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Old 11-06-2015, 01:25   #346
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

That's what I mean Jim. Thumbing their nose, and do you think they can see past their own lights.

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Old 11-06-2015, 11:31   #347
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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Someone is living in fantasyland. Ships keep radar watches for other ships, counting on AIS and radar to alarm well in advance; they aren't watching for us. Some years ago a friend of mine, a singlehander <gasp> was becalmed SW of the Canaries without an engine when he saw a container ship coming over the horizon - straight towards him. As the ship neared my friend repeatedly hailed her on VHF to no avail - no one was listening. He was helpless as the ship ran him down, cracking open the hull and shipping water. Fortunately they did respond to his Mayday a few minutes later and came back for him. Boat and cat lost. I don't think the ship suffered any damage, aside from having to pay for the loss.

If you want the seas to be safer you aren't going to get there by beating up on single-handers, or inattentive watchkeepers for that matter. Ships are counting on their AIS and radar alarms going off in order to avoid collisions - often no one is even on the bridge - so register and install an AIS transceiver. IMHO it should be required for all passagemaking. Give up on someone else's radar seeing you; in 2-3m seas your reflection will be lost in the sea clutter on most ships (but do carry a reflector - everything helps). Do run your own radar with a guard zone/alarm, but make the interval short as ships may not trigger the alarm before 5 miles or so in rough seas. And do these two things whether solo or several people on watch - the fallibility of watchkeepers is astounding - and you will be far safer than by banning all solo sailors.

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Lots of anecdotes here of bad watchkeeping on crewed vessels as some sort of justification for even worse watchkeeping on singlehanders boats. Not sure how that makes sense though. Shouldn't all of us on all vessels of any size strive to keep a proper watch at all times as the colregs require and consideration for our fellow mariners demands? I realize that lots of people in many areas of life don't take their responsibilities seriously and they get away with it, but does that mean it's OK for everyone else to not accept that responsibility we all have to "at all times keep a proper lookout?" I can understand the (self centered) mentality of a watchkeeper aboard a large oil tanker who is primarily concerned about running into vessels large enough to hurt him and since virtually all of them are large enough to easily see and also have AIS, so he isn't too worried about running into a 40' sailboat that might not even scratch his paintjob and surely won't sink him. That mentality is an unfortunate reality all too often, but that doesn't make it right. I experienced the same sad side of human nature on my motorcycle many times, where people in large cars would pull right out in front of me (clear day, dayglo orange vest, lights on) in situations where they wouldn't dream of doing so if I were in my pickup truck. Subconsciously some drivers look to detect a threat to themselves and base the decision to pull out or wait based primarily on that. Since they know that the motorcyclist will do everything in his power to avoid a collision, and even if there IS a collision, it's likely they will be unhurt, they don't detect a threat to themselves and pull out. But if it were an 18 wheeler bearing down on them going the same speed and the same distance away, they wouldn't dream of pulling out in front of it. I'm sure that same mentality exists among some supertanker watchkeepers who are faced with the monotony of carefully looking all around and seeing nothing for hours and days at a time. Sad but true.

You're right that the fallibility of watchkeepers is astounding and so far, in a very big ocean and not so many boats, there aren't many collisions far away from land. While it may be convenient, does that mean that it's right or desirable for small boat sailors of today to join that old maritime tradition of poor watchkeeping? You seem so suggest an either/or approach to poor watchkeeping as a way to justify singlehanders keeping no watch at all for periods of time when they are asleep but wouldn't it be a better approach, with more and more ships sharing the seas every day, to advocate that EVERYONE do a better job of watchkeeping, rather than every boating group pointing at everyone else's poor watchkeeping as a way to justify their own?
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:51   #348
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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<snip>

"...does that mean that it's right or desirable for small boat sailors of today to join that old maritime tradition of poor watchkeeping? You seem so suggest an either/or approach to poor watchkeeping as a way to justify singlehanders keeping no watch at all for periods of time when they are asleep but wouldn't it be a better approach, with more and more ships sharing the seas every day, to advocate that EVERYONE do a better job of watchkeeping, rather than every boating group pointing at everyone else's poor watchkeeping as a way to justify their own?
So, your specific proposal please as to how anyone sailing alone can avoid periods of any length when "...there is no watch at all"?
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:00   #349
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

I guess that's always the debate with the COLREGS. "Common sense" that may make things worse (e.g. Rule of weight; hat tip to Dockhead) or common sense that may make things better (NUC lights when sleeping). With regards to lighting up the main sail, I'm just reminded of the threads and video from professional big ship captains that have said it is very hard to see a sailboat's nav lights. Getting a light higher up on a bigger object that diffuses light seemed to make sense; and is USCG recommended in at least one instance


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Old 11-06-2015, 12:26   #350
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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I guess that's always the debate with the COLREGS. "Common sense" that may make things worse (e.g. Rule of weight; hat tip to Dockhead) or common sense that may make things better (NUC lights when sleeping). With regards to lighting up the main sail, I'm just reminded of the threads and video from professional big ship captains that have said it is very hard to see a sailboat's nav lights. Getting a light higher up on a bigger object that diffuses light seemed to make sense; and is USCG recommended in at least one instance
I've heard more than one commercial skipper say they'd like to see us lit up much better, even if it's non-standard lights.

I don't see anything wrong with using more lights, if you have some that won't be confused with nav lights or distress strobes.

Deck lights are perfect, I think, if they don't blind the helmsman. I've used them from time to time when I was nervous about being seen.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:37   #351
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

When I've felt endangered by a ship that failed to respond to my hail on the V.H.F. my response was to light up the boat like a Christmas tree, strobe, steaming light and all running lights.. Whether confused by the lights or not anyone on that ship could see where I was and take measures to move in a direction AWAY from the lights. My objective was to be seen.

But, talk about lights does not answer my question for jtsailjt.

"So, your specific proposal please as to how anyone sailing alone can avoid periods of any length when "...there is no watch at all"?
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:43   #352
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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So, your specific proposal please as to how anyone sailing alone can avoid periods of any length when "...there is no watch at all"?
Simple, before you leave port, you bring aboard at least one additional crewmember to keep watch for you while you are sleeping. They don't need to know a lot about sailing, but DO need to understand that while they are on watch, their vigilance while on watch is responsible for their own life, everyone else aboard's life, and the life of anyone aboard any other small boat out there that your boat could possibly collide with.

My personal maximum amount of time at nighttime or in reduced visibility while on watch without taking a hard look around via electronic AND visual means is 15 minutes. I require the same of every watchkeeper I sail with. I arrived at this time period because it's about the length of time it takes for me to close with a hull down ship on a reciprocal course. If I become fatigued and "space out" and realize that I haven't taken a real good look around and checked our location, the bilge pumps and engine instruments, etc. for 16 minutes or more, I spend the next 15 minute interval standing up and moving around so that my level of alertness gets back to where it needs to be. If I know that other watchkeepers aboard my boat are doing the same, I sleep well, but if I have any doubt about them being lax about this routine, I don't sleep well at all because I know that a collision with another boat is possible. No human that I've ever met can keep up this schedule for more than a day or two, then they must sleep for a longer period, during which time they are useless as a watchkeeper. That's why, just as with flashlight batteries, Racor filters, and raw water impellers, you always need to carry at least one spare.
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:47   #353
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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Sorry for the thread drift, maybe it's appropriate for a new thread or maybe there's an old one but...regarding the Jessica Watson report posted earlier. I find it staggering that she was not maintaining a visual watch 15M off the coast in a busy shipping area. The report showed three ships within 10M of her position. She checked the radar but didn't see a ship visually when it was 1M away with good visibility!?
My assumption from that report are
The AIS was installed and receiving, but MMSI # wasn't input so it wasn't transmitting. It should have been if it was checked properly by the installer, but I guess there was a rush to get underway as there usually is with this kind of event.
Her use of the radar was inadequate with range rings at 1M and 4M. 4M would only give her a 10 minute warning of an approaching ship. She somehow missed a ships radar image at 1M!? I assume she wasn't familiar with radar at all and maybe had North up display and course up on her plotter and couldn't reconcile the two.
She didn't bother to poke her head out of the hatch and have a quick horizon scan between catnaps.
She's lucky to be alive!
I'm all for solo sailors sailing as far and wide as they desire, especially when they do it safely. But really, if you have the equipment on board and you are relying on it, at least learn how to use it effectively!
Surprising also that the lack of VHF use prior to the collision was mentioned, considering VHF isn't recommended for collision avoidance.
She fell asleep and it was the best lesson she ever had. She should have had AIS sending and receiving as a minimum. If she had every commercial ship would have gone around her. Once you are part of the AIS Comms network, nobody wants to run you down. Every AIS position is networked and provides succinct evidence for any court case that may occur after a collision. Big ships do not want to go to court saying they did not avoid a collision with an AIS transponding vessell.....no matter what size that vessel is.
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how long has this been going on and why wasn't I told about it earlier.....
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:58   #354
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
Simple, before you leave port, you bring aboard at least one additional crewmember to keep watch for you while you are sleeping. They don't need to know a lot about sailing, but DO need to understand that while they are on watch, their vigilance while on watch is responsible for their own life, everyone else aboard's life, and the life of anyone aboard any other small boat out there that your boat could possibly collide with.

My personal maximum amount of time at nighttime or in reduced visibility while on watch without taking a hard look around via electronic AND visual means is 15 minutes. I require the same of every watchkeeper I sail with. I arrived at this time period because it's about the length of time it takes for me to close with a hull down ship on a reciprocal course. If I become fatigued and "space out" and realize that I haven't taken a real good look around and checked our location, the bilge pumps and engine instruments, etc. for 16 minutes or more, I spend the next 15 minute interval standing up and moving around so that my level of alertness gets back to where it needs to be. If I know that other watchkeepers aboard my boat are doing the same, I sleep well, but if I have any doubt about them being lax about this routine, I don't sleep well at all because I know that a collision with another boat is possible. No human that I've ever met can keep up this schedule for more than a day or two, then they must sleep for a longer period, during which time they are useless as a watchkeeper. That's why, just as with flashlight batteries, Racor filters, and raw water impellers, you always need to carry at least one spare.
That's simple enough. Always have someone with you when single handing. I personally believe motorcycles should have four wheels and some kind of steel box around them so they're more visible. Should probably try to make that a law.

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Old 11-06-2015, 12:58   #355
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
Simple, before you leave port, you bring aboard at least one additional crewmember to keep watch for you while you are sleeping. They don't need to know a lot about sailing, but DO need to understand that while they are on watch, their vigilance while on watch is responsible for their own life, everyone else aboard's life, and the life of anyone aboard any other small boat out there that your boat could possibly collide with.

My personal maximum amount of time at nighttime or in reduced visibility while on watch without taking a hard look around via electronic AND visual means is 15 minutes. I require the same of every watchkeeper I sail with. I arrived at this time period because it's about the length of time it takes for me to close with a hull down ship on a reciprocal course. If I become fatigued and "space out" and realize that I haven't taken a real good look around and checked our location, the bilge pumps and engine instruments, etc. for 16 minutes or more, I spend the next 15 minute interval standing up and moving around so that my level of alertness gets back to where it needs to be. If I know that other watchkeepers aboard my boat are doing the same, I sleep well, but if I have any doubt about them being lax about this routine, I don't sleep well at all because I know that a collision with another boat is possible. No human that I've ever met can keep up this schedule for more than a day or two, then they must sleep for a longer period, during which time they are useless as a watchkeeper. That's why, just as with flashlight batteries, Racor filters, and raw water impellers, you always need to carry at least one spare.
You must not understand the meaning of alone.
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Old 11-06-2015, 13:00   #356
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

A 360degree camera mounted atop the mast whereby someone shoreside could take watch during times of rest?
With the advent of unmanned drones, it seems a possible solution, albeit not in the least bit practical..

Or the idea of sailing with a buddy ship nearby and rotating watches..

A shoreside lookout with the ships GPS position while monitoring Class A AIS?

None seemingly for practical for the average singlehander. Just a couple hairbrained ideas
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Old 11-06-2015, 13:30   #357
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

I've actually done that. Alternating watches with another singlehander. Also, while sailing between Port Elizabeth and Hout Bay, South Africa in the company of other crewed boats I asked if they'd radio me if any ships were near while I took a nap. Would have worked better if they hadn't been in boats significantly faster than mine. When I awoke, nary a sailboat was in sight...
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Old 11-06-2015, 13:33   #358
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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That's simple enough. Always have someone with you when single handing. I personally believe motorcycles should have four wheels and some kind of steel box around them so they're more visible. Should probably try to make that a law.



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Don't forget that mono hulls should have 2 hulls.

I wonder if the col regs quoting anti solo people are the same people who stand at a pedestrian crossing at 2am waiting for the green man when there is zero traffic. I once stood in the middle of the road to wait for them to cross.


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Old 11-06-2015, 13:42   #359
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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That's simple enough. Always have someone with you when single handing. I personally believe motorcycles should have four wheels and some kind of steel box around them so they're more visible. Should probably try to make that a law.

goat
The difference is that someone not seeing a motorcycle and colliding with it is unlikely to hurt anyone badly except for the motorcycle rider, but when you are talking about collisions between boats of similar size, the boat you collide with is as likely to sustain serious injuries as you are. If, as is the case with motorcycle collisions, it was only the singlehander who was likely to get hurt, my attitude would be to each his own and I would vehemently defend your right to take any risk you choose to take. But that's not how it is, it's not just about you. You have to share the ocean with other sailors, all of whom are required by Colreg 5 to "at all times" keep a proper watch.
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Old 11-06-2015, 13:44   #360
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Re: What Is The Big Deal About Single Handling?

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You must not understand the meaning of alone.
You must not understand the meaning of "at all times."
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