Single Handing the 505

Several people have been e-mailing about single handing the 505 and how the boat might be set up to accommodate this. Here are some thoughts from Chris Locke and others
Chris Locke
Well, I have been working up to this stage .. and now I feel quite comfortable in winds up to about 10 knots or so. I don't know what it was blowing yesterday .. max about 8 I'd guess possibly gusts to 10. I ripped my trapeze harness and took a dunking; boat turtled (in a deep spot so I was able to right it). This was one of my main concerns; righting the boat by myself. I had little problems. My main difficulty (that I had not thought out (grin)) was getting _into_ the boat once it was up!

I solved this by bearing off slightly (steering from the water) .. sheet in and pull myself into the boat with a a trapeze handle. Worked great!

I bought an RWO telescopic tiller extension (goes to about 190cm?) and made a better trapeze wire setup (with the clamcleat trapeze cleat thingie) and the handle about 6" higher than the one that was on the boat " when I bought it. I don't use the handle at all as I already have my hands full. I occasionally grab the cord to stabilize myself.

Here are some observations (if they are of any value (worth a laugh if nothing else!)) ...

I hold the mainsheet in my forward hand as I go out .. once out I transfer part of the sheet to the hand on the tiller to get the tail out of the way. I found that if I held it in one hand the free part kept wrapping around the working part and jamming. Keeping the sheet out of the water etc.. is the biggest task in managing things.

When I start to get tired I move toward the rear of the boat rather than moving in slightly during short lulls. This raises me so that I perch on the rail (bringing my weight in) but causes the stern to dig in. A friend said that it looks pretty dumb with the bow so far out of the water; what was I doing? Well .. it saves my legs! Problem is that it is really uncomfortable being 1/2 out and trying to steer and sheet (worse than crewing normally in this condition). If I could raise the trap while sailing I would be in business. I find that if I do though, I can't get it back down fast enough to unhook as I come in and I get wet .

The other problem is jib trim; you only get one chance to get it right! The way that my cleats are setup it is darned tough to re-sheet while on the wire. The best bet is to head up and fix it from inside the boat.

Tacking is tough. I have to get right on that razor edge as I come about so that I _am_ around but not so much that I blow over while I adjust and cleat the jib. I pretty much have that figured out; it is a combination of main sheet tension and angles. A week ago I was going backwards so fast that I was getting tons of water over the transom. I nearly dumped as I got it around (I know .. obvious (grin)).

I also have to fix the mast gate so that the jib sheets can not get caught so easily as the jib bounces around during a tack. I'll just put something in there to fill it. It is pretty terrible to have to go forward during a tack to un-sharl this mess! Normally when crewing a little bit of tension in the sheets keeps this from happening .. but I should fix it anyway.

What else ... ? Oh yeah, yesterday I was on a reach and a Hobie 17 from the club was just slightly faster than I was! I was impressed. I start having trouble as the wind comes up though. What I have found is that I get comfortable at various wind speeds .. but that it takes a while. When I started the singlehanding from the wire it was panic city. Now I feel a lot more comfortable at the wind speeds that I have been out in. Now as I get experience in bigger winds ....

5o5 .. the ultimate singlehander! ?


Ali Meller
On the occasions when I single handed the 505 I found that my trapeze height was OK.... My handles are already higher - one beer can height above the boom - for the crew, so that I can go out at arms length. While I would go out on the handle when crewing, sheet in and cleat the jib, and then hook up to the trapeze, your hands are too full as Chris noted.. you should hook up before you go out.

I tack, sheet in the jib - but not all the way - hook up and go out while pulling in the main. Sheeting in the jib part way keeps the boat from going into irons, but does not pull it in enough to heel you over until you get out on the wire. By the way, I did the same thing when I tried sailing an International Canoe.

My transom bridle mainsheet is not ideal for single handing. You want a center mainsheet system to that you can tack with the tiller extension - extended - crossing over behind the universal joint.

The boat feels great when you get out on the wire single handed!

If you were doing a lot of single handing you might want to consider setting up the boat with more rake, so that the trapeze wire does not pull you forward. You could shorten the leech of the main slightly so the boom does not get too low.

More thoughts from Ali: