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Old 20-10-2013, 06:51   #16
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

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I'm really surprized at the people that think they have to keep watch at night rather than in the daytime. Ships and other boat traffic that are running lights, and I am, are way more easily noticed at night. As far as unlit hazards in the water, at night you have virtually no chance of seeing them so why stay up?? Ask the Titanic Captain about that. To each his own but the reality of actually making a long solo passage and just talking theory are two different things.
I don't care about unlit hazards at night because you can't see them. In truth, I take short naps around the clock but try to bunch them during daylight. And as for being more visible and spotting other vessels at night, that's only true in certain conditions. I feel more comfortable being awake at night after almost being run over by a freighter offshore in the Atlantic, so I guess that makes my opinion theoretical. Who knew.
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Old 20-10-2013, 06:57   #17
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

I have sailed more miles solo than I like to think about and have used the C.A.R.D system which I bought from an American company. It works a little like an AIS but takes less power. I sleep for an hour then do a 360 then back to bed. On my Circumnav 35 years ago in 36000 miles I never saw another ship or yacht but today this would not be the same. As to the person who says that sailing solo is breaking the law I am afraid you are wrong. This only applies to your insurance company
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Old 20-10-2013, 12:36   #18
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With 2 of us on anything longer than a full overnight we tend to 3 on 3 off. We also fired up the radar every 20 to 30 minutes for a few sweeps. Biggest observable risk at night crossing to the Bahamas was container barges on very long tows
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Old 20-10-2013, 13:29   #19
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

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As to the person who says that sailing solo is breaking the law I am afraid you are wrong. This only applies to your insurance company

I am no lawyer but I do believe that if a vessel is involved in a collision with another vessel, especially if it involves injury or death of someone on either vessel then the situation will involve more than an insurance company.

Colregs, Rule 5 states

Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as by hearing

So, if there is a question about lack of adequate watch on one of the vessels, regardless of the reason, would not there be a potential for criminal penalties, depending on how blame is assessed?
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Old 20-10-2013, 14:24   #20
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

Forward scanning sonar also helps to give an advance warning of underwater hazards such as rocks and reefs, larger floating objects (whales asleep and floating shipping containers), and stuff that sticks down a bit in the water. It's not so good with a two foot diameter log barely floating on the surface, but when it becomes a "deadhead", then it registers. Rumor has it that Garmin, who bought out Interphase, will be introducing a much higher resolution unit than my current SE200C that tells me about most stuff forward of the beam. Like AIS, forward scanners will probably be standard gear in future cruising boats.
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Old 20-10-2013, 14:39   #21
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

To be of use for a boat on a passage, a forward looking sonar would have to be able to pick up an object from 7' under to the surface at least 200 yards in front of the boat preferably a half mile for single handers and inexperienced watch standers. Any lees than that and it's just the bow lookout on the Titanic. Haven't used or seen one of these forward scanners but doubt that they have that kind of distance capability. They have a use in slowly finding your way into an anchorage but will remain a toy for the gadget obsessed and very wealthy.
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Old 20-10-2013, 14:40   #22
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

I can see Forward Scanning Sonar being useful when creeping slowly through smooth water, but how does it do when sailing at 6-8 kts in 5-10 ft seas? Can it give a warning in enough time to take evasive action? I've never tried it, but the reports I've read aren't too encouraging.
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Old 20-10-2013, 17:52   #23
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

Paul, everything is depth dependant, because of the angle of the beam. In vertical mode, my normal default, the beam width is about 10 degrees, port to starboard, and downwards about 300 feet. In open, deep water, in 6-8 foot seas, I can project out about 1000 feet. As I approach a target, I can read the water depth closer to the surface, hence, missing a 2 foot floating log, but seeing a 30 foot deadhead. If the alarm goes off, or I see it immediately, I can switch to horizontal mode which sees everything forward of the beam, downward about 20 degrees from the horizontal. It's much like looking at a radar scope. The new Units, hopefully which will be released soon, are reportedly more than double the resolution, approaching (hopefully) that of the Simrad Structure Scan depth sounders, which are like sepia tone photos. At the very least, the current units are a vast improvement over anything that predates them. Apparently the new units are being tested on submarines. What a change from the "waterfalls" that you could see on "The Hunt For Red October" . I like what I've got, now, and I can't wait to trade up for something with even greater resolution.
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Old 20-10-2013, 20:03   #24
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

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Never ever go 72 hours without sleep. Rest do very short naps. Throw out your idea of a work shift. Get something near sleep. But never think its okay to try this.
You have to train to shift your alert time. Shift the routine. At 72 hours your really screwing with your body and its chemistry. If you get through this time you will be wiped out on the other end.
Much better to cat nap and preserve energy. Be routine and systematic. Unless you are truly exceptional at 72 hours you won't be making good choices.
About 20 years ago, I drove a car (solo) straight through from Seattle to Los Angeles.
It took 24 hours and I didn't stop for anything but gas.
By the time I got to LA, I was a zombie.
It felt like I was drunk.

I'd NEVER do that again.

Offshore on watch at night, I take 15 minute cat naps with a timer strapped to the top of my inflatable life vest.
It sounds off right in my ear so I can hear it loud and clear! Then I do a 360 and check the radar and AIS.
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Old 21-10-2013, 10:12   #25
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

1140 miles - a good jant. Best I've done is about 1400 going from southern N.Mex. to Utah then San Diego. Med school trained us to be alert for 48 hours, or so we thought. Now days 800 is as far as I will go without rest. Or sailing 150 miles without an autopilot :-)
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Old 21-10-2013, 10:26   #26
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I can see Forward Scanning Sonar being useful when creeping slowly through smooth water, but how does it do when sailing at 6-8 kts in 5-10 ft seas? Can it give a warning in enough time to take evasive action? I've never tried it, but the reports I've read aren't too encouraging.
I have Forward Looking Sonar on my boat and it is utterly useless for detecting hazards at sea.

In fact it seems to be utterly useless for any purpose at all other than (a) amazing passengers, by showing a clear image of the chain from the Poole Harbour chain ferry; and (b) less reliable redundant depth instrument.

Future generations of this kind of device might be better, but the existing state of the art is not there.
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Old 21-10-2013, 10:32   #27
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pirate Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

If solo on my own boat... I just go to bed.. my boat, my dollar, my life..
On a delivery...?
Shoot man... I suddenly got me some responsibilities...
One does what one is comfortable with... different solutions for different locations... let 'Common Sense' be your rule..
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Old 21-10-2013, 10:36   #28
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
About 20 years ago, I drove a car (solo) straight through from Seattle to Los Angeles.
It took 24 hours and I didn't stop for anything but gas.
By the time I got to LA, I was a zombie.
It felt like I was drunk.
I used to regularly drive 800 miles back and forth between home and college, largely over two-lane roads. Took me 16 - 18 hours in a 1960 Morris Minor, once nearly the whole way on three cylinders after dropping a valve. Nonstop because no time, and no money even for an el cheapo motel. No big deal in those days, but I would never do it now -- guess I've gone soft!

Much better was the drive back and forth between home and law school, some years later -- only 600 miles and mostly Interstate. 1971 Porsche 911S by then, and an Escort radar detector. I won't say how long it took , but it was a lot less!
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Old 21-10-2013, 11:10   #29
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Re: Question for those who sail at night or solo

I must say that I find it ironic when folks who rattle on at length about nuances of Colregs and other safety issues then start bragging about driving when so fatigued that they were less than fully competent, and about ignoring speed limit laws.

Odd how we prioritize things...

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Old 21-10-2013, 11:13   #30
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I must say that I find it ironic when folks who rattle on at length about nuances of Colregs and other safety issues then start bragging about driving when so fatigued that they were less than fully competent, and about ignoring speed limit laws.

Odd how we prioritize things...

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