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Old 05-07-2017, 13:03   #1
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Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

So, I didn't think anything of it. I just had gone out for the afternoon alone as I (almost) always do. Coming back into the harbor, engine idling, main and jib up. I wasn't in the mood to sail all the way back into the slip, and I wanted to see how the engine was running after some recent maintenance. I doused the hank-on jib. Wind is maybe 10 knots, something less. The jib jib hangs up for a moment so I leave the helm to step forward to yank it down and wham, I slip and fall on the forward hatch, my thigh striking the sharp edge. It hurts but I am ok, I return to the tiller ... but then it occurs to me, what if I had broken my leg? The cascade of possible scenarios... and none of them very good... I guess the moral is: be more careful... duh. But when singlehanding do things slower... half fast, not halffast. And to think about all the things that can happen as things that WILL, if rushing. I know there are folks who have plans to singlehand around the world. Perhaps it ain't the storms, swells and sea monsters, but the slips and falls that those new to the craft should give equal attention to... AND those not so new to it! present company included.
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:07   #2
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Glad you are okay.

Your post reminds me of the Vendee Globe skipper that snapped his thigh bone in the southern Pacific. Just thinking about it gives me a queasy feeling.
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:47   #3
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Don,

Well, add some extra non-skid to the hatch cover. Good lesson.

And, of course, no running, or as the lifeguard at the swimming pool used to holler, "WALK" [you expletive deleted little brats]!

Ann
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:54   #4
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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Glad you are okay.

Your post reminds me of the Vendee Globe skipper that snapped his thigh bone in the southern Pacific. Just thinking about it gives me a queasy feeling.
Because the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone.
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:56   #5
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Yep.

Every time I go on deck I say to myself: be careful cis this simple task could kill me.

It must work cos I am still alive.

I go slow

Hope your thigh is OK and you have someone to massage it.
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:57   #6
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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Don,

Well, add some extra non-skid to the hatch cover. Good lesson.

And, of course, no running, or as the lifeguard at the swimming pool used to holler, "WALK" [you expletive deleted little brats]!

Ann
Well, don't tell anyone, but the part I left out was that I was stepping on a bit of the sail at the time. Which is probably why I yell at my kids, "stay off the sail you ______ little brats!"
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Old 05-07-2017, 16:04   #7
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Thanks for the chuckle, Don. Yes, sails are mega-slippery, and lines roll under one's feet....and ______________kids do forget.

Ann
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Old 05-07-2017, 16:21   #8
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Glad you're OK, Don! This does remind us that the most dangerous places for our health are actually not the super-scary, but the routine, daily stuff. Last year, my wife slipped in the bathroom. Hit her head on (what we think) was the toilet and maybe bounced off the tub. Broken clavicle, but a pretty serious head injury. 7 days in the ICU, 3 before she fully woke up. To this day, she has no memory of it, at all. She's fine, now, but like your situation, it's the routine that gets us.

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Old 05-07-2017, 16:29   #9
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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Glad you're OK, Don! This does remind us that the most dangerous places for our health are actually not the super-scary, but the routine, daily stuff. Last year, my wife slipped in the bathroom. Hit her head on (what we think) was the toilet and maybe bounced off the tub. Broken clavicle, but a pretty serious head injury. 7 days in the ICU, 3 before she fully woke up. To this day, she has no memory of it, at all. She's fine, now, but like your situation, it's the routine that gets us.

ID
HA! ain't it the truth. Some years back I had the flu, and while just standing in the kitchen, with a hard tile floor, I passed out... 3 days in the hospital for me.. fractured cranium and who knows how many brain cells lost.. and I need all the brain cells I can get these days! Glad your wife is ok too!
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Old 05-07-2017, 17:31   #10
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

We've all been there. I suggest - add a downhaul on the jib. And also use "soft sand" rubberized nonskid paint. You are less likely to slip and (perhaps) less likely to abrade your skin with the new rubber beads if you do slip.
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Old 05-07-2017, 22:24   #11
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

I don't know that going slow is really helpful. Many things done on a boat are a lot less complicated if they happen quickly. Like getting in a sail before the wind fills it. For a singlehander I think clearly planning out a process and setting up before hand is much more important than going half fast. Take docking. Getting the midship line around a cleat quickly can make an otherwise not so graceful entry end up smooth. So planning in advance to have the dock lines in the right place and acting quickly shines over half fast.
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Old 05-07-2017, 23:27   #12
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

Glad you're feeling OK.

I was once hit by a car while riding my bike. The last thing I remember was flying about 5 meters in the air. What I don't remember is what I was thinking when I sped into the 4-way intersection. It must have been something fun. I was in a rush, and so was my brain when my noggin hit the asphalt. Next thing I knew, some doctor was looking into my eyes. A fun day had by all.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:42   #13
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

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We've all been there. I suggest - add a downhaul on the jib. And also use "soft sand" rubberized nonskid paint. You are less likely to slip and (perhaps) less likely to abrade your skin with the new rubber beads if you do slip.
Second the idea of a downhaul on the jib
I added one to my daysailer after forgeting to attach the halyard to the head
before hoisting and had to drop the mast to get it back.
However it's proven a great way to douse the jib (no furler,hank on)
when sailing up to the dock or whenever I want to.
Led back to the cockpit
Done too many not so smart things to even get started
but once in Mexico rented a Hobie 16, after a half hour the tiller started to
fall apart so I used the end of the main sheet to lash it together. A bit later the wind comes up and I can't let out the main or head up fast enough.
One hell of a flying capsize.
Cheers
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:22   #14
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

When offshore alone I always reeled before sunset and harness was so short I had to crawl to go forewafd.
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Old 06-07-2017, 08:28   #15
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Re: Some things that can go south in a second when sailing singlehanded

I doubt that there is anything we can tell you that you have not already thought of.

Single handing requires not taking any chances, in my mind, sailing inot the mooring single handed, is taking a chance.

I have just little 19 foot micro cruiser, a very sturdy boat that sails reefed in 20-25 knot winds. But I never sail by myself when winds are anything at all without being reefed to begin with.

I remember when I got insurance for the boat. I only paid $7K, although I've probably put another $6k into systems and rigging and trailer, and motor upgrades etc. I said to my agent, "Why do I need $500,000 when the boat is only worth $8,000." She said, "When you are maneuvering into a mooring and a sudden unexpected blast of wind causes your bow to T-Bone that 2 million dollar Hinkley pleasure yacht, you are going to be very happy you had $500,000 of liability insurance."

I agreed. And the same goes for sailing into a crowded mooring field to connect to the mooring line. I was with a more experienced sailor who has a history of not thinking ahead for possible problems, and who made me do that. He has great luck and never has an issue, but Ed Murphy(yeah the guy of Murphy's Law is named Ed, and I'm a first name basis with him) travels everywhere with me.
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