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Old 19-08-2018, 10:36   #1
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Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

There have been a few threads focused on "whether or not" to do this.

Such comments are OT here.

This one is for How To, making the best of a challenging situation.

For various contexts & scenarios, different levels of physical capacity and endurance, etc..

No discussion of legal / moral issues allowed, not talking about how you think we should comply with COLREGs, just practical considerations for surviving as comfortably as possible.

For those who want to discuss COLREGs and the legal issues Rule 5 -- Is Single-Handing Illegal?

For philosophers, discussing the morality of doing so Is Singlehanding >24 Hrs. Morally Wrong?
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Old 19-08-2018, 10:43   #2
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Consolidating practical tips here from other / past threads is encouraged, by either quoting or linking to specific posts.
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Old 19-08-2018, 10:57   #3
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

A great complement to the other discussions. I'll have a go:




1. When deciding to embark on any single handed passage, even a short one, keep well in mind the inherent challenges in maintaining a proper lookout at the same time as one manages all other aspects of the voyage, including navigation and pilotage, and yet sees to the organic requirements of the single crew resource's body, including sleep.


2. There are no separate standards for watchkeeping for vessels which are single handed, from those which are fully crewed.



3. Sailing coastwise, stop and anchor off somewhere, and get a decent night's sleep, instead of pushing yourself. Whether or not it may be relatively safe offshore (wise men may disagree), it is clear enough that you really can't sail near a coast, and sleep, and do it safely.


4. Plan your departures and arrivals and any passage through traffic or coastal areas so that you are well rested and not tempted to sleep when the risks and workload are greatly increased by passing through such areas.


5. There is no single right approach to sleep patterns -- everyone will have to decide for himself. Some people use short catnaps in the cockpit between horizon scans, with alarms to wake them up. Others prefer to take a few hours of sleep at a time. If catnaps work for you, then probably that is the safer way to sleep if you continue to make way.


6. If catnaps don't work for you, then consider heaving to and getting a decent rest in. Being hove to greatly reduces the risks to yourself and to other vessels, and reduces the risk of confusion as to your status.



7. Show NUC if you are sleeping for more than a short catnap, although you are not strictly speaking entitled to claim this status. But you are in fact NUC, and it is safer and more seamanlike to clearly convey this status. All you need is two anchor balls and two red lanterns which can be hoisted on a halyard, to show the appropriate signals. You might consider sending a Securite message on VHF as well, when you turn in.


8. NUC status would be equally appropriate if you are sleeping without heaving to.


9. While not a substitute for being awake and alert and looking out, technical means can vastly increase the safety of single handing. AIS alarms and radar guard zones, properly set, are no guaranty against getting into a collision while sleeping, but can greatly reduce the risks by waking you up if a collision risk arises.
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Old 19-08-2018, 11:10   #4
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

One of CF's members, Andrew Evans (FOOLISH on CF) is very experienced at single handed sailing, and has written an excellent book about it. I encourage you to buy the book and read it, as it is packed with insights and tips.

Here is the title of his book:

Singlehanded Sailing: Thoughts, Tips, Techniques & Tactics by Andrew Evans.

Andrew Evans is a member of CF. His book is very good reading, full of insights into singlehanded sailing, including his own experience (800 times, 3500 hours singlehanded) and the experiences of other singlehanded sailors.

It is well worth the small price ($14 Paperback edition). It is available on amazon in two editions, paperback or kindle.

My Suggestion:
Get the latest print (or Kindle) edition (Sept 2014) as it contains new additional content over the earlier PDF version that was distributed for free online. The 2014 edition is also available as a kindle version ($13). Andrew added 40,000 new words to the latest Amazon print (or Kindle) edition including:

The new edition has several new chapters and major additions, including:
Extended interviews with Craig Horsfield (Mini 6.50), Joe Harris (Class 40) and Ryan Breymaier (IMOCA 60) about sailing their performance racers.
A whole chapter on keels, keeping the boat upright and reducing leeway, including water ballast, canting keels, dagger boards and the DSS wing.
A big section and lessons from Jessica Watsonís collision with a freighter, including the report from The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau.
A long interview and photos from Ruben Gabriel on every singlehanderís dream; what itís like to break a mast and repair it Ė half way to Hawaii.
Dealing with hull punctures in real life (not the movie version).
A long talk with 3-time circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates on living aboard.
Discussions with singlehanders about their real life medical emergencies.
Dan Alonsoís story of rescuing another singlehander in horrible weather.
The good way and not-so-good way to hit a rock, from my own experience.

While you may still be able to find the free (earlier) version online, I encourage anyone to spend a little to compensate Andrew for writing such a good and helpful book.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N9ICA12...ng=UTF8&btkr=1
_________

A free ebook version Andrew uploaded for free viewing contains much content, but not the same content (it does not contain the newer 40,000 words noted above). Here is a link to the latest authorized free version (3rd edition PDF).

If you like this, I still encourage the purchase of the full, newest edition from Amazon.
____________

Single Handed Sailing - 3rd Edition (3.74 MB)
by Andrew Evans
3rd edition, Download the free PDF.
Loaded with tips and advice about sailing single handed.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...do=file&id=25]
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Old 19-08-2018, 11:50   #5
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Oh, dear, John - how utterly boring ;-0)!!

But seriously. Bully for you for starting this thread.


So let me give us a boost by recalling that a few years ago a "Beastly Ferry" ( B.C. Ferry) called "Queen of the North" (ex Stena Danica, I believe) was on passage from Prince Rupert on the central B.C coast to Vancouver, following the route all yotties take coming and going between Vancouver and Alaska.

It was some time after midnight, and the bridge was manned by the Jimmy and his former lover (f) who was a qualified watch-keeper. Just north of Gil Island there is a fairly tight turn to port to be navigated when southbound. The ship was, allegedly, on AP, and that seems plausible in the context, since it'd be jolly difficult to conn the ship and comply with Rule 5 while you are on the deck sole with your former lover making up for lost time, which, shorn of all the fancy circumlocutions used in the report, is what the enquiry found. Some alarm apparently went off, but too late for Jimmy to collect his various bits and knock off the AP. The ship struck a rock and went down. She is still where she sank. So are two passengers that were assumed to have been trapped in their car on the car deck where no passenger is sposed to be while the ship is under way.

Jimmy alledged that the ship's equipment was at fault due to lack of reliability. Good try! After the enquiry and a trial that lasted seven years he was convicted on two counts of criminal negligence causing death, and sentenced to a jail term of four years. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal.

Jimmy's former lover, serving as quartermaster, was ordered, so said Jimmy at the enquiry, to make a course change when he, Jimmy, realized that they were hard against the shore. She responded, said Jimmy, that she didn't know how!!

So there, people - lots of PRACTICAL lessons to deduce from that tale :-)!

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Old 19-08-2018, 12:05   #6
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Watch out for these guys.Click image for larger version

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Old 19-08-2018, 12:47   #7
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Great starting contribution, Dockhead.

And a funny-not story there TrentePieds. Reminds me of very silly stuff I used to get up to behind the wheel, in my stupid youth, with SO/partners at high speeds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post
One of CF's members, Andrew Evans (FOOLISH on CF) is very experienced at single handed sailing
Eponysterical!

But looks like a great resource.
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Old 19-08-2018, 12:57   #8
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Couldn't resist having a trifecta of single handing threads!

An AIS transmitter should be required equipment.
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Old 19-08-2018, 13:06   #9
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

You can get all the input you want, but until you actually do it, you probably will not understand

It's called being very tired and still having to perform

The best thing you can do is buy a boat, any boat, and sail it for a few days alone.
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Old 19-08-2018, 15:06   #10
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Perhaps someone could clarify this for me, but if one had a class A AIS, then one could also program it to say you were NUC for the time of the long sleep, thus letting those with AIS receivers know your status. However, even with a class B, if you look at the SOG of the transmitting vessel, anything that looks like .1 kn is probably the stand on vesssel, and you go where it is not.

I would imagine that using the anchor ball and light at night if hove to would accomplish the same purpose, it is not a distress signal, one normally avoids anchored vessels. It is, obviously, as Dockhead wrote, more accurate, to fly the two balls and two red lights.

If one does not "stop" to sleep, then he or she should be lit as for normal travel.

And about your watchkeeping, remember that danger, in the form of a vessel overtaking you from astern with no one on watch, may be just as present as danger from any other direction; and many people do not routinely check astern.
You should.


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Old 19-08-2018, 15:23   #11
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Perhaps someone could clarify this for me, but if one had a class A AIS, then one could also program it to say you were NUC for the time of the long sleep, thus letting those with AIS receivers know your status. However, even with a class B, if you look at the SOG of the transmitting vessel, anything that looks like .1 kn is probably the stand on vesssel, and you go where it is not.

I would imagine that using the anchor ball and light at night if hove to would accomplish the same purpose, it is not a distress signal, one normally avoids anchored vessels. It is, obviously, as Dockhead wrote, more accurate, to fly the two balls and two red lights.

If one does not "stop" to sleep, then he or she should be lit as for normal travel.

And about your watchkeeping, remember that danger, in the form of a vessel overtaking you from astern with no one on watch, may be just as present as danger from any other direction; and many people do not routinely check astern.
You should.


Ann



Showing nav status with a Class A AIS would be the single best way to convey your situation.


But why do you think that you shouldn't show NUC if you're under way? NUC status does not imply that you are stopped or drifting. It just means that the vessel is not under command, and can be related, for example, to a steering problem.
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Old 19-08-2018, 15:49   #12
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
This one is for How To, making the best of a challenging situation.
Not so much how to boat what sort of seems to work for me after a load of miles solo, in no particular order.....

Offshore, like way out in the ocean.
* If possible disappear to an empty anchorage for a day or two, tidy the boat, get your head into offshore mode, make sure you haven't picked up some local nasty bug.

*Get off the shelf!! Quick as you can, then it all calms down a bit.

* Have a solid boat, simple reefing, batteries in decent condition, AIS alarm & radar alarm essential IMHO. Plus big loud kitchen timer!

*Forget heaving to for sleep, NUC lights, just get on with it, keep the boat happy and keep it moving. No one will see your lights out there anyway, behave like everyone else and they will leave you alone if they know you are there.

* From watching AIS tracks dog legging to give me more sea room & talking to ships I know I my steel boat gets picked up maybe 20 miles away, BE SEEN! They will (almost always so far) avoid you.

* Write it down, your memory is useless, don't trust it.

Coastal.
*Just not fun at all, don't sleep, dodge the pot floats, dodge the little open fishing boats, stay awake.. more than a day/night/day pushing it for most people. Get off the shelf!!
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Old 19-08-2018, 15:52   #13
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post

An AIS transmitter should be required equipment.
I'd actually put having a really good radar return above AIS transmit.
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Old 19-08-2018, 16:07   #14
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Good question, Dockhead! It is that especially if the vessel doesn't have AIS, I'd rather know what it is doing than that it is NUC. His lights being correct tells me what I want to know about his direction of travel and suggests a path for avoidance, if necessary. I do see that NUC tells me something worthwhile, too.

On the East coast of Australia, there is a south setting current, and many ships go NUC and drift south. They're not fixing steering problems, they're taking advantage of free southing. Fortunately, they do broadcast NUC.

But, for singlehanders, who are international cruisers, I think it is a benefit to them to show regular lighting, because if I came across one of the ones I know, I would assume that there was a problem (with the burden to offer assistance) if he (they are mostly men) were showing NUC, whereas I would assume there was not a problem (and burden) if his lighting were normal. [And, yes, there are dangers with assumptions! ;-)] With the kind of cruising we have done, it is common for a number of vessels to take off on a given weather window, and because we are a social lot, we tend to know who's going to be out there in our "pod". We all spread out pretty rapidly, but we'd know if we might overtake a given singlehander, and be keeping an eye out for that one, especially, as they are more vulnerable, having no back up aboard.

Now, there may be a singlehander of whom we are unaware out there. That was what sparked the "morally wrong" thread, was someone who had been frightened declaring that singlehanding was "morally wrong." I'd rather treat that vessel like any other vessel, shorthanded or not.

Ann
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Old 19-08-2018, 17:46   #15
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Re: Singlehanded passage making, Best Practices

Ahmen to get off the shelf. Besides better conditions you loose a lot of small fishing vessels.

I’m using kitchen timers more and more, even during a normal shift with my partner. It’s too easy to get distracted and miss (or not) something.

Also not bad to have radar set up, easy to miss someone just on verge of visible and have them pop up before your next scan. Even in clear daylight conditions.

For the special energy savers out there, if you have AIS use it, don’t all of a sudden flip it on 100 yards in front of me, again, please.

Have BIG nav lights, not those tiny bullet style lights. It’s easy to miss estimate them as being further away than they are. Don’t ask.

I would add this, almost everything in this thread applies to any watch stander, solo or no. From my perspective there is very little difference between solo and two crew. We get tired, we daze off, we make mistakes. Obviously sleep is more of an issue, so as far as I’m concerned obtaining adequate sleep whenever possible is a very high responsibility for all competent crew.

Thanks for the thread. Great idea.
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