Friday, June 10, 2016

On sailing double-handed


Double-Handed Sailing 

is after all like 

Single-Handing Half the Time 


- Daria Blackwell 



After crossing oceans a few times, I was often asked if I didn't get tired of my husband during three weeks together at sea. I always answered no, because I hardly ever saw him. "What?" they said, "But you're together on a boat 24/7?" Yes, but you're rarely together and awake at the same time. So basically, sailing double-handed is like sailing solo half the time.
  • It is like solo sailing, but you are not alone. 
  • It is like having a crew, but there is usually nobody else around. 
  • Both have to be competent, trustworthy and reliable. 
  • There is always someone on watch. 
  • Each is responsible for the entire world when on watch. 
  • There is usually someone asleep. (And someone to take a picture of the person sleeping.) 
  • You always get enough rest, unless things go wrong. 
  • When things go really wrong, there's someone else to help you think things through. 
  • There are two people to share the chores. 
  • It is psychologically easier when there's someone else to talk to. 
  • You don't have to take as many selfies, but you usually do anyway. 
  • Double-handed racers work their boats harder because they handle maneuvers together. 
  • If one falls overboard, there's a chance that the other might see it and stop the boat. 
  • You need rules to get you through it. 
    • Rules about boat handling, when to wake the other person, how to share space aboard. 

From the
Barcelona World Race, which is sailed double-handed:

'If the boats are basically the same, and many are navigated by the same skippers, is there a difference between solo and two-handed circumnavigation? "Double sailing is physically harder because you usually perform more manoeuvres. Solo sailing is more demanding psychologically. For example, when you change the sail by yourself you have to be really careful not to make any mistakes," remarks Alex Thomson, second in the inaugural Barcelona World Race, who is not hiding his desire to be on the starting line in Barcelona next year.

Alex Thomson believes that sharing space on board is not a problem, no matter how cramped it is: "It’s better than being alone; you always have someone to talk to and it’s more fun", states the skipper of Hugo Boss.'


Amen. I would hate to be out there and never have anyone to tell about the whale that came up within arm's reach or the sunset that magnificently painted the sky. That's part of the allure of being at sea. Sharing the remarkable beauty. I love sailing double-handed. It's the best of the sailing worlds for me.

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