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Old 21-07-2014, 11:19   #1
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Single Handing no AIS

So i just bought my first sailing vessel and its pretty well equipped with vhf, gps chartplotter, autopilot. I intend on having someone come aboard with me at some point. But for right now im single handed. The couple i bought it from has circumnavigated twice ( not all in this vessel) all without AIS, but of course they had an extra person to keep watch. My question in this, Do i NEED it? i may not be going far single handed hopefully for long at least.
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Old 21-07-2014, 11:29   #2
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Depends.

What kind of AIS: receive only or transceiver?

What are your expectations for the AIS: heads up if a 400' tanks is coming, complete assurance that you will not collide with any other boat of any size?

Where are you sailing: on a lake, coastal, high traffic area, low viz or fog area?

What kind of sailing: short day sails, daytime only, overnight sails, long passages?
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Old 21-07-2014, 11:40   #3
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Well I'd like to be seen as well.. Probably mostly coastal crusing single handed from Tampa to New Orleans. Was thinking of going from Tampa to Panama City on to mobile etc.. Just was thinking a small 1-2 hour nap from time to time would be nice but for the most part I'd sleep at anchor. At some point in the not too distant future I plan on making around a 10 day open ocean passage and more distant 15-25 days
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Old 21-07-2014, 11:52   #4
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Go sailing in your local area, get to know the boat, gain experience, priority should be to make sure that the boat and its systems are sound. Over time, your sailing style and interests will emerge. If you do end up single-handing and sleeping at the helm (which is dangerous, but surely you already know that), then you are relying on others to see you and avoid you so you will need all of the systems to make you visible - radar reflector, AIS transceiver, radar alarms, etc.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:03   #5
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Can you see the chart plotter from the tiller or wheel? if so an AIS receiver can be had for little money, assuming the chart plotter is new enough to be able to handle AIS.

If the chart plotter is below at the chart table, what are you going to do when the alarm goes off and you can't leave the tiller or wheel?

For that reason I have the chart plotter on the steering pedestal.

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Old 21-07-2014, 12:04   #6
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Might want to read this recent discussion on AIS. Please School me on VHF/GPS/AIS Combo Units

Otherwise my comments on your plans.

1-2 hours is plenty of time to get run down by a 60' steel shrimp boat running on AP without AIS.

Sailing the Gulf of Mexico in addition to large fishing boats you have offshore oil rigs, other sail boats, large ocean buoys and such that do not have AIS. Collision with any of these could ruin your day.

If you will be crewed and standing full watch on your 10 day passage then AIS as well as all the other technology is good but a live crew on close watch has worked for hundreds of years. However there's fog (very rare in the Gulf) and thunderstorms that can kill the viz.

The ultimate in collision avoidance but a whole different ball game and budget from AIS, radar.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:09   #7
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Re: Single handing no AIS

(In my best Clint Eastwood voice) Do you feel lucky? Well do ya??? (As a 15 story freighter is pointed at your tiny boat with you asleep in the cockpit)
Funny, I have always considered my life to be worth more than a couple of hundred bucks.
Just some thing to consider...
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:23   #8
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Re: Single handing no AIS

These electric toys are nice to have items but, as I recall, Slocum managed to circumnavigate with only an alarm clock with one hand. Yes, things like an AIS will enhance your safety by making a ship aware of where and who you are. That is if they are looking at their screen. Prudent seamanship will do even more to keep you safe. Once you are out of the coastal traffic patterns and shipping lanes, you can go years without seeing another vessel. You do need to keep a watch coastal cruising. Once well offshore, it's prudent to do but an impossibility for a single hander. I'm a fitful sleeper regularly waking up. When I wake up, go on deck and have a look around and back to sleep. Often sleep on the bridge deck by the companionway under the dodger. It's a comfortable place to grab some ZZZ'z and makes it easy to check up on things when I wake up.

Have done over 10,000 miles without keeping a regular watch on passages offshore. Do keep watch within about 50 miles of charted hard objects. Most of my sailing was done in the Sextant and DR days without any electronics except a knot meter. Have recently done a solo TransPac with many of the bells and whistles and can't say they added to the trip. To sail anywhere in the world, you need a GPS with a couple of backups and charts, either on the GPS or the paper kind. Not a bad idea to have a large coverage paper chart as an emergency back up if your Plotter charts don't work. You can still voyage the old fashioned way with Sextant, Time Piece, and Paper Charts but it has its limits. In the good old days, used to say we were always lost, it was just a matter of how lost. I sail with four GPS receivers, two plotters and two basic hand held Lat/Lon types. Also have thee Epirbs, two boat types and a PLB. Other than that, electronics are in the nice to have category.

I'd put my money into things that will make a voyage enjoyable like a Dodger, workable sail inventory, Awning, etc. before throwing money at expensive electronics.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:19   #9
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Re: Single handing no AIS

"i just bought my first sailing vessel" DeftxM

Def,
There are other considerations that far outweigh an AIS after you have purchased your boat and intend to sail singlehanded. They are:
1. integrity of your chainplates
2. leak free vessel
3. functioning blocks and running rigging
4. easily reefed sails in good condition
5. standing rigging in good serviceable condition
6. well packed stuffing box
7. solid rudder and bearings
8. functioning shaft/strut bearing
9. clean functioning engine with adequate spares
10.functioning onboard systems: electrical, water, propane
12.serviceable and aggressive nonskid
13.experience sailing offshore on other vessels as well as your new one

It is not my intention to disregard your question, but an AIS or any other electrical device will be of little use if they malfunction or simply do not work. I would far rather sail on a simple well-found vessel with little or no electronics than one which relies on these devices and believe that they can save you or your vessel from poor planning, aberrant weather, personal incompetence or simply losing your nerve as you are pushed beyond your skill set, personal internal strength and competency. I am not anti-technology but rather an advocate of "simple is better" approach coupled with solid sailing skills. Electronics have a place on modern boats as they enhance the experiences of many and provide a real safety margin for cruising sailors. However, they will never be a substitute for a solid boat and good seamanship. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:33   #10
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Re: Single handing no AIS

If you sail without it you will die! Guaranteed. Like all those other fourteen gazillion sailors did before you. How did they ever survive without it?

The link to the other discussion is quite helpful.
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:05   #11
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Roverhi (Peter)This man has just bought his first boat, has not defined his sailing knowledge and you are telling him just go ahead and do it (solo long passages alone).
I don't know if I trust his judgement or not. But I certainly do not trust yours.
I have stared down a few freighters up close in the fog in a channel with limited ability to get out of the way. We have 4000 ships on the bottom here in the Columbia channel that just used sextants and depth sounders. Slocum didn't have to face steel islands travelling at 25 kts with inability to turn within 1-2 miles. I am grateful for the few lousy electronics that have made my port arrival safe and not a fool's errand.
He was thinking a 1-2 hour nap while coastal cruising is OK. I am glad there are people like you encouraging him. I will not.
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:38   #12
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Quote:
as I recall, Slocum managed to circumnavigate with only an alarm clock with one hand
There would be what, 1,000th the number of ships on the ocean at that time. Probably even fewer vessels than that. And the biggest would be what, 1/2 the size of a small ocean going cargo vessel. These numbers are of course wild ass guesses, but they serve to point out that to use Joshua Slocum as an example to follow is really not valid in today's world.
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:40   #13
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
1. I have stared down a few freighters up close in the fog in a channel with limited ability to get out of the way.
2. He was thinking a 1-2 hour nap while coastal cruising is OK. I am glad there are people like you encouraging him. I will not.
1. Darned right - get all the help you can get. There ARE lots of OPTIONS out there.

2. Napping while coastal cruising is lunacy. I was out on San Pablo Bay yesterday, 2 hour motor cruise from one end of the Bay to the other. Only two other boats out sailing that morning (in addition to the other two boats in our little flotilla). There's something strange about sailboats: they tend to act like magnets, and NOT babe magnets!!! Sure engough, about halfway down the Bay, I had to dodge BOTH of the sailing sailboats. It just happens - you and ONE OTHER boat are out on a Tuesday afternoon, everyone else is working (!!!) and BAM, you end up crossing tacks on an EMPTY bay. Happens all the time.

Use whatever will aid in your safe passage.

Anywhere.

Anytime.

Throw fog into the mix and you'd do well to emulate many, like Maine Sail, who have BOTH radar and AIS. WHAT'S YOUR LIFE WORTH TO YOU?
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:45   #14
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
(In my best Clint Eastwood voice) Do you feel lucky? Well do ya??? (As a 15 story freighter is pointed at your tiny boat with you asleep in the cockpit)
Funny, I have always considered my life to be worth more than a couple of hundred bucks.
Just some thing to consider...



And even a three story trawler (that probably would not have AIS) could be a life changer for a someone in a 30' sailboat.
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:50   #15
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Re: Single handing no AIS

Quote:
Napping while coastal cruising is lunacy
Jeanne Socrates found that out the hard way when she missed her first solo circumnavigation by a few miles and ended up losing her boat on a Mexican beach.
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