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Old 22-03-2018, 21:20   #1
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Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

It was suggested today that singlehanding more than 24 hrs is morally wrong.

Personally, I don't see it that way, and I am aware it has been discussed at length in a number of previous threads.

I'd appreciate it if we can all be respectful and friendly in the posts...

To be very clear, I think we need to respect the singlehanders, and provide support for them just as much as we do for other cruising sailors. For the singlehander, it is the bits close to land, with its rocky outcroppings that are most dangerous.

I have written elswhere on CF about unlit boats, and they're the bane of my sailing miles. Singlehanders, not so. We entertain them on the beach and boat, and would try to avoid them when going the same direction.

Maintaining a proper lookout has worked so far for us, and I do not begrudge attentiveness to anyone out there (except those unlit boats! )

There is basis in the Colregs for suggesting that the long term singlehander cannot maintain an effective watch 24/7. No one disputes that. But is it immoral to singlehand because it may place other people at risk?
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Old 22-03-2018, 21:37   #2
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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is it immoral to singlehand because it may place other people at risk?
Yes. No one has the right to put others at risk. All the justifications and poor analogies you will receive on this thread are no more than excuses. No further explanation required. It is just that simple.
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Old 22-03-2018, 22:15   #3
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Small boat single handers in boats under - let's say- 40 feet are a danger to no one but themselves.

Big round the world racing boats being singlehanded? ... quite a different matter....
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Old 22-03-2018, 22:17   #4
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

I've never thought of it that way. Morally wrong is pretty strong, for a behavior that may or may not cause someone else harm. Surgery's like that, harm can be caused, serious bodily harm, but no one says surgery should be prohibited because it may cause someone else harm.

It has always seemed to me that we need to keep a proper watch, and stay out of their way, whoever they are, whether or not they are singlehanded....and I've somewhere over 175,000 sea miles, I've been exposed, so to speak.

When the investigative body ruled in the collision of Jessica Watson, singlehander, with a ship of Chinese origin, the greater portion of blame was given to the ship.

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Old 22-03-2018, 22:21   #5
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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Yes. No one has the right to put others at risk.
And yet people do the same thing every time they get behind the wheel of a car. That is put others at risk.

I'll go out on the limb and say no it's not morally wrong to single hand.

While on paper Single handing does appear to be higher risk, I suspect the single handed sailor is in no more collisions and perhaps far less then crewed vessels. Anyone have numbers on crewed verses single handed accidents.

Thing is even on crewed boats, folks fall asleep on the midnight watch. So a crewed boat may not be any safer. Sadly it happens. At least the single handed sailor is aware of the issues and takes steps to mediate. The single handed sailor also tends to be hyper aware and generally aware of their abilities. I know I am, but I've only been doing it for 11 year single handed, so don't do it that much.

They must be doing something right as the vast majority do quite well at it will no losses even on long journeys. Yes some do have issues, same as for crewed vessels.
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Old 22-03-2018, 23:14   #6
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Moral responsibility is one issue. Legal responsibility is perhaps more germane.

It is required to keep a proper lookout at all times. That's the legal part.

Interpretation of what is a proper lookout is where the arguments rage.

Falling asleep on watch is a failure of the watch stander but to me is not the same as setting out knowing that there will be sleep periods with no one awake.

Similarly the fact that many/most singlehanded voyages don't result in collision does not much matter when it does happen.

Good luck with this one.
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Old 22-03-2018, 23:25   #7
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Let the person who has not dozed off on a night watch cast the first stone...
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Old 22-03-2018, 23:35   #8
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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Let the person who has not dozed off on a night watch cast the first stone...
I doze off every night watch.... for 20 minutes, until my egg timer goes off
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Old 22-03-2018, 23:59   #9
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Morality is an extremely flexible concept.

During my lifetime we have gone from certain sexual practices not only being morally abhorrent to the majority but actually criminal offenses liable to land one in prison for fairly extended periods of time to the present, where the participants are protected by law from discrimination and can legally marry.

Perceptions of rightness and wrongness in human affairs are continuously changing in response to societies perceptions of the rights of the individual and the rights of the individual are often in conflict with the rights of society.

If we subscribe to the principal that each of us should have the maximum of freedom of action so long as it does not impact upon the rights of others then, in the single hander instance, it comes down to "is the single hander, in the exercise of his or her rights of enjoyment of the marine environment, infringing upon the rights of others to also do so safely" to an excessive degree.

We can worry our way through all the aspects and find that from a human rights viewpoint it is wrong to deny those who for various reasons cannot enjoy the marine environment in the company of others whilst from a legal viewpoint it is wrong not to.

Consequences are a very important factor in evaluating the rightness and wrongness of an action or circumstance.

The rules and regulations evolved prior to the modern age wherein human rights are also evolving as a factor of greater importance in human affairs. In a time of AIS, satnavs etc

Perhaps those who take it upon themselves to formulate the rules and regulations should consider provisions to improve the safety and security of all seafarers whilst allowing the peaceful use of the seas and oceans to single handers rather than just deny a rightful existence to them.
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Old 23-03-2018, 00:06   #10
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Radar and ais alarms on during a black night offshore, in some ways a solo boat is keeping a better watch than a crewed boat with on watch head in a kindle and no alarms on..

And if it's so dangerous to others where's the data?
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Old 23-03-2018, 00:12   #11
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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Yes. No one has the right to put others at risk. All the justifications and poor analogies you will receive on this thread are no more than excuses. No further explanation required. It is just that simple.
Thats an absurd argument when compared with the acceptable norm of being able to have 2 cars with a closing speed of 200km/hour skim past each other a few metres apart, all the while being forced by policing to take their eyes off the road from time to time to check their speed limit.
Road accident numbers suggest our road speed limits should be massively reduced but public demand for continued high speed travel suggests its quite acceptable to put other lives - (just as long as you can blame the one who makes the mistake.)
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Old 23-03-2018, 00:25   #12
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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Yes. No one has the right to put others at risk.
There is a non-zero chance that some gut bacteria of yours mutates today and wipes out the entire human race. I would kill myself if I were your. You are putting others at risk.

What I am saying with that is that a absolute rule as "non one has the right to put others at risk" is useless. You cannot organise society around it.

In reality we all the time put both ourselves and others at risk. As a society we decide what risk is acceptable, and what not. (And yes we have collectively lowered or risk threshold quite a bit...).

So as long as the singlehander behaves in a way that does not raise others' risks above a generally accepted level he is not behaving in a morally wrong way.
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Old 23-03-2018, 00:28   #13
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

Boating single-handed is fine as long as an effective watch is maintained. On the other hand, sailing in the open seas out of shipping lanes while asleep poses little risk.
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Old 23-03-2018, 02:21   #14
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

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Yes. No one has the right to put others at risk. All the justifications and poor analogies you will receive on this thread are no more than excuses. No further explanation required. It is just that simple.
I think you'd be hard pressed to come up with any activity that doesn't have the potential to put others at risk.
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Old 23-03-2018, 02:53   #15
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Re: Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?

All I can say is I hope not as I plan to do a lot of it as soon as I can.

But seriously, no, I do not think it is morally wrong to singlehand anymore than I think it is morally wrong to freeclimb a mountain or skydive or fly a small plane solo. All activities that could put others in danger yet all are accepted behavior.
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