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post #103 of Old 09-24-2012
Brent Swain
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Location: British Columbia
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

I have singlehanded across the Pacific 9 times, and have very rarely seen another boat out there. I have singlehanded from BC to New Zealand, then on to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, and seen only two other vessels in open ocean the whole way. You have almost better odds of being hit by an asteroid, than colliding with another vessel in the mid South Pacific. Life on shore is infinitely more dangerous, than sleeping a full night underway at sea, especially for those who drive a lot, or pedestrians in a big city. AIS has drastically reduced the risk, even further.
Moitesier once posted in Yachting magazine, a picture of a sisteship to his 40 ft Joshua, 5mm plate, which had been T-Boned amidships by a 35,000 ton freighter. You could see the imprint of the ship's bow in the hull, but the boat was not leaking a drop of water. I later heard she sailed to Tahiti, repair was too expensive there, so she sailed on to New Zealand, before any attempt at repairs was done.
One of my 36 footers survived a collision with a freighter in Gibralter, with minimal damage, and nothing serious.A good steel hull will likely survive most collisions with ships, or any other floating debris. I have often T-boned long booms made of three ft diameter logs, at hull speed, with zero risk of damage. It's the easiest way to tie up to them.

Sleep deprivation is far more dangerous. Many single handers I have met sleep up to 12 hours in a stretch, and dont worry about it.

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
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