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Old 17-03-2010, 16:55   #1
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Solo US to Australia?

At 59, Iím approaching the now-or-never mark for my dream cruise through S. Pacific to Oz. My wife has decided never is the right answer for her. This means much of my voyage will be solo, which is fine except I worry about a few items. Do most solo sailors have to self insure thier boats, since insurance companies consider them too much of a risk? And what about solo navigation in the islands? This seems much more complicated than a blue water crossing. I envision numerous multi-day passages through areas of shoal and nav hazards that radar detectors wonít see. Can anyone suggest any good, contemporary books that discuss solo cruising practicalities? The tentative plan is a 37ft Crealock or IPY (yes, apples and oranges). About, twelve months after acquiring the vessel to outfit it, sail to Oz, sell the boat (yes, short). I have some blue water skipper experience, but this will be a big jump for me. Thanks.
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Old 17-03-2010, 17:27   #2
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Quote:
Do most solo sailors have to self insure their boats, since insurance companies consider them too much of a risk?
If you should not survive and your wife does not sail, then she won't want your boat (pretty sure thing). Life insurance would be of more value to her and no insurance of of value to you. It's ugly but true. Don't think too far outside the box on insurance. It really is all about the money - the insurance company's money. The real bad part is should something happen and you be liable and survive they throw you in jail and hold you hostage until your wife pays. Not great choices but you don't get insurance unless you pay. It's universal and global.

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Can anyone suggest any good, contemporary books that discuss solo cruising practicalities?
You should try and get some experience with the boat you sail if only so you know the boat in your sleep. That does not come quickly but it's the best option. Knowing more is your best friend out on the water when you have nothing. You can prepare to be successfull! A book won't teach you the boat you sail on better than the boat you sail on. You can study before you leave with the full resources here and other places. That is good before you leave.

Knowing more means understanding more. The number of topics is endless but "best practices" are not the preparation for the unprepared. It's more about knowing what and why. Sometimes the best practice is "the best you can do". So then it becomes "What do you know how to do?". We would all do better if we could. We can all be prepared to be successfully.

For a passage like that you need to sleep some time and so not maintain watch. This is unacceptable under international law. You need to figure out just what you can do. It's about what you and your body can do once you leave for Oz. Preparation might allow you to sleep in comfort. Best practices are more in the "least you could do category". I'm thinking you want more than that. So we read that "Tom was lost at sea." and they say "but it was the least he could do". I think you would do far more than that. Know yourself, know your boat, be prepared.

It's not prohibited to stop in places you mean to or those that you find.
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Old 17-03-2010, 17:55   #3
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Just do it.

Navigating reef is a problem without eyes on the bow. You might just change your route. Also, be prepared to wait for the right conditions. Days perhaps.

You don't need insurance (many cruisers are naked), nor anyones permission, and luckily solo sailing is still permitted by our nanny governments (illegal but permitted).

If insurance is an issue you should consider a cheaper boat.

Just do it.
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Old 17-03-2010, 19:19   #4
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I believe that Maritime Law requires a watch to be posted at all times.

Insurance companies will use this as a loophole if they can to not honour the payout.

We all know of single handed sailors doing amazing things but apparently they break the law everytime they take a nap!
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Old 18-03-2010, 11:06   #5
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Thank you for your responses. I agree that single handed sailors do amazing things and I would like to learn about some of them, so I don't end up amazing myself in the wrong way. Do port authorities ask visiting yachts for evidence of insurance? If so, how do single sailors respond, or are they excluded from many ports? And yes, I can adjust my route to avoid longer passages through hazardous navigation areas, but how common are these areas and will I end up missing many of the best places? These questions really affect the viability of my voyage.
Thanks again for your insights.
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Old 18-03-2010, 18:37   #6
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There seems to always be a way around the insurance requirement at marinas. We all should probably have general liability coverage. Its the hull insurance that costs too much and is overly restrictive.
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Old 18-03-2010, 19:18   #7
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I have never been asked to provide insurance while cruising. If you park at a marina for long it is a requirement. I suggest you look at self-portrait in the present sea Webb Chiles Webb Chiles has done quite a bit, usually alone. Another option for you would be to pick up a crew for some of the legs.

Good luck.
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Old 18-03-2010, 22:18   #8
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Originally Posted by Tom1340 View Post
Thank you for your responses. I agree that single handed sailors do amazing things and I would like to learn about some of them, so I don't end up amazing myself in the wrong way. Do port authorities ask visiting yachts for evidence of insurance? If so, how do single sailors respond, or are they excluded from many ports? And yes, I can adjust my route to avoid longer passages through hazardous navigation areas, but how common are these areas and will I end up missing many of the best places? These questions really affect the viability of my voyage.
Thanks again for your insights.
Single handers still carry insurance - they just know that an accident due to no watch or lack of sleep will see the insurer looking for loopholes.

I have been asked to show insurance when overnighting at marina's here in Australia.
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Old 25-03-2010, 18:44   #9
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i may have the perfect boat to do it in young sun 35
due to work my plan to sail her back to oz may have to change
she is a great sea boat and easy to single hand
currently in the carribean puerto rico shes ready cruise and australian rego
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Old 25-03-2010, 19:18   #10
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Tom, I am sure you already know or have the Jimmy Cornells "World Cruising Routes". Also, I am sure some locals will pipe up soon. Those aussies know their waters well and many of them are single handers, they would have the best advice about approaches.
Cheers,
Erika

PS
I hope to do that passage also. I will probably be single handing too, so I hope to learn from your voyage.
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Old 25-03-2010, 19:25   #11
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i may have the perfect boat to do it in young sun 35
due to work my plan to sail her back to oz may have to change
she is a great sea boat and easy to single hand
currently in the carribean puerto rico shes ready cruise and australian rego
They look like beautiful boats, bit long in the tooth but classic good looks - much like myself.

are you selling her?
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Old 25-03-2010, 20:17   #12
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G'Day Tom,

I'm sure that you will have no lack of advice, pro and con, about singlehanding. In my (fairly experienced) eyes it is inherently more dangerous than even double handing, but that does not mean ya can't do it. The primary risks generated by not keeping watch 24/7 are to yourself, elpecially in a relatively small boat. So if it seems worth the risk to you, go for it.

As to insurance, in 24 years of full time cruising in the S Pacific, we've never been asked about insurance by port officials or Customs. However, more and more marinas and boatyards/slipways/hardstands DO require at least 3rd party insurance, and a nasty few demand full comprehensive. A very bad trend IMO. As for us, for the first 23 years we were fully "self insured", but since we sometimes like to slip the boat for maintenance, we've reluctantly taken out 3rd party insurance here in Oz. Grump.

I would point out to you, though, that as a single hander, your chances of being the guilty party in a collision, etc, are greater than those of a crewed boat, and that might be a really expensive situation!

Cheers and good luck with it all.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Church Point, NSW, Oz
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Old 28-03-2010, 15:08   #13
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Since posting this thread, I found good info on single hand strategy in the "confessional", on a thread titled "singlehanding - sleeping". I am about convinced that a solo sailor can manage collision risks while crossing the pacific and in the islands with the likes of incoming radar detectors and zone alarms on outgoing radar. In my profession, it is standard practice for refineries and chemical plants to rely on instruments to protect entire communities from much greater risks. It seems analogous to me, sort of.

Jim and Kordie, I intend to have liability insurance at a minimum, and will have hull insurance if it can be found at a fair price. (If not, then I will push my congressman for a public option for boat insurance. ha ha)

Pacificquest, thank you for suggesting your boat. I don't intend to acquire a boat before next winter, so I'm probably not a good prospect for you. Also, I want a recent vintage, and hopefully a model that I will be able to sell in Australia. My current list includes Pacific Seacraft, Island Packet, Hallberg-Rassy, and Tartan. Unfortunately, none of these boats are common in Oz, so I don't know if there will be a market for them there. I need to talk to an aussie broker.

Ocean Girl, I know of Cornell's book, but haven't actually read it yet. Good suggestion.

Tom

The Will Rogers risk management strategy for sailors: "Only go out if there is a good weather forecast. If the forecast turns out to be wrong, then don’t go out." Whatever happened to Will, anyway?
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Old 28-03-2010, 16:18   #14
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Just trying to think outside the box here. Why not get someone to crew with you? Can't imagine that it would be that difficult to find. Or you crew with someone who's already going. (Lot cheaper and simpler). To buy and outfit a boat for one passage seems a waste, unless this is a three year passage.
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Old 28-03-2010, 16:54   #15
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Send a PM to a fellow member here at CF..."SimonV" and pick his brain...He is a supper guy, an Aussie, and made the trip solo from California in a new to him boat 2 years ago..we had a blast following along with him.

You can read about it here .

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/genera...australia.html
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