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Old 10-05-2012, 18:57   #76
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

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Originally Posted by bevcory View Post
Thanks Zeehag - I am currently working in the bush in Senegal so seeing the water shots is so good for the soul. I am in the process of finalising a purchase of my 3rd yacht and will continue my solo sailing. I can only say that once you take that first step, you will (hopefully) realise that solo sailing offers a freedom that is rare. We don't have to be solo in our personality but I agree that I get on better with people when they have their own boats and I don't have them as crew. I separate my professional sailing days where crew was by nature part of the norm, but there is nothing so satisfying when you finish a solo passage and drop that anchor (all going well in a safe anchorage) and realise a new adventure awaits - visiting new lands, meeting new people. I 'retired' in my early 30s and took off sailing - little money, little electronic toys, but a great Tayana 37. I had a marvellous 8-9 years before coming back to the land. I never regretted it as I never knew what life and health had in store for me. I am now quite a few years older and my adventures have been landlocked for the last few years in mining in some pretty crazy countries and places, but it is time to return to the sea. Is it right to sail singlehanded - up to the individual, will I insure my boat - nope but my insurance money will be in terms of good tackle and gear, will I be nervous - a bit, as it has been some time, am I excited - definately. The ocean is a leveller - young, old, male, female - if we are lucky to share the ocean then all I can say is go for it. I will be.
Bevcory, I really like your message. If you don't mind I'd have a few questions for you and to echo your 'I will be' for heading out to sea, I can say there is no way I will not! Cheers, and see you out there someday!
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:42   #77
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Any questions welcome! I work in Mining as an ERP analyst for maintenance and supply, doing 8 weeks on 4 weeks off, so whilst I am on this contract I can get the boat ready for serious cruising while still having a good time. At the moment the temperatures are 110-120 so I must admit I am looking forward to the joys of sea breezes!
One thing needed for any single hander (or any sailor) should be some mechanical and electrical knowledge. If you have none do some courses. I have met charter captains that can't even use a multimeter - one of the best tools on a boat. If you don't understand even basic mechanics you can't know when there are potential problems. Imagine the money you can save when you are not at the mercy of mechanics.
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Old 11-05-2012, 14:28   #78
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Sailing in Alaska is cold. The scenery is spectacular. Fishing is second to none. How ever there is a serious lack of mangoes, coconuts, and pineapples. You can find rum though. I am heading south shortly in search of the wily Dorado and Albacore. If Zeehag is still lurking in Mexico by then, I'll probably stop by and say howdy. As far as the larger vessel being harder to manage, I have to politely disagree with that notion. Larger vessels have a slower roll and are a far more comfortable ride. I have run 32' s and they wear you out just with the motion. I have seen a lot of back and forth regarding the higher expense factor. I don't stay in marinas that often when underway, I seek out secluded anchorages where I can enjoy the peace and quiet. For me the size comfort out weighs the extra cost when I do tie up in port. My perspective is skewed a bit, since I also use my vessel to make a living.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:01   #79
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

captain58sailin; If you have not been already, I think you would enjoy the south pacific very much! Apparently NZ is like Alaska- but warmer!
As to yacht sizes, I have mostly sorted what I want. I know what I don't want is a yacht that I can't handle! That cuts out a few boats I've been on already. Most that size require crew, as I'm sure you would agree.
I admit, I really enjoy sailing yachts in the 40+ range but if something went wrong I would want to be sure I could deal with the problem on my own! Out of interest, how do you 'use your vessel to make a living'?
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:15   #80
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

As a fellow Kiwi I can vouch for sailing in NZ - where I learnt and enjoyed some amazing sailing. Every design can make the difference - I would still recommend under 40 as a general idea. Crew (or guests) are fun WHEN you want them. I enjoy visitors on board in small doses - give me my freedom.... good luck on your search.
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Old 12-05-2012, 15:58   #81
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

I will agree with the size limitation, but IMHO it is hard to say if the limitation is by LOA or rather by displacement.

I have found many small but heavy boats extremely hard to sail shorthanded (as well as a pain to sail due to most uncomfortable movement). Also, there are some (few, but distinctive) big boats that are actually way easier to handle than most small boats - their design, layout and the way they sail all add up to ease of handling and comfort - less muscle to man them and better movement that ensure proper rest is had while off watch.

I say this because if we were to be able to say: I can handle everything here, then we would be limited to real small boats which are only marginally comfortable on any longer voyage.

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Old 12-05-2012, 16:05   #82
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Indeed I have sailed the south pacific in my youth, which ruined me for honest work. I managed to go everywhere except New Zealand, though it is on my list. It sounds like you know your mind about what vessel you want which is a good thing, or at least what you don't want. My vessel is set up as a commercial troller, I drag a half a dozen lines with jigs in the water and then when the albacore bite, I put them down in my freezer hold. The vessel started life as a salmon troller, which is what I intended to do, but circumstances beyond my control changed my program and it is albacore I seek on the high seas. Of course if a Mahi, Mahi should jump on a line, I will invite the darling in for dinner. The fishery is non - destructive and the bio mass is larger than ever, so I am not damaging the eco system.
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Old 13-05-2012, 18:41   #83
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Originally Posted by barnakiel

"A significant proportion of the (Vendee Globe) entrants usually retire, and in the 1996-1997 race Canadian Gerry Roufs was lost at sea."

(source: wiki)

Moreover, in other solo races more sailors were lost (e.g. MiniTransat).

Part of the explanation is that these races are organized by the French, who are the best sailors in the world, who have the best boats in the world and maybe most importantly: who still remember what Liberte! means.

C'est la vie.

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Have you been to France lately? Liberte has long been traded for security. Sad to say
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Old 13-05-2012, 19:11   #84
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Re: Solo Sailing... A Good Idea?

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Have you been to France lately? Liberte has long been traded for security. Sad to say
Someone said: 'when men trade security for freedom, they will lose both'.

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Old 13-05-2012, 20:00   #85
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Indeed I have sailed the south pacific in my youth, which ruined me for honest work. I managed to go everywhere except New Zealand, though it is on my list. It sounds like you know your mind about what vessel you want which is a good thing, or at least what you don't want. My vessel is set up as a commercial troller, I drag a half a dozen lines with jigs in the water and then when the albacore bite, I put them down in my freezer hold. The vessel started life as a salmon troller, which is what I intended to do, but circumstances beyond my control changed my program and it is albacore I seek on the high seas. Of course if a Mahi, Mahi should jump on a line, I will invite the darling in for dinner. The fishery is non - destructive and the bio mass is larger than ever, so I am not damaging the eco system.
That's good. A friend of mine works up in Alaska in winter- crab fishing, diving and whatever he does. He explained to me how it was non- destructive.
Why have you headed south, does it change with the seasons?
NZ has seriously good cruising ground, I didn't enjoy the islands so much. Sailing the 'bay of islands' is beautiful. Looks like this, my kinda place-
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Old 13-05-2012, 20:11   #86
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

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Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Indeed I have sailed the south pacific in my youth, which ruined me for honest work. I managed to go everywhere except New Zealand, though it is on my list. It sounds like you know your mind about what vessel you want which is a good thing, or at least what you don't want. My vessel is set up as a commercial troller, I drag a half a dozen lines with jigs in the water and then when the albacore bite, I put them down in my freezer hold. The vessel started life as a salmon troller, which is what I intended to do, but circumstances beyond my control changed my program and it is albacore I seek on the high seas. Of course if a Mahi, Mahi should jump on a line, I will invite the darling in for dinner. The fishery is non - destructive and the bio mass is larger than ever, so I am not damaging the eco system.
Now that sounds interesting, something to keep in mind for when I have a bigger boat, are you trolling under sail?


RE: Solo sailing. I'm just starting out as well, with the same goal in mind.
I think the gender gap is a generation thing, I don't seen any change in feasibility between male or female solo travel. I have met many female riders out traveling, and they were doing just fine! I think being female presents different risks, as well as different rewards.
Solo travel of any type however is always different from travelling with others.

From a motorcycle travel perspective, which shares some aspects: you size your bike to fit your skills, strength and needs with the best compromise you can find for yourself within your budget.
Then you put your money down and take your chances.

I think the same applies to boats.
For example I am a 6'1 guy but not large, so I limited my choices to boats that had good standing headroom, but wasn't concerned about width of hatches and size of berths. I went small, shallow draft and economical(Alberg 30), I know I'll lose some money when I move up, but I'll also appreciate the upgrade more. I feel that those choices help mitigate some of the risks while I learn. I rode for a week with a guy who bought the "best" motorcycle for traveling, At last count he's written it off twice in major crashes, and had component failures that left him stranded for weeks at a time. My bike is older and heavier, but it crashes in a much more tolerable way, and any repairs can be done easily with tools and parts available all around the world.

Both size limits make sense. I set myself LOA and weight limits, the first for the cost of repairs/replacement to wearing parts on a bigger boat, the latter for my lack of experience.



The only regret I have about traveling solo was that I didn't start 5 years ago when I graduated high school, that's time I'll never get back, and I was actually in a better place do have started then. Caution, and adapting what you want to do to what you have to work with will let you do most things safely. If I listened to the endless lists of reasons I would die traveling alone on a motorcycle I'd never have left my home-town! One person I met in the USA went so far as to write an article on his blog saying some harsh things about my travels, and my parents sanity in letting me do it because I wasn't traveling as he did, with 30, 000$ worth of bike and the latest electronic widgets.

While the risks are inherently greater, they are manageable, and the rewards are worth it.
Significant extra caution regarding your own decisions while doing anything solo is required, not only for the reasons listed(watch keeping and legalities) but to avoid the potential flaws which can creep into your decisions over time, which might be avoided with another person to double check the idea.
It can take a few close calls before that voice in the back of your head becomes strong enough to act as a good warning, the trick is in avoiding the fatal outcomes till it gets there. Solo travel has higher risks for those outcomes, because what could be a manageable consequence of a decision becomes a fatal one. Technology can and should be used to bring that risk level down, so long as it performs it's job, is economical in both cost and maintenance, but cannot be relied upon to substitute for good judgement.
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Old 13-05-2012, 20:56   #87
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Re: Solo Sailing... A Good Idea?

Cool, jgbrown. I've only ever driven quads and tri's (back in the old days), only up to 350cc- motorbikes sound like fun!
I get the same feeling- I don't want to waste any years. Would rather start out as soon as possible! Albergs seem like a good yacht for coastal, have you been offshore with her, or is that the reason for the upgrade?
I'm short, so headroom isn't an issue for me, I'm keen on a Cal '33
but I know for sure I would take anything seaworthy... And fast- can't forget about that!
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Old 13-05-2012, 21:36   #88
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

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Hiring "temporary crew" from island to island is a LOT more risky for women.
Even as a bloke who does a bit of self defence I would preffer to sail alone than risk trusting crew I don't know. Some are a lot more dangerous than sailing alone!
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Old 13-05-2012, 21:49   #89
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

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You probably should research that some.

Here's what I found:
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navRules/navrules.pdf

RULE 3 General Definitions:
Pg 8 - (i) The word “underway” means that a vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

Semantically and functionally I would agree that you are not underway when hove to. Legally however, I believe you would be.

But you say, "If I declare that the boat is "Not Under Command" and display the appropriate lights and shapes then I am relieved of the need to maintain a lookout while I sleep. Problem solved."

Pg 6 - (f) The term “vessel not under command” means a vessel which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.

Heaving to and sleeping for several hours each day is not an exceptional circumstance, it is routine. If you were in a collision under these circumstances an admiralty court would not recognize any claim to having been "Not Under Command", more so if you were not hove to but still making way. They would still nail you for not maintaining a lookout.

Once again, I'm not saying don't do it, there are passages I would do solo, but don't be under any illusions that there is a way to avoid most of the legal responsibility if you have an collision while asleep.
That is an excellent post. There has already been a very heated discussion on this topic.

Red over Red - Not Under Command (NUC) Lights
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Old 13-05-2012, 23:59   #90
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Re: Solo Sailing... A Good Idea?

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Cool, jgbrown. I've only ever driven quads and tri's (back in the old days), only up to 350cc- motorbikes sound like fun!
I get the same feeling- I don't want to waste any years. Would rather start out as soon as possible! Albergs seem like a good yacht for coastal, have you been offshore with her, or is that the reason for the upgrade?
I'm short, so headroom isn't an issue for me, I'm keen on a Cal '33
but I know for sure I would take anything seaworthy... And fast- can't forget about that!
Nope, I haven't sailed anything bigger than a dinghy. And that was a long time ago. Jumping on a bike and setting off worked out ok for me but I won't try it on a sailboat, at least the bike I could drag off the road to fix.
I'm the opposite, never needed a fast bike, don't need a fast boat(though perhaps I am underestimating just how slow a slow sailboat is) A slow bike at it's limit is much more fun than a fast bike going slow.

The 33' makes a lot of sense to me as a single handed boat, the 36 has so much space I could have everything I want on board and still have trouble filling it, but it's a lot bigger and a lot heavier. A 33 is a good compromise, still really roomy, a 30 feels like it has quite a few sacrifices.
On the upside the cost of parts is much lower, and it's much easier to handle, plus moorage fees are almost 10% lower.
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