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Old 15-08-2013, 22:10   #196
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I'll have to disagree. If singlehanding has been shown to be no riskier than fully crewed, why is it so hard for singlehanders to get insurance??

I fully agree that not standing watches is a form of Russian roulette. The odds that you will have a collision at sea are not high, but they are not zero. In my own experience, there were three times I had to alter my stand-on course to prevent a collision when more than 50 miles offshore. If I hadn't changed course, I wouldn't be here to post this. Between 10 and 50 miles, its probably been over 50 times.

Since that's been over 100,000 sea miles, the odds aren't that high, but it keeps me and my crew scanning the horizon every 12 minutes offshore. Singlehanders just can't do this, and they have to accept the consequences.
Well with 100k miles under your belt there's much I can say against that.
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Old 15-08-2013, 22:33   #197
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Theres an old trick my daddy taught me many years ago. I have a pair of gas welding goggles, with semi-light lens. Before I go below to get coffee, sandwitch or anything, I put them on and go below and do what I have to with a couple of small white lights on! worked for me for a long time, Take em off after closeing up the hatch, see just fine no messed up night vision! works for Connie and I
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Old 15-08-2013, 23:39   #198
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

I just close one eye when going below or working with something that requires lights.

It is pretty easy to train yourself up for this (working one-eyed).

couple of weeks ago we were crossing several shipping lanes and fishing grounds at the same time. ships everywhere and all lit up like a french ho-house in new orleans. couldn't see any nav lights because the floodlights on board obscured everything else. very difficult to judge distance on the fishing boats, not to mention speed direction etc.

spent a lot of time with my eyes glued to the binoculars. had my handheld vhf clipped to my pfd.

great sail though - broad reach with winds at 14 knots. AT that wind speed, Capri sails like at dream, full hull speed despite a big reef in the main and the jib a couple of furls in.

hit harbour at 6 am - i'd made a slow rising dough the evening before. damn fresh baked rolls, and hot coffee - best breakfast I've had in while.
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Old 16-08-2013, 02:45   #199
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

carstenb, let me know when you are going out next time and I'll be there to catch your lines when you come in , I love fresh baked goods. (Just kidding, I'm too far away right now, but I will file that away for the next time I am in your area. bobconnie I like the cutting goggles idea, I will probably use that. Most ships while underway show only navigation lights, unless you are on a cruise ship. Watch for the range lights, (two) white lights, one higher up than the other, the further apart they appear the bigger the vessel, also means they are not aimed at you, if you see one over the top of the other and the red & green, watch out! By watching the range lights you can tell if the vessel is turning or not.
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Old 16-08-2013, 08:18   #200
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pirate Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
That is why I don't follow that line. I go a good ways to one side or the other and let those with fancy, accurate equipment stick to "the line". It is safer outside the box.
I suspect the line plus all the other electronics lends a false sense of mastery and lessening attentiveness.

Beyond the sheer beauty of night sailing lies the reality of commercial and private boats out fishing without their lights on. Scares me. I've had the very unpleasant experience of passing same ghosting along with no apparent watch.

Can't imagine me listening to music or books at night solo. That'd be like roulette with two bullets. As a coastal guy, I prefer to anchor at night. That's worrisome enough.
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Old 16-08-2013, 08:34   #201
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Solves the problem of whether or not you should or should not display "vessel not under command" when hove to. Just hang the anchor down a few feet and you most certainly could claim "Vessel with anchor down but not holding".

I read somewhere that near collisions are becoming more prevalent because we are all using the same arrival and departure waypoints which are often published in cruising guides.
Whether people use waypoints published in cruising guides, or waypoints generated from building routes between point of departure and destination, many cruisers are in fact going to be sailing similar paths. My response to this has been to sail anywhere between 5 to 20 nautical miles to windward of my desired track. Lots easier to sail downwind than on the wind nearing my destination. Also, if conditions would otherwise drive me below my desired track, I have plenty of leeway before that happens. Recovery can be a b____. Puts distance between myself and other cruisers sailing the same route.
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:01   #202
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I'll have to disagree. If singlehanding has been shown to be no riskier than fully crewed, why is it so hard for singlehanders to get insurance??

I fully agree that not standing watches is a form of Russian roulette. The odds that you will have a collision at sea are not high, but they are not zero. In my own experience, there were three times I had to alter my stand-on course to prevent a collision when more than 50 miles offshore. If I hadn't changed course, I wouldn't be here to post this. Between 10 and 50 miles, its probably been over 50 times.

Since that's been over 100,000 sea miles, the odds aren't that high, but it keeps me and my crew scanning the horizon every 12 minutes offshore. Singlehanders just can't do this, and they have to accept the consequences.
Neither is the risk of collision for crewed boats zero.

What evidence do you have that proves single handers have a hard time getting insurance?

I guess having sailed all but the distance between Galveston, Texas and the longitude of Cabo San Lucas around twice, I can claim close to 100,000 nautical sea miles too. And, like you I've had to take action to avoid collisions. Some have been hundreds of miles from any port or land mass, but most within 50 to 100 nautical miles. In some cases attempts to contact a nearby vessel on a close course failed to obtain a response. I sometimes wonder if people on the ship have me in view and just don't bother to reply. In other cases the response has be appropriate with instructions that I should maintain my course and the captain would make an obvious turn to pass with plenty of room.

No doubt having a watch on at all times is preferable, and whenever I am looking for crew I tell them I need a second set of eyes on the boat to improve my odds. Everything else is secondary, and for me sailing alone is preferable to having someone who is constantly complaining or sea sick on board. It's like having a cadaver on board, but you still have to care for it. Dead weight. So, whether or not you are indeed safer having more people aboard is dependent upon each person's ability to contribute.

I've lost one friend to a storm en route to Chili from New Zealand, a single hander. I know of others too, most who have fallen from their boats. None involved in collisions at sea. How do you account for my success, a single hander who has sailed at least close to the number of sea miles as you have sailed, in never being in a collision at sea?

A certain amount of luck, perhaps. An adequate procedure for monitoring my surroundings, perhaps. Attentive sailors on other boats who have taken measures necessary to avoid a collision while I am hove to and below resting or preparing a meal? Perhaps.

How much credit you want to apply to these and other possibilities would be based on pure conjecture.

The fact is though, I sail alone and have never been in a collision at sea. Close, yes. But, so have crewed boats.
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:15   #203
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

waaaaaaaaaaaaaay long time ago before gods invented or used gps and after the invention of the dual station autopilot for speedy stinkpots, i was with a friend shorthanding a wood sloop from mexico to san diego---was night and dark as pitch, was new moon---i was off watch--i heard some noise through water, as i was below, and i came out of cabin to find us facing down an unoccupied sportfisher going extremely fast on a course parallel to ours heading north, and 20 feet to our stbd side...not lighted--no lights no nav lights nothing--dark as inside cow. no one on watch. we didnt have time to avoid--woulda died hard and fast --but we didnt-----this was about 0300 ish or time to be dazed and drowsy....we were only 25 mi offshore, so i spoze we were in sportsfisher alley... was enough to maintain a GOOD watch

we only had time to holler "yipes".....

had we been listening to music, i would not have been able to hear that subtle sound of approaching engines in black dark.....
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:23   #204
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Wrong, I am with you on the complaining sea sick Passenger or crew,

They throw a whole new perspective onto Cruising,

You have to look after them as well as the boat, It puts a huge drain on your own physical welfare,

Especially if they cant do any watches, If They go outside, You have to make sure they are in a harness, In case they go over the side,

They are in a very weakened state, A small trip and they are over,

I do prefer to be single handing, Than have another person to look after,

Single handing, Its all organised, But to the individuals own requirements, Sleep patterns, Etc,

Nothing better than looking at the stars while flat on your back in the middle of the ocean,
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:30   #205
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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waaaaaaaaaaaaaay long time ago before gods invented or used gps and after the invention of the dual station autopilot for speedy stinkpots, i was with a friend shorthanding a wood sloop from mexico to san diego---was night and dark as pitch, was new moon---i was off watch--i heard some noise through water, as i was below, and i came out of cabin to find us facing down an unoccupied sportfisher going extremely fast on a course parallel to ours heading north, and 20 feet to our stbd side...not lighted--no lights no nav lights nothing--dark as inside cow. no one on watch. we didnt have time to avoid--woulda died hard and fast --but we didnt-----this was about 0300 ish or time to be dazed and drowsy....we were only 25 mi offshore, so i spoze we were in sportsfisher alley... was enough to maintain a GOOD watch

we only had time to holler "yipes".....

had we been listening to music, i would not have been able to hear that subtle sound of approaching engines in black dark.....
A similar experience, only at Niefu, Tonga. Broad daylight. The power boat missed me by at most 4 feet. The boat wake even splashed over my gunnel. Idiots. Typical
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Old 16-08-2013, 09:39   #206
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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text book case

https://www.casetext.com/case/granholm-v-tfl-exp/

I did hear of a freighter coming into Singapore with a mast wrapped around the bow. Might be an urban myth. We will never know how many crew.
G'Day Jackdale,

I read through the referenced court proceedings... very interesting indeed. The judge seems like a thoughtful and competent fellow and as a non-lawyer I was able to follow (and agree with) his reasoning. The equal apportionment of blame that followed says to me that the court essentially does not condemn single handing (as did the judgement in the Jessica Watson case), and that should be kept in mind by all those who categorically oppose single handing on legal grounds.

But, in my post that you quoted, I was simply trying to tone down Kenomac's insistence that single handing was inherently reckless, and that lots of single handers were run down by ships... things that I don't believe.

As I said, single handed sailing IS inherently more dangerous than crewed sailing. I think that any analysis will support that statement, but the degree of danger thus generated is not so great that one should not ever undertake a single handed voyage.

Now, back to the court case: here we see some real evidence of the lack of proper watchkeeping on merchant vessels. The crew admitted under oath that for some period of time there was NO ONE ON WATCH on the container ship. I suspect that they were instructed by their lawyers to minimize the time and impact of that failure, and fear that on that ship and likely others that it is a common practice. That knowledge should be kept in mind by all of us who voyage at sea in small yachts.

Thanks for the link... I wouldn't have known where to find such things.

Cheers,

Jim

PS: INcidentally, the court case showed that it is indeed possible to get insurance for single handed sailing, for the yacht that was struck HAD insurance and the insurance company was representing him in court. I was somewhat surprised by that, for like Don Radcliffe I believed it impossible, or nearly so. Wonder if that company still writes such coverage?
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Old 16-08-2013, 10:33   #207
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

yes interesting case and outcome. Seems strange that he was awarded half the costs ( I think he was lucky )
Interesting to note that they don't have any radar on on the ship, maybe trying to save amps
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Old 16-08-2013, 10:41   #208
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Let's face it, most cruising couples are essentially singlehanding.... especially at night. Most everyone I know finds they inadvertantly doze off at night. I dont know why a singlehander with an egg timer is any worse really than most couples.
I guess another question is... during the day time.... we seem to feel more comfortable, go work whipping lines or reading etc while the AP steers... may be just as risky as nighttime.... although for some reason the focus of scanning the horizon seems more on nightime....?
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Old 16-08-2013, 11:15   #209
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I vaguely remember something about green or blue light being better for preserving night vision, I don't recall which color it was. I have several fixtures that will do either red or white light depending on the situation.
I'll tell you it ain't blue. Our autopilot came with a blue halo around the course knob. I have never experienced eye pain like that thing created in the middle of the night!!
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Old 16-08-2013, 11:17   #210
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Jackdale,

Thank you for post 191 and its accompanying link. Extremely interesting reading. I did note it was from 1981, so now I'm wondering if Jessica Watson was the next singlehander? And interesting, that both collisions were without loss of life, which is the bottom line of the "roulettist" argument. This is not (if it is a comprehensive number) a high number of potentially death dealing incidents.

I agree with Cheechako that doublehanded cruising is sequential singlehanding, and that our watchkeeping may be less well done in the daytime. That's obviously not ideal, but I think it is how it is.

Monte, it's not amps. The issue is magnetron life.

Ann
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