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Single-handed practice

I aim to buy a narrowboat in the next couple of years and will be doing a lot of single-handed cruising. How can I get single-handed cruising practice before I make the big financial commitment? Hire companies seem to want a minimum crew of two.

Asked by: Alan Jones  | 7.47pm, Saturday 18 September


WW says:

It would be easier to start with a small boat, or a cruiser, and learn to single-hand from there. If you are competant with a crew, then begin to learn to handle sensibly.
Also, don't do what a single-hander I was following did recently and avoid all offers of assistance- he was taking 30 minutes per narrow lock, as he roped the boat through and refused to climb ladders, could only open paddles one turn at a time... and insisted on opening/shutting the gates himself...
There are a couple of good books availabl on single-handing, alternatively, go through the RYA Inland Helmsmans course (good idea anyway, if you have limited experience) and ask for an extra day covering single-handed cruising.
Incidentally, lift and swing bridges are generally the most difficult (and potentially dangerous) to tackle when single handing

Mark Langley  | 4.12PM, Sunday 19 September


Readers say:

Hi, having just retired, I am in the process of selling my property and buying a 57ft NB to live a board and to sail single handed, whilst I have had some canal boat experience and a three day training course, I, like your self, have not sailed single handed, so just a thought, if we hire a NB together for a week, split the costs, we can sail single handed, day and day about, with the safety net of having an extra person on board. If interested leave a contact number or get me on facebook. Tony.

Anthony Burnell  | 3.05PM, Sunday 19 September

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