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Old 14-04-2011, 09:58   #91
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

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Id like to rejoin the discussion with the perspective of a person who sailed singlehandled for almost ten years.
The subject of sleep is discussed amongst us singlehandleres over many a cool one, as we all recognize the inherent dangers that we voluntarily place are selves.
The process of moving our boats from one place to another is all about risk-management. The subject of sleep is not when do we sleep, but rather when do we not sleep as sleep deprivation is the main source of most of the mental mistakes that are made in a passage.
Almost all of us can and do make 36 hour passages without sleep.. If the passage is going to take longer you need to be thinking about establishing a sleep pattern at about 15 hours. Then you must decide where and how is the sleep going to be safe.
The 15 minute nap is predicated on the folly that a vessel traveling at 35 knots on a collision course with you can appear over the horizon and run you down in the space of 15 minutes. First, in all my sailing experience Ive never seen a commercial vessel move at over 15 knots, they are required to practice fuel economy. Second, the mathematical odds of a collision reduces this to a acceptable risk, If youre still worried about shipping, take your longer nap between sunrise and noon, when its daylight and the first team is on the bridge of the approaching vessel.
The best way to avoid shipping traffic is to avoid shipping lanes. The best way to avoid other pleasure craft is to sail where they are not, to take a nap. Many times I extended my passage by sailing as much as 100 miles offshore for a short nap. To me, sailing was preferred to sitting at anchor anyway so it became a win-win deal.
Never go below to sleep! Rig the radar so that you can maintain a radar watch from the cockpit. Have self-steering. Never take a nap when closer than 10 miles to something you really dont want your boat to hit (rocks, reefs, dirt). Never lay a hull to sleep except in an emergency. I ran a DR line on a paper chart (gasp) and marked my position hourly.
There are quite a few more little tricks to a safe passage, but that hits the main ones. One more thing, when in port, never admit to the self-righteous that you singlehandle.
That's exactly the kind of posts I would like to see in a sub-forum on Single Handling, if any. Thank you John for sharing your experience with us.
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Old 14-04-2011, 12:59   #92
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

Hey, moderators, John A's post really ought to go in the cruising-sailors 'best practices' thread. Postings only by Moderators, all the thing we applaud and wish we could find again, but never can.
Not recommended practices, just the best way to do it if you really have to.
The one to add is that if one is "exhausted" and in a shipping lane it is worth advising local shipping by radio that you are out of control and "A HAZARD TO NAVIGATION AT POSITION x.xx y.yy"
Vessels in the lane will pass the message to each other and none have any excuse if they should cause you harm.
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Old 14-04-2011, 13:37   #93
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

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G'Day all,

Re legality: The continued acceptance by the authorities of highly publicized long distance solo races seems to indicate that in practice the legality of single handing is not an issue.

Re morality: For the typical cruising yacht (ie small and slow by maritime standards) the chances of a collision caused by a single hander doing great damage to another vessel is small indeed. For higher speed vessels, ie open 60 type racing yachts, the issue is not so clear cut. Should one of these rocket ships hit another small vessel at speeds near to 30 knots, the chance for significant damage or injury is much greater.

Re repercussions to a single hander in the event of a collision: When Jessica Watson had her much discussed collision with the merchant vessel, there was a formal inquiry. The findings apportioned blame to both vessels, but there were NO formal sanctions visited upon Jessica. Her voyage continued after repairs were done. She was not fined, jailed or even censured by the authorities.

So, it seems that responsible single handing, while contravening Colregs, is accepted by authority, and we shouldn't be spending time worrying about it as cruisers. One has the choice of participating or not, based on one's own risk analysis, but to insist that others not single hand is out of line.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Lake Macquarie, NSW, Oz
Agree with your points on the legality or as barnakiel said, legal, illegal, humbug. Whether it is or isn't may not a moot point but certainly secondary to the "morality" of singlehanding.

True, the likelyhood of severe damage is small but a collsion, even between smaller, slower cruising boats could easily result in very expensive damage, even loss of the rig.

Also true, the likelyhood of a collision at all is small, but even in my relatively limited sailing career I have had two close calls, one far at sea, with sailboats self steering with no one on watch. No idea if they were singlehanding or full crew below having dinner but definitely no one on watch.

My biggest issue with singlehanding is, I admit, a personal hangup. I just cannot help resenting the fact that some (many, most?) singlehanders, at least at times in a passage, will not be standing watch, placing the entire burden of collosion avoidance on the other vessel. In my opinion, their right to singlehand, to a degree (yes it is a very, very, very small degree) infringes on my right to sail safely on the open ocean.
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Old 14-04-2011, 14:01   #94
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

I too am very concerned about colliding with you. In fact it keeps me awake at night worrying about the possiblity.

If you really want to venture into unsafe waters, you should try Drakes Channel in the BVIs during daylight hours. As a singlehandler I use a cup to relieve myself in the cockpit so I don't have to go below to use the head.

Just when you think your passing someone safely they alter course so that they can scream "starboard" as they cut acrosed your bow.
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Old 14-04-2011, 14:09   #95
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pirate Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

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Hey, moderators, John A's post really ought to go in the cruising-sailors 'best practices' thread. Postings only by Moderators, all the thing we applaud and wish we could find again, but never can.
Not recommended practices, just the best way to do it if you really have to.
The one to add is that if one is "exhausted" and in a shipping lane it is worth advising local shipping by radio that you are out of control and "A HAZARD TO NAVIGATION AT POSITION x.xx y.yy"
Vessels in the lane will pass the message to each other and none have any excuse if they should cause you harm.
Have done this in the Biscay when caught by a SE 70+kts and forced to lay a-hull as the wind was just knocking us of the top of vertical waves... blown into shipping lanes so call a ship and asked for a "vessel not under command" alert.
This was forwarded to Ushant and Finisterre.... ships steered wide of us with the occasional one circling and asking if all was still well... then forwarding new position.
Gotta love 'real' seamen....
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Old 14-04-2011, 16:14   #96
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

I'm not giggling
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Old 14-04-2011, 16:20   #97
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pirate Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

Yes you are...
but anyone who checks on another out there's a seaman in my book..
now I guess its sit back and wait for the error of my ways....
PS; wind speed report from other vessel... mine only went upto 50kts...
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Old 14-04-2011, 16:36   #98
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

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I too am very concerned about colliding with you. In fact it keeps me awake at night worrying about the possiblity.
Sorry to hear that. Personally I sleep quite well knowing there is always someone on watch.

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Originally Posted by John A View Post
If you really want to venture into unsafe waters, you should try Drakes Channel in the BVIs during daylight hours.
Sorry I haven't had the pleasure. Spent most of my time there in the USVI. I have seen plenty of crazy boat traffic around Florida so don't feel deprived in that regard.

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As a singlehandler I use a cup to relieve myself in the cockpit so I don't have to go below to use the head.
I use a bottle when I singlehand. Less chance of spillage. Just difficult to find one with a large enough top.
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Old 14-04-2011, 16:38   #99
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

I've single handed from BC to New Zealand and seen only two ships, far out on the horizon, the whole way. Better odds of getting bit by a rabid fur seal climbing the Himalayas.
Watch or no watch, the open ocean in a good boat is the safest place on the planet to be.
Most people go to sea to get away from rules for a while . Nothing less logical than advocating more rules and regulations , out here.
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Old 14-04-2011, 16:56   #100
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Well, if folks are concerned about a solo sailor at the helm, do we need to get the government involved? Maybe they can assign another sailor to the boat, like they did for the air traffic controllers.

Nonetheless, education of all good will efforts and knowledge should be welcomed. I really appreciate this forum, very educational.
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Old 14-04-2011, 17:23   #101
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

FYI, with the advent of reasonably accurate weather wind and wave forecasting, commercial shipping is avoiding or using favorable wx rather than a strict adherence to published shipping lanes to set their courses. You are as apt to find ships off the shipping lanes and sometimes way off as you are following a strict Great Circle route.

This isn't ships but an example how navigation computers and weather forecasting can affect routing. Last flight we took from Las Vegas to Honolulu had the rare circumstance of adverse headwinds. They flew north almost to the Oregon Border before turning SW to Hawaii. Computer said less fuel burned and faster trip by taking this very long detour. With the price of fuel going through the roof, ships will certainly be taking more and more advantage of weather to change course to cut down on fuel.

The ships have already reduced their speeds. The AIS on my recent TransPac did not show a container ship making over 18knots and the tankers only doing about 12knots.
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Old 14-04-2011, 18:56   #102
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

In Canada the constitution gives us the right to freedom of association. This implies freedom not to associate , in other words freedom to do things alone, if we chose.
Cruisers should not be forced to put up with others aboard , if we prefer to do things alone, any more than landlubbers should be forced to have others in their home or bedrooms, against their will..
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Old 14-04-2011, 19:15   #103
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing and Proper Lookout

Is it perhaps the case that "proper lookout" tends to be defined negatively; i.e., if your negligence causes an accident, you likely weren't keeping proper lookout.

"Proper lookout" (and the risk assessment, collision avoidance, and care provisions of the rest of rule 5 in the IRPCAS steering and sailing rules) could vary with circumstances. It would also seem that even a vessel that is doing everything possible to maintain proper lookout could still fail to detect a hazard in some circumstances.

A search for definitions with some credibility might be in order.

Websters New World Dictionary definition of Proper Lookout:
"The obligation of the driver of a vehicle to be cautious so as not to hit another vehicle or a pedestrian."

USLegal.com: "the duty to see that which is clearly visible or which in the exercise of due care would be visible." [case citation]

AcesLaw.com, " The degree of attention, care, and prudence an ordinary person of ordinary prudence driving a car would use while driving under similar conditions."

Corpus Juris, vol. 11, sect. 1, p. 1096, "A proper lookout does not mean merely persons on deck, who look at the light, but someone in a favorable position to see, stationed near enough to the helmsman to communicate with him, and to receive communications from him, and exclusively employed in watching the movements of vessels which they are meeting or about to pass."

NavRulesHandbook.com (Rule 5, rule5.html):
"...Rule 5 requires the master to decide how best to maintain a proper lookout. Instead of giving us precise guidance on the adequacy of the lookout, the Rule uses vague terms such as "proper" and "appropriate." Only in this way could the Rule reasonably provide for all vessels at all times...."
"....The term, as used by the Rules, denotes not a person but rather the systematic collection of information..... The operator must ensure that information on the vessel's surroundings is detected in a timely manner and promptly communicated, so that he or she can correctly analyze the situation."
"...While not too long ago "all available means" was limited to the spyglass, modern mariners have a wealth of tools with which to extend the human senses....
"To give substance to this definition, we offer more specific observations:
* A lookout in the open ocean can be less intense than one in coastal or inland waters. It cannot, however, be abandoned--midocean collisions do occur."
"*The size and arrangement of a vessel have a direct bearing on the effort required to maintain a proper lookout...."
"... It is this broad objective that you should keep in mind when managing the lookout. If there is not enough information to assess the situation, you should tap all your resources to gather more. If you are still unable to acquire the information you need, then you should take steps immediately to reduce your requirement for information--for example, by slowing or stopping."


and finally, in a lighter vein,

"And, so far as enemies were concerned, the two batteries at the harbour's mouth were so admirably placed that they ought to have proved amply sufficient for the defence of the place; and no doubt they would have so proved in other hands, or had a proper lookout been kept." Harry Collingwood, A Pirate of the Caribbees, 1898
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Old 14-04-2011, 19:35   #104
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

rgscpat,
I feel that you're never going to justify the whole concept of just doing something because its enjoyable or fun.
regards John
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Old 14-04-2011, 19:36   #105
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Re: Long Distance Solo Sailing

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Originally Posted by Tinboater View Post
I've single handed from BC to New Zealand and seen only two ships, far out on the horizon, the whole way.
Which reminds me of so many sailors who claim they have seen no whales on their crossings. Somehow, I have seen very, very many ...

;-)

Well, since you made it, at least we have a proof THEY saw you.

b.
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