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Old 28-04-2015, 13:02   #1
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Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Hello All,

I have a multi tiered question to ask regarding sailing Solo for several days at a time. The sailboat will be equipped with --
Radar, Autopilot with Nav. Tracking, AIS with Transponder and Alarm Functions & Collision Avoidance.

I'm aware of being run over by larger ships as they barrel right thru. and will sink you if don't get out of their way quick enough. I realize that when you're around shipping lane traffic, you need to be alert or big trouble for you.

One time, I asked about being idle/ stopped (too deep to anchor) to take a power nap. I was told that this was not the way it was done (solo or not) on open water. It was not addressed about being around shipping lanes or one shows up {not a shipping lane) and you don't move when you need to get out of their way.

I know that (above) that I have not covered all the different scenarios that one may encounter when solo and sailing on a long voyage. So, feel free to add your experience(s) when sailing long distances.

*** I'd like to hear about some of the ways that it's done, " Solo" and have a degree of safety. Remember, this is for a sailboat with above equipment.

Thanks' in Advance,

Avery
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:45   #2
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

carry an Egg-Timer and sleep in the cockpit with a life jacket on. Then calculate how long a super-tanker or a container-ship will take to appear over your visible horizon and then hit you. Work this out for varying speeds (they'll travel at 18 to 24 kts). Without doing the sums myself - its about 15 minutes. Set the egg-timer for that and do an all round look, then re-set the timer.....you'll get used to it!!
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:56   #3
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Within an eight hour sail of land or other hard objects, I stay awake. Outside of that, I sleep when I feel like it. For the most part, ships maintain a watch and will make every effort to avoid you if they see you. Have an AIS transponder to help them see me. The important thing is maintaining a course so they can figure out how to avoid you. When coastal sailing, I try and find an anchorage or harbor to duck into every other day to catch up on sleep. Have gone three days without sleep but don't recommend that as things get real weird from sleep deprivation after 48 hours.

You can heave to but most solo sailors don't stop/heave to when they want to sleep. The crazy Russian that's out there in a San Juan 24 or something does but he's breaking records for longest passage times. He has no autopilot or self steering so basically drives all the time the boat is sailing.

It's a big ocean out there and the chance of running into or being run into in the open ocean is extremely slim. Even in shipping lanes, traffic is very light to non existent except nearing choke points like the Panama Canal or major harbors. For things floating in the water, unless they have a high profile it's doubtful that you'd see them even during the day if there is any sea running.
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Old 28-04-2015, 13:57   #4
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Defined shipping lanes in coastal areas require lots of absolute alertness and quick skeedadling across. Generic areas where ships are more likely to be in mid ocean are different beasties. Loud alarms, training yourself to wake frequently to timers, bulletproof steering, reduced sail at night, and learning to love sleep deprivation, and accepting some risk that won't go away.
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Old 28-04-2015, 15:00   #5
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Legally, you must maintain a watch. This means you cannot sleep, even for a few minutes.

What you actually do is up to you. Make sure your life insurance is paid up and say a lot of prayers.
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:17   #6
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Legally, you must maintain a watch. This means you cannot sleep, even for a few minutes.

What you actually do is up to you. Make sure your life insurance is paid up and say a lot of prayers.

i am not arguing but i would like to read up on the "legal" requirement. lots of people been single handing around the world for ages some very public. can you refer me to the actual statute or reg so i can read it

thanks
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:37   #7
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Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Here you go, knock yourself out
http://www.collisionregs.com/Collregs.html
Good advice above regarding the kitchen timer. AIS is handy but none of the gadgets are fool proof so make sure your set up to manage without power as well. Radar alarms aren't very useful in squally conditions which is likely to be most trade wind sailing routes. AIS will only help if other vessels have AIS and are using it and your transmission is a decent range so use a splitter or masthead antenna. Watch isn't just looking for other ships, it's constantly checking the weather, sea state, sails etc so 15 minutes between a good look around is just about right, although the **** can still hit the fan in 2 minutes. It's all doable so don't stress too much, just plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Edit. I should add, 15 minute scans are ok over 200M from land and out of busy shipping areas, closer to shore or busy areas would require more constant attention as suggested above.
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:51   #8
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Not being vague or a smart ass mate. Not sure why you would think that? The link is to the colregs which is what you asked for.
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:56   #9
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvimatelot View Post
carry an Egg-Timer and sleep in the cockpit with a life jacket on. Then calculate how long a super-tanker or a container-ship will take to appear over your visible horizon and then hit you. Work this out for varying speeds (they'll travel at 18 to 24 kts). Without doing the sums myself - its about 15 minutes. Set the egg-timer for that and do an all round look, then re-set the timer.....you'll get used to it!!

It depends on the situation of course, like being in a shipping lane, close to land etc. but if you're out there for more than a couple of days you've got to be pragmatic about it.


Sleeping in the cockpit with you life west on and getting up every 15 minutes to have a good lookout for days or weeks is not realistic. You would start hallucinating after a few days and make wrong decisions - way more risky than not keeping a proper watch.


But more likely you wouldn't hear the egg timer anymore after a while. And a few hours later you would wake up and realize that all is still good. You would go down below, take you life jacket off, make yourself comfortable and sleep some more.


And than you hopefully would relax and start to enjoy the passage.
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Old 28-04-2015, 21:56   #10
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Farm, it's Rule 5. That's the watch keeping rule of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea / COLREGS, Part B, Steering Rules. You can find it at IMO.org (International Maritime Organization) and elsewhere. It requires that watch be kept by sight, sound, and other means.

In reality it isn't especially likely that water cops will arrest/pull you over; it's more likely to come into play after an accident. So, if a supertanker runs you over and you die, finding of a Rule 5 violation might mean that you were partially at fault and your survivors would be at a legal disadvantage in trying to sue.
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Old 28-04-2015, 22:02   #11
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

referencing the entire regs is extremely vague. that is like pointing to a bible when someone asks where it says "thou shall not kill"

how about quoting the line that you have interpreted to mean "you cannot sleep, even for a few minutes."
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Old 28-04-2015, 22:09   #12
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Sorry I dont think spoon feeding information is the best way for a person to learn, but if you insist :

Rule 5
Look-out
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision

If that's too much to take in at once:
Edited version:

Every vessel shall
at all times
maintain a proper look-out

However I'd suggest reading through the entire text if you can possibly spare the time
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Old 29-04-2015, 00:28   #13
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by farm sail View Post
referencing the entire regs is extremely vague. that is like pointing to a bible when someone asks where it says "thou shall not kill"

how about quoting the line that you have interpreted to mean "you cannot sleep, even for a few minutes."
It would probably be a good idea for you to read and understand the Colregs so Monte link to the regs was a good idea IMHO. 'Especially since the big ships and competent yachtsmen will be sailing according to these rules.

By the way

Rule 4 supports rule 5:

Rule 4

Rules in this Section apply in any condition of visibility.
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Old 29-04-2015, 00:36   #14
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Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Why you guys bother to respond to these threads is beyond me. Are you just bored?
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Old 29-04-2015, 01:04   #15
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pirate Re: Advice, How to Maintain Watch & Sail When Solo Thru 24 Hr's. (+) Time Periods ?

Being an 'Incompetent Sailor' I highly recommend everyone reads the ColReg's and Rule 5 and heed them well..
There's Dickheads like me out there who've been known to heave to for several days mid-Atlantic for a sunbathe, read and general rest.. we also sleep 8hrs a night while underway with just the AP on watch..
Hell.. I've even done it crossing the English Channel from Ushant to Falmouth..
I love competence..
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