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Old 08-10-2019, 10:19   #1
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What do single handlers do at night?

Sorry for the obvious straight line.

Just curious about the options usually selected by single handed sailors. Are you mainly u/w making way under power? Under sail? Reefed? On auto pilot? Adrift?

Or are you mostly on the hook, moored, or tied to a pier?

Thanks for responses. i'll be here all week ...
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Old 08-10-2019, 10:48   #2
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Depends on where, how much traffic, how close to shore, what the weather is, what the sea state is, how much wind there is, etc...

There is no one “right” answer.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:46   #3
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Depends on where, how much traffic, how close to shore, what the weather is, what the sea state is, how much wind there is, etc...

There is no one “right” answer.
It also depends on onboard company!
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:21   #4
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

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It also depends on onboard company!

That other guy I'm single handling with is really starting to piss me off.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:39   #5
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Use an egg timer. My opinion is the odds of collision out at sea, (away from harbors etc) is about nil. But the egg timer is best. The losses I have witnessed (after the fact) were singlehander's running ashore while sleeping on a course near land.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:59   #6
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Sleep. The 2 I knew, 1 from Denmark in Hiva Oa, and the other returned to SF from Hilo, had better sleep at night than we did. Sails reefed, radar on, radar alarms set, VHF on, (for close contact) and now that we have AIS, I imagine even safer. The one single hander I knew in Mexico set sail after a Tsunami warning, fell asleep going back to the anchorage and had to be pulled from the beach. Thank goodness it was beach.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:17   #7
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

A single hander will generally be far better rested than a couple doing multiple night passages away from land. Couples will tend to do a 2,3 or even a 4 hour watch if they can.

Many single handers realise that they have no choice but to sleep/rest, and so will either do cat naps of 15-20mins which I don't believe is sustainable over a long period, or rest as and when needed using technology to enhance their watch keeping and sailing. Shorter journeys tend to be worse than longer ones.

Things that help are remote helms and autopilot controls, remote MFD screens, radar guard zones, AIS CPA ad TCPA alarms, wind shift alarms, wind speed alarms, boat speed alarms, voltage alarms, XTE alarms etc..
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:18   #8
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

its set to the time which the boat takes till you can still comfortably react to avoid a collision if your radar missed the obstacle/AIS because its right on your reach limit.

Normally set between 20min and 45min. 20min is not really practical for a long passage, 45min works.
So you get up all 45min and check AIS/Radar and have a good 360degree view per eye and binocles. If nothing seen go to bed for next 45min.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:26   #9
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

I have sailed from the West Coast to Hawaii twice singlehanded. By far my most concern was getting away from the coast and shipping traffic, although there was obviously some vessel traffic all the way across. I would nap during the day, for up to an hour or two, and would sleep at night for perhaps 3-4 hours at a spell. Generally, the boat would "crash" (I kept the spinnaker up as much as possible) and I would wake up to untangle the sails and autopilot to get going again.

I saw very few other vessels of any size during the trip. This was pre-AIS, which would have been an outstanding addition. I also didn't have radar, nor did I have the power to keep a radar on for extended periods.

This was also pre-Fukashima, and I understand that the amount of debris in the Pacific has dramatically increased, as evidenced by the reports from Transpac and Pacific Cup sailors. And the damage...

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Old 09-10-2019, 09:28   #10
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

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That other guy I'm single handling with is really starting to piss me off.
Yes, those imaginary friend(s) always messes with single handler karma.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:31   #11
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

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This was also pre-Fukashima, and I understand that the amount of debris in the Pacific has dramatically increased, as evidenced by the reports from Transpac and Pacific Cup sailors. And the damage...

Chuck
I'm not sure debris is even worth mentioning. I've done many night passages that have been cloudy, no moon, or the moon hasn't risen yet. At those times you cannot see anything and even on moon lit nights, you will be luck to spot something in time to be able to avoid it unless it is lit up.

A whale or a container, or even a cardboard box as I had in Mallorca, and you've got no chance of avoiding it.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:32   #12
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Depending on weather and traffic I usually sail under genoa alone but there are so many factors it's hard to give a specific answer to OP's questions.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:32   #13
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

When offshore I set the radar and AIS alarms on (I'm also broadcasting my AIS signal), pull in reefs on the sails and get a good night's sleep - I do sleep in the cockpit with comfortable cushions and a sleeping bag and I keep my climber's harness on.

When doing overnight passages between islands (e.g. Caribbean) I add a kitchen timer with the alarm set to 20-30 minutes to the arsenal and each time it goes off I take a look around the horizon for lights and a look at the plotter for any other traffic. I all is empty I am asleep again within 1-2 minutes.

When offshore and out of any commercial shipping lanes there can be days with no boats visible to either the eye, the radar or to AIS so I am not uncomfortable at night. During the day if I'm belowdecks I use a 1-hour alarm but keep the radar running.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:40   #14
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Agree with previous with a couple of additional comments. At night, well lit vessels more quickly noticed than they are in daylight. Earlier study determined that without occasional 6 hours uninterrupted sleep hallucinations can occur.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:52   #15
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Re: What do single handlers do at night?

Sleep hallucinations are a vital indicator of something awful ready to happen. I haven’t experienced that sailing yet, but did working a construction project on land. Besides for hallucinations, your thought processes are a jumble. I took myself off the job (benefit of working for myself, the moron client was pissed) and slept for 15 hrs straight.
A lot of things can happen in 15 hrs during a sleep so deep you can’t be waken up.
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