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Old 06-08-2012, 06:35   #46
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
I don't understand your reasoning? Are you saying someone a sleep is going to react in the same amount of time as someone awake and on watch?

Also I agree that AIS is a wonderful tool, but it is currently only required on vessels 65 feet or larger. Also fishing vessels are exempt from the requirement to have AIS.

I assume in the UK, most people use navigtion lights and all electronic means to keep a look out. But in the third world, you will be lucky if a vessel even has lights on farless look out.

Since leaving San Francisco in 2010 we have been involved in the rescue of two separate single handle boats, both in Mexico. Both sailors had fallen asleep and woke up on the beach, with there boats being total losses.

Single Handers take chances, but that is their lifestyle and good luck to them... I don't think I could do it!

I think in most of the posts here i've put "offshore" , which for me anyway means well off the shelf. From experience everything out there is transmitting, with an ais/radar alarm I can react a few seconds slower than someone on watch, who wouldn't have seen the other vessel anyway. Nav lights won't be seen until long after a radar or ais picks up something else. If you're close enough to the coast for unlit parogues then good luck! That's horrible, 45' of tree truck with nothing more than a cigarette lighter flashing no and again, been there done that off Africa and South America. Beyond idiotic to even think about sleeping there.


If you end up on a beach, your own fault. You messed up big time. That 20 minute at a time in the cockpit will do you in, get below and get some sleep so you can function as you close a coast .

This isn't to argue that singlehanding is OK and safe. It's not, but don't think that having a crew in the cockpit makes that much difference.

But it is a wonderful feeling being alone with the ocean a thousand miles from anywhere
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:52   #47
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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Just asking, but do you often have that much go wrong on one voyage?
A good day of sailing is when nothing breaks
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:45   #48
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

ais is a great tool-- but you will not find it on board a panga or other small craft in the dark.....nor on rocks nor..nor on my boat until i rent one to go thru canal--then they will receive it back. ....
my boat is a work in progress--there is ALWAYS something gonna break while underway...
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:22   #49
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

I would say that if you are close enough to shore that AIS and radar aren't going to pick-up small boats etc., then you shouldn't be sleeping!

I know my radar that I rarely use, will pick up the shore/bouys/islands and rock sticking up out of the water. But if these are in the area someone has to be on watch (we are a couple boat so someone is on watch regardless but someday we could both be sick etc)!

I guess you either stay on watch or sleep depending on which takes the lead: fear or the desire/need to sleep.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:40   #50
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

There have been to many folks dead the last couple of years, from sleeping and useing intergrated chart plotter+ Auto pilot and running into land and other things !!some of these had plenty of crew to stand easy watchs!! we only have the 2 of us, and we don't have any of these fancy things aboard. We still have to hand set our auto pilot, according to our Chart position, and a hand held GPS, and our eyeballs !! been Safe for 30 + years this way don't see why we should change !! sometimes I think this fancy stuff can be and sometimes is the cause of the troubles folks have at sea !! just my 2 cents
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:13   #51
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Fatigue is a killer; I've fallen asleep standing up, in a lecture hall, whilst taking notes and looking at the lecturer and trying desperately to stay awake.

Back in the great green-clad country club we learned, on ambushes, that if one was that tired to bury a bayonet hilt in the ground with the point under your chin...knowing it was there was usually enough to keep one awake, and worst case you'd wake up real fast. Those things aren't scary sharp, btw, they don't need to be, actually counterproductive if they were. On that kind of caper you buddy up, but it's better to cover the caboose just in case both of you nod off. Failure in that game is usually spectacular.

Being run down by a cargo ship in mid-ocean is one thing....zonking out close to land and waking up as captain of a shipwreck is something else. I guess it means preferring to get some decent sleep hove to well offshore in daylight and arriving late, rather than trying to navigate close to land and around traffic when you're in zombie-mode.

If you're anywhere remotely near where you might run aground, how about letting the anchor out....if in the event you do drift ashore whilst you're in the sack, at least you have a chance of the anchor snagging bottom. Better than the beach.

I'm still keen to hear about dogs....perhaps there are articles on the web describing how some ship's dog saved the day by waking the crew. Time for some data mining....

Agree with Bob & Connie (btw, how does one tell whether one is speaking with Bob, or Connie???)......gadgetry isn't so safe as we like to think. Would it be useful to get on the SSB or VHF and see if the ships in your patch of ocean know where you are, that you're shorthanded, and perhaps emergency tired and not able to watch properly? My thinking is, the freighter's watch might be yakking or daydreaming and ignoring radar/ais, but a radio call might get through to them.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:56   #52
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

LOL trying to get in touch with some of these freighters could be a lifelong job !! I think half of them are sleeping anyway !! Of course Ive read that some of the famous single handers put on there mast head strobe and go down and sleep!! but I would never have the guts to do that !! Altho I have Connie to be my back up !! and Micah it's Bob and when it's Connie she says so !! LOL
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:40   #53
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Ok.


From:
Dog saves children by pulling row boat to shore DogHeirs | Where Dogs Are Family Keywords: rescue, row boat, children

Another:
'Wonder dog' saves boy, 14 months, from drowning in family pool by holding the toddler on its back | Mail Online

A Newfoundland:
Untrained Newfoundland Saves Drowning Man

Another Newfoundland:
Dogs on the Titanic at DogsOfHonor.com

This crewmember seems promising....a dog with webbed feet:
Portuguese Water Dog

This one too...mainly because he comes from my ancestral home, and because we have so much in common:
Schipperke

Ok, enough about dogs, otherwise time for a new thread....

But first, a question: apparently some solo sailors eventually sleep through their alarm...too tired, or become accustomed to the noise since it sounds so often? Perhaps a variety of alarms to be safe? Alarm-of-the-month. Or one that tips you out of your berth....
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:46   #54
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Perhaps those skippers who wind up on the beach have set their AP's to steer by the wind or are using vanes. Better to set AP to a compass course if anywhere near land.

To those of you who have lots of offshore miles, esp. solo, how realistic is it to heave-to for a nap when tired, or when having to hand-steer due to AP failure, etc.? This is assuming you're well offshore & your boat does this predictably. Even if not needing rest, it could be a prudent approach on a dark night if there's concern about unlit fish boats, logs, etc.

Any comments for a newbie/wanna-be from the folks with serious offshore miles?
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:53   #55
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Sure as long as you take a look around the horizon every 10 minutes!!!
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Old 06-08-2012, 13:38   #56
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Many new sailors think that the sleep issue is most a problem out in the "big blue".

This is actually where it is the least problem. Most of the things that will kill you are either near shore or in reasonably regular shipping lanes.

Sailing the Caribbean is actually a bigger nightmare than a pacific or Atlantic crossing for a single hander.

In terms of sleep, look up poly-phasic sleeping. It is what we all do as single handers and if done correctly cane be done indefinitely. Takes about 72 hours to make the transition which is part of the reason the first few days on a single hand passage are so f'ing hard, besides the general adrenaline and fear that goes with the start of a long single hand passage, or is that just me.

For me, I dance with the devil a bit. I know the visible horizon convergence distance, like everyone else does, is approx 20 mins in normal weather. I have a watch with a repeating timer on 15 min cycle. It alarms every 15, and starts a new cycle regardless of how long it takes me to hit the alarm. I get up, do a visual sweep, check the ais or radar, if a dark/wet night, and repeat. During the day I take my "long sleep" as required for long term poly phasic sleep - 2 - 3 hours. Before going down do a radio check, etc. in bad weather or approaching/departing coasts I don't take the long sleep.

It's not that hard, just will power. But that said, you will notice your ability to do math, like proper dr nav or sight reduction goes down the toilet but decision making seems ok.

Just my experience.
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Old 06-08-2012, 14:05   #57
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

don lucas--some of the pangeros go out 30-40 miles for fish-- is important to keep a good watch anywhere within 60 miles of any mexican towns/villages/ports--also is the risk of their nets catching in your prop---we had that coming into la cruz, still 30 miles off----if you sail between mexican coast and islands--you will need to remain awake. the nets are not truly visible--they are buoyed by coke bottles and bleach bottles--and are mostly underwater yet in the way.

my info comes from asking the fishermen where--how far out -- they have to go into ocean to get fish.
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Old 06-08-2012, 14:15   #58
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
There have been to many folks dead the last couple of years, from sleeping and useing intergrated chart plotter+ Auto pilot and running into land and other things !!some of these had plenty of crew to stand easy watchs!! we only have the 2 of us, and we don't have any of these fancy things aboard. We still have to hand set our auto pilot, according to our Chart position, and a hand held GPS, and our eyeballs !! been Safe for 30 + years this way don't see why we should change !! sometimes I think this fancy stuff can be and sometimes is the cause of the troubles folks have at sea !! just my 2 cents
I will state my belief on this again: if one has diligently done proper charting, an autopilot integrated to a chartplotter and operating in NAV mode is a safety measure. Particularly if there is a current set, a wind direction change or the particular vessel has a lot of leeway.

A boat with an autopilot steering to a waypoint on a route that was checked for static obstacles will have a far lower probability of running into land and other static obstacles than a boat using a windvane, or an AP operating in compass mode, or an AP operating in wind mode, or a tired hand-steering helmsperson.

Diligent and proper charting needs to be done no matter which piloting method one prefers and uses.

Mark
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Old 06-08-2012, 15:17   #59
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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I will state my belief on this again: if one has diligently done proper charting, an autopilot integrated to a chartplotter and operating in NAV mode is a safety measure. Particularly if there is a current set, a wind direction change or the particular vessel has a lot of leeway.

A boat with an autopilot steering to a waypoint on a route that was checked for static obstacles will have a far lower probability of running into land and other static obstacles than a boat using a windvane, or an AP operating in compass mode, or an AP operating in wind mode, or a tired hand-steering helmsperson.

Diligent and proper charting needs to be done no matter which piloting method one prefers and uses.

Mark
Glad you said it because I LOVE my integrated set-up that allows the AP to steer to a waypoint. It's never let me down, and kind of fun to check whether the boat is "off-course" in "feet" or occasionally tenths of miles. If it's the latter, it's usually just a signal for me to trim sails. Interesting to watch the boat crab it's way over on a passage from, for e.g., Miami to Bimini where bearing = 91 but heading can vary anywhere from 100-130 as the gulf stream is crossed. A great single handing tool but one that should be used only as such, i.e. a "tool."
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Old 06-08-2012, 16:11   #60
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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....zonking out close to land and waking up as captain of a shipwreck is something else. .....
If you're anywhere remotely near where you might run aground, how about letting the anchor out....if in the event you do drift ashore whilst you're in the sack, at least you have a chance of the anchor snagging bottom. Better than the beach.
.....
Amen to that. Particularly in the case where you've become seriously sleep deprived, and liable to oversleep.

If you agree this idea has merit, and are likely to end up in such situations, you might want to carve it on a bulkhead. It's often difficult to remember worthwhile, but unconventional ideas when tired and stressed.

In fact I once nearly drowned through simply forgetting I'd had the foresight (what seemed years before) to slip the lanyard of a pack of mini flares round my neck.

Also if you have to abandon: if at all possible, consider putting an anchor out before you leave...

Boats usually have better survival adaptations, and can sometimes do more without our active participation, than we give them credit for.
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