Hi Folks-

I am new to this forum but am generally familiar with Flying Scots.

My family is considering a Scot to be wet sailed off of a mooring. Two or three of us would sail the boat half a dozen times a year, but I would like to be able to singlehand the boat for a twice weekly sailing fix. I have sailed for 30 years, some of it in dinghies. Although I have sailed Scots a dozen times (the last time ten years ago), I have never tried to go it alone.

We live on the Southern Chesapeake Bay where winds are moderate most of the time. Is it realistic for me to expect to sail this boat by myself? Your honest answers, please.

Yes! It is relatively easy to single hand the FS. I was introduced to the Scot last year after tracking down a boat that I had seen being singled handed near where I live. I had seen this boat many times in all sorts of conditions and he was always having a ball! I witnessed him tacking through narrow channels and upwind under bridges with narrow openings. It was a Flying Scot.

Since then I have sailed on that Scot many times. He singles 90 percent of the time and this is from a trailer too! He has put the sail in the water and simply stayed on the high side scampering over the side to stand on the center board to bring her back down with NO water getting into the cockpit.

I am currently looking for a Scot that I will be singling also. So I say go for it!

Peter Dubé

I single hand my scot all the time........When it is windy I will sail under the mainsail only.....The helm balances very nicely and the boat goes to windward smartly if you raise the cenerboard about half way.....Sailed this way the Scot is like a giant comfortable Laser! ...........Steve Ungberg FS# 820

I want to add my two cents worth to this discussion. Yes, single handing is possible and enjoyable in the Scot! I have been sailing primarily that way for 23 years now on the Great South Bay off Long Island, NY and it is great to have a boat that you can go out in without worrying about getting help sailing it. It does well with jib and main, main only or on occasion with the main reefed.

Two things though - you may want to make it easier on yourself by slightly adjusting some of the controls and you should exercise caution when going out because you have only yourself to rely on. I moved the centerboard controls back so they were easier to access from where I was sitting and also added a couple of cam cleats for the jib sheets. They work much better than regular cleats. After a season or two you may see other things you'll want to change to make single hand sailing easier[:)]

FS 367 Chin up

Many thanks for these replies.

Is there a mainsheet set up that anyone prefers for single/shorthanded sailing? I think I have seen some sort of rig with a swivel and cam cleat mounted to the center board trunk. Also, are the jibsheets carried far enough aft to make line handling easier for a solo?

Thanks again.

I think most Scots are now rigged with the main sheet coming down from a block on the boom to a swivel block and cam cleat mounted on the centerboard cap. And, yes, the jib sheets should be long enough to be reachable as you sit at the rear of the cockpit. But if you go by the FS specifications this should work out fine. I was able to reach the existing cleats easily - I just referred to have cam cleats for the jib sheets. If in doubt about any of your rigging check with FS directly and they'll tell you about line thickness and length.

FS367 Chin up

Thanks very much.

You will enjoy singlehanding the Scot. If you do not plan to race the roller furling jib is nice to have. Also the factory placed the jib ratchet blocks a bit further aft for me and placed Harken cam cleats with roller bushings just inboard on the edge of the deck. I can release and engage the cleats easily from any position I have found comfortable in the cockpit. Typically,I furl the jib about 200 feet from the dock, continue in under main alone, and jibe to land. I have a stopper knots on the jib sheets so that I have about a 16" tail I can grab if a jib sheet gets away from me. Still debating on whether to add a Boomkicker and lazy jacks.

Lake Norman, NC

You can also tie the ends of the jib sheets together, so that when you switch tacks, it's always easy to find the sheet for the new tack.

I have the "cross-sheeting" on my boat, which many consider old-school. It works pretty well for singlehanding, and it keeps the seats free off "butt biters" (cleats, block etc) that my kids and wife would prefer not to sit on.

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Many, many thanks to all of you.

Another thing that I started doing almost immediately was to use the spinnaker halyards as a topping lift for the main boom. It makes raising the sail a lot easier to have the boom out of the crutch and floating free when you begin to crank up the sail. I have a loop of line at the base of the mast to secure the other end of this topping lift. Just make sure you always remember to loosen that line before you start to sail though. This system also makes lowering the sail a lot easier - there's no danger of the boom bashing your deck.

On my last boat, a Precision 18.5, I added a Boomkicker. And on the boat before that, a Hunter 27ft, I added lazy jacks due to the weight of a full battened main with Harken batt rollers. I do not recommend a boomkicker because it makes it more difficult to tighten the mainsheet to center the boom (fighting against the boomkicker tension which lifts the boom up several inches per installation instructions). But I had center boom sheeting which was more difficult. Plus I found out that you still need a topping lift (to pull against the mainsheet) otherwise the boom will swing from side to side violently when heading out in wave slop. The lazyjacks were always a pain when raising and lowering the main so not to get the leech hung on them, boat having to be centered to the wind. The Scot mainsail is not that heavy and can be rolled so not as much bother. Granted though lazyjacks are nice to keep the sail out of the cockpit floor and quick and easy in a blow. I think it is always best to sail a boat a good bit to find out what you think it needs plus getting knowledge from advice before making advance changes like these. I love to modify a boat so have to practice patience.

Ok I will admit I am only a sailing novice and yesterday was only the second time out with my old 287 Scot. 12 years ago when I was younger, lighter, quicker and my health was good...I had a ranger 22 and it was a fun boat to sail alone and I never felt frighten when sailing. It was much more forgiving with the heavy keel...
Now at 56 recovering from a broken pelvic and older, fatter and much slower.. I was frighten sailing the ole 287 Scot. The north winds were 10-15 mph and occasional heavy gust as the wind rolls off the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. The Flying Scot is very much a top water boat, I feel every wave and roll. One thing for sure is the Scot is much faster than my ranger 22 and that is scarey too. At first I had raised both sails and I was kept busy and I wasn't really enjoying all the attention I had to give.. Not to mention trying to get back in with all the tacking I had to do and the narrow long north/south channel. I have no motor.. I dropped the mainsail and just let the boom lay on the deck while I worked the jib sheets. I think I would have done better using the mainsail and took down the jib.. the boom kept me from changing sides as I tacked..
I do need to take some intermediate sailing lessons, after yesterday I am convinced and somewhat deflated after a long laborful day..
Thank goodness there is this forum cause I do learn so much from all the various topics and replies..
Some people have asked me to take them sailing but I don't want to endanger their lives until I get more familar with my Flying Scot... The thought of capsizing with a boat full of people, because of something I didn't do or I should have done really concerns me.. I want to feel confident that everthing will be ok and I know what I am doing..Right now I can't make that statement yet...

Hang in there.

Sounds like your first two outings have been in conditions a lot less than ideal. Although the Scot is stable and forgiving, 10 to 15 singlehanded will be an athletic experience ... certainly doable, but pretty spooky as a novice, especially since you're accustomed to the stiffness of a keelboat.

I wanted to go out singlehanded yesterday, but decided against it because the conditions were similar. With another 200 pounds on the boat and two more hands for the jib sheets, I wouldn't have hesitated a minute, and it would have been a lively outing.

Sounds like you've decided on lessons, and that may be a good idea. In the meantime, try to choose days with winds under 10 until you get a feel for the boat and your confidence builds. Then you'll be hankering for those 10 to 15 days. :-)


Kurt and Marty: Very good to hear all of this. I went out this Friday single-handing under similar conditions and it was a workout that made me a bit nervous at some points. 10-15 knot winds with gusts that were probably around 17-18 knots. I've only been sailing for about a month.

I didn't capsize, but certainly got close to it a few times. On close hauled, I had to let the main waaay out and I was still heeling a lot. The closest I came to capsizing was when going on a broad reach, I got hit by a couple of nasty and sustained gusts, got weather helm from hell and had to put all my strength into the helm to keep the boat from pointing further up wind.

Having said all of that, it was a good experience to have (without endangering a crew [:D] ). Now I know that I can still control the boat under these conditions and have a better sense of what to expect.

With winds getting up there, it is probably advisable to sail the Scot under main alone. For a balanced helm, put the board about 3/4 of the way down, and adjust as you go.

There are other safety considerations, too. Of course wearing a lifevest is imperative. If you can budget mainsail flotation, that's a good idea as well. I use the latter in any brisk conditions where I have grandchildren aboard.

If you like living on the edge, with both jib and main up, just be ready to ease the jib quickly as it has a tremendous effect on healing.

FSSA Forum editor

I always trail a line with a small loop on it that barely touches the water and is clipped to the rear lifting sling loop on the centerboard well. I hear it's hard to get back on board if there's nothing to grab onto. There is enough slack in the line that it can be pulled down and used as a stirrup.
FS367 Chin up

My view on singlehanded sailing is to have my jiffy reef system always hooked up before setting off for a singlehanded sail. If you do not have the jiffy reef on the main, I strongly advise that you get it. With the Jiffy reefed main, and the jib removed and the centerboard part way up the Scot becomes easy to sail singlehanded in pretty high winds, conditions when with full sail you wished that you had two heavy crew on the rail. There is no stress with regard to gusts and capsize and it is easy to put full sail on when the wind drops. The jiffy reef, in addition to removing sail area also lowers the center of effort ( heeling moment) and shifts the center of effort of the main sail forward. Thus with jib off the boat is in very good balance. With jib up and with jiffy reef on, you can trim the main a little harder and get the balance back.
Gabor Karafiath FS 3512

Hang in there! Do you have a fleet or any experienced Scot sailors nearby? Maybe you want to recruit an experienced Scot sailor to help you get adjusted to the boat by crewing for you one windy day. In our club, the single-handers will often crew as a third for others when the wind is honking, or two single-handers will team up on one boat.

As the forum editor mentioned, the jib can have a big impact on healing. I used to singlehand with my 90 pound Golden Retriever onboard, and he always sat on the mainsheet in an effort to be near dad. There were times when we would heal over and I had to chase the dog off the mainsheet, on the cockpit floor. If the boat went past a certain point I HAD to release the jib sheet, if the puff was still on, in order to get the boat to "Weeble" back to vertical. Exciting.

Also the vang, outhaul and cunningham can have big impacts on how manageable the boat feels. If you can work all these, without having to get off the rail (going to the middle of the boat) it makes the boat more controllable, as your weight can stay on the rail. If you feel overpowered YANK on the outhaul and crank the vang to put a nice smile (bend) in the boom. Trim the cunningham to smooth the luff and pull the draft forward a little.

Ease the vang before going downwind or you could break the boom.

Have fun with it,

Phil Scheetz
FS 4086

Hello all. I'm just reading this old thread but found some helpful information. I honestly didn't think the jib had enough to knock her down, but I just found out th in fact it will. Fortunately I was able to recover and got her back upright. I was so focused on the main that I didn't realize the jib had so much effect. Also, once the hull gets wind under, be careful because that contributes to the knock down too :) 

I have a fresh single-handed misadventure to add...

Yesterday in what were steady and said to be 20 mph NNW winds, I tried to get moving with just the main. Caught in irons, I was blown back faster then I could get the boat to point off, and before I knew it I was dockside again. Not my most graceful moment.

I wished at the time that I'd hanked the jib on to back around with...but my thinking was that I'd have been a bit overpowered.

Single handing in winds of 20 is asking for some trouble at least for the relatively newer skipper of a Scot. I would attach the jib halyard to the Jib tack shackle at the bow and spread the load between halyard and forestay and sail main only. The jib itself would stay below deck unless the wind eased up to where it would be comfortable to use it. Sailing main only works very well in breeze you just have to remember to foot off a little more and always keep the mainsheet in your hand and ready to ease.

I would also have the capsize recovery process clear in my mind to be ready when it happens. If the boat turtles, outside assistance is almost certainly going to be needed to get back to shore. Is that help available?

I was definitely dressed to get wet. I haven't capsized the Scot but have done the drill in other boats. There are lots of powerboaters who offer tows when the wind is light. Assistance would be there.

The total lack of helm was really frustrating... I had the boat moving a few times, and needed to come about and would stall. After more thought I think the culprit might have been the massive dreadlock of weed I slid off the rudder after I had resigned myself to the drift back to the pier. I had cleaned the rudder with the a paddle before hoisting the main, but the lake is full of weed this time of year.

I do balance the forestay/jib halyard toggle when I go main only. I read some where that that was important.

Single-handed in blustery conditions: consider the "jiffy reef kit", available from Flying Scot. With the mainsail reefed and jib down, I found I could handle a lot of wind. I found the reefing kit, which came with my FS 4798 when I bought it 2nd-hand, easy to apply and take out.
It does require grommets in the main sail.

Another help for single handed sailing: the "tiller tender", available from Flying Scot. A piece of shock cord mounted under the aft deck, so as to be out of the way and invisible when not in use. But with one hand grab, comes out and can be looped around the tiller, to keep it steady while you are going forward to unreef, adjust something, grab the lost jib sheets, grab something from the cooler, whatever...