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Tips sailing singlehanded with the fore sail only?
27th August 2018
8:15 pm
Trevor Smith
Forum Posts: 8
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I would like to simplify my cruising on Lake Macquarie in NSW Australia this season (about to start) by only using  only the jib singlehanded.

Anyone sails that way and any tips?

Trevor, MIJO 28 twister

27th August 2018
9:22 pm
Philip & Cathie Collcutt
Forum Posts: 25
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Hi Trevor,

We sail with genoa only whenever it is fresh for our local sailing.  The balance is excellent.  Offshore in a seaway, making to windward, the addition of the reefed main adds a lot of drive and the ability to point higher  The only advice I can give about genoa only sailing is not to try to point too high. Keep the luff tension up.

Best wishes,


29th August 2018
8:26 pm
Peter Mulville
Forum Posts: 75
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Hi Trevor

There are many that have sailed Twisters single-handed much further than me and may well comment.

However, in my experience, if you have an electric self steering system and can motor slowly into the wind...the main is a good idea. Reefed if you need. She will also sail under main alone...again off the wind. If you have a roller genoa then it's easy to get that in on your own. With both sails you will have better balance so you can set the self steering and enjoy what I believe is called a 'tinny.'

The main when up will look after itself. To get the main down, after rolling up the genoa, you can either use the self steering and motor into wind or simply lie ahull. No engine. Let the helm go and let out mainsheet so the boom is over the guard rails. Wait a few moments till the boat settles with little drive in the main. She'll be making a knot or so on a reach forward of the beam. This is why you have a long keel boat like a Twister. Go forward and drop the main. Furl it and then go to engine. 

You do need a little space to for these evolutions. I sail on the Solent and, when it is crowded on a good day it can be difficult to find a free patch. Not every skipper sees that you are on your own and gives you space. Genoa alone might be good if it is it might be. [I looked on Google and you seem to have a fabulous cruising ground. If you have any pictures...please send to me so I can put them on the website.] 

I have also sailed many miles on genoa alone...and the electric self steering is happy with it but if it blows up the boat can yaw around the set course.


5th September 2018
10:44 pm
Trevor Smith
Forum Posts: 8
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Thanks, Peter

I will give that a go presently and send photos.

Yes, the lake is fabulous. I am moored at Belmont near the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club. Visitor's always welcome.



6th September 2018
6:15 pm
John MacMullen
Forum Posts: 66
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She'll do both well but particularly when manoeuvring in confined spaces bear the following in mind:

Headsail only. She'll get more power from this alone as long as the wind is not from aft. If you don't have much way on she'll be more reluctant to come up and through the wind. Bear in mind in restricted spaces.

Main only. Without the slot effect from the headsail it's not a powerful sail if going to windward under it alone. Downwind is a different story.  However she will come up through the wind at low speed under the main. If you need to bear away smartly don't be shy about dumping the main. If you don't she'll be slow to obey.

Go out, sail and practice. You'll find that, handled right, the Twister will do anything you want.


13th September 2018
3:43 pm
Simon Baker
Forum Posts: 4
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Maybe I'm being overly cocky... and they do say pride comes before a fall... but I've been managing fairly well single-handed even with a hanked-on foresail, hailyards at the mast and without the luxury of self-steering.

As Peter says you need to have sufficient room (about a cable) and I wouldn't try it in a blow but ...

For the hoist

1. Preparation is everything ... sails all ready to hoist, one or at most two sail ties only ...

2. Motor into a nice big space point bows into the wind and stick the engine in neutral

3. Leave mainsheet slack, dash to the mast and hoist mainsail

4. Return to cockpit, sheet in mainsail as if for beam reach and she should settle and hold a slow unexciting close reach with no tiller, which gives you time to ...

5. Return to mast, tidy up main hailyard, topping lift etc. and finally hoist the genoa, a lot of flapping then ensues before ...

6. you return to the cockpit, sheet in, bear away or whatever.

Let's face it sailors have been doing this for centuries, for all those years when (most) boats had no engines. If yer-man () can do it on a flighty over-canvassed West Solent One Design then it should be quite a mundane affair on a Twister.

Reverse the process for the stow: let go and drop the headsail first, then loosen slightly the main sheet and bob around for a few seconds (mostly) head to wind whilst the main comes down.

Other technique (if one is available) is to grab a vacant mooring buoy and yaw around on the ground anchor whilst hoisting sails at your leisure. This doesn't work so well in reverse though, picking up a buoy single-handed in a tideway whilst under sail is beyond my skill level.

16th September 2018
2:56 pm
Stephen Moorey
Forum Posts: 148
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I single hand all the time. I bought a simple tiller pilot and it gives me plenty of time to sail in to the wind and raise the main and head sail.  My head sails are hanker on so I sometimes have to change them but I find the twister very accommodating to my needs.  I'm sure though one day I'll end up going overboard. Probably need to use a safety harness. All adds to the fun.

Best wishes.


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