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Old 20-10-2014, 09:43   #166
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^If you are really interested or concerned about this I will suggest you ask the USCG and the Gendarmerie Maritime why they explicitly officially permit single handing and how they interpret rule 5 in that context.

I'm a bit sceptical about this comment, explicitly officially permit.
What does that mean? They may not ban the race, but there's a lot of sponsorship $$ involved, but explicitly officially permit. It's not like they are going to follow solo sailors around waiting for them to doze off so they can throw the book at them. So perhaps 'turn a blind eye to' would be more appropriate
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Old 20-10-2014, 10:19   #167
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

I believe Evans is saying it best. By being on watch we reduce our risk of collision. When we go below to pee we increase it slightly. If we have to do more then that we increase it more. If we cook dinner or chart a difficult course or write a passage in the log we increase our risk. The bottom line is that the risk of two boats being in the same place at the same time on the big ocean is really very small and therefore those little tweaks we make on our watch may alter the relative risk greatly but not alter the absolute risk much at all.

It is similar to medical studies that say something can reduce your risk of dying from a disease by tenfold. Sounds pretty good until you see the risk with doing nothing is .0001 so the extra effort makes it .00001. Maybe not worth writing 5 pages of forum comments on?

Jim
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Old 20-10-2014, 11:24   #168
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I'm a bit skeptical about this comment, explicitly officially permit.
What does that mean? They may not ban the race, but there's a lot of sponsorship $$ involved, but explicitly officially permit. It's not like they are going to follow solo sailors around waiting for them to doze off so they can throw the book at them. So perhaps 'turn a blind eye to' would be more appropriate
Just for example - in san francisco, the USCG issues a race permit for the singlehanded transpac, as they do for all significant races in and out of San Francisco bay. In that permitting process they scrutinize all the safety issues, and now with particular care after the low speed chase and Aegean and incidents. They simply would not issue that permit if they thought singlehanding fundamentally broke the colregs, and was intrinsically "illegal". I suspect they also issue a permit for the bermuda 1-2 but don't know that for sure (there has been a difference in how the permitting is handled between the left and right coasts)

The french authority do the same with the Figero, mini and vendee.

So, it is NOT a case of simply turning a blind eye. They in fact issue official permits authorizing single-handed transoceanic and long coastal races/events.

All around the world they also give exit clearances to boats they know from official paperwork are single handers. NZ for instance will not give a NZ flag boat clearance unless it meets cat 1 safety requirements, but they will give official clearance to a single hander. We can argue whether that makes sense, but it is what they are doing and how they are interpreting the rules.
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Old 20-10-2014, 11:34   #169
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by jkleins View Post
I believe Evans is saying it best. By being on watch we reduce our risk of collision. When we go below to pee we increase it slightly. If we have to do more then that we increase it more. If we cook dinner or chart a difficult course or write a passage in the log we increase our risk. The bottom line is that the risk of two boats being in the same place at the same time on the big ocean is really very small and therefore those little tweaks we make on our watch may alter the relative risk greatly but not alter the absolute risk much at all.

It is similar to medical studies that say something can reduce your risk of dying from a disease by tenfold. Sounds pretty good until you see the risk with doing nothing is .0001 so the extra effort makes it .00001. Maybe not worth writing 5 pages of forum comments on?

Jim
If he was talking about what you claim, taking a short break to cook dinner or pee or write a passage in his log, I'd agree too. But that's not even close to what he's saying. He's saying that it's OK for boats to be out there, sailing or motoring along for hours at a time with nobody at the helm or even awake, relying 100% on luck, or the guy in the other boat keeping a good watch, or his electronic alarms to protect him from injuring himself or someone else.

Seriously, this argument sounds a lot like a teenage girl trying to defend texting and tweeting and facebooking on their smartphone while driving because "everyone in high school does it all the time and the police never pull you over for it and nobody's had any serious accidents."


If everybody gets to decide for themselves when it's "appropriate" to have a person on watch, why did they even mention it in the Colregs at all? Why doesn't it say something like "all vessels are free to choose to have someone on watch whenever the Captain feels it's needed, and whatever watch schedule he chooses to have or not have will be considered appropriate right up until he T-bones and sinks someone?"
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Old 20-10-2014, 11:39   #170
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
He's saying that it's OK for boats to be out there, sailing or motoring along for hours at a time with nobody at the helm or even awake, relying 100% on luck, or the guy in the other boat keeping a good watch, or his electronic alarms to protect him from injuring himself or someone else.
I am sorry, that is unacceptable, no-where did I say anything remotely close to that. You are way out of line there.

What I said is that we are required to, and I do, keep a watch sufficient to prevent collision. I modify my procedure based on the conditions and situation to ensure that.
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Old 20-10-2014, 12:01   #171
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by Sailormantx View Post
Obviously you have never singlehanded or ...
I've never played Russian Roulette, either.

But merely from my understanding of Russian Roulette, I've made the following conclusions:
  • It's a bad idea.
  • The odds are ever so slightly more in your favor than X to one, with X being the number of chambers in the cylinder minus one.
  • The exception is if the weapon is held upside down when it's spun. Then the odds are ever so slightly more against you.
  • The odds of a shot increase every time the trigger is pulled.
  • The odds change quickly and dramatically with every trigger pull.
  • It's a bad idea.
  • Playing the game proves luck, not courage or intelligence.
  • I'll never play it.
  • Because it's a bad idea.

What the astute reader will conclude from this is very simple: with certain notable exceptions (combat comes to mind) it isn't necessary to have done something to reach significant conclusions about it.

Therefore, your post above is merely ad hominem.
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Old 20-10-2014, 12:22   #172
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
^^If you are really interested or concerned about this I will suggest you ask the USCG and the Gendarmerie Maritime why they explicitly officially permit single handing and how they interpret rule 5 in that context.

I have asked both. Their answer was that the rule means the watch much be sufficient to prevent collisions (and meet the other colregs), but it does not specify how it must be performed. That is left up to the master. And they believe that a singlehander can possibly perform a 'proper' watch, and they will not sanction one until it is proven that he has not.

One of them indicated that without the words 'proper' and 'appropriate' the remaining wording might be considered to imply that a vessel would have to have 8 on watch at all times, each scanning only a 45 degree angle, with no bathroom or drink breaks and the entire watch (of 8) changed every hour. And they know that that is not necessary to prevent collisions, and they want to give the masters flexibility to manage the watch as best for the crew and situation.

But you go ahead and interpret the rule however you want. At least your interpretation will not cause others harm. And please consider getting an AIS transceiver.
Here is a fairly strong position of one USCG officer about Rule 5:

http://www.uscg.mil/d13/cfvs/PDFs/FinalRule5.PDF

Doesn't sound like this guy, at least, cuts much slack for single-handers, and the rules do specifically require a visual watch. They do not say "perfect" or "continuous"; they say "appropriate in the circumstances".

I would interpret that as follows -- very hard to make a case that you are keeping an "appropriate" visual watch if you go below and rack out for four or five or eight hours, relying solely on electronic alarms. However, if you never have an accident, because your alarms are really effective and you never do it where you are likely to encounter traffic, then you might get away with it.

I think a case could be made, however, that 15 or even 30 minutes catnaps in the cockpit with a timer alarm set, with regular visual scans of the horizon, backed up with effective electronic means, really is an "appropriate in the circumstances" visual watch in a really empty part of the sea.


To put it all in context: There can be no question that single handing on a multiday passage serious reduces the effectiveness of your watchkeeping, quite apart from the question of whether or not you can do it without violating or bending the rules. I don't do it, myself, but then, I really enjoy the camaraderie of a well-functioning crew on a long passage. I had five on board on my last North Sea crossing in August, and (other than the fact that we were bashing hard upwind the whole way) it was great -- we doubled the watches at night, and it was fun, despite being a brutal slog.
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Old 20-10-2014, 12:54   #173
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

^^I certaintly agree that if you are singlehanding and not in the cockpit and you get in a collision you are very likely screwed (getting not 100% of the fault, but quite a bit of it). I have said that in previous posts.

You want to be quite confident that your proceedure is sufficient. Some people can do it, others may well be incapable. It is something that separates the great singlehanded racers from the rest, they can function and make good decisions with very limited and carefully managed rest. I personally find I can be alert for three days essentially continuously and then my decision making degrades significantly. So I have organized my single handing around that.

Double handing is different. Most of us probably can do it "forever" with sufficient decision making capability, but it does take discipline and a bit of discomfort.

As to what is "sufficient" watch keeping. . . I personally find that extremely situational dependent. Down at 50s in the pacific is a whole different story than crossing the channel. It is unbelievably empty at 50s. Our watch keeping down there is directed at squalls and other weather changes and not at collisions.

I have had a bunch of discussions with the USCG about this topic over the years. And that is why I suggested that jtsailingjt frame the question the way I did. If you frame it in the context of their authorizing singlehanded races and clearances you force them to admit it is not actually against their rules, even if they don't necessarily like or approve of it.
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Old 20-10-2014, 14:31   #174
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
If everybody gets to decide for themselves when it's "appropriate" to have a person on watch, why did they even mention it in the Colregs at all? Why doesn't it say something like "all vessels are free to choose to have someone on watch whenever the Captain feels it's needed, and whatever watch schedule he chooses to have or not have will be considered appropriate right up until he T-bones and sinks someone?"
If they didn't think everyone should decide for themselves they would have said "everyone much keep a watch every 11.5 minutes" or something to that effect. They used vague and nebulous terms exactly because there are people who feel it is "appropriate" to go below for a period of time and eat dinner and others that feel it is "appropriate" to go to sleep for a period of time and allow their electronic watch to wake them for important events and there is no way that you or I can prejudge that decision. Although you are doing a pretty good job of it. :-)

Jim
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Old 20-10-2014, 14:36   #175
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Ok, Dockhead. It's pitch black on the open ocean and you can't see anything other than the red and green lights. The ship is 1.5 miles away. It's not responding to your hail, turning or responding in any other way. A minute later you still see red and green, so it's a pretty good guess that the ship is coming right at you - or pretty darned close. You are the stand-on vessel. You say you can't turn left or right because you can't judge what direction the ship is going to turn, and you will still be in the 10 degree range of the bow anyway. So tell me, what is the best solution to this situation?
Not Dockhead, but in my opinion, if a big ship is heading straight for you the best solution id for you to get the flock out of its path ASAP. It doesn't matter which boat might be the stand-on vessel, it's you that will end up dead, not the captain of the ship.

Sometimes you have to use your brains.
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Old 20-10-2014, 14:56   #176
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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It doesn't matter which boat might be the stand-on vessel, it's you that will end up dead, not the captain of the ship.
Here we go again.
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Old 20-10-2014, 15:06   #177
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Here we go again.
Yep. Sometimes people have to hear it over and over until they understand.
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Old 20-10-2014, 15:49   #178
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Yep. Sometimes people have to hear it over and over until they understand.
Here's a little ditty which will help you get that message across:

"Here lies the body of Johnny O'Day, who died preserving his right of way. He was right, dead right, as he sailed along, but he's just as dead as if he'd been wrong."


Nothing wrong with that, per se, other than the fact that those who make the rest of us "hear it over and over again" usually assume that we are all too stupid to grasp such a subtle truth. The assumption that other people are all stupid, usually leads to feeling of smug complacency, which leads to horrible errors -- that is an important lesson in life, very applicable to this case.

The other problem is that many sailors think that the only problem in collision avoidance is that some people press their "rights" to the point of getting themselves into danger, and that if all of us would just be wise enough to back off in time, then we don't need to understand anything else about it. And this -- is a big, fat, ugly fallacy. This is deeply wrong, because collision avoidance at sea is a science, which requires skill and knowledge, and there are no shortcuts to understanding how to do it. You cannot solve every, or even many collision avoidance problems just by "giving up" your "rights" as the stand-on vessel. And you cannot just eyeball an approaching ship and even know what is going on.

The first problem is how to recognize that a risk of collision exists in the first place. A lot of sailors, shockingly, are just totally incapable of figuring this out. If you are under way, the nav lights of the ship tell you very little. The lowest tech way of doing this is with a series of bearings -- do you have a HBC in the cockpit? Other than a series of bearings with a HBC, the only ways to do this are with AIS or with radar (hand plotted or MARPA). Do you know how to do a radar plot? If you can't even recognize a risk of collision, then obviously you can't do anything about it.

The second problem is determining whether the ship is passing ahead or behind, so you know which way to dodge. Even if you figure out that a risk of collision exists, if you don't know which way to dodge, then whatever move you make has a 50% chance of making the situation worse, and not better.

So completely leaving aside the separate question of when you should stand on, and when you should dodge - you have to do the work, to know what to do. There are simply no shortcuts.


In view of all of this, it's no wonder that professional mariners refer to us as "WAFIs" -- wind assisted f***** idiots. They know that at any moment in an encounter with one of us, the WAFI at the helm won't even be aware of our existence until long after they have figured out a solution and are maneuvering around. In this professional mariners pay little attention to Rule 18, because they don't even get to the question of who is to stand-on and who is to give way. That is because the WAFI at the helm -- no doubt thinking with a wan smile that he will never get into a risk of collision because he's heard about Johnny O'Day, and is so prudent -- is totally oblivious to the existence of the ship at the ship's decision point -- usually about 10 miles in open water. So the professional mariner has referred to Rule 17, which allows the professional mariner, even if he's the stand-on vessel, to consider the fact that there's a WAFI at the helm of the give-way pleasure vessel who is unlikely to have the slightest clue, to take action himself. And the professional mariner will have steered to leave a generous CPA, because the WAFI is highly likely to wake up with a start when he's only 3 or 4 miles away, and do something unpredictable -- tack, bear away, heave-to, or make some sudden maneuver because (a) the WAFI is not capable of calculating that the professional has already figured a safe CPA and that no risk of collision actually exists; and (b) believing that any situation can be resolved simply by giving way, we will attempt to dodge out of the way, which in 50% of cases just means he is dodging, on the contrary, right into the path of the ship which has long ago gone over to a course towards a safe CPA.


All of this is a long-winded and, no doubt, extremely boring way of saying that you have got to acquire the skills -- there is no substitute. And the Johnny O'Day type smugness is one of the most dangerous frames of mind to fall into.
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Old 20-10-2014, 16:19   #179
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I am sorry, that is unacceptable, no-where did I say anything remotely close to that. You are way out of line there.

What I said is that we are required to, and I do, keep a watch sufficient to prevent collision. I modify my procedure based on the conditions and situation to ensure that.
Then I'll be very happy to stand corrected because I obviously don't understand your position. If you are single handing for many days at a time, how do you avoid being so fatigued so as to not be safe if you are not sometimes sleeping for hours at a time? If you are claiming that you are "on watch" while you are asleep, I disagree.
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Old 20-10-2014, 16:42   #180
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

The French sailors have done quite a bit of research on this -
Google Dr Claudio Stamping to start -
He's a round-the-world sailor, and a Harvard University sleep researcher. Stampi’s method, followed by many solo sailors, is based on the best time to sleep, how little sleep one needs to function efficiently, and the optimal length of a nap. He says Solo sailors need to be able to sleep for no more than 10 or 20 minutes at a time.
The British professional single-handed offshore skipper Ellen McArthur frequently relies on the cluster-napping technique she learnt during pre-race training. This is the strategy of breaking up a long sleep into shorter naps - she wakes, quickly checks the boat, sea and weather conditions, makes adjustments if necessary, then resumes her sleep.
This research has been optimized around both the needs of collision avoidance but also top level competitive racing where you must both recognize and react quite quickly to shifts/gusts, and where you must also hand steer (faster) in some conditions.

When you google, here is the first article you will find http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness...e-I-Sleep.html

And then go back and read my prior posts more carefully because I have already answered your question related to my own procedure.
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