Lone sailing - the greatest experience of them all
Having the sky, the boat, the universe all to yourself in the middle of an ocean for days or weeks must be the greatest sailing experience of them all...
Andrew Evans doing what he loves
...watching the great weather systems pass overhead, living with sunrises and sunsets that take up the whole sky, knowing it's all up to you to survive...
If you have a yen to go single handed sailing - or already do it - 'Thoughts, Tips, Techniques and Tactics for Solo Sailors' by Andrew Evans must be the greatest book you could ever down-load, and it's free.
The book covers everything from the mental challenges, to boat selection, heavy weather sailing, self-steering systems, and how to do all those things that are easy when there's an extra hand on board but require special techniques when you're there alone. Andrew himself boasts 3,000 hours of single-handed sailing, and although much of his advice is centred around racing, any solo sailor will find it invaluable.
Here Bruce Schwab, well-known American ocean racer and also a multiple solo circumnavigator, talks about it in a Foreword (nicely adding a nautical tone by calling it a 'Forward') to the book:
I met Andy when he came to help out my preparations on Ocean Planet for the 2004-2005 Vendee Globe. A nice guy and good sense of humor; after all he's Canadian.
In many ways he represents all those who have become successful solo sailors on their own nickel; learning slowly from a mix of hard-earned experience, digging up obscure info, and sharing with each other.
It's not like this sort of experience is falling off trees. While a lot of jabber about singlehanded sailing can be found on discussion forums and the odd magazine articles, this is the first collection of the varied aspects of the sport put together in one place.
It takes thousands of hours of sailing to get the kind of knowledge contained in this book. It also takes a lot of experimentation and a willingness to be wrong nine times before getting it right on the tenth.
There are many recipes for successful solo sailing; as many as the actual sailors who do it. And there are many different levels of personal priorities. However many, many of the same mistakes are made over and over by those new to the sport, and by those who simply think they have it already figured out.
Most of those mistakes can be prevented by carefully analyzing what Andy has put together.
This is good stuff, and I'm especially glad that he did it, because now I don't have to.
The book is only available through the http://sfbaysss.org/!Singlehanded_Sailing_Society by http://sfbaysss.org/tipsbook/SinglehandedTips.pdf!clicking_here