Single-handed sailing


Hello; I am looking for a 17' - 20' sailboat that I can sail single-handed.  The Flying Scot was recommended to me as a possibility.  I live in southern California - which means three things: 1.  I will sail mostly in the ocean, which is why I want a boat larger than 14' or 15'. 2.  There are no FS fleets here, which means my one-design racing opportunities will be few, I suspect. 3.  If I don't do much or any class racing, then I can modify the boat a little to improve its single-handling. Having said that, my question is what kind of minor modifications can be made to make the boat more single-handed friendly?  I am thinking of things like:  Roller furling jib, self-tacking gear (perhaps with a smaller jib), roller reefing, smaller mainsail, etc.  Can you, or someone in the Flying Scot family, tell me anything about single-handing? Another question is about ballast.  Should I add some ballast for single-handed sailing?  If so, where and how much?  Although probably a major modification, can the FS be converted to a drop/lifting keel boat?  That would improve stability in the ocean swells.  The centerboard trunk and floor would probably have to be reinforced.  Could that be done at a reasonable cost or is that really not feasible?  I would appreciate your comments.   Richard

I am what many would call a raving fan of the flying scot, but, given your questions you may want to look at other boats.Adding a keel to a Scot is not feasible.  Not designed for that.Single handing a Scot works well up to about 8 knots.  In the ocean, you will have a hard time predicting the under 8 days.  Also capsizing a Scot in the ocean probably means you will swamp the boat.You may want to consider a small keelboat that is self bailing and can be self rescued.  In our area we have impulse 21, which are mostly singlehanded.You may want to ask locals in your area.  This may allow you to find a boat that has a local one design fleet.  This gives you a ready made network that is familiar with local conditions.

I agree that if it is Ocean sailing that is of interest then the Flying Scot is probably the wrong boat. The Scot was designed for lake and protected body of water sailing. Especially if single handed the recomendation for a keel boat is even stronger. I have sailed my Scot with just a reefed main (no jib) and the centerboard partly raised. The boat handled like an overgrown one man dinghy and was very ballanced and fast in strong winds. But waves are another matter and Sandy Doughlas the designer has said that the danger is in waves and wind especially when the wind gets under the broad hull perched atop a wave. FS 3512

I singlehanded my scot all the time.  I am on a lake and didn't feel it necessary to mod it for single handing.  I have a tiller extension and racing rig and find my jib sheets easy to manage and my vang is led aft.  A few things I would say to you:
cockpit is not self bailing.  If waves splash in you bail with a plastic cup.
i feel the scot is hard to tack in higher wind without the jib.  I don't think it's a great boat to under  main only.
so I'd look for a keelboat with self bailing cockpit and maybe not such A massive main for boat weight

All excellent comments.  I've sailed my Scot in the Ocean on the 'right' days many times.  More of a novelty for me than common practice.  I usually sail in a large Bay that can get very choppy from time to time - sailing often in 15+ winds with 2-3' short chop.  I think the 2-3' short chop can be worse than smooth ocean swells.  Having a reef is critical for me either way.  
WIth that being said, I would not own a Scot if I did only ocean sailing.  One wrong move and you could be swamped, rolled etc.  And, in a single handed scenario, in the Pacific - that's not good.  I've been caught in a fast, powerful squall in the Scot - it is not fun.  In the ocean, that experience could be much much worse.  Any boat can be sailed in the ocean, but not all boats should...  
The reason I own a Scot is because I sail around very shallow water - and feel for it's size, its the best all around centerboarder built.  If you don't have shallow water to ply around, and dont need to trailer - then by all means, go with a fixed keel boat.  If I did only ocean sailing, I'd own a more stout boat with a fixed keel.  
Most boats can be made more or less single handed.  I do like the 23' Pearson Ensign a lot.  Boat with a pedigree and great sailing characteristics.  Good luck...  You're doing the right thing by researching !

Hi Richard,
Check out the Cal 20.  It is about the size of the Scot but has a keel and self-bailing cockpit.  There are several fleets in Southern California that race.