Got your attention, I guess!
If you re-read my post I think that you will find that I was more than open about single-handers need to sleep. I was not, perhaps, as gracious about the tender. That was not my intent. The point on either example, is that conscious decisions are made about matters of seamanship, usually prior to departure. It could reasonably be construed, in certain circumstances, that single handing is, in and of itself, unsafe and makes the vessel unseaworthy. Do I believe that those circumstances are frequent? No, I do not. But they do exist. When you make a decision to single hand you are also taking on additional responsibility due to your possible inability to stand either a navigation watch or an anchor watch. That decision was not made when the fog rolled in while you slept. It was made before you left the dock. Of course you have a right to single hand. But that, in no way, reduces your obligations to proper seamanship. If the fog rolls in while you are sleeping, while anchored, and you are not playing your tape of ringing bells (some ships actually have such that are played over a speaker), and you are allided with by another vessel, you are going to be found at fault, or contributory to the allision. That is the way it is. You don't get a special exemption because you're a yachtsman.
If I elect to speed while driving my car and get a ticket, my defense cannot be centered around the fact that the car was a Ferrari and capable of travelling safely at that speed. If I hit a horse with it on the interstate they are not going to hold the owner of the horse liable, they are going to ticket me because I am breaking the law. Once that is established, the horse's actions are moot. You are in the same position on your boat. You are entitled to do as you damn well please, as long as you are willing to pay the price. The price may be a citation, or it may be your life.
Ken Barnes took a lot of heat on this site, and probably rightly so, for exhibiting poor seamanship. His was an unusual case. Most offshore sailors, whether single handing or crewed, are quite safe offshore. The vast majority of maritime accidents happen relatively near shore, if not in sight of land. Certainly groundings do! Boats collide all the time, in perfect visibility and in fairly open water. Seamanship is even more at a premium when in congested areas, and near shore in general. If you make it past the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel without a collision you've probably got a real good chance of not being in danger of one until the Strait of Gibralter. Those are just the odds.
If you are anchored, as a single hander, you should probably be getting up periodically to check on your condition. How will you know if your anchor is holding at the turn of the tide? How will you know if another vessel has arrived and anchored too close to you? How will you know if fog is setting in? Now, I am not so naive as to think that even crewed sailboats, say with husband and wife, are standing proper anchor watches either. They want to sleep together. So be it. You may object to my position all you like, but i do not feel that you can make the case that you are exhibiting proper seamanship by those practises. You may be fine 999 times out of one thousand, but in the one time, where conditions change and you are incapable of standing an anchor or navigation watch you will be guilty of poor seamanship, if not worse. And that was a decision that was possibly made before you ever set sail. Like Mr. Barnes.
The sea allows us virtually complete freedom. A master of a vessel, be it a sailboat or freighter, is in complete command of his world about him. That is why he or she is called, Master. But, there is never any freedom that doesn't hold responsibility. BTW, an anchor watch on a merchant ship is comprised of 3 people, the mate on watch and 2 seamen. When you have a Coast Guard issued license and hundreds of millions in ship and cargo, you are held to a pretty high standard of responsibility. That's why the master always loses his license, even though he was reasonably sleeping, and the third mate on watch screwed up. The master is supposed to somehow know the third mate is screwing up. That is real responsibility. I don't think I ask too much.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.