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  #1  
Old 09-18-2010
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Sailing Alone in the 21st Century

Let me start off by saying this threads creation is due in large part to the popular "sleeping at sea," post in the 'Learning to Sail' section of these forums.

Gentlemen and knowledgeable ladies of SailNet; I am a person seeking to gain insight on a perspective that I have chosen to follow and who would like to engage in different conversations covering the many different subjects related to this perspective. The perspective you ask? Sailing alone.
You see, not everyone who is in love with sailing is over 50, or 40, or even 30 years old.
Not everyone has a nest egg or a 401K to cash in. We do not all have a wife or significant other to share the responsibility of long cruises.
Maybe we do not all want to settle down in to a life of 9-5 and soccer camps. Maybe we just want to take a few years off before jumping in to the proverbial Rat Race.
Perhaps some of us even want to continue cruising as a life choice.
There are an infinite number of reasons why everyday people like you or I decide that sailing alone is a viable option. The point I am trying to make regarding this decision is that most people who do it are not uneducated idiots looking to get themselves killed or rescued out at sea.
For those of us who are young and/or have no commitments, besides those we decide to commit to, sailing alone can be the only option. This rings especially true when your pockets don't go down to your feet.
I my self do not and know I will not have the money to hire a crew, or a captain to voyage with me. I will have a boat outfitted for heavy-seas and by the time I cast off for the real deal I will have at least a few years under my belt as a solo helmsman.
I write this preamble because a lot of the posters on the other thread have an attitude that people who are trying to sail alone are irresponsible, stupid people looking for danger, destruction, and death. This could be true in some cases, but it is assuredly not in every or even most cases.
I should not need to go in to the details of why I have chosen the course I have. I have formed my ideas over a course of many years and I have my own reasons for wanting to sail alone. I am taking it one step at a time and am in the research and development stages of my life choice if you will. I would like to ask if those people who have experience or passed down experience could please share relevant topics to this post for myself and the other visitors of this board who for one reason or another seek to do the same as I.
Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trisstan87 View Post
I write this preamble because a lot of the posters on the other thread have an attitude that people who are trying to sail alone are irresponsible, stupid people looking for danger, destruction, and death.
While I agree that some posters hold this view, I don't happen to share it. I don't have anything against single-handers, especially folks who opt for single-handed sailing in BC waters. Two prominent BC single-handers were Margo Wood and June Cameron, though I don't know if they still do so.

What does leave me scratching my head are the folks who decide to sail around the world single-handed. Speaking only for myself, I don't think I would have the psychological stamina to do it. I can only tip my hat to the folks who do have it.

Another down side to single-handing is that if something goes wrong, there is only you. My own experience has been that when s**t happens, an extra pair of hands can come in handy.

Finally, I am grateful that my wife (The Admiral) shares my love of sailing. I have seen many wonderful things during the years that I have been sailing. They have been more special because I have had someone to share them with.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Originally Posted by trisstan87 View Post
.....lot of the posters on the other thread have an attitude that people who are trying to sail alone are irresponsible, stupid people looking for danger, destruction, and death.

.... I would like to ask if those people who have experience or passed down experience could please share relevant topics to this post for myself and the other visitors of this board who for one reason or another seek to do the same as I.

Are you telling us that those with experience in these matters have spoken but you do not wish to listen?
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Old 09-18-2010
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Best of luck, Triss. I'm an old, chronically inexperienced sailor who believes solitude is the best therapist as well. We're rare, and frankly make a lot of mistakes. But isn't that what life's about? Live, learn, and the best you can hope for is to keep curious right up till the time they chuck you in the clay (with apologies to Curtis Lowe and the late Ronnie Van Zant).

Reading between the lines makes me wonder what demons you are chasing--or maybe chasing you--across the Briney blue. I say load up, toss the line, set a broad reach and drink the local beer where ever you end up.

You won't be alone, just alone on a boat.
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Are you telling us that those with experience in these matters have spoken but you do not wish to listen?
No sir. I listen and very much appreciate any and all advice so long as it is conveyed in an intelligent and respectful manner, which it all has been.
What I am looking for is the experience related to what I am asking. Opinions are always welcome, but for myself and other like-minded individuals the decisions have already been made. Now we just seek the wisdom that goes with the journey chosen.
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Originally Posted by QuincyManzanita View Post
Best of luck, Triss. I'm an old, chronically inexperienced sailor who believes solitude is the best therapist as well. We're rare, and frankly make a lot of mistakes. But isn't that what life's about? Live, learn, and the best you can hope for is to keep curious right up till the time they chuck you in the clay (with apologies to Curtis Lowe and the late Ronnie Van Zant).

Reading between the lines makes me wonder what demons you are chasing--or maybe chasing you--across the Briney blue. I say load up, toss the line, set a broad reach and drink the local beer where ever you end up.

You won't be alone, just alone on a boat.
No demons . I just can't stand the thought of graduating college and getting a 9 to 5 and working for a new flat screen or the newest I phone or Audi. Living in neighborhoods where the houses look pretty much the same. Commuting in traffic twice a day to a job I will most likely not love. Spending my life trying to make the money to buy what I think I need because the people on TV have it and now so does my neighbor.
I would like to point out I have no intentions of perpetually sailing alone or circumnavigating. I just need to get from the canal to the pacific islands.
I would say I am more the disillusioned type. Think Kevin Costner in "Dances with Wolves."
I just share a very different kind of mentality than most 21st century Americans. I do not care about owning the nicest house or cars. To me, success is not money. Success is happiness. Do what makes you happy, it is your life and we all have the right to be a little bit selfish in what we do with it.
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Old 09-18-2010
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Originally Posted by trisstan87 View Post
No sir. I listen and very much appreciate any and all advice so long as it is conveyed in an intelligent and respectful manner, which it all has been.
OK try this...pick a weekend when rain is forecast (driving rain, if possible)and the temperature will be in the 50s. On Friday night, set yourself up in your back yard in a leaky tent. You're allowed one straight-backed chair in the tent. Make sure you get soaking wet before getting into the tent. Stay awake as long as you can....at least until noon Saturday. Then allow yourself to sleep no more than 15 minutes at a time -- an egg timer is useful for keeping the naps short. Everytime you wake up from the 15 minute nap, go outside the tent and run around for a few minutes. Do 25 jumping jacks, as many pushups as you can handle -- get the heart rate up. Also, make sure you get wet again. When Monday morning rolls around attempt to do something that requires mental acuity, consentration and physical stamina and hand-eye coordination over a period of several hours.

Then ask yourself if you want to go sailing long distances alone.
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Very poignant advice. I have already done this however, many many times. The longest time was 17 days during February 2007 in the woods of Camp Geiger N.C. Of course I did not have the luxury of an egg timer, usually screaming or being kicked awake was the norm. As far as being wet, I stayed wet. Even the spare clothes remained damp and cold and after 5 days I was just cycling between my already damp, wet, disgustingly dirty clothes. Have you ever worn the same pair of underwear for 6 days? Have you ever done it whiole having to share a tent designed for one person with four people? What about when your only method of cleaning your self consisted of baby wipes? Baby wipes only clean you the first day or two, after that it just creates a slimy film with a musty odor. Oh, and after each near sleepless night and keeping my fingers tucked under my gear (my GEAR) to keep them from being frost bitten I was forced to get up wearing the same wet gear and conduct excersize after excersize, and these were much harder than 25 jumping jacks Billy. I still have nerve damage in my fingers and toes from the freezing and thawing.
I am not some spoiled suburban kid looking for adventure billy. If you have nothing real to offer, best to not offer at all.

I would like to add this edit. Could those of you who offer nothing but judgment and criticism please stay away from my post? Some of you need to stop trying to teach the "kids" who post on this forum a lesson in life ok? Advice and constructive criticisms are important and encouraged, at least by me. However, for these replies such as above that try and make people out to look ignorant, immature or stupid, save your wrist the inch closer to carpal tunnel. While this last reply was not openly doing this, the insinuations are clear. As if I just woke up one day and decided to go voyaging around the pacific la dee daaing all the way. As for myself, none of you know where I come from or through what I have came. Please do not take this statement as incitement or mean-spirited, but it is what it is. If you want to help me, thank you I really do appreciate it, I really do. Thank you to those who are willing to teach a new fisherman, not just throw him another fish.
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Last edited by trisstan87; 09-18-2010 at 02:25 PM. Reason: vent
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Old 09-18-2010
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Hey Tristtan

Whilst I can't find much reason for choosing to sail single handed, I have done quite a lot of it for reasons beyond my control.

It isn't easy, it is very lonely after a while, the gloss of being alone, me against the elements wears off after a while.

The biggest danger you will face will be other vessels because they will come up on you when you're not watching. Coastal dangers are generally not a problem because you will try to be at least a little rested when you approach the coast and will hopefully try and keep a watch during those dangerous times.

If I can offer one element of advice

- If you are likely to be sailing for two days or more, stay away from areas where there are likely to be vessels significantly larger than you. Sail out to sea a decent distance (more than 50 miles) then make your way along a coastline and sail directly back to the coast at your chosen port. Ships generally don't go far out to sea when they're operating coastally, they run a rhumb line which takes them along the coast just a few miles off.

If you're heading out on an ocean crossing, sail a course that ships won't. Remember that with GPS, everyone wants to sail a rhumb line and this puts many vessels on the same track. As a single hander you cannot be on that track.

- If you're sailing on a trip that is less than two days, be prepared to stay awake for the whole trip and take the shortest route.

I don't want to list a diatribe here so let's see what else comes in and I'll share some of my other thoughts along the way.

If you're hell bent on sailing alone, know that it is done often and with a relative element of safety - it isn't necessarily a suicide mission.
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I think I've learned a bit about single handed sailing in the past 2 days.

If you're gonna do it, no one's going to stop you. Don't ask for someone's blessing in doing so. Generally speaking, don't talk about it. And certainly don't expect people to feel that sorry for you when a mishap occurs because you're doing something you know is wrong/dangerous/illegal and everyone has already advised against your course of action.
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