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Old 29-05-2019, 02:23   #1
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Sailing long distance, solo.

Im in a 25 foot tophat, but i dont think it would make any difference to my nerves if i was on a 100 foot boat with the trip im about to embark on.
The thought of being alone for multiple days(possibly 12?) is a scary one!
Physically i am capable. I have a fair bit of experience, just none solo offshore.
Mentally i worry about anxiety and fears creeping in. Being out there after the first night, or say half way and just not wanting to be there.
I would hope that id love it. And that id be busy, pottering around doing things as i make the passage.
I plan to get an inreach satt comm and this also worries me slightly in that ill have the option to text people and potentially be glued to some device as im a bit addicted to this.
I dont know the point of this post. I guess id love to hear peoples feeilngs, thoughts, experiences - especially from those who have done the same and felt the same beforehand.
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Old 29-05-2019, 03:13   #2
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Have you already spent a week or so on the boat say within 10 miles of the coast and anchoring at night?

If not, this might be a good first step.

It usually takes me a few days just to get used to being on the boat.
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Old 29-05-2019, 03:25   #3
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Jay Sharkey (Quantum Sails) shares his single and shorthanded sailing expertise to help you get started.
https://www.quantumsails.com/en/reso...handed-sailing

10 top tips for shorthanded sailing Ė from leading British Figaro sailor Alan Roberts
https://www.yachtingworld.com/news/1...1QaoSKe8LyK.99

Sailing Single Handed (Christine DeMerchant)
https://www.christinedemerchant.com/...le-handed.html
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Old 29-05-2019, 04:24   #4
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pirate Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sectorsteve View Post
Im in a 25 foot tophat, but i dont think it would make any difference to my nerves if i was on a 100 foot boat with the trip im about to embark on.
The thought of being alone for multiple days(possibly 12?) is a scary one!
Physically i am capable. I have a fair bit of experience, just none solo offshore.
Mentally i worry about anxiety and fears creeping in. Being out there after the first night, or say half way and just not wanting to be there.
I would hope that id love it. And that id be busy, pottering around doing things as i make the passage.
I plan to get an inreach satt comm and this also worries me slightly in that ill have the option to text people and potentially be glued to some device as im a bit addicted to this.
I dont know the point of this post. I guess id love to hear peoples feeilngs, thoughts, experiences - especially from those who have done the same and felt the same beforehand.
Take a couple of good books with you, good adventure yarns to take you away from the boat and tickle the imagination.. cannot figure these folks loaded with guides, routes and tech ***** to bore the arse off a person. Some movies downloaded to a laptop also music is great.. and nature offers so much, just have to learn to LOOK..
PS.. I have been known to read a book a day..
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Old 29-05-2019, 04:43   #5
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Take a couple of good books with you ...
PS.. I have been known to read a book a day..
Indeed!
Books are my best companion. [next to Maggie ]
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Old 29-05-2019, 06:05   #6
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Jay Sharkey (Quantum Sails) shares his single and shorthanded sailing expertise to help you get started.
https://www.quantumsails.com/en/reso...handed-sailing

10 top tips for shorthanded sailing Ė from leading British Figaro sailor Alan Roberts
https://www.yachtingworld.com/news/1...1QaoSKe8LyK.99

Sailing Single Handed (Christine DeMerchant)
https://www.christinedemerchant.com/...le-handed.html
Gord May, You are by far the most helpful and knowledgable general poster on this forum imo. Thanks yet again!
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Old 29-05-2019, 06:40   #7
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

https://www.sfbaysss.org/main/resources/
Singlehanded tips must be as good as there is

Personally I find it usually takes about 5 or 6 days to relax into a solo passage, then everything makes a bit more sense

Must haves IMHO, radar with alarm & ais with alarm plus really loud kitchen timer.

Marinetraffic density maps can sometimes be handy to keep to a more empty ocean
https://www.marinetraffic.com/blog/m...sing-big-data/
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Old 29-05-2019, 06:44   #8
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

My first single handed trip was from Rabaul to Honiara & back, about 700 nautical miles the way I went.


Like you I was a bit nervous, but then I thought about some of the ladies who had sailed longer differences with me, & how much actual use they had been, or not been with the sailing. This was not much different to, single handing. A lot of this is doldrums territory, & some days covering 25 miles in daylight is a good day. On days like that of course, the ocean is as smooth as the best anchorage.


When near the high islands the reverse sea breeze of cool air off the mountains often make night sailing much more profitable. No night navigation aids or lights on shore, & notes like, "this island reported 8 nautical miles north east of it's charted position 1944" didn't help confidence.


After this I became quite happy single handed & did 13.000 nautical miles, including a couple of 1500 miles passages on the heavy shipping east coast of Australia. Here I found sailing at night, & getting well off shore top sleep during the day a good system.


Once you have even a couple of short trips successfully under your belt, it becomes quite easy.


Yes I read a lot of books. I actually found a 30 book Encyclaepidia Britannica at a clearance sale in Rabaul, & read the lot, starting with A, & discarding each one as I finished it.
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:13   #9
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

hi i have been sailing solo since the mid 80s.i have done 8 atlantic crossings 7 singlehanded.my boat is in the canaries for another crossing this winter.i always get apprehensive before i cast off on a long trip.this goes as soon as i cast off.i was at a barbie in 2015 in las palmas,there were a few singlehanders there.two who had circumnavigated.someone asked if we still get nervous pefore leaving on a long offshore passage, we all said yes.its perfectly natural 4 of my crossings were in a 22ft oyster dredger without a self draining cockpit.and i have been scared a few times but i prefer apprehensive.shows your alive.
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:14   #10
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

I find talking books very good. Partly because you can do other stuff while listening to them and at night don't need any light. Also it tends to stop you feeling isolated if you hear another persons voice. I actually dont find this an issue when sailing but if in a foreign country where I don't speak the local language. Only feel isolated when there are people around I can't make contact with. If I am actually alone I rarely feel lonely. 12 days is actually not long, about the minimum to give you a real feel for solo sailing.
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:19   #11
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Take a couple of good books with you, good adventure yarns to take you away from the boat and tickle the imagination.. cannot figure these folks loaded with guides, routes and tech ***** to bore the arse off a person. Some movies downloaded to a laptop also music is great.. and nature offers so much, just have to learn to LOOK..
PS.. I have been known to read a book a day..
absolutely, i have had to buy a kindle for this winter as the bookswaps are disappearing.the one in the laundry in las palmas finished last year .they took the shelf down.shame as they were a way to meet people.
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:21   #12
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sectorsteve View Post
Im in a 25 foot tophat, but i dont think it would make any difference to my nerves if i was on a 100 foot boat with the trip im about to embark on.
The thought of being alone for multiple days(possibly 12?) is a scary one!
Physically i am capable. I have a fair bit of experience, just none solo offshore.
Mentally i worry about anxiety and fears creeping in. Being out there after the first night, or say half way and just not wanting to be there.
I would hope that id love it. And that id be busy, pottering around doing things as i make the passage.
I plan to get an inreach satt comm and this also worries me slightly in that ill have the option to text people and potentially be glued to some device as im a bit addicted to this.
I dont know the point of this post. I guess id love to hear peoples feeilngs, thoughts, experiences - especially from those who have done the same and felt the same beforehand.
Just do it!!
Leave the sat phone alone, look at the sea, and enjoy this Freedom.
Go with the flow, sleep when you can, and eat when you can even if not tired or hungry.
Tell us how it went.
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Old 29-05-2019, 08:55   #13
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

I have sailed to Hawaii singlehanded, twice, and active, lightweight, fun boats. Both times the weather did not cooperate, so I spent 17 and then 16 days getting there instead of 12 or 13 days. Here's what I learned:
  1. Take books or a Kindle. I had very few, and ended up reading the Coast Pilot #7 twice.
  2. Take music that you're not tired of (yet). I had one of the original Sony Walkmans, and it was a godsend. With iTunes and the like, you should be able to expand your music boundaries.
  3. Find a couple of good podcasts and download a few dozen of the episodes. Ask your friends for recommendations. Really helpful when you're at the helm for long periods of time.
  4. There will be scary times (like my first two days off the CA coast.) But carry on, don't bail out, and keep going.
  5. Contact the vessels that you see at sea. If you have an AIS transceiver or even just a receiver, call the vessels by name and introduce yourself.
  6. If you don't know celestial navigation, learn it on the trip. Wonderful way to become more in sync with the heavens. Most non-believers are at least more thoughful about the orderliness of the universe after finding their position at sea.
  7. Have a treat that you look forward to at a particular time of day. This might be a half a glass of wine, or a Snickers bar, or a small cigar; you pick your own and look forward to it. Breaks up the day.
You'll be talking about your voyage for years to come. You might consider taking a voice recorder so that you can accurate capture your moods as your trip proceeds. Yes, it can be scary, but it's a life-changing experience.

Chuck Hawley
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Old 29-05-2019, 09:18   #14
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Everyone is so different it seems.

It may depend on what your day to day lifestyle is like now.

I find a 5-6 hour weekend bay crossing to be quite slow and boring unless some bad weather pops up unexpectantly then the boredom goes away replaced with planning and worry over how bad the squall might be

I read, monitor channel 16, watch for shipping and barge traffic but it's still way slower than my normal day on land except for the constant adjustment of my body due to the waves
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Old 29-05-2019, 09:33   #15
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Re: Sailing long distance, solo.

Hi.

Donít worry about solo cruising. So long as you can handle your own company, solo cruising is absolute peace.

Sleeping is the first consideration. Take a leaf from the executive power-napping advice. You can sleep for 20 minutes, wake and check your surroundings, then sleep for 20 minutes. I do it on long journeys. You just have to satisfy yourself that you are not within 20 minutes of an accident. Radar or AIS that can give you traffic movements, and a decent GPS chart to ensure you donít hit land or shallows, are what you need. Preferably your AIS warns other shipping you are there, and with decent navigation lights you are visible in the event of a miscalculation of other vessel movements. Waking up after 20 minutes is essential, and I use a kitchen timer with simple countdown and a loud alarm. Donít rely on any wristwatch alarm. You must always get up after 20 minutes, and do a 360 horizon search as well as checking instrumentation.

Finally, and essentially, always lanyard yourself to your craft. Never leave your enclosed accommodation to the cockpit without lanyarding to the vessel. Make a good D-ring harness or belt that cannot slip off your body. In dark or rough conditions use two lanyards to move around, thus always staying connected to your boat. Whilst lifejackets are always recommended, they can give a false sense of security. If you fall overboard without a lanyard you are vulnerable to a long slow death while your craft sails on without you. The lanyard is essential.

Garmin inReach is the best invention of recent years. Not only can you text from it, you can get up-to-date marine weather forecasts for any and all places on your cruising area, and you choose your forecast area from a GPS chart that you could potentially assist navigation with. It beats the Good Friday out of trying to download GRIB files, even if you can decode then understand them. And the inReach subscription costs less than 3 pints of beer per month. It has an SOS function that tells the rescue services where you are if you trigger it. Must say, I havenít tested that bitÖ

Hopefully other subscribers will give further advice and guidance, as my experience is personal and all good, while there are others who have cautionary tales to share.

Enjoy solo cruising. Itís a world different.

POH
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