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Old 10-03-2008, 15:21   #16
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I am a solo sailor. I will continue to be a solo sailor. The alternative of not going to sea is unacceptable to me.

You do not get to decide who goes to sea and who doesn't. You need to accept that I am part of the risks that you have to take when you go to sea. If that risk is more then you can accept then that is your decision.

I wish you fair winds, following seas, and good luck avoiding solo sailors.

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Old 10-03-2008, 15:51   #17
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I've done it for 4 days and 3 nights in a row. I'd lay down for up to 20 minutes then do a quick scan. Once or twice a night I'd "sleep in" and stay down for up to 45 minutes. I don't know if the 45 minute naps were a physical requirement or just a result of not having an egg timer aboard. On the 4th day I was still perfectly alert but VERY ready for a full night's sleep. I'm looking forward to repeating similar legs in the future, but with a 20 minute alarm and a radar.

I'm not sure whether I can comfortably handle that schedule indefinitely... I guess I'll find out!
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:19   #18
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I am a solo sailor. I will continue to be a solo sailor. The alternative of not going to sea is unacceptable to me.
You do not get to decide who goes to sea and who doesn't. You need to accept that I am part of the risks that you have to take when you go to sea. If that risk is more then you can accept then that is your decision.
I wish you fair winds, following seas, and good luck avoiding solo sailors.
I don’t want to overstate my case - solo sailors are not necessarily a major hazard to others sailing the high seas (“public” waters) .

Notwithstanding, I believe we (communally) have a right to dictate that everyone minimize the risk they present to others. Just as "Your right to throw a punch stops where the other person's nose begins"; so does your right to sail the seas stop where the other person’s bow begins

A boat, “not under command”, or under the command of an “impaired operator” (sleep-deprived, or otherwise) presents an unacceptable public risk, not that far removed from a drunk driver.

I am a drunk driver. I will continue to be a drunk driver. The alternative of not drinking is unacceptable to me.
You do not get to decide who drives, and who doesn’t. You need to accept that I am part of the risks that you have to take when you drive the roads. If that risk is more then you can accept then that is your decision.
I wish you clear (to centre-clear) highways, green lights, and good luck avoiding drunk drivers.
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:59   #19
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An interesting group of responses, so far. There seems to be a general tolerance to people involved in extreme sports by the community. Sure there is also a continuous debate about who picks up the tab if......... and what right do you have to put someone else in danger to rescue you if.......I am (unusually) going to go against the general trend of this post and say I think that you are probably "statistically" more likely to endanger yourself and someone else driving legally on the road. If the measure of morals is harm then car ownership may be debatable.
To say that "my harm is justified because I need to go to the shops or take my kids to school" is not a moral argument when compared to our discussion. Need is a very relative thing. If what you do in your day to day life constitutes more risk than our solo sailor then its a case of people in glass houses. I could go further and say you are probably less risk to yourself and other humans solo sailing than living a so called normal life, this would then necessitate everybody to go solo sailing which would mean that there would be so many boats out there that it would be hazardous in the extreme, meaning that everybody would have to go back to then safer option of driving cars......... Crossing oceans solo is to me still a challenge akin to the long distance runner. In essence you are challenging yourself and in the strange world of human endeavor , I find it more noble to look at oneself rather than another.
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Old 11-03-2008, 05:14   #20
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I don’t want to overstate my case - solo sailors are not necessarily a major hazard to others sailing the high seas (“public” waters) .

Notwithstanding, I believe we (communally) have a right to dictate that everyone minimize the risk they present to others.

A boat, “not under command”, or under the command of an “impaired operator” (sleep-deprived, or otherwise) presents an unacceptable public risk, not that far removed from a drunk driver.

I am a drunk driver. I will continue to be a drunk driver. The alternative of not drinking is unacceptable to me.
You do not get to decide who drives, and who doesn’t. You need to accept that I am part of the risks that you have to take when you drive the roads. If that risk is more then you can accept then that is your decision.
I wish you clear (to centre-clear) highways, green lights, and good luck avoiding drunk drivers.
My point exactly! There are drunk drivers on our streets and highways. I know this and I deal with the risk.

To whom does the solo sailor present a risk? Surely not to another vessel that is standing a watch. They will see the him and take action to avoid a collision. In truth, the real risk would be to another solo sailor and themselves.

As an example of this - Hal Roth in one of his books relates the story of a night after leaving Panama. He woke-up and went on deck to find another sailboat passing by with the crew asleep.

Serendipitously, Latitude-38 linked their online list of west coast circumnavigators today. That list contained 23 solo circumnavigators. The list gives no indication of how much havoc these 23 solo sailors caused amongst the rest of the sailing community. It just records that circumnavigations by solo sailors can be done.

You (communally) have no right to dictate anything to anybody. Simply put - your dictates are totally impotent. This is not to say that you don't have the right to opine at length on any subject that is not libelous or slanderous.

So, again I wish you the best luck avoiding logs, containers, whales, and solo sailors.

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:33   #21
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My point exactly! There are drunk drivers on our streets and highways. I know this and I deal with the risk.
But you do you drive drunk? Are you maintaining it's OK to drive drunk and that the rest of us should accept the risk because you know there are drunk drivers out there and you accept the risk? To use the drunk driver as an example fails since you can not claim you drive drunk and we should avoid you because we already avoid other drunk drivers. So my point exactly as you say.

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To whom does the solo sailor present a risk? Surely not to another vessel that is standing a watch.
So long as everyone else follows the rules you will not need to you are of course "special".

It might work if you were to provided a warning that you are not in command and expected the world to avoid you but you don't. You prefer to not disclose the fact you are a failure as sailor and require others to know more than you are willing to know yourself. Lots of drunk drivers make it home every night.
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:13   #22
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But you do you drive drunk? Are you maintaining it's OK to drive drunk and that the rest of us should accept the risk because you know there are drunk drivers out there and you accept the risk? To use the drunk driver as an example fails since you can not claim you drive drunk and we should avoid you because we already avoid other drunk drivers. So my point exactly as you say.



So long as everyone else follows the rules you will not need to you are of course "special".

It might work if you were to provided a warning that you are not in command and expected the world to avoid you but you don't. You prefer to not disclose the fact you are a failure as sailor and require others to know more than you are willing to know yourself. Lots of drunk drivers make it home every night.
Are you sure you want to call the following solo sailors FAILURES?

First Solo Circumnavigation
Slocum, Joshua / Nova Scotia / 1895-98 / 37-ft sloop /Spray

First Non-stop Solo Circumnavigation
Knox-Johnston, Robin / 1968-1969 / 32-ft ketch / Suhaili

Youngest Solo Circumnavigator
Martin, Jesse (18 at voyage’s end) / Australia / 1998-99 / 34-ft sloop / Lionheart

Oldest Non-stop Solo Circumnavigator
Saito, Minoru (age 71) / Japan / 2004-05 / Adams 50 / Challenge 7

Oldest Solo Circumnavigator (with stops)
Heckel, Harry (age 89) / Jacksonville / 1995-2005 / Dreadnought 32 / Idle Queen

First West Coast Solo Circumnavigator
Pidgeon, Harry / San Pedro / 1925 & 1937 / gaff yaw) / Islander

Pidgeon was also the first sailor to complete two solo circumnavigations.

First West Coast Women Solo Circumnavigators
Henry, Pat / Mexico / 1989-97 / Southern Cross 31 / Southern Cross — via Panama.

Thorndike, Karen / Washington / 1996-98 / Rival 36 / Amelia — traditional circumnavigation route via the great capes.

Fastest Solo Circumnavigation
57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes
Joyon, Francis* /France / 2007-08 / 110-ft Irons-Cabaret-designed trimaran / IDEC 2
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Old 11-03-2008, 06:15   #23
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Viking: You may think of yourself a rugged individualist, whereas others might characterize your attitude as one of selfish egotism & anarchy. We’re all free to decide (for ourselves) which is the more virtuous & civilized philosophy.

However, if the concept of civil “Responsibility” means nothing to you, perhaps you might think in terms of legal “Liability”, wherein: the word refers to fault. The person who is at fault is liable to (to right the wrong caused to) another, because of his or her actions or failure to act.

You might also consider the other individualist who brags: “I’m not in the habit of maneuvering to avoid untended vessels (except in anchorages), and I am armed. “

This discussion kinda’ reminds me of the great old Nervous Norvus song, “Transfusion*”, wherein the singer exclaims: “Outa my way, I don’t drive with my horn!”

* TRANSFUSION: TRANSFUSION Lyrics - by NERVOUS NORVUS : Lyrics And Songs
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:21   #24
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How many single handers have been lost or have caused other boats to be lost? The answer is very few compared to the number of boats who are out there whether crewed or single handed. I have single handed the Atlantic twice perfectly safely and did not cause anyone any harm or inconvenience. My boat was only 24ft long and had virtually no electronics, it was pre-GPS anyway.

A recent incident which is still current in the UK yachting press is the loss of the Ouzo off the Isle of Wight. This yacht was crewed by three experienced yachtsmen who where presumuably keeping a good watch. They were allegedly run down by a very brightly lit Brittany ferry in an extremely busy part of the English Channel. Being a local boat they presumably were aware of the track the ferry took and would have been keeping a lookout for overtaking vessels as there were a few in their area that night.

The point is that this sailing lark has its risks and while we try to mimize them they are inherent to the activity. You may think that it is bull but those of us who regularly singlehand do develop a sixth sense and are possibly more in tune with the boat and its motion. An example of this which caused me much amusement afterwards was that the night I'd arrived in Barbados, after 33 days alone. I woke up and shot out of my bunk at about 0300 knowing that the motion of the boat was totally wrong. Half way to the cockpit I realised that what was "wrong" was the fact there was no motion because I was alongside and not still at sea.

I know that we are not keeping a full watch all the time but this is a risk that we single handers are prepared to accept. If we are run down in the night then could we not argue that the other vessel was not keeping a proper watch also even if there was someone actually on watch. The Ouzo tragedy has proved that even a fully crewed boat still runs a real risk of collision. I fully appreciate the opposite view and common sense says that it is dangerous to go out alone on a long distance voyage. However, if you knew what the feeling was like when you sight Barbados after 33 days alone then you might still not agree but you would understand the feeling of achievement.

These days I no longer single hand because my wife would rip my nadgers off if I went sailing without her as she enjoys it so much. However, a sailor with a small boat may find it difficult to find crew to take a small boat, and mine was only an Achilles 24, across a vast ocean. What does he do? Take up line-dancing perhaps? Or be willing to take the risks and have a great adventure? I know what I did and will never forget the experience.

Sorry for the long waffle and I'll now stand by for being told that I'm a selfish git who puts the rest of the world at risk by my idiotic actions.

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Old 11-03-2008, 07:22   #25
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To whom does the solo sailor present a risk? Surely not to another vessel that is standing a watch. They will see the him and take action to avoid a collision. In truth, the real risk would be to another solo sailor and themselves.
You've heard of the Rules of the Road, haven't you? What if the solo vessel is the give way vessel in a meeting - you could put the other vessel in a predicament (making an emergency course alterations, crash-gybes, hard engine movements, etc). What if you sail into an area of restricted vis or your lights fail at night, while asleep - and you're unseen and/or unheard? You expect the other vessel to see you, when you can't be seen? What if you run into another solo-sailor, or a log or whatever, and need rescue - now you're endangering others that are compelled to come to your rescue.

You want to sail alone, that's your prerogative; but don't suggest that it's the solo-sailor who assumes all the risk.

Oh yeah - Joshua Slocum did his trip before rule 5 existed. There were also considerably fewer ships plying the seas then, yet he was still presumed to have been run down and lost at sea. Not really the best poster-boy for your sport.


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Old 11-03-2008, 07:22   #26
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I have gone from galveston to mobile off shore solo once and I have gone from panama city fl to tampa bay and back 5 times solo,tampa the charlet harbor and back 5 times solo, charlet to key west and back 5 times solo, key west to dry tortugas 3 times solo, key west to newyork solo were I did pick up a crew member to run the locks back to great lakes, then I did the great lakes solo to chicago were I picked up a crew member to do the rivers back to moble if the rivers did not have locks I would have done them solo too. it is always a risk even if you have crew. any one who feels I am risking there life doing this does not need to be out there. the most danger you have in your life is driving a car well it seems people keep on driving. when you are out at sea solo for a day or two you can hear a ship under way long before it gets to you. your sence of sound goes up the longer you are out there. when I made the trip from galveston to mobile I was out to sea for 5 days when I got in it was like every one was talking loudly that is what happens with me anyway. I try to sleep during the day for an hour at a time and stay up at nite. So for anyone who feels unsafe at sea do to solo sailors how do you drive a car with all the unsafe drivers out there on the road? and by the way I drove over the road for 4 yrs so I know what I am saying and I have been sailing for 31 yrs and I have a little insite there too. just my two cents
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:28   #27
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....However, if the concept of civil “Responsibility” means nothing to you, perhaps you might think in terms of legal “Liability”, wherein: the word refers to fault. The person who is at fault is liable to (to right the wrong caused to) another, because of his or her actions or failure to act.
Well I don't often disagree with Gord (in the short time I have been here) but this time I do.

I am probably going out on a limb here especially with our American friends but I find the whole concept "The person who is at fault is liable to another, because of their actions or to failure to act" to be very very distasteful.

I am not talking about intentional malicious harm done by one to another - that (for me) is always wrong and that is why we have a legal system. But the concept of finding someone who has made an error to held legally liable to another just doesn't cut it for me. I believe I am responsible for what happens to me, no one else is. I know there are fools and idiots in cars and on the water so my responsibility is to myself and to be aware of that thus act accodingly.

Coming back to the solo sailor, providing he/she is not intentionally and maliciously causing harm and is sailing / watchkeeping to the best of their ability, then they have the same right to share the ocean with the others.

If over a period of time, such collective activities result is serious harm to sufficent people or property (real harm, not probable harm), then as a society, we have the right to create laws to limit such actions if the majority can be convinced on hard factual evidence.

All humans have been making errors, bad judgements and mistakes since we have been on the earth so for me this a case of live and let live and not of "who's liable".
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:57   #28
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but I find the whole concept "The person who is at fault is liable to another, because of their actions or to failure to act" to be very very distasteful.
I suppose you might find it distasteful if you were at fault. You don't have the right to ignore the rules of the road - even if you choose to do so. You can be held accountable and no one else has the responsibility for your inaction.

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If over a period of time, such collective activities result is serious harm to sufficient people or property (real harm, not probable harm), then as a society, we have the right to create laws to limit such actions if the majority can be convinced on hard factual evidence.
And so there is. No one is obligated to convince you of it's merit since it has already been decided many years ago. All ships are required to keep watch without exception. There are only one set of rules for ships at sea be they large or small.

I'm sure for every victim killed by a drunk driver there are many thousands that get home quite drunk and totally safe. As with all things you are free break the law until you are apprehended even if the risk of being apprehended at sea is quite small.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:09   #29
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I would find the thought that one is not responsible for one’s own actions downright uncivilized, as well as distasteful.

U.S. Coast Guard accident statistics, from the 2005 boating season, show the most common boating accident was a collision with another boat.
1,378 boat collision accidents were reported that resulted in 79 fatalities. Post-accident drowning caused Seventy percent of these fatalities.

COLREGS (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea): Navigation Rules Homepage
Rule 5 requires that "every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.

From the USCG NAVIGATION RULES FAQ:
According to Rule 5, all vessels are responsible for maintaining a proper look-out at all times – this includes one-man crews, unmanned crafts, and recreational boats.
The term look-out implies watching and listening so that he/she is aware of what is happening around the vessel. The emphasis is on performing the action, not on the person. Still, in all but the smallest vessels, the lookout is expected to be an individual who is not the helmsman and is usually located in the forward part of the boat, away from the distractions and noises of the bridge. While no specific location on a vessel is prescribed for the lookout, good navigation requires placement at the point best suited for the purpose of hearing and observing the approach of objects likely to be brought into collision with the vessel.
The size of the vessel and crew effect this answer, however, the emphasis in every legal decision points to the need for a proper, attentive look-out. While the use of radar to evaluate the situation is implied in the requirement to use all available means, that is still understood to be secondary to maintaining a look-out by sight and hearing.



In November of 1909 Joshua Slocum set sail from Vineyard Haven, bound for the West Indies, and was never heard from again. In July 1910, his wife informed the newspapers that she believed he was lost at sea.
In 1924 Slocum was declared legally dead.
No official cause of his death was ever determined; but speculation has him run down and sunk.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:17   #30
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U.S. Coast Guard accident statistics, from the 2005 boating season, show the most common boating accident was a collision with another boat.
1,378 boat collision accidents were reported that resulted in 79 fatalities. Post-accident drowning caused Seventy percent of these fatalities.


But does these stats state how many were single handers? Also what percentage were at night when you assume that the singlehander was asleep? My guess, and its only a guess is that they were mostly in daylight and with crewed yachts, probably not on passage but out for a day sail. How many were racing at the time?

Are you implying that there should be no single handers out there at all? Surely you can't mean that someone couldn't take their boat out for a day sail just because their crew weren't available at that particular time?



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