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Old 06-07-2017, 17:49   #31
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
When landlubbers tell me that they think sailing is dangerous, I remind them that driving a car on the highway is more dangerous and way more people die or are injured in their bathrooms. If one has to wear a helmet riding a motorcycle, one should have to wear a helmet taking a bath...
In a car you rely a lot on luck...the other guy not veering into you for example. On a boat, you die of embarrassment...for doing something stupid.
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Old 06-07-2017, 17:55   #32
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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I suppose we can all tell tales.
Except for those guys who didn't live to tell the tale.
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Old 06-07-2017, 17:57   #33
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

I'm your age. You are about to embark on the best fitness program you have ever done. And, it is natural, easy and so much fun. I'm excited for you. The single handing will work out, just ask for help when you need it and be sure to let those helping know that you are alone and, if appropriate, a rookie captain. I'll be watching for you!
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:15   #34
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

I was crossing the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) by myself earlier this year on a broad reach in 12 - 15 kts of wind. Perfect. But not perfectly perfect, since I could see that the genoa track needed adjustment.

So I got out my small handy billy, attached one end to the clew and the other to a pad eye on the deck, pulled in the slack enough to depressure the genoa sheet; then adjusted the genoa track perfectly.

I was very pleased by myself. Until the Bad Thing Happened.

When I released the handy billy line from the jam cleat, suddenly my hand was pulled into the cleat. I could not get it out. I did not have a knife with me. I could not reach the genny sheet to try and pull it in and relieve the strain on my arm.

Essentially, my arm was now part of the genoa sheet, taking all the strain from the sail. The wind was rising and I had about 150 miles of open sea in front of me. And I was stranded on the side deck far from the helm.

This is the sort of thing that can happen in one second.

Mark
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:56   #35
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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Originally Posted by SV Wendaway View Post
I was crossing the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) by myself earlier this year on a broad reach in 12 - 15 kts of wind. Perfect. But not perfectly perfect, since I could see that the genoa track needed adjustment.

So I got out my small handy billy, attached one end to the clew and the other to a pad eye on the deck, pulled in the slack enough to depressure the genoa sheet; then adjusted the genoa track perfectly.

I was very pleased by myself. Until the Bad Thing Happened.

When I released the handy billy line from the jam cleat, suddenly my hand was pulled into the cleat. I could not get it out. I did not have a knife with me. I could not reach the genny sheet to try and pull it in and relieve the strain on my arm.

Essentially, my arm was now part of the genoa sheet, taking all the strain from the sail. The wind was rising and I had about 150 miles of open sea in front of me. And I was stranded on the side deck far from the helm.

This is the sort of thing that can happen in one second.

Mark
SV Wendaway
Norseman 447 # 69
OH man I feel your pain! I could tell where that was headed in the first two sentences!
So don't keep us in suspense! How did you resolve it?
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:09   #36
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Wendaway View Post
I was crossing the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) by myself earlier this year on a broad reach in 12 - 15 kts of wind. Perfect. But not perfectly perfect, since I could see that the genoa track needed adjustment.

So I got out my small handy billy, attached one end to the clew and the other to a pad eye on the deck, pulled in the slack enough to depressure the genoa sheet; then adjusted the genoa track perfectly.

I was very pleased by myself. Until the Bad Thing Happened.

When I released the handy billy line from the jam cleat, suddenly my hand was pulled into the cleat. I could not get it out. I did not have a knife with me. I could not reach the genny sheet to try and pull it in and relieve the strain on my arm.

Essentially, my arm was now part of the genoa sheet, taking all the strain from the sail. The wind was rising and I had about 150 miles of open sea in front of me. And I was stranded on the side deck far from the helm.

This is the sort of thing that can happen in one second.

Mark
SV Wendaway
Norseman 447 # 69
Jesus H. Christ.

So what happened?
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:28   #37
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

When things go wrong they will often cascade to catastrophic failures. You need to be able to stem the flow of failures... Not always easy but if you don't the outcome could be disastrous.

You need to have all your systems in top shape... and well maintained.... especially when single handing when you need to both drive/control the boat and fix the problem. Poor weather conditions make this much worse.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:32   #38
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV Wendaway View Post
I was crossing the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) by myself earlier this year on a broad reach in 12 - 15 kts of wind. Perfect. But not perfectly perfect, since I could see that the genoa track needed adjustment.

So I got out my small handy billy, attached one end to the clew and the other to a pad eye on the deck, pulled in the slack enough to depressure the genoa sheet; then adjusted the genoa track perfectly.

I was very pleased by myself. Until the Bad Thing Happened.

When I released the handy billy line from the jam cleat, suddenly my hand was pulled into the cleat. I could not get it out. I did not have a knife with me. I could not reach the genny sheet to try and pull it in and relieve the strain on my arm.

Essentially, my arm was now part of the genoa sheet, taking all the strain from the sail. The wind was rising and I had about 150 miles of open sea in front of me. And I was stranded on the side deck far from the helm.

This is the sort of thing that can happen in one second.

Mark
SV Wendaway
Norseman 447 # 69
What you could have done us used a snatch block and taken the lazy sheet thru it to a winch or cleat even... Easy the original working sheet... move the care and then winch it/trim the sail and then uncleat the lazy sheet from the cleat and run it back to where it belongs.

It's a good idea to have 2 cars on your genoa track. and rig a spare sheet for the purpose of being able to easily more the car on the genoa track.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:41   #39
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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With extensive single handing experience, I have learned many things the hard way as I have gotten older. A couple of simple rules to avoid problems and injury 1.) I'm always tethered, and the jack line path is unobstructed. 2.) Always wear shoes on deck and anytime you might have to go on deck witch is pretty much all the time. 3.) Do all evolutions before you have to, allowing plenty of time. 4.) Plan each step of each evolution before beginning, step by step 4.) Execute each evolution by the numbers just the way you planed it. 5.) Keep a neat boat, a place for everything and everything in it's place. The older and slower and clumsier you get, the more important these steps are.
This is EXCELLENT...

Maneuvers should be planned in advance... and then executed to plan. When you have crew or passengers even... explain the steps of the plan.

Study the weather and sea forecast and plan your sail plan / rig in advance.

Often where I sail wind is light and I want to set the spinnaker. But I know that the weather pattern will usually build and the wind speed will be too much for the chute and the AP... and difficult to douse on a heeled deck in decent sized waves. So I will pass... on the chute if the weather forecast shows a wind speed increasing trend. Local knowledge helps.

I could not and will not single hand without a reliable AP and engine... period, end of story.
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:34   #40
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

when solo you just need one rule ( makes me plan every aspect of the passage) .
You leave the boat you die.
Keeping that in mind makes me much more careful.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:31   #41
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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I suppose we can all tell tales. I know it takes a couple of days for me to get my sea legs. Taking off on a long solo journey, day 2 or 3, well off shore, I stumble and take a header into the center cockpit of our steel boat. She's on wind vane and will steer herself forever. I didn wack my head, thankfully, didn't even really hurt myself. But I was oh so close to disaster.

It was the only fall I had in three months. But could have been killer.

Another thing that scares me is a bad gout attack well offshore. If you've ever experienced one you know what I mean.

But we have to go don't we? It's either risk death living or dieing.
The bad gout attack. Prevention buy some concentrated cherry juice at health food store. Mix as recommended with water (or even pop/soda). drink once or twice a week. Your gout will not raise its ugly head again.

Lake Erie 30' SV south shore 4-6 foot waves close chop 16-20 knot winds out of NW. Dropping and securing head sail lost balance went half way over pulpit. If legs had not gotten tangled in sail it would have been overboard for sure. Bullet dodged.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:48   #42
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

This is turning into a great thread, with a number of useful aphorisms, e.g., "I worship at the alter of situational awareness," "You leave the boat, you die," etc. But, come on, Wendaway, how did you get out of the bind? We all want to know!

In my work, I often deal with people who get themselves into bad situations, almost always of their own making, and I often hear variations on "but, it should've been fine...I didn't intend...it'll never happen again," etc.

There are several parts of our frontal lobes where judgement, risk analysis, decision-making is mediated. It was the last part of our wonderful brains to have evolved (and, there's every good reason to believe it is still evolving). It is also remarkably sensitive, easily injured, easily impaired, and, just like a muscle, fatigues with over-use.

There's a great MRI study showing that in normal unimpaired brains, a critical part of that system starts shutting down after about 60 to 75 quickly occurring decisions. In the study, the decision-making task was simply choosing between two things, like "coffee or tea," "yogurt or ice cream," "movie or book", presented every two seconds. After it starts shutting down, as in fatigue, we start making poorly mediated, impulsive decisions. Some of those are going to hurt us, and highly improbable things happen all the time (watch any baseball game to illustrate; heck, the Cubs won the World Series!).

This is why these aphorisms and our "rules" for sailing are so important! Keep your watches (especially at night) to a realistic limit! Get your sleep! Eat well! NO DRINKING (or other things), especially before or during a watch! Go slow, and think every evolution out, before you do it! Have a Plan B, and a Plan C! Jacklines and harnesses are good things, use them!

Personally, this is also why I simply detest boats that have rigging running on the side decks. That is the sort of thing that quickly becomes "background" information for our brain, until we trip over it at night.

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Old 09-07-2017, 12:10   #43
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by George DuBose View Post
When landlubbers tell me that they think sailing is dangerous, I remind them that driving a car on the highway is more dangerous and way more people die or are injured in their bathrooms. If one has to wear a helmet riding a motorcycle, one should have to wear a helmet taking a bath...
When I tell my girlfriend that, she reminds me that there a many fewer ocean sailors than there are pedestrians, bike riders, or drivers...

I've been thinking that I wear a helmet when riding my bike, windsurfing, and skiing/snowboarding... so why don't I wear one when sailing? I will most likely consider it next time I'm going out solo.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:40   #44
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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When I tell my girlfriend that, she reminds me that there a many fewer ocean sailors than there are pedestrians, bike riders, or drivers...

I've been thinking that I wear a helmet when riding my bike, windsurfing, and skiing/snowboarding... so why don't I wear one when sailing? I will most likely consider it next time I'm going out solo.
HA! After I smacked my head (in the kitchen, not on the boat) a few years back, I can't take any more blows to the noggin. So I stashed my old kayaking helmet in the v-berth, but I am still too shy to wear it in the marina But my boom is just low enough that it will live up its name and relieve me of more gray matter should I give it the chance.... so the helmet waits for the fouler weather, or less vanity, that will call it out.
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Old 09-07-2017, 14:10   #45
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

I cold cocked myself on the hook once. I came bobbing out of the companionway and smacked my head on a fitting on the bottom of the boom. I went out briefly.

But then I wacked my head twice more down in the basement, a 5'8" brick arch can be deadly. Out and out.

The upshot was one night on the boat, a couple of days later I had a minor siesure. I started trembling and it eventually became rather violent, flailing my arms and such.

Never happened since.

I would feel pretty silly putting on a Helmut to go into the basement.
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