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HighFly_27 10-30-2012 08:03 AM

Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
I'm planing a trip out of Panama City, FL and sailing down the Caribbean chain. I hope to leave in the year 2014 for my long trip. Since, I (Snet. member advice) need a whole lot of prep. and all this will take (months) time, my adjusted sailing location will be to the Bahamas. Grenada will happen ... if & when I can get there.

Now, I did a search and read & downloaded the article on Single Handled Sailing.

I asking for some heads up information from other single handed sailors that sail in the FL & Caribbean area. I will be adding a radar reflector to my mast to be seen better. I have read that some of the latest radio's can track other ships when they transmit (I think I have that feature right). If I was still flying, I'd be able to track any aircraft when they had their transponder on; so this radio tracking feature is similair (I guess).

Things I read (listed just a few) --

* Don't anchor in a shipping lane area without a watch... will/ or could be run over.

** Try to make it to your next (planed route) stop with a suitable anchoring location.

*** If sleep is necessary, try to do so during the day and be awake at night when you are less visable.

Now, other tips too but wanted to list a few of them to gain information from other single handed sailors.

Almost forgot, wanted to get advice of what to do when the water was too deep to drop anchor. The boat would be a drift and subject to wind and current movement. Everyone that sails single handed will or can face a situation where they are dead tired; they have to rest (cat nap)... the sails are down, motor off and cannot anchor (too deep) and zzzzzzing away.

Again, just looking for heads up advice on what to do and what Not to Do !

Closing, asking this information to stay out of trouble (future trip); I'm new to long distance sailing, so, Please bear with me.


chucklesR 10-30-2012 09:01 AM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
The 'track ships on radio' thing is AIS, get yourself a SH 2150 VHF and a chartplotter that can display the signal and it'll work.

For the rest, no single post can hope to cover it, keep reading. The I37 is a big boat - find a soul mate or another bachelor and make it easier.

denverd0n 10-30-2012 09:34 AM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
Like Chuckles said, keep reading. One thing to read about is the "thorny path." It is not NEARLY as easy to sail from Florida south and east into the Caribbean as it would appear just from looking at a map.

Then read about autopilots and wind vanes. Most people, even single-handing, do not take the sails down and just drift when they need to sleep. They keep on sailing, take very short cat-naps, and get up and check the horizon every few minutes.

Good luck with your further research--you need to do a lot of it!

TQA 10-30-2012 09:36 AM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
Buy yourself a copy of a Gentlemans Guide to Passages South by Bruce Van Sant and really study it.

The sort of places you will anchor will be well away from any shipping lane with the possible exception of the Bahama banks where getting run down by a powerboat running on autopilot from way point to waypoint is a real danger. Anchor to one sid eof the direct line between published points.

The trip you are thinking about has been done many times by single handers BUT there bits that are tough sledding esp. if you do not understand the weather and wait for a good window.

hellosailor 10-30-2012 12:10 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
AIS alert might be the best ida. I've seen dayliners heading from Florida to the Bahamas with NO ONE on the bridge, so it won't matter if they can see y0u on the radar, they're just not keeping watch. You can be certain that some commercial traffic is not keeping watch, or the watch is asleep, so it is up to you.

At least if they are transmitting AIS and you've got an alarm set for traffic on a collision course, you've got some chance.

When it is too deep to anchor, you can deploy a sea anchor or drogue. Do remember that if you have insurance, it probably is null and void while you are single-handing offshore.

killarney_sailor 10-30-2012 01:41 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
You said you wanted to leave June 13th and head into the Caribbean.this would make the passage in the middle of the hurricane and the Thorny Path approach/method is not fast. Deems llike a terrible idea to me. Time for more research.

IslanderGuy 10-30-2012 01:48 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor

** Try to make it to your next (planed route) stop with a suitable anchoring location.
Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but just in case, I would change this to "Try to make it to the next safe spot with a suitable anchoring location."

Coming as the second bullet under don't anchor in shipping lanes, I'm assuming this was meant as an alternative. If you are feeling the need to stop for a while and anchor up to get some rest, I would say do so in the closest available safe location, rather then looking at your planned route.

As many here will say, schedules kill more sailors then anything else. If your tired and want / need to stop but your route has you pushing on through the night to get to your next location, but you can safely anchor close by for the night, go ahead and stop and just be late on your schedule.

Of course this has to be balanced with weather, time of day, entrance conditions etc, but if your feeling the need to stop and can do so safely sooner, even if its a bit out of the way, do it. Being to tired and pushing to meet a plan is likely one of the major contributing factors in major accidents in sailing.

This is true whether your single handing or sailing with a crew.

Minnewaska 10-30-2012 02:02 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
Lookup studies on radar reflectors. Most are just a false sense of security and do nothing. The more primitive intersecting circles are among the more effective, but only if installed correctly.

HighFly_27 10-30-2012 02:10 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
Yes, the June time frame is the set on my Son graduating from HS. I think the Hurricane season ends in November. I was thinking of having a ports (safe harbor) along the entire chain of Caribbean islands as I sail south (island hoping). Now, safe harbor will not work in CAT 1's & 2's maybe 3's would get me in trouble. If I wait untll Nov. and sail safe, then, I'm pressed for time to get back to FL.

To: Hellosailor

I had No Idea that getting run over was a Big Issue. Wow, you're always on guard for dayliners rolling thru and No One on the bridge... thats scary. Also, my insurance is noll & void when single handed.. not good. Now, things are a little more complicated but I can work it out by settiing the boat up with the right (AIS Alert, etc.) equipment. I need to ... really watch the wx. close. I have a lot to learn and reading & reading, getting feed back here, so I'm learning and getting there.

jameswilson29 10-30-2012 02:23 PM

Re: Sailing Singled Handed & No Watch at Achor
You would benefit from reading this free internet boat on singlehanded sailing:

Singlehanded Tips Book

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