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post #1 of 91 Old 09-17-2010 Thread Starter
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Sleeping at sea

What is the legality of sleeping at sea? Can you simply drop anchor somewhere and head below? Are there lights you're supposed to turn on for visibility? Also, what is safe? Are there any safety precautions one should take ahead of time? I'm guessing not a whole lot of people are sailing at night, so collisions from them not paying attention would be unlikely. But if you drop at 70' depth and there's nothing in the area to collide with, would that be considered safe?

Naturally weather has something to do with it, don't go down during a big storm, but I'm concerned about drifting about while sleeping as far as collisions go, and whether there would be any sort of trouble you could get in for doing so.

These weren't covered in any training videos I've watched...
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post #2 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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If you anchor then you must turn on the appropriate anchor light for your vessel size. Some exceptions exist in the USA for approved anchorages. The light strength and type is internationally declared in the [
Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs)
Sleeping while actively sailing when alone is a violation of Rule 5
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Rule 5 requires that "every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision
That doesn't mean that it isn't done (I sail singlehanded so am often in violation of Rule 5) but if something should happen then you are at fault.


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post #3 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Singlehanding is technically a violation of the COLREGS, since a sleeping singlehander can not keep watch. Most singlehanders will nap for short periods of time at night and sleep during the day, when the other vessels are more likely to be alert and keeping a good watch.

If you are at sea, you can't really drop an anchor... it is usually to deep.

There are no lights that are specified for a singlehanded sailor getting sleep.

Even if you deployed a sea anchor, you are technically UNDERWAY, regardless of your boat speed over ground.

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post #4 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Singlehanding is technically a violation of the COLREGS, since a sleeping singlehander can not keep watch. Most singlehanders will nap for short periods of time at night and sleep during the day, when the other vessels are more likely to be alert and keeping a good watch.

If you are at sea, you can't really drop an anchor... it is usually to deep.

There are no lights that are specified for a singlehanded sailor getting sleep.

Even if you deployed a sea anchor, you are technically UNDERWAY, regardless of your boat speed over ground.
I pretty much agree with DOg, except I slept/napped night and day. Something about the motion, I guess. We turned on a radar alarm, but its effectiveness is debateable in any sea state. Best thing is short naps and glancing at teh radar. Biggest concerns for me were commercial traffic. Those boats come up on you REALLY fast.

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post #5 of 91 Old 09-17-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info and link, I'll read up on that, infornation on the net was scarce that I could find. I shouldn't have said at sea, but rather a mile or so inside shipping lanes.

Also, is there some sort of course plotter for sailing, similar to mapquest, on the internet? I can look at a map, and know 1" is 10 miles, but i wanted to see if my numbers are semi-accurate.
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post #6 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Activecaptain.com has a view with NOAA charts. GeoGarage - Route Preparation also has charts. If you drill down into nga.mil you can get public domain copies of all NOAA charts.

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post #7 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Thanks for asking a question I myself have been wondering. I was curious about the sleep schedule for single handlers during voyages. I guess once I ship off the nights of 7-8 hours will be over and I will need to take naps to keep my sleep up.
SD or cruising, could you break down 24 hours of single handed cruising and allow for proper sleep? I would be curious to know how you both have done it before.
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post #8 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Just remember: singlehanded passages are not only irresponsible; they're borderline illegal. Just sayin'.

But they are pretty edgy and cool I must say.


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post #9 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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When I first set out, I cannot sleep. But by that evening, I am dead tired. Many people use a egg timer. I never have. I have this really annoying alarm that won't shut up on my watch. I got the thing at walmart and tehy are great watches for that purpose (cheap and annoying). It also forces you to wake up enough to reset the time for another 15-30 mins. After the first day, it is on-off. I started getting into a better rhythm.

Let me comment about what nasomi said easrlier: I would NEVER, NEVER, EVER anchor in a shipping lane. I doubt I would anchor beside it. My experience with commercial vessels is that they either don't see you or don;t care. I am generalizing. Of course, there are many exceptions. But that is why I am such a huge fan of radar. You will really paint those guys a long way off. You will paint them on radar long before you can see them and you can figure out which way they are going and if there might be a problem. Remember, these boats are running in the 30+ knot range. So assuming you are not making for them, and they are 12 miles out, they will easily be on top of you within 20 minutes. THat is why I typically use teh 15 minute rule when I pass by a large port (like Tampa). And when i say that, I do not mean within sight of land, I mean even 50 miles out. Because they will open up outisde of the port and will make for the most direct course between other ports.

When in shipping lanes like outside of San Diego, whew... you will not be sleeping. No way. That place is incredibly busy and between teh commercial ships and the navy, you are on constant lookout. So it is nice to make sure that you have planned your sleeping sschedules such that when you approach these types of areas, you can be wide awake and on your toes. This is true whether singlehand or with crew. When we approach an area that I know is going to be busy or require a lot of thought, I want to be awake and in control versus Kris or Dad (when he comes along and helps). Does that make sense?

But anchoring anywhere near a shipping lane would be like puttin up a tent on the emergency lane on a busy highway. Scary and dangerous. I suspect a large commercail vessel would never even know they hit you. I am not exhagerating. They would probably never know. It has been posted here several times before (I cann't find it right now) but there is a picture of a ship with the mast of a sailboat hanging from its anchor. They got to port and never even knew it. It's enough to scare the crap out of us. To the best of my knwoledge, that ship and crew were never heard from or found.

Food for thought when transiting shipping channels/areas AND when considering singlehanding.

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post #10 of 91 Old 09-17-2010
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Just remember: singlehanded passages are not only irresponsible
I do NOT agree with that at all. I know the rules. I realize that technically you violate the rules when you single and sleep. But the odds of hitting another singlehander are extremely slim and all other craft are required to maintain a watch. And what about the sinlge offshore races like the Globe? They sleep and those are large, corporate sponsored, and internationally sanctioned events.

And when you start picking apart the rules, how many here set up all night, every night, watching their anchors?? Technically, aren't you always supposed to have a F/T anchor watch?

I feel many of these maritime laws are written for the commercial vessel and not for the yachty. I do not agree with them for us. And do I believe that a commercial vessel shoul dbe held to a higher and stricter standard than a recreational vessel? You betcha.

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