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Can the Topper Topaz Xenon be sailed single handed?

The simple answer is yes because I know people who do.....but usually in light wind conditions. If you anticipate more than the occasional single handed sailing you should perhaps look elsewhere.

The Xenon is primarily designed as a two handed performance dinghy and therefore carries a powerful rig; large sails + very large gennaker, all aimed to provide the best possible performance.  The Xenon sails very well indeed in strong winds with a heavy crew. It has a significant advantage over other similar dinghies in these conditions.

When sailed single handed even a moderate wind could overpower the dinghy and using reefed sails is advisable. The greatest problem is when tacking or in gybes when the Jib sail is in use. The dinghy is large and the helm may have to release the tiller momentarily to reach forward and release the Jib cleats.

Tip: tie the jib sheets together. It is at this point that any change in wind conditions could cause a crash. The Xenon sails very well with the Jib furled albeit with a lower performance but this of course avoids the reaching problem. Tip: counter the lack of a Jib by minimising the use of the centreboard.

In summary single handed sailing in light winds is enjoyable but in moderate winds it can be difficult and demanding.

Some other considerations before sailing the Xenon single handed.

The Xenon is a large dinghy and hauling it out of the water requires strength, usually a two person task. You may need to drop the mainsail as you land in anything of a wind - difficult to do singlehanded and steer at the same time!

Finally consider the possibility of a capsize. If you sail single handed the use of a flotation pack is essential. Righting a turtled Xenon without help is virtually impossible. Even with a flotation pack and the dinghy on its side you will need both weight and strength to resume sailing. These are further reasons to restrict single handed sailing to light wind conditions.