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Old 15-08-2011, 10:26   #1
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Single-Hander On Watch

Hi

I am keen to do some offshore cruising. Something the rest of my family and friends are not keen for. Undeterred I am thinking of going solo. My biggest concern with this is sailing around the clock. Can anyone recommend any reliable technology other than the Mk 1 eyeball that will give early warning of other vessels etc to allow some bunk time? Regards Reid
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Old 15-08-2011, 10:37   #2
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Re: Single Hander on watch

Please search this and other forums first. This has been beaten to death.

The short version is there is no good answer.
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Old 15-08-2011, 10:48   #3
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Re: Single Hander on watch

AIS may help, if it has a good alarm
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:05   #4
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

AIS and a couple of quiet (ticking) kitchen alarms (loud) and an alarm clock.

I set 2 kitchen timers at 20 minutes at the same time, then I have the alarm clock set for 1 hour so I wake if I miss the kitchen timers.

All in all I haven't found it much of a problem. Just get out there and go for an overnight sail and see how you go.

Leanr how to determain a ships course quickly. Don't stay awake for an hour when the ship was never coming near you anyway.




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Old 15-08-2011, 11:08   #5
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

Mark has circumnavigated, part of the way by himself. So he knows what he is talking about.
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:42   #6
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

If you are well rested before you start you should be able to operate your boat for 36 hours with only a few short naps. The further you go offshore the fewer things there willbe to worry about.
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Old 15-08-2011, 11:47   #7
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

In addition to AIS I have radar which can be set so that it periodically wakes up and scans a given range for any returns and sets off an alarm if anything shows up. This saves a lot of energy, but tends to set off false alarms in heavier weather. What is nice about the radar is that it warns of squalls or at least of rainfall during the night hours when the old Mk II eyeball wouldn't see it and this helps to get reefed in time. Keeping to the tropics and using a light sleeping bag in a spacious cockpit makes scanning the horizon a quick task that (almost) doesn't interrupt one's sleep.
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Old 15-08-2011, 12:06   #8
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

i sleep on watch between my horizon checks. if there is a light on the horizon i find i do not sleep at all until i determine what that light is. i check horizon at LEAST every 15 mins. works while single or short handing.
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Old 15-08-2011, 12:52   #9
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

I just finished a summer cruise where I had to do two weeks single-handed (New England to the Chesapeake) because a couple of crew volunteers backed out.

I've done a lot of soul searching on the subject. Bottom line: I just don't like single-handed sailing, and I don't think I'll do it again if I can help it. The strategies above for watch-keeping have worked for the folks (more experienced than I) who have used them. But I'm afraid that may just be because nobody else happened to run into them. The ocean is a big place, so the odds may be in your favor, especially if you avoid high traffic areas like the area I was passing through.

I found many times I would nod off or go below for 10-15 minutes, only to wake up or re-emerge in the cockpit to see some vessel or the other passing abeam of me that I had never seen before. After a few days of this, I was thoroughly spooked.

Maybe you could look a little farther for crew. I have a buddy who had practically no previous sailing experience who just loves to do overnight passages. You never know who will take to it.

Maybe I'm being unreasonably skittish. Single-handing for more than a few hours is HARD work, I found out. And not for the faint of heart.
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Old 15-08-2011, 13:04   #10
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

One of the keys to single handling is to get well off shore and away from the coastal traffic. Once off shore, stay away from shipping lanes. And, by all means have AIS and active radar with alarms. If you are going to take a nap, do it in the day time when you boat is most easily seen.
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Old 15-08-2011, 13:08   #11
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

Agree with others. Ais reciever and radar on guard mode, and kitchen timers, good alarm clock. And get off the shelf as quick as you can. I do usually an hours sleep at a time, but only once off the shelf and away from fishing boats, and only when i haven't seen anything for a day or so. I found it necessary to write everything down, like when you have a look around. Memory is not to be relied on.
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Old 15-08-2011, 13:18   #12
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

I just sleep when I feel like it. Biggest problem is not running into another boat but running into hard water. Get far enough offshore so that you cannot fall asleep long enough that the boat could possibly hit land or obstruction. Single handing for 36 hours without sleep isn't a big deal. Have done that often making a landfall especially in areas like SF Bay with it's very heavy ship traffic in a narrow cone. Sleeping in the cockpit makes it easy to take short sleep periods, poke up your head, look around, fall back asleep and repeat.

Biggest problem is being reasonably well rested. I fall into a sleep deprived funk complete with hallucinations if I try and do a rigid routine of short sleep periods. Find my natural sleep pattern of relatively short periods of sleep and even shorter wakefulness, gets me the rest I need. A sailor who is sleep deprived may not think rationally, btdt, [been there, done that] and make seriously flawed decisions in a stressful moment. Sleep deprivation is way more dangerous than the potential of hitting something.
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Old 15-08-2011, 14:34   #13
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

For a good timer, go to a truck stop and get a Screaming Meanie. They are extremely loud, advertised as waking up the dead. First time I used mine I didn't realize how loud it was. Had gone into the truck srop with timer set. Alarm went off and woke up the drivers on each side of me. YOU WILL NOT SLEEP when this alarm goes off.
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Old 15-08-2011, 16:02   #14
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

do NOT go below to sleep if on watch. remain in cockpit. doze short times when there is nothing on horizon,and stay awake in busy places.
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Old 15-08-2011, 16:08   #15
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Re: Single-Hander on Watch

I never sleep below on watch only sleep 20 minutes at a time when off shore if to close to shore I don't sleep or go in to port, then again only been sailing single handed 30 plus years
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