer, especially with the winds you are describing.

What's a Farr 3.7 I hear you ask? Designed by Bruce Farr in 1971, it's effectively a Streaker with a Trapeze. So when everyone else is having a hernia going up wind you step out on your nice comfy trapeze wire. Turn the corner step in and hike it, or if its that windy stay out on the wire for an epic reach.

Y&Y Test sail" rel="nofollow - LINK

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Posted By: singlehander
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 4:38pm
Thank you for the welcome and the suggestions ! Keep them coming.

Just checked out s/hand Streaker prices; some look affordable. There's one at the club, but it's brand new and the owner's pride and joy.
Aero prices way out of my budget, and none at the club.

Likely to be constrained by what I can get to actually try out. Can't imagine that it is a good idea to buy a model of boat you've not already tried - or am I wrong about this ?

Any love for the Solo idea, perhaps with a mast suited to lighter crew weights ?

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 4:54pm
Solo's not a bad bet with the right rig. Just stay well clear of pre foam sandwich plastic ones.

Posted By: cad99uk
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 4:55pm
Contact the Streaker class association. I'm sure they will fix you up with a demo sail.
From their website "If all this sounds appealing, make sure you have a go in a Streaker. Contact the Class Association via this website. Let us know where you are and we’ll do our best to help you try Streaker sailing."

Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 4:56pm
Originally posted by singlehander

Any love for the Solo idea,

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Posted By: zeon
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 6:10pm
Streaker, lightning, comet, British moth , splash plus aero/zero could fit the bill. It all depends on what is most important to you, i.e. Deep cockpit, stayed / unstayed rig, rear or centre main. Etc. If you can just try as many of them as you can before deciding. 

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 6:17pm
With bad knees avoid any boat you need to kneel in when winds are light, ideally you need one with a thwart to sit on and a aft deck you can sit on.
I have recently purchased a Mirror, I haven't had a problem with the jib. 
Only capsized it once, rigging failure, found it difficult to get back in, caused by recovering from broken ribs, not sure how easy for a fit person ?
Streaker a good boat for you.

Posted By: singlehander
Date Posted: 17 Aug 17 at 9:35pm
By coincidence (since I hadn't mentioned wanting to buy a boat yet), I went over to the lake this evening and the sailor with the Streaker was there, and said that if I was interested, there are a couple of affordable s/hand ones for sale that I could look at. And I can try hers at our upcoming Ladies Day. It was too windy/gusty for me to go out in the Solo this evening, and no spare crew for a GP14.

In the meantime, I'll see if I can try out the full-size sail on the Solo, since winds are forecast to be manageable on the next two club sailing days. I'm told it shouldn't be much harder to control, just quicker to get up to speed. It should fit and trim better than the Bplan.

Thanks for all the suggestions and helping out a newbie - your advice was pretty unanimous, and supported IRL (though as I said in my OP, almost all the club ladies currently sail Lasers).

I expect to end up with a Streaker, and will keep you posted.

Posted By: Jack Sparrow
Date Posted: 18 Aug 17 at 11:47am
You might also want to look at a 'Splash'." rel="nofollow - LINK

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Posted By: Ardea
Date Posted: 18 Aug 17 at 12:24pm
If you want support from an active class association and open meeting circuits, then the streaker is a miles ahead compared to the splash, if you are just looking for something to sail on your local bit of water then the splash might be a cheaper prospect.

Posted By: Tynesider
Date Posted: 20 Aug 17 at 8:29pm
Hi I am 72 and like many not as agile as I would like to be and the old knee issue is also there resulting sometimes in cramp.

I also looked and tried many boats but don't be fooled by the 'go fast brigade' buy a boat that suits you.

I also sail mainly single handed and one boat I bet you have not tried is a Hartley 12 or 12.2, they are very roomy, can be sailed with just the main, or main and jib, or main and asymmetric sail.

The are sold sometimes as trainers boat don't be fooled they can shift believe me, they have a centre board, high boom, open transom, and are very forgiving and easy to right and get back aboard.

Also Hartley boats is a great company to deal with based in Derby, no I do not work for them just a happy customer

Posted By: ColPrice2002
Date Posted: 20 Aug 17 at 9:54pm
A number of our lighter members go for streaker - possibly with the Splash sail (Reduced rig).

Consider a Solo with full rig - the sail controls allow depowering quite well and there is a range of mast stiffness to match different helm weights.
Look for a needlespar mast ( most flexible) with a sail cut to match.
A lot of the rigs are available s/hand as people change rigs.
Above all, try a dinghy to see if you like it before buying.


Posted By: iGRF
Date Posted: 21 Aug 17 at 10:12am
Originally posted by ColPrice2002

Look for a needlespar mast


Now there's a blast from my past, I used a needlespar mast in 1979-81, I bet I might even be able to put my hands on it somewhere in the loft of the board store down the club, are they still made? Is it true they still get used on Dinghys?

I'm off to google.

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