How many sail solo - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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Not to be a wet blanket, but for you long-distance solos, what about lookout? I know you do the best you can to make up for someone being on deck all the time (and go short on continuous sleep as a result), but the hazard can only be mitigated so far, not eliminated.

I have noticed that sailors who have been struck by ships while below decks sleeping or whatever (very rare indeed but it sure has happened) have tended to claim sole fault on the ship crew and behave (at least in legal proceedings) as though Rule 5 doesn't apply to singlehanders, ships have radar and all the sophisticated electronics, they're big I'm little, Goliath to my David, it's their problem not mine, etc.

Nor do I propose there be no singlehanding, but it's an understood risk. It just doesn't seem to be that way though when it gets to claims against ship's insurers, or court.
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post #32 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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There is no way to 100% eliminate the danger of the unavoidable lapse in keeping watch when single handing. It can be minimized by getting lots of sleep so you can stay up for 16 hours, by sleeping on deck for short periods with an egg timer, by keeping a radar watch alarm on, or by heaving-to so that at least you are not running into someone else or the shore. I plan to sail across the Pacific next year and really don't know HOW I'll actually wind up dealing with it but I will figure it out, probably conditioning myself to sleep for short periods with an occasional longer hove-to sleep. When cruising the East Coast or hopping from point to point you can always figure out how to stay awake by good planning.

Regarding head gear, a couple of years ago I got thrown across the cabin and it was mere chance that the back of my head did not slam into the opposite deck overhang. Missed it by fractions and would certainly have been seriously injured if my trajectory had been an inch higher. It got me thinking that helmets may not be a bad idea. I used to poo-poo wearing a helmet skiing but now have one. I have a light, strong w/w kayak helmet which might just be good to wear on the sailboat when getting bounced around.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.

Last edited by smurphny; 12-31-2011 at 07:12 PM.
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post #33 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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Sail on N. Wisconsin Lake - how do I prepare to repel Somali pirates?

Reality check please - recreational sailing is probably safer than sports such as bowling ( large heavy projectiles) or darts ( sharp pointed objects thrown while drinking beer).
Statistically the greatest danger most of us face is driving to or from the boat (you can look that up). If you want to wear a helmet where protection is most needed the best place is in your bathroom where most falls occur.
Sticking with statistics (but in full disclosure I am making this one up) the greatest danger while sailing is sunburn. Or dehydration. Or both....
Sailing on a beautiful day on the lake while wearing a PFD, tether and (god forbid) a "sailing helmet" is like dressing in an advertiser sponsored Nomex suit and a neck roll to drive to the office or grocery store. We
The day may come when I need all of the above. Except for the Nomex suit and the "sailing helmet" I will be prepared.
The thing I love most about solo sailing is I am solely responsible for the "crew" - but wait! If I bring a family member, a friend or a slew of guests I am still solely responsible
So what do I do different while sailing alone?
Nothing.
I try to sail smart all the time, sometimes I get off track, once in a while I do something stupid. If not incredibly stupid or unlucky I live to learn from it. So far, so good.
We're not traversing terra incognita on a daily basis - what is the fascination with the "danger" out there?
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post #34 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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99% singlehanded. You take extra precautions. Auto PDF when alone. Very carefully if you go forward. My boat is setup for single handling so not a big deal. I also use an auto pilot frequently to get a break from the helm. Watch the weather and forecasts carefully. If you think you my need to reef then do it at the dock as others have said. I tried it underway and can tell you that could have gone very wrong and was not the safest I have been. I had to start the engine to point it up so I could drop the main enough to reach it. Always helps to have these techniques practiced.
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post #35 of 93 Old 12-31-2011
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Not all of us sail on lakes. Yikes just dawned on me great lakes. Be careful out there.
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Last edited by OlderandWiser; 12-31-2011 at 10:28 PM.
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post #36 of 93 Old 01-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
The Wingnuts tragedy got me thinking about the kind of injuries that can occur on a sailboat. I wonder if the two people that died had been wearing say a bike helmet, would they maybe have survived?...
There are advantages and disadvantages to wearing a helmet:

Advantages:
  • Will better protect your brain in the unlikely event something impacts your skull.
  • Will improve your solo sailing ability because no one will want to be seen with you alive (family members excepted).
  • Will save you thousands of dollars, if you are single, on money wasted on dating - dinners, trips, movies, gifts, etc!
  • Will vastly increase your odds of winning Dork of the Year award!
  • Will vastly increase your odds of being seen on America's Funniest Home Videos!
Disadvantages:
  • May bake your skull on warm days.
  • Additional weight on head may increase odds you will begin dancing uncontrollably in a humorous fashion to any music with a beat.
  • May cause marina owner to evict you from marina based on "any other good cause" provision.
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post #37 of 93 Old 01-01-2012
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Prior to buying my sailboat, I had read many threads that discussed the importance of having a reliable autopilot for single handed sailing (and/or a wind-vane for long distance use). Once I bought the boat, I installed an AP and also purchased a wireless remote for it. I consider the AP an indispensable virtual crew member that I can depend on to keep the boat pointed into the wind when raising the main, to keep me exactly on course while I attend to other sailing housekeeping tasks, etc. etc.. On reasonably calm / light-wind days, it's very nice to be able to take a cushion forward on deck with the favorite non-alcholic beverage and enjoy the ride while the boat helms itself, other than whatever inputs I give the AP via the wireless remote.
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post #38 of 93 Old 01-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfok View Post
Reality check please - recreational sailing is probably safer than sports such as bowling ( large heavy projectiles) or darts ( sharp pointed objects thrown while drinking beer).
Statistically the greatest danger most of us face is driving to or from the boat (you can look that up). If you want to wear a helmet where protection is most needed the best place is in your bathroom where most falls occur.
Sticking with statistics (but in full disclosure I am making this one up) the greatest danger while sailing is sunburn. Or dehydration. Or both....
Sailing on a beautiful day on the lake while wearing a PFD, tether and (god forbid) a "sailing helmet" is like dressing in an advertiser sponsored Nomex suit and a neck roll to drive to the office or grocery store. We
The day may come when I need all of the above. Except for the Nomex suit and the "sailing helmet" I will be prepared.
The thing I love most about solo sailing is I am solely responsible for the "crew" - but wait! If I bring a family member, a friend or a slew of guests I am still solely responsible
So what do I do different while sailing alone?
Nothing.
I try to sail smart all the time, sometimes I get off track, once in a while I do something stupid. If not incredibly stupid or unlucky I live to learn from it. So far, so good.
We're not traversing terra incognita on a daily basis - what is the fascination with the "danger" out there?
Having been in many dangerous environments including construction, commercial fishing, winter rescue, whitewater kayaking, climbing, back-country skiing, and sailing, I think the chance of getting seriously hurt on a sailboat is just as great as in any of these activities. You are dealing with not only the inevitability of being tossed off your feet on occasion, but also being wound up in winches and windlasses, falling from masts, possibly being washed overboard, not to mention being cold-cocked or worse by a 100# piece of aluminum swinging back and forth on a regular basis. Maybe by sailing on only wonderful days, one can avoid the very real dangers of sailing but I'd venture to say most actually enjoy dealing with these challenges in a sport that is not at all similar to bowling.
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Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.

Last edited by smurphny; 01-01-2012 at 09:10 AM. Reason: grammar
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post #39 of 93 Old 01-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameswilson29 View Post
There are advantages and disadvantages to wearing a helmet:

Advantages:
  • Will better protect your brain in the unlikely event something impacts your skull.
  • Will improve your solo sailing ability because no one will want to be seen with you alive (family members excepted).
  • Will save you thousands of dollars, if you are single, on money wasted on dating - dinners, trips, movies, gifts, etc!
  • Will vastly increase your odds of winning Dork of the Year award!
  • Will vastly increase your odds of being seen on America's Funniest Home Videos!
Disadvantages:
  • May bake your skull on warm days.
  • Additional weight on head may increase odds you will begin dancing uncontrollably in a humorous fashion to any music with a beat.
  • May cause marina owner to evict you from marina based on "any other good cause" provision.
This is not the first thread I've read where wearing a helmet was suggested as a good idea. After thinking about it, I believe it to be a good suggestion, but only when it might be appropriate. I can see the wisdom in wearing one in heavy weather. I wouldn't wear one in constant fear of bumping my head but if the waves were tossing me around pretty hard I think it would be a prudent thing to put one on, especially if singlehanded.

I wear a hardhat at work and it has plenty of scrapes and scratches to prove that it does its job well. Do I always wear it on the job? Yes. It's company policy. Do I always NEED it? No.

I think the idea of wearing a helmet fits in well with good common sense. If it's bright and sunny, wear sunglasses. If it's cold, wear a coat. If you're getting thrown around and your head is in danger, wear a helmet. Problem solved. Just not a bicycle helmet. Those things look absolutely silly!

As far as being the most likely place for a fall, the head on my Endeavour 32 was small enough to make that event almost impossible. I would more likely break the mirror than break a hip!
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post #40 of 93 Old 01-01-2012
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I solo sail most of the time. In my case, I want to go sailing whenever possible, and my daughter and wife just don't have that level of interest. (FYI, my son has no interest -- doesn't like to get wet). Solo sailing is actually more fun, primarily because it gives me the alone time I enjoy, time to reflect, time to daydream, etc. I always wear a pfd, so there's no change in that. Also, I have all my lines led aft, and don't shrink from reefing before I leave the dock.

As someone else said, it's almost harder to sail with someone else, because you have to ensure that they are actually doing something so they don't get bored and so they're more invested in the sail -- and don't feel like I'm hogging all the stuff that needs to be done.

I will say, however, that since I don't have to "direct" anyone (or maybe raise my voice a bit too much?) that my solo sails are pretty much silent.

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