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Old 08-05-2012, 13:31   #1
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Solo Sailing... A Good Idea?

Hey everyone! I am a New Zealander looking for some advice on solo sailing offshore. I know there would be different views on a woman sailing as opposed to a guy, myself being the former! My family and I have had a few years cruising offshore- mostly to the islands and back but we have recently flown over to the States as we have a new yacht here. So a new patch of water, always fun.
I'm just looking for some advice on choosing a yacht and affording to buy/travel in it- when I am a bit older!
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Old 08-05-2012, 13:45   #2
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

I'm sure most will say that your gender doesn't matter these days, so long as you're fit and strong (ish), that shouldn't be an issue.

By the sound of it you're an experienced sailor so I dare say you know what you're looking at so my best advise as a solo sailor myself is to get something as small possible and as big as necessary. You'll need to be easily able to haul the mainsail on your own, etc. Also, consider as much automation as possible, gadgets like a wireless remote for your autopilot are a real bonus for example.

There is a regular lady on here, 'Zeehag', who i'm sure will be able to give many more tips.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!!
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Old 08-05-2012, 14:09   #3
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Check out Teresa Carey's blog.
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Old 08-05-2012, 19:11   #4
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

@simonmd and @seahorseFL; thanks for your words! I shall hunt out 'Zeehag', simonmd, and I have also checked out Teresa's blog- interesting stuff. Always good to hear from other sailors out there in the big blue world!
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Old 08-05-2012, 19:51   #5
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

I agree with contacting Zeehag. I also might add to PM her.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:00   #6
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

That's choice! ;-)

How much older? Things are easier to do when one is young.

My advice anyways is: get yourselves a not too big but sound/strong/seaworthy AND inexpensive to run boat and go for it. It will be easy to get such a boat in the US - good choice of small cruisers at low prices.

If you like it, you can always upgrade later.

Cheers,
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:27   #7
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

If it is a long enough voyage that you have to sleep, leaving NO one on watch, then it is both illegal, "technically speaking", and highly irresponsible. GPS has multiplied the number of cruisers out there X 100, AND they tend to take the same logical routes, to the same nice destinations.

Avoiding collision at sea, on a small boat, with a lot of motion, at night or with poor visibility, perhaps low batteries & dimming lights, sometimes with seasick skippers... Well, it is difficult with BOTH boat's skippers' doing the best that they can.

For one of the boats to HAVE NO ONE ON WATCH, for more than a few minutes, puts the entire responsibility of avoiding collision on the shoulders of the other boat.

The single handed boat, "IF" it has no one on watch, is pursuing their activity "at other peoples expense".

I have "almost" been run down (several times), by a boat, single handed or not, with no one on watch. I could hardly see their dim lights due to their flat batteries, (until within 100'), but they COULD'VE seen mine... IF they had been on watch!

Avoiding collision with each other, is a SHARED responsibility.

Btw... I was single handed for years, but found a way to do so, without leaving the boat sailing along with no one on watch. You can Island hop, once in island groups, and get temporary "crew" in order to get there.

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Old 09-05-2012, 06:36   #8
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
If it is a long enough voyage that you have to sleep, leaving NO one on watch, then it is both illegal, "technically speaking", and highly irresponsible. GPS has multiplied the number of cruisers out there X 100, AND they tend to take the same logical routes, to the same nice destinations.

Avoiding collision at sea, on a small boat, with a lot of motion, at night or with poor visibility, perhaps low batteries & dimming lights, sometimes with seasick skippers... Well, it is difficult with BOTH boat's skippers' doing the best that they can.

For one of the boats to HAVE NO ONE ON WATCH, for more than a few minutes, puts the entire responsibility of avoiding collision on the shoulders of the other boat.

The single handed boat, "IF" it has no one on watch, is pursuing their activity "at other peoples expense".

I have "almost" been run down (several times), by a boat, single handed or not, with no one on watch. I could hardly see their dim lights due to their flat batteries, (until within 100'), but they COULD'VE seen mine... IF they had been on watch!

Avoiding collision with each other, is a SHARED responsibility.

Btw... I was single handed for years, but found a way to do so, without leaving the boat sailing along with no one on watch. You can Island hop, once in island groups, and get temporary "crew" in order to get there.

M.

Hiring "temporary crew" from island to island is a LOT more risky for women.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:57   #9
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

One option is while underway offshore is to douse the sails and put out a sea anchor, at night and get some sleep. Of course insure that your navigation lights are bright. I met 2 couples that sailed on 2 different vessels from New Zealand to Alaska that way and had no problems.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:42   #10
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Quote:
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If it is a long enough voyage that you have to sleep, leaving NO one on watch, then it is both illegal, "technically speaking", and highly irresponsible........
A bit harsh but you do raise some valid points. The key here is if you are a solo sailor, to ensure that your vessel is suitable. I have fitted my boat with a 550 AH battery bank (enough to keep all my lights and systems running for a couple of days with no charge, suplimented with both wind and solar for regarging anyway) and a new radar that has a proximity alarm feature. This will warn me if if any object is detected with a preset radius.

If I need a nap while soloing, I'll have a good check of the horizon and if nothing is visable, I know I have 30 mins to an hour before anything can come close so can set my alarm and get a 'power nap'. Should something fast moving get close in that time, my radar alarm will alert me. Once my alarm wakes me, I can scan the surroundings and reset it for another 30 mins or so, etc.

On the few occasions that I will be underway and need some rest at some point, I will try to get my sleep during daylight hours so I can stand a proper watch at night as I consider this to be a safer way of doing it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:18   #11
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
One option is while underway offshore is to douse the sails and put out a sea anchor, at night and get some sleep. Of course insure that your navigation lights are bright. I met 2 couples that sailed on 2 different vessels from New Zealand to Alaska that way and had no problems.
If they were couples why was nobody on watch?

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:26   #12
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

It takes two to tango........
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:26   #13
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

BTW if it is illegal to sail solo, then how come Vendee Globe sailors ever go sailing? Next event November this year, let's sit and watch as they get cuffed ;-).

BTW I do not think it it is irresponsible nor do I think it is done at my expense. Different experiences result in different attitudes.

People who like being solo should go sailing solo. Those who like crowd should sail with the crowd.

Oceans are big enough for all of us.

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:29   #14
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

Yes indeed, there are people who circumnavigate solo and i've never seen any of them arrested once they return home!

Like I said, be sensible, make sure you have the right equipment and don't think you can have a full 8 hours sleep and you should be fine.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:55   #15
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Re: solo sailing... A good idea?

It's not illegal to solo... it's illegal not to keep an adequate watch... which probably only comes into question if there's a collision... which is in the solo sailor's great interest to prevent. What's adequate depends upon circumstances; harbors and steamer lanes near ports aren't the same as remote ocean. In addition to the radar with alarm and active radar reflector, various forms of AIS can tell you what ships are doing. There's also training and working out a rhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Hanging out on a passage with other cruisers and keeping a communications schedule with them is another option. And the most important thing for a solo sailor would be setting it up so as to stay on the boat.
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