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Old 04-06-2011, 21:43   #61
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Re: Single handing overboard

Originally Posted by pistolen08 View Post
I would hope that most single handers would tether themselves to avoid this type of scenario.. but have there been incidents where a single hander went overboard while the autopilot was engaged? I can just imagine floating there in the ocean watching my boat sail off into the horizon
Lets all go back to the original post. If a singlehandler falls overboard without a tether with the autopilot or wind vane engaged I seriously doubt he will live to tell us, as the OP requested. Treading water watching the boat sail away is the primary reason I tried very hard not to fall overboard.

Other equaly dire situations can ocurr: trapped under water scuba diving with no buddy, having the rope break while mountain climbing with no safety line, hang gliding thru a thunder storm. skiing into a tree, the list goes on.

Singlehandling is a choice to take personnal responsibility for youself, and the steps you take are your personnal choice.

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Old 04-06-2011, 22:04   #62
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Re: Single handing overboard

Originally Posted by John A View Post
Singlehandling is a choice to take personnal responsibility for youself, and the steps you take are your personnal choice.
"Assumption of risk" is associated with every profession/sport. The idea is to die young as late as possible. And, if you spend all your time worrying about dying, living isn't going to be much fun........................._/)

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Old 04-06-2011, 22:17   #63
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Re: Single handing overboard

Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
"Assumption of risk" is associated with every profession/sport. The idea is to die young as late as possible. And, if you spend all your time worrying about dying, living isn't going to be much fun........................._/)
Well said thank you.

Over 95% of the population dies in bed, yet each night we all go to bed.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:13   #64
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

All well and good, if there is a means to prevent from going overboard all the better. Sailing at night clipped in with a safety harness that prevents one from going overboard is a good thing. Having a means of exiting the water and getting back aboard the vessel even while underway is a good thing. If there is a method of disengaging the auto pilot and having your vessel round up head into the wind that would be great. I am a firm believer in using one's head to stay aboard if at all possible. Sometimes we make mistakes, usually when I am tired, which happens when one is single handing, so we should make provisions for that, and keep it in mind when setting up the vessel for single handing.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:42   #65
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pirate Re: Single handing overboard

Originally Posted by roger.waite View Post
Likewise. Boatman, your views and humour are pretty darned good. E.g. "But... if your motoring at the time... akward... unless Yanmar/Volvo etc came up with a remote.. 100% waterproof... to cut out the engine... your screwed...".

I commented on most solutions that fail to keep me on board (at worst, alongside). Many "tech" solutions presented to date come with assumptions that IMO can also leave me dead, such as always carrying a tech device, proximety to vessel left making minimal (lee)way, ability to climb over freeboard in seaway, etc, etc.

I love this forum when it undermines my prejudices, and makes me laugh e.g. at myself.
Sorry.... was in touch with my 'Sensitive Side'.....
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:30   #66
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Re: Single handing overboard

Apologies to all for "raising my voice" with the big purple font. The discussion became an argument, and those posts speak for themselves.

Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
Please define "risky". And, I am really quite interested in any response you might have to my earlier questions:
Paul, I answered those questions in post #48. My comments were in red (just for contrast). I gave two examples. I realize I'm in the minority here, and society in general it seems, by advocating personal responsibility.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:58   #67
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Re: Single handing overboard

Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
Paul, I answered those questions in post #48.
I apologize -- you certainly did. With my poor red/green color vision I didn't notice the contrasting color of your response -- I just thought I had been even more long-winded than usual!

I would take issue with your implication that those of us who believe it is a good idea to carry EPIRBs are not "advocating personal responsibility", but I do understand your perspective and I expect that we have both grown tired of this debate.

Sail safe and have fun!
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Old 15-07-2011, 09:48   #68
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Re: Single handing overboard

" I [tgzzzz] realize I'm in the minority here, and society in general it seems, by advocating personal responsibility." - Perhaps not as much as you think. Those of us cruising in third world countries have minimal expectations of outside help arriving. Since I don't cruise alone, I carry a PLB for those others on board that I am responsible for. Do I think that the Philippine Coast Guard will show up if I ever need to use it? Not really - I have talked to enough of these guys to understand that they rarely have fuel, and their small open boats are less seaworthy than my catamaran. I expect the crew and I to mostly be on our own - but in an emergency I am willing to accept help just like in someone else's emergency I am willing to lend a hand.
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Old 15-07-2011, 09:57   #69
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

since my block and tackle is attatched to the transom, i have a main sheet that is rediculously long, my theory, is that in bad weather, or any sort of sketchy scenario while under sail, is that if i went for a swim i could douse the main to slow her down while still having a lifeline to get myself back to the stern. i sail on the Barnegat Bay, 99.9 percent of the time alone. if i were offshore i wouldnt trust it, but for cruising around the bay it works.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:21   #70
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

There are only three rules for successful solo sailing:

1) Don't fall off the boat.
2) Don't fall off the boat.
3) Don't fall off the boat.

It's very simple conceptually - the devil is of course in the details. Human beings are imperfect, and soloing in the ocean requires perfection regarding the above, or you are dead meat.

I don't especially like soloing. From what I can tell, most people who actively seek it out have a screw (or several screws ) loose.

I solo out of necessity - I'm 47 and preparing for long term cruising. I've quit my jobs and sold everything not useful afloat.

My peers are still climbing carreer ladders and raising families. Some are working on thier second and even third family.

They can't sail with me for a weekend afternoon, much less for week long shakedown cruises.

Single handing has certain benefits to be sure - it's peaceful, and awe inspiring at its best.

But you don't know true terror - sustained abject terror and profound aloneness - until things start unravelling hours offshore, and you realize no one can help you - it's a profound and humbling experience, and you will have it often when soloing - especially at first.

About 1/2 of solo sailors also report hallucinations after several days at sea- seeing people and hearing things that aren't there. My theory about this is that it's due to the combination of isolation and fatigue inherent in soloing - get tired enough, and your brain starts dreaming - even if you are "awake". Not having another human being around means no reality check - and no one to keep watch while you take a nap.

Bernard Moitessier lost two boats while soloing.

And you and I are not Bernard Moitessier, lol....

So I admire people who solo offshore, but I don't envy them. It's extremely risky, and psychologically and physically challenging.

...and for those who say I'm responsible for myself, I don't carry an (fill in the blank with some electronic signaling rescue device) I say:

"What about your freinds and loved ones? What about the sailing community at large?"

A couple of guys died here on "calm" Santa Monica bay here in LA last year.

Both were soloing, both apparently simply fell off their boats - one in a gale (he stupidly tried to sail from Catalina to MDR rather than wait it out - and he was a very experienced solo Transpac vet) another in calm conditions just 2 miles off of Redondo beach.

I didn't personally know either of them, yet thier deaths still haunt me. I sail the same waters, and thier deaths remind me each time I set out alone of my vulnerability - and to respect the sea.

I am not alone - mention soloing to sailors around here, and these deaths and countless others will eventually come up. So if you die soloing - or with a crew for that matter, you are effecting an entire community.

You have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions at sea, solo or otherwise.

We are human, and even the loneliest, most depressed outcasts have people who care about them and thier well being - even if it's just the crew of a Coast Gaurd Cutter who sign up to risk thier lives saving others, and who will do everything humanly possible to rescue you if SARSAT relays your MAYDAY to them.

...not to mention the skippers and pilots of everthing within range that flies or floats.

So if you solo, don't be selfish AND crazy - recognize the dangers, mitigate them as much as possible, and at least carry a PLB - they cost about the same as a midrange VHF now, and are smaller than an IPhone. They are submersible - super tough and reliable, and the newer ones transmit a GPS fix along with your MAYDAY, making finding you much easier.

Both dead solo sailors here would have likely survived had they been so equipped - SAR was only alerted when thier boats - with perfectly trimmed sails - ran up on beaches and Baywatch lifeguards discovered no one was aboard.

That's a really crappy way to alert SAR that you're overboard IMO.


You'll probably never need it if you are prudent, but stuff happens.
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Old 07-09-2011, 13:02   #71
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

One question, does sailing with ones dog, still qualify you as a 'solo sailor'?

All the above is true, especialy the screw loose bit, but i'm sure having my faithfull friend for company and yes, i'll happily admit it, to talk to, will keep me reasonably sane. Sleep deprevation will always play it's part but the longest I intend to go before being able to drop anchor and have a decent rest is a couple of days anyway.
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Old 07-09-2011, 14:17   #72
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

"...screw (or several screws ) loose." ??
Please elaborate.
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Old 07-09-2011, 14:51   #73
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

Just outside of Magdellana Bay on the westerns side of Baja. I was shoved overboard by my mainsail in an attempt to furl it. As my ankles passed the lifelines, and the black water was coming closer. I thought I am a deadman, and will never be able to haul myself aboard in full foulweather gear. Thank my lucky stars Frolic was kind enough to fall of the wave, and yank me aboard. I was hurt, but I was onboard, and alive.

Magellan, and every other sailor took advantage of every new technology there was at the time. I try to do the same, but sometimes IT IS FINACIALLY OUT OF MY REACH! I am not sponsored by a queen, or corporation. There are added risk in being alone. We all get through life differently, and we do as sailors too. You choose to use zero technology, then that's your choice. If someone chooses to push the epirb that's their choice.

You push the epirb in mid ocean. Most likely it will be a freighter diverted some miles to grab you. Although the day we turned back last month 700 miles out from Costa Rica. A C.G chopper circled us a couple of times. It was obvious they were taking a look. I contacted them, and told them we are ok. Where they came from, and if it was accidental I don't know?

I believe if you get yourself into a mess you should get yourself out of it. I also believe that there's no sense in dying before my time. If I can't get myself out of the mess, and things are looking unhopeful. I will gladly accept help.

When I was yanked back onto Frolic I could've called a passing cruise ship the next morning. I even picked up the mic. I watched her go over the horizon, and then muscled myself through excruciating pain with tears in my eyes to do what was needed.

You don't want help. Then good on you for your decision. You do want help, well don't call for help because you have a hangnail, be self reliant!.......i2f
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Old 07-09-2011, 18:59   #74
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my first singlehanded passage...

I have to say, after recently completing my first solo passage, I have a new sense of admiration and a great deal of respect for anyone who sails alone. It is tough going. And I definitely underestimated the psychological demands - I was talking out aloud by day 3, and hearing voices by day 4!

The passage wasn't exactly a difficult one either; it was from Cartagena to Benalmadena, Spain, just over 200 nautical miles, with the furthest distance offshore only about 25 miles. Days of zero wind followed by days of westerlies meant it took me a week. I don't know whether it was the frustration of not making much progress for the first 3 days or the effects of sleep deprivation but I started to go a little cuckoo. My mind played tricks on me - I thought I heard voices in the dark and at one point I believed my girlfriend was still aboard, only briefly, but I completely believed it and called her name aloud, before saying (also aloud) 'er, why on earth did I just call out her name when I know she is now in Poland?!'

I wasn't prepared for any of that. I did think about this and other threads at times, had jackstays rigged, clipped on at night and when it got choppy. I also trailed my tender behind on a long long painter like someone suggested a few months ago in this thread. All my focus was of course on staying on the boat.

On the last night, after a busy afternoon navigating through shipping, the wind picked up to 30knots (W), and the seas followed shortly after. My windward genny sheet got caught round the shroud bottle screw attachment and I needed to tack soon, so there was only one solution - I had to crawl along the deck to free it. At night, very windy, choppy seas, tired and leaving the cockpit - I knew these were the kind of moments where I had exercise full caution. But as I went forward, clipped on of course, I almost felt like I was in a heightened sense of alertness and wasn't at all anxious and my tiredness had gone. Maybe some adrenaline woke my mind up? So I freed the sheet, returned to the cockpit & tacked.

Shortly after though, I was really struggling to stay awake, I had tried napping for 10, 15 mins here and there earlier but now I was just too exhausted. At that moment I realised I can not carry on - I have to stop. I was actually enroute to Gibraltar but headed straight for the nearest marina - Benalmadena - 40 miles short of Gib. A few hours later I motored in to the marina, tied up and crashed in my bunk for one of the greatest & deepest sleeps I have ever had!

On reflection, I think [for me at least] the dangerous aspects of singlehanding aren't the obvious ones I would have thought prior, such as leaving the cockpit in unpleasant conditions, because you're so aware that those situations are potentially life-threatening and require total concentration you act very purposefully/controlled and are very alert. I think the dangerous time is when you're not completely focussed on what you are doing, maybe when you are just doing something trivial in relatively calm conditions. Because of this, if ever there is a next time for me, I will be clipping on for the entire duration.

I also discovered that the hardest aspects of singlehanding for me, is the loneliness, the solitude, lack of sleep and my loco mind.

My trip was really nothing compared to what you real singlehanders do so I take my hat off to you. Amazing.


PS sorry this post dragged on, I did have a point to make relating to this thread but I can't remember it now and my bed is calling...
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Old 07-09-2011, 19:37   #75
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Re: Single Handing Overboard

Thank you for shareing. We've all had a 'first' experience and when you're forced to singlhandle again you'll know what to avoid and what to prepare for and what to expect.
Loneliness is a mental thing while being alone is a physical thing. If you can get comfortable with being alone then you'll never be lonely. It's also possible to be lonely in a crowd.

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overboard, singlehanding

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