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Old 28-07-2012, 12:16   #76
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Waking up.
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Old 29-07-2012, 06:13   #77
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Any thoughts about "stopping" i.e. throwing out a sea anchor say around 10 pm and getting a few hours of "good" sleep before continuing just before dawn? Seems a lot of bad stuff happens sailing at night and being sleep deprived can only make the situation worse.
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Old 29-07-2012, 06:25   #78
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I heard about a singlehander that sailed like it was a job. 8 hours or whatever. Then food and rest. Presumably a sea anchor or drifting.

I tend to put the boat in slow mode and simply sleep.
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Old 29-07-2012, 06:37   #79
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
Any thoughts about "stopping" i.e. throwing out a sea anchor say around 10 pm and getting a few hours of "good" sleep before continuing just before dawn? Seems a lot of bad stuff happens sailing at night and being sleep deprived can only make the situation worse.
Can't see much point. Coastal then you really want to be keeping your wits about you anyway, short snoozes. If I'm offshore then the boat is basically sailing itself 24 hours a day anyway, ais with a look out the hatch now and again during the day and ais/radar at night.

Why stop?

Apart from maybe heaving to for a bit if it's a bit choppy to cook or do some nav.


Edit. Thinking about it a bit more it's gone from not a good idea to a bad idea. If you need to quickly get out of the way of something bearing down on you then the time spent getting a sea anchor up and sails set could really ruin your evening.
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Old 29-07-2012, 06:55   #80
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Are dogs effective at watchstanding....meaning can they be trained to bark when they notice a new ship, or when something else is amiss?
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Old 29-07-2012, 07:17   #81
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

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Can't see much point. Coastal then you really want to be keeping your wits about you anyway, short snoozes. If I'm offshore then the boat is basically sailing itself 24 hours a day anyway, ais with a look out the hatch now and again during the day and ais/radar at night.

Why stop?

Apart from maybe heaving to for a bit if it's a bit choppy to cook or do some nav.


Edit. Thinking about it a bit more it's gone from not a good idea to a bad idea. If you need to quickly get out of the way of something bearing down on you then the time spent getting a sea anchor up and sails set could really ruin your evening.
Well I'm putting AIS on board this summer seems like a good thing to have on board no matter where you sail. But, even if something BIG was bearing down on me without warning I'd be ready to cut the sea anchor line and pick up the float after the situation had eased.

As for stopping I was thinking of Steve Callahan's "experience" in ADRIFT. Which was Bang, boat is sinking, get in the life raft before he could say WTF?

Also a woman I once met (a non sailor) who sailed off with a guy. Since she was not that helpful he did most of the sailing. Well, two days with little sleep he wakes her up at 2 am and tells her that one of the lines fell overboard and wrapped around the prop. Instead of waiting for daylight in his delirium he tries to start the engine to unwrap it and pulls out the prop shaft. He then decides to abandon the boat and they get into dingy. A week or so in the dingy he says he is going for a swim slips over the side and she never sees him again. She was rescued a day or two later by a cruising couple who saw the dingy and pulled along side. She was so weak she never even saw them approach. I mention this because lack of sleep seems to be the primary cause why she ended up in that situation in the first place. She was one very lucky woman!
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Old 29-07-2012, 07:44   #82
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

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Well I'm putting AIS on board this summer seems like a good thing to have on board no matter where you sail. But, even if something BIG was bearing down on me without warning I'd be ready to cut the sea anchor line and pick up the float after the situation had eased.

As for stopping I was thinking of Steve Callahan's "experience" in ADRIFT. Which was Bang, boat is sinking, get in the life raft before he could say WTF?

Also a woman I once met (a non sailor) who sailed off with a guy. Since she was not that helpful he did most of the sailing. Well, two days with little sleep he wakes her up at 2 am and tells her that one of the lines fell overboard and wrapped around the prop. Instead of waiting for daylight in his delirium he tries to start the engine to unwrap it and pulls out the prop shaft. He then decides to abandon the boat and they get into dingy. A week or so in the dingy he says he is going for a swim slips over the side and she never sees him again. She was rescued a day or two later by a cruising couple who saw the dingy and pulled along side. She was so weak she never even saw them approach. I mention this because lack of sleep seems to be the primary cause why she ended up in that situation in the first place. She was one very lucky woman!
Ais is WONDERFUL! A simple receiver with a loud alarm is enough to get going. As for the rest... longest I've done is 32 days alone. A few thoughts, I sleep more offshore than I do on land. Just in shorter segments, usually a hour at a time at night and catnap during the day. But keeping inside a lot, outside can sap your energy.
Dropping a sea anchor every night and pulling it up again in the morning ain't gonna last long, keep the boat moving. It's what it does. Most of the time you won't be looking for submerged objects so if that's a big worry get a steel boat.

Another thing I think is important is that you can't tell how you will react out there. You're trying to predict what it will be like and I've never found that to be possible. In my experience it's better to keep an open mind and not try too hard to nail what the offshore strategy will be beforehand, do what's best for the boat given what you know at the time. You can't control the sea, keep an open mind and do whats best at the time.
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Old 29-07-2012, 08:42   #83
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Big ships that come up over the horizon are on you in about 20 minutes or so,

The few ships I did meet out there just crackled the VHF, until I turned on my deck light to tell them I had seen them,

One ship actually said, Attention sailing vessel, Channel 16 is always on, I was crossing his path tho, at right angles,
I do have my Nav lights on at night, But the deck light lights up the entire boat,
So they can clearly see me,

I have a small bit of the Genoa up at night, drop my drive leg into the water, and keep sailing, usually at about 4 to 6 knots, and run before the wind and waves,
It does take me off course, some times a long way, But I am not in a hurry, and I make it up the next day,

And when the Gemini is putting along at 12 knots, That is a great feeling, You can feel the power surging, I love it, It just scorches though the water,

Having some one else on board is a PITA for me,
Maybe if they werent seasick for six days straight, I would have a different opinion, It does change your plans chronically,
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Old 29-07-2012, 09:33   #84
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

at night i have reefed mizzen and jib still up--- if i see a ship or light--i shine light on my sails as well as having appropriate running lights in use. i find this works just fine, and i can keep watch and cop snoozes as i need. snoozes are only 15 min duration. i do not sleep well until we anchor in a protected anchorage--and i stay wellout of shipping lanes unless i have to cross them or enter a big harbor.
had first hand experience with exhaustion in st joseph bay in 2010, april 21.
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Old 29-07-2012, 10:58   #85
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Probably not the best thread to mention this and, of course, it may be a function of aging, but when single handing in my 20's, 30's and 40's, the biggest thing I missed was female companionship. As I aged, not so much. As a matter of fact, single handing in my 50's and 60's were very satisfying being alone and the sense of accomplishment reaching a destination as planned and without major failures was very gratifying. Capt Phil
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:23   #86
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

I don't recall if it came up at all earlier in this thread, but it just struck me that one of the hardest things, when you're on your own at sea, is fixing stuff: important stuff, big stuff -- like roller furlers, say.

I still feel too many people don't confront the tradeoff, for crucial systems, between these two things:

Systems which are easy (when they work) but become a major liability (when they fail)

... as opposed to systems whose operation is less easy, but still perfectly do-able, and unlikely to fail (or which fail in manageable ways).

[ It strikes me we've been tricked into becoming obsessed with everything having to be EASY!!! but that's for another sort of forum..... I'll settle for everything being satisfying, thanks...]

Here's an example:

If a hank breaks, you sew in a replacement.

If a headfoil gets a bash from the pole, and the boltrope is jammed and torn as a result, you've got two major systems which a single hander cannot repair at sea resulting from one minor incident.

I'm also not at all convinced that boltropes make sense on a single handed or shorthanded boat, and I'm unimpressed by claims that you can do sail changes offshore more easily with a boltrope than slugs or hanks.

I just came across this, from Stan Honey. My comments are in italics

see the full piece at
http://www.cruisingclub.org/pdfs/safety_volvo_race.pdf

Most of the boats were initially rigged like conventional
ocean racers with luff groove headstays .... By the end of the VOR, many of the boats had converted to hanks.

Now that's a surprise! Then he goes on to detail another, on the face of it, "Hard Way" approach. Remember that ABN Amro won the Volvo race, doing things the 'hard' way

The foredeck was sufficiently hair-raising so that instead of hanking on the new jib under the old one we would set a changing staysail and then douse and bag the old jib
before hanking on and hoisting the new jib. The changing staysail maintained our speed and prevented us from ever being
bald-headed. ...

The "easy" way is to use the twin groove headfoil and hoist one sail inside the one which is currently set. Then (generally) tack and take down the new inside sail. The way they describe is how a singlehander would do it under duress, except (s)he wouldn't bother with the staysail unless the boat wouldn't steer itself without it.

The most interesting point, though, is that because it was so 'hair raising' on the foredeck, (because of the bow routinely being poked into waves ), they found it was just not feasible to control a boltrope sail, because the luff is not captured as you drop it, or before you raise it.

We had a discussion on this point a while ago, but I not sure of the thread - I'm hoping it was this one but I'm on a slow connection, so I'm posting in blind faith. Mea culpa.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:57   #87
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

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I still feel too many people don't confront the tradeoff, for crucial systems, between these two things:

Systems which are easy (when they work) but become a major liability (when they fail)

... as opposed to systems whose operation is less easy, but still perfectly do-able, and unlikely to fail (or which fail in manageable ways).
.
Indeed. When things break while underway that's when I wish I had a crew on board to take the helm while I go and try and fix things. but, it's too late for that. Still one can have things at hand that help in emergency situations to secure things:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: DAMAGE CONTROL
I always keep a couple of long cable ties in the cockpit along with some adjustable straps for quick securing of objects that go astray. I also have various lines too but, find that the cable ties and straps are sometimes easier and faster to use in some situations.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:15   #88
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I have been single handing since May 10. I had intended to go to Greenland but did not as it got too difficult. Made it to Battle Harbor and could have made the crossing. But I just could not get enthusiastic quoit the long cold tiring slog back. Too.....cold, much wind, ice, fog. Fog like to pull your soul out of your lungs.

I have AIS which is a blessing sufficiently offshore. Inshore there are too many small boats.

Last week I cleared a group of fishing vessels on the Burgeo Bank. Nothing on the horizon so I went below for a bit and set my timer to a half hour as I do.

At 28 minutes I heard something and found I was within a hundred yards of a scalloper hauling back. I watched him for the next 20 minutes at which times could barely make him out.

I now resolve to either stay off soundings or to keep a15 minute watch schedule.

Up here (Newfoundland Quebec) Small boat fisherman go out for 2 to 5 days. They tell me they either hang on their gear or drift. NONE have AIS, their wives and buddies would know where they are. They claim they keep a watch, but I have my doubts when the crew is only 2 or 3.

Slightly earlier, I was making a crossing in fog and weather. Running radar and AIS and on constant watch. CCG was running a Mayday response search across my path. Then the One Ocean race came through. They all had AIS but would not show up until within one or two miles. CCG did not know about the race. At times I felt like a target in a video game.

Have a Raymarine tiller pilot on an Aries windvane. First one burned up the drive unit in 300 hours. Second one came in with defunct compass unit. Wait another week for third unit, which has a defunct compass unit. Swap out drive unit to make first one work. But don't get weather seal perfect so fry circuit board. Swap out circuit board and pray.

I find I am sailing vey conservatively because the boat is pretty big and heavy and everything takes thought and work. So I delay making sail changes when I would not with crew.

It can also be though to keep up enthusiasm if you don't have someone to share with.

Just a few thoughts.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:33   #89
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

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I have been single handing since May 10. I had intended to go to Greenland but did not as it got too difficult. Made it to Battle Harbor and could have made the crossing. But I just could not get enthusiastic quoit the long cold tiring slog back. Too.....cold, much wind, ice, fog. Fog like to pull your soul out of your lungs.

I have AIS which is a blessing sufficiently offshore. Inshore there are too many small boats.

Last week I cleared a group of fishing vessels on the Burgeo Bank. Nothing on the horizon so I went below for a bit and set my timer to a half hour as I do.

At 28 minutes I heard something and found I was within a hundred yards of a scalloper hauling back. I watched him for the next 20 minutes at which times could barely make him out.

I now resolve to either stay off soundings or to keep a15 minute watch schedule.

Up here (Newfoundland Quebec) Small boat fisherman go out for 2 to 5 days. They tell me they either hang on their gear or drift. NONE have AIS, their wives and buddies would know where they are. They claim they keep a watch, but I have my doubts when the crew is only 2 or 3.

Slightly earlier, I was making a crossing in fog and weather. Running radar and AIS and on constant watch. CCG was running a Mayday response search across my path. Then the One Ocean race came through. They all had AIS but would not show up until within one or two miles. CCG did not know about the race. At times I felt like a target in a video game.

Have a Raymarine tiller pilot on an Aries windvane. First one burned up the drive unit in 300 hours. Second one came in with defunct compass unit. Wait another week for third unit, which has a defunct compass unit. Swap out drive unit to make first one work. But don't get weather seal perfect so fry circuit board. Swap out circuit board and pray.

I find I am sailing vey conservatively because the boat is pretty big and heavy and everything takes thought and work. So I delay making sail changes when I would not with crew.

It can also be though to keep up enthusiasm if you don't have someone to share with.

Just a few thoughts.
Interesting account of your voyage. I assume you're on your 44? B'twn the fog & traffic, it sounds almost impossible to get any rest.

I've read similar complaints about Ray tiller pilots suffering from water intrusion. Remarkable to me that something contemplated for cockpit/deck use would not be properly sealed. I've seen at least one custom canvass "sock" made for it with a window sewn in for the control pad.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:50   #90
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Re: Most Difficult Thing About Single Handing ?

Yes, on the 44. Meeting wife Aug 11 In Halifax to help me take it back to Delaware. I think that will be toughest part of trip.
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