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Old 09-10-2008, 03:45 AM   #15
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I've never completed a real passage solo but like most have to say I've enjoyed the satisfaction of short coastal hops, managing everything the elements throws at you single handed.

And if another wants a spiritual connections arising from time alone, then consider doing it on a mountaintop or in a cave or even on some day sails. But not at night, and P L E A S E not across the path of my yacht.

I have many times in the last forty years but I also have a boat equipped with a radar collision alarm that I set for a 5 or 3 mile range. The alarm is by my bunk. Sure there have been false alarms and I lose some sleep, but so what. I can slepp once I get on the hook. There are times you wish you had someone there to share the night sky or the perfect blue of a deep water cruise but in the end.....it's just you and the universe and sometime it does smile upon you.

Point is if you are afarid of solo sailors running into you as they/we cross the oceans, keep her tied up! ( that was said tougne in cheek) Try it sometime you might like it! :>
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:47 AM   #16
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Point is if you are afarid of solo sailors running into you as they/we cross the oceans, keep her tied up! ( that was said tougne in cheek)
I appreciate that this comment was "tongue-in-cheek", but there is an underlying element of truth in it.

There is no way solo-sailing, for other than short hops, can be considered to be within the parameters of the Collision Regulations. We all know that the Coll-Regs reuire every vessel to keep a continuous look-out. That is 24 hours a day, seven days a week whilst on passage. Solo-sailors just cannot do that.

On the other hand, they can ensure that their vessels carry the prescribed lights so that they are seen at night. They can also use RADAR and have both an AIS and RADAR transponder; both of which will increase their "visibility".

What it then boils down to is that there is an apparent but very small risk for collision between two solo-sailors but there should be little risk of a collision between a solo-sailor and a yacht with a watch-keeper on deck. The watch-keeper should see the solo-sailor and take necessary action to avoid collision, even if the solo-sailor is the "give-way" vessel. In cases where blame for collision has been attributed, it is extremely rare that the fault lies with one vessel only.

To put this into perspective, I am far more afraid of getting entangled in badly marked fishing gear, which in hard weather could be extremely dangerous, or for a collision with a submerged container, whale or log. These risks we all take irrespective if we sail solo or not.

Consider also the underwater risks. In submarine exercise areas there is the risk of having a sub surface underneath you! I am serious. On a calm night, lying still in the water you may think it wonderful but what kind of picture do you present for a submarine? Be safe; put your stereo on LOUD, start a generator or your engine. Not that all these things might help. Fishing boats are noisy beasts and yet, on 15th February 2001, the 174 feet long Japanese fishing boat Ehime Maru was involved in a collision with the surfacing USS Greeneville. Nine Japanese lost their lives in that incident.

On 7th January this year an Indian Kilo class submarine INS Sindhughosh scraped under the Panamanian vessel Leeds Castle (26964 gt, built 1982), in the Arabian Sea about 114 nautical miles from Mumbai. Fortunately, there were no casualties this time.

In another incident, the USS Newport News and the oil tanker Mogamimaru collided late on Sunday, 8th January 2007, in the Straits of Hormuz "while the submarine was transiting submerged.

Some further incidents on US submarine collisions since 1987

• Feb. 18, 1987: Unidentified sub snags net of British fishing boat Summer Morn, towing smaller craft for more than three hours. Navy paid $29,300 to settle claim.

• Sept. 26, 1987: Unidentified sub snags net of British fishing boat Heroine. Navy paid $18,382.

• Nov. 6, 1987: USS Henry M. Jackson strikes fishing boat South Paw of Bangor, Wash. Navy paid $25,721.

• Nov. 17, 1987: USS Haddo "possibly" forces fishing boat aground off Washington coast. Fishing-boat skipper radioed sub to report the incident. No claim filed.

• July 19, 1988: Unidentified sub snags towing cable of civilian tugboat Jacqueline W. pulling tug backward until cable snaps. Navy paid $59,984.

• Aug. 28, 1988: Unidentified sub hooks anchor of fishing boat Sinaway Navy-paid $2,350. -

• Jan. 4, 1989: Unidentified sub collides with fishing boat New Dawn. Case under investigation.

• April 5, 1989: Unidentified sub breaks anchor of Canadian fishing boat Pearl E. Navy paid $1,712.

• April 5, 1989: Unidentified sub damages net of fishing boat Nootka Mariner. Navy paid $2,350

• April 17, 1989: Unidentified sub snags net of British fishing boat Laurel, towing smaller vessel for 15 minutes before crew cuts net free. Case under investigation.

• June 14, 1989: USS Houston snags towing cable and sinks commercial tugboat Barcona 10 miles off Long Beach. One crewman drowns, and two are rescued. Case under investigation.

• June 16, 1989: USS Houston shreds net of fishing boat Fortuna off San Pedro. Skipper promised to file claim.

o (SOURCE: Knight-Ridder)

All in all, solo-sailors (me included) don't worry me. Subs, containers, logs and whales do.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:38 AM   #17
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I'd give up except this thread does suggest this solo night no watch keeping is good or something we should all aspire towards. I've plenty of mate who've sailed solo - and I say what I've said to you to them also.

I have never worried about a surfacing sub, nor indeed worried about another sailor sailing solo and asleep at night. Frankly I don't worry about much when our sailing - I do lots of it and love every minute.

It is simply my view that both the skipper of your surfacing sub (for not checking whats on top of him) or the sleeping solo skipper (for not checking whats in front of him) are actually expecting others to complete their seakeeping duties for them - simply because they choose not to do them themselves.

Remember - no one HAS to sail solo. Or indeed leave floating nets or old lines adrift. They simply choose to for their own reasons.

I don't appreciate when someone comments - hold it guys, that's not safe nor fair - the responses appear to say 'if you don't like it the fact we break the rules, then you should leave the playground.'

Get real.

And if you are a newbie reading this please do not think its matcho, spriritual or anything else to sail off solo and risk being hit or maybe even hitting an other. To try as others do to then blame the other party when ones not keeping a lookout oneself is a joke. Its dangerous. Which is why it you should not break the rules and try it.

Enough said by me.

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:40 AM   #18
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Now that I am married to an enthuastic sailing partner, and when we sail together, I am required to sail the boat "her way" , not my usual tried and proven, way.

Douglas, S/V Calliste , Singapore
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:02 PM   #19
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I'd give up except this thread does suggest this solo night no watch keeping is good or something we should all aspire towards.
Absolutely not! I was just pointing out the numbers are against the probability of a collision with a solo-sailor and that the chances of coliding with other, perhaps less obvious, risks are greater.

There is no getting away from it, solo-sailing, unless short hops during which time one does not need to sleep, are in breach of the Collision Rules.

I have always been amazed and critical of the fact that, in the UK, solo-sailors have been knighted for breaking the law! It started with Sir Francis Chichester and has continued up to the present day. That, if anything, suggests that "solo night no watch keeping is good or something we should all aspire towards".

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
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Absolutely not! I was just pointing out the numbers are against the probability of a collision with a solo-sailor and that the chances of coliding with other, perhaps less obvious, risks are greater.

There is no getting away from it, solo-sailing, unless short hops during which time one does not need to sleep, are in breach of the Collision Rules.

I have always been amazed and critical of the fact that, in the UK, solo-sailors have been knighted for breaking the law! It started with Sir Francis Chichester and has continued up to the present day. That, if anything, suggests that "solo night no watch keeping is good or something we should all aspire towards".

Aye // Stephen
Agreed Stephen. Only partial excuse the record breakers use is that their events, their routes and their postions are usually well reported so others can increase watches.

I was once almost sliced into by a Transat Race cat doing maybe 25 knots who came out of the rain squalls from nowhere at night. We were plugging south south and he was reaching west, both in the western approaches 50 miles offshore.

Even with 2 of us on watch knowing of the chance of crossing paths, we simply did not see this one coming. Our brains only lurched into gear as he flashed across our bow maybe 20 metres away.

As it sped by like a giant ghost train we could clearly see no one was on deck. And no one appeared in the empty hatch. Nor did he respond to VHF. If he did have lights, we could not see them.

Selfish b*****d, as we'd mutter in Oz.

Regards

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Old 09-10-2008, 03:53 PM   #21
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As one of the (colregs) rule breakers, I rely upon the statistical unlikelihood of collision. I realize that I am putting other traffic at risk by not maintaining a watch, yet rationalize that risk as small and therefore acceptable. I can not argue in defense of this practice. I do not have radar which I would like for it's guard zone alarm, but have not budgeted for during refits....I am quite concerned about a collision with a submerged container or other semi submerged hazards, but think that it would take ideal conditions to detect and avoid such hazards with full time watchkeeping. I always run my sounder when off soundings based on the theory that it announces my presence to whales and submarines.

If this were a situation of highways and improper operation of a car, Us "singlehanded passagemakers and racers" would have our driving priveleges revoked. Should the sea be governed by similar licensing and regulation? I have certainly seen people operating boats in a hazardous and incompetent manner both underway and at anchor - endangering others. I have both altered course and re-anchored to avoid them.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:32 PM   #22
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I realize that I am putting other traffic at risk by not maintaining a watch, yet rationalize that risk as small and therefore acceptable.

If this were a situation of highways and improper operation of a car, Us "singlehanded passagemakers and racers" would have our driving priveleges revoked. Should the sea be governed by similar licensing and regulation? I have certainly seen people operating boats in a hazardous and incompetent manner both underway and at anchor - endangering others. I have both altered course and re-anchored to avoid them.
I know I'm being argumentative here, but.

Why would you rationalize that a small risk of collision is acceptable to the boat that you might collide with? You might accept the risk for yourself, but you know that you can't speak for others you are putting at risk.

As far as incompetent boat operators, it just might come to the US starting to license boat operators. Lots of other countries do it, and I think it's only a matter of time when it will find its way to the US. But regardless, are you willing to operate in a safe and responsible manner only if you are compelled to by law and licensing?
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:47 PM   #23
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Hello, I thought I'd interject my 2 cents worth.

Although my solo sailing experience is very limited, I believe anyone whom decides to get up out of bed every day "assumes" a certain risk. You could trip on the rug at the top of the stairs on your way down to the kitchen for your morning coffee. You could get killed by another driver in a hurry to get to work and he runs you off the freeway at 65 mph. Lightening can strike you, an earthquake can swallow you, floods can drown you, terrorists can blow you up...etc etc...

Those people who say "there is no reason to sail solo" or "just find someone you like and bring them with" or "its against the law!" have thier own reasons for sailing. I have mine. Just because someone is sailing solo does not mean they are automatically "dangerous to others". I can't tell you how many "idiots" I've encountered with a full blown crew! Just because a vessel is crewed by no way means that it is being operated safely or more likely to make it out of a predicament. Lets be real here people, as cruising and worldwide trade deals expand, so do the risks, and if your not ready to assume those risks, maybe it's just too risky?

If anything, the solo sailor assumes all responsibility and risk. Because the solo sailor is aware of this, I believe "most" take these factors into account and "plan accordingly", ie.-other routes, bigger weather windows, advanced warning equipment, more education and a properly outfitted boat. All vessels have Only one person responsible for the vessel and that is the skipper or captain.

So those of you whom scorn the solo sailor, I have this question...If we were to bet on which boat would make it through 12 hours of bad weather in the exact same boat. A: A professional couple with 5 years of coastal cruising experience or B: A solo sailor with 20 years of coastal cruising experience... If I was a rat, I'd jump on the solo boat in a heart beat! Just my opinion... Great topic though!

I just think that there are so many factors that have to be considered, it's almost pointless to argue about it and there is No correct answer. Some prepare better than others weather or not there is a crew. An ill prepared crew is just as dangerous as an ill prepared solo sailor! Period!

Tight sails everyone!
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:22 AM   #24
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Hey, all,

I appreciate all the good discussion but one thing I don't want to focus on that whole "risk" thing that we can so handily argue about

Rather, the thing that I'm intensely curious about is the whole "solo" mindset and if it creates as many barriers as it breaks through.

What I mean here is--I've learned that some of our Cruiser Log members wouldn't be sailing if they weren't willing to go alone because of not having a friend/spouse/whatever person to sail with them. That's great--self reliance and willingness to get out there and do it on your own breaks a barrier.

The barriers that I've perceived (perhaps incorrectly) have to do with someone deciding that they aren't willing to sail with others because of _____. Fill in the blank, some might say because they don't trust the judgment of a potential crew member; some might say they don't want to deal with some aspect of personality or don't want to have to sail with a stranger, etc.

The reality is, that for ocean cruising, it may take some organization, willingness to accept and trust strangers...and patience, but usually one CAN find willing crew for a passage. So, if one puts up those mentioned barriers (and rationalizes away the risks), one has to have a good reason to do so--I want to understand those reasons. So far, I've heard some really good reasons to consider solo sailing for short jaunts. My own sense of responsibility for self and duty to others; my enjoyment of working as a team with others and my own enjoyment of people in general makes me think I wouldn't consider solo sailing for anything other than a short jaunt (with me wide awake! the whole time ), though.

Because we do have A LOT of potential cruisers out there who may only be able to take off and do it on their own, solo, or by being willing to take a stranger as crew, I do think that those of you who cruise (mostly) alone are good to share your experiences here for others to learn from. Especially if there are times that you choose to take on crew--when those times may be; or times that you think an inexperienced cruiser might be wise to take on crew...

Thanks all

Brenda
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:15 AM   #25
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Here is a short Extract from the log and stories from my old friend Jack van Ommen on his yacht "Fleetwood" We spent many hours together thousands miles apart discussing the weather,anchorages and other things all the way from Vietnam through South East Asia across to the Chagos atols (one of the loneliest but most beautiful anchorages in our oceans) down to The Cape of Storms, from where I passed him on to the late Fred Meyer of Radio Piri Piri, to see Jack across the Atlantic. Jack told me (by email this morning) that he is still short of his 80th birthday.

Jack Recounts his Solo Voyage :-

Departed February 10, 2005 from Gig harbor. "Fleetwood" arrived back on June 18, 2007 in Portsmouth, Va. after covering roughly 25,000 nautical miles and visiting 23 countries. This was only a temporary halt for me to visit family and friends on the West Coast and to spend time with no. 3 daughter and her family who live in Chesapeake, Va. I did a winter’s voyage down the Intra Coastal Waterway to the St. Johns River in Northern Florida to do a complete overhaul on “Fleetwood”. In August 08. I explored the Chesapeake Bay, see below:_ In early November I plan to head south for a Caribbean winter. I plan to cross the Atlantic in June of 2009 for a three year cruise through Holland and into the Mediterranean. So far the voyage has gone through the South Pacific, Philippines, Vietnam, Borneo (Malaysia), Indonesia, Christmas Island, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, St. Helena, Brazil, French Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad."

Jack_s_Solo_Voyage.gif

Here's a short extract from his log regarding his recent trip in the Chesapeake Bay :-

"The high brick walls, triple decker pulpit, stone floors are in sharp contrast to the simpler wooden houses of worship of that period. My new friend, I had met a few days earlier in Urbanna, Lynne, and I sailed across to Irvington on Saturday and rode the “beach cruisers” from the Tides Inn Marina through the surrounding countryside to the 8 o’clock Sunday Anglican service.

My youngest daughter, Jeannine wit husband Sean and my granddaughter Gabrielle drove up from Chesapeake City on Sunday to sail on the river. Until that Saturday, I had never had any one else sail with me on “Fleetwood” since I left the Northwest in February 2005. Company was a welcome change for me this time. Sailing alone on the Chesapeake was not the same as sailing alone on the oceans. There are always fellow travelers of the same spirit to interact with in the foreign anchorages, gathering spots and watering holes.

This is the part of the Chesapeake where the story of Michener’s “Chesapeake” is set, on Maryland’s Eastern shore. A land of forests and marshes, inlets and rivers, the migrating Geese, plantations, boat builders and watermen. I first heard of “watermen” in Michener’s book. Waterman is a Chesapeake colloquial for a collection of oystermen, shrimpers, crabbers and fishermen."
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:36 PM   #26
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The barriers that I've perceived (perhaps incorrectly) have to do with someone deciding that they aren't willing to sail with others because of _____. Fill in the blank, some might say because they don't trust the judgment of a potential crew member; some might say they don't want to deal with some aspect of personality or don't want to have to sail with a stranger, etc.

Brenda
I think that maybe you are seeing this as a black or white issue when it is far from that. Sure there are sailors who will fall into black or white catagories - there are those who will not sail without a crew and there are those who are willing to do so. But there is also a third catagory of sailor who is happy to do either. As such, I cannot fill in the blank.

In my own case, I chose a boat which can be sailed by me on my own but with space for a small crew too. This was a concious decision on my part just because I am happy to sail either alone or with a crew. I must admit though to not having made a voyage of more than 22 hours on my own, during which I was continuously awake and on watch.

One thing you mention Brenda is the personality issue. That can be a major stumbling block. I once sailed from the Med to South America with a guy who, once off soundings and well away from the coast just folded. he lost the plot and hardly left his bunk. If you sail with someone like that then you are better off alone.

Lastly, regarding the safety issue, I remember reading, although I forget where, a survey made of cruisers where the result indicated that the majority of cruisers were couples and that, even with two people onboard, they did not keep a permanent watch.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 09-17-2008, 02:57 AM   #27
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As others above have said, when the choice is to not go or go alone - - go. If you have a good vessel and have wisely outfitted it with the safest and most modern equipment, sailing alone is neither dangerous nor a problem. Human eyes can get tired and wink out, but good radars, radar detectors, navigations systems don't get tired. But you need to invest in the equipment and the knowledge and experience to know how to use the systems. Then you will have tireless, always alert and far ranging "eyes" helping you get to the next harbor. Of course, intelligent and wise planning is an important ingredient to insure that you don't arrive at your next new harbor in the dark.

I have sailed alone for 7 years in the Caribbean, Atlantic and coastal USA and never had a surprise or problem that I couldn't handle successfully. When I had "crew" and friends onboard "helping" me with watches I invariably have lots of problems and no end of "created problems" by folks who just do not know the in's and out's of sailing. Then I end up staying up all the time anyway, babysitting the "helpers" to keep them out of trouble especially when things start to pipe up and get hairy.

Surprisingly, in the Caribbean you will find up to one fourth of all the cruising boats are single handers. Most passages are day hops or an single overnighter.

But it all comes back to proper planning, equipping and level of knowledge and experience. Multi-person crews tend to get into more problems and "incidents" than experienced single-handers. Single handers by virtue of having only "me, myself, and I" onboard tend to be more careful and plan better so have less problems.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:31 AM   #28
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I think that maybe you are seeing this as a black or white issue when it is far from that.
Oh, there's nothing black and white about this issue--I think there are many people out there like you that "go with the flow" of crew availability and being realistic about solo sailing.

And, yes, even with two or more people onboard, some cruisers are irresponsible about watch keeping. That's a sad, sad, fact. However, a solo sailor doesn't have the choice of a permanent watch at all. Again--I am NOT focused on the watch keeping issue. I do like osirissailing's point of view. Also--choosing to cruise in waters where one can plan short jaunts rather than multi-week solo ocean crossings makes much more sense to me. Working with what one has to work with--a single knowledgeable sailor onboard--means choosing cruising grounds, electronic and mechanical aids, and activities wisely. I think this can also apply to many couples I've met who sail. Those couples where one person is the sailor and the other is "along for the ride"...humm...they may be the ones mentioned above who don't keep a watch.

Your situation with the sickly fellow isn't one I'd want to have either A few of those experiences and one might swear off crew entirely in disgust.

Fair winds
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