On Jan 14, 12:09 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Still a lot of work required, but it does alleviate the drudgery.
What I don't understand is why single-handed sailors never mention
that they're violating maritime law. Isn't it required that a person
is on watch at all times? Obviously impossible on any sort of
extended single-handed voyage.
In the couple of years I spent "at sea" as a young man working on
offshore seismograph boats, where we crossed the oceans of the world to
get to our working areas, I can't recall every seeing another vessel in
mid ocean that we weren't on a dead collision course with ... maybe not
maritime law, but murphy's for sure. :)
On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 09:47:45 -0800 (PST), RicodJour
It's a long standing argument and both sides have some legitimate
points to consider. The colregs (Maritime law) are written
deliberately to be open for interpretation. They are not analogous to
traffic laws on land. The only time "keeping a proper watch" becomes
an issue is if there is an incident of some sort. Then, it may or may
not be deemed a contributing factor once you get to court. So, not
being personally on deck at all times looking in a 360 degree arc
isn't automatically a "violation" of anything. Even big commercial
ships don't always have someone constantly scanning a 360 degree arc
visually. "Keeping a proper watch" is open to interpretation.
I could contend that it is impossible for any vessel of any size with
any number of crew to maintain a proper watch unless they monitor
RADAR 24/7 in addition to any other measures they may take. Can
someone in a 12 foot rowboat or a 600 foot tanker keep a proper watch
in the rain, dark, or fog without RADAR? Looking all around with
binoculars when visibility is 100 feet? I'm frequently in situations
where I can't even see the bow of my own boat.
There are other things that may be part of keeping a watch. Listening
to VHF radio is just one.
It's absolutely not just about eyeballs. There are certainly special
challenges for single handing, but the big one, really, is getting
enough rest. Once you become exhausted, you won't be keeping a proper
watch of any description, and you will be far more likely to make
mistakes large and small.
On 1/14/2010 11:09 AM, email@example.com wrote:
I'm hardly a sailor, since I've never crewed on anything larger than a
Beneteau 34 - and have only talked with relatively small numbers of
people about marine radar, GPS systems, autopilots and nav systems,
sensor equipment, and sail automation...
...and I'd welcome the wisdom of an experienced sailor like yourself in
an explanation of why it's such a silly thing to say.
=============================She has a Fleming (One of her sponsors) mechanical servo autopilot
(See servo control mounted on stern).
It is wind powered.
Electrical autopilots are just not reliable for open ocean sailing.
Hand steering a boat for extended periods is simply out of the
Autopilots are better than thought. GPS has really made them functional.
And they are used for periods of sleep and rest. They can be checked up on
from time to time - and if an off course line is taken, soon it is turned back
either automatically or manually when time permits.
When I was on-island mid pacific - the island was 1.5 miles long 500 yards wide
and 6 feet tall over mean high tide.
Missing it was easy.
An engineer stationed there was a blue water sailer and so was his wife.
When his tour was over - she brought the sailboat from California to
the date line and equator by her self. This was in the mid 60's.
So GPS wasn't there - LORAN was.
Lew Hodgett wrote:
Trusting electrical devices in the open ocean is akin to signing your
own death warrant.
Sea water, salt air and electrical devices are at best, a mixed
There isn't a whole lot of tolerance involved.
Wind vanes OTOH, do an excellent job, don't drink beer or electrical
power, and don't plug up the head.
Just a few of the reasons Jessica has a Fleming wind vane.
Another might be Kevin Fleming, designer of her windvane is also an
Had a good friend with a Mariner 40, a definite blue water ketch boat,
equipped with a honking big autopilot, a medium size battery bank, and
a big alternator.
I tried to warn him he needed an alternate, but he way career navy,
and had the answers.
Left L/A in 1998, headed for OZ and the 2000 Olympics.
Took a green wave over the bow, on the first leg of the trip headed
for Cabo, fouled out the alternator and spent 30 days bobbing around
before managing to hobble into Cabo where the crew abandoned ship.
(No electricity, no engine either, thus a no wind area got them.)
Never got to OZ.
Spent far to many years in the electrical business not to realize is
has rather limited reliable applications on a small boat.
Electric autopilots for day sailing is one thing, offshore is quite
First, many boats will steer themselves for long periods without any kind of
autopilot. Second, wind-vane autopilots are nothing new--they were
commercially available in the '60s. Third, modern electronic autopilots
have been used successfully on many circumnavigations.
As for navigation, celestial worked fine for the Royal Navy in the late
1700s and for the US Navy in WWII. Loran and GPS and the rest are nice but
one does not _need_ them. Joshua Slocum circumnavigated using dead
reckoning and no autopilot. Someone attempting a nonstop circumnavigation,
in any case, does not need to find places, just avoid them.
On Fri, 15 Jan 2010 00:40:14 -0500, the infamous "J. Clarke"
Average resolution for GPS is six feet. What's the average resolution
for celestial navigation, 1/2 to 1 minute? Both usable, point to GPS.
While we're here, HF has solid brass alidades for $26. now we can
navigate our big backyards! And their solid brass sextants are
$19.99, including a detailed 2-page product manual! Trust 'em? <vbg>
The greatest fine art of the future will be the making
of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.
On Thu, 14 Jan 2010 11:05:32 -0600, the infamous Morris Dovey
Oh, yeah, most definitely. Nobody steers their own ship any more.
I remember the time a friend's dad took us down to Ensenada, B.C.
Mexico in their 40' concrete-hulled fishing boat. The trip down was
nice and we did some fishing. The bluefin and dorada (IIRC) were
running and we were using 5-gal buckets of gory, bloody chum and
something strung on a long trolling line. Anyway, they were coming
right up to the boat and we were hauling them in every couple of
seconds with unbarbed hooks. What a total hoot that was. I caught a
nice little bonita and was happy. Everyone else said "Ewww!", but I
preferred bonita to albacore at the time. We rode the autopilot down
the coast and the weather was great, the seas smooth. After 2 days
down there, we cruised out of Ensenada harbor and hit the really rough
waves. What the hell? They were coming at a bad angle for heading
north, so we headed out a couple miles. As soon as we got out there,
we could hear the small craft warnings from San Diego. There was a
large hurricane coming up Baja. We started heading for the States and
were riding these peaks and troughs. I went up and found her dad at
the helm. It was 26 or 28' over the water. What a difference that made
in the rocking motion from the deck! The peaks were over our heads,
even at that height. He told me not to worry, that both he and the
crew member were ex-Merchant Mariners and had plenty of time in rough
seas under their belts. Then he told me that the rough water had
broken the auto-pilot, that the crew member was attempting a fix. He
ended up manually steering all the way back. We all started thinking
about the concrete hull and the 2 miles to swim in those seas if
anything happened, and unsoiled shorts were not to be found anywhere
on the boat. It took something like 6 hours to get back. It sure felt
nice to pull into San Diego harbor's nice, calm waters.
The next ship I was on was the wooden-hulled Pilgrim. She pulled into
Oceanside Harbor and was offering working 3-hour cruises for $20. I
didn't even know she was going to be there so I jumped at the chance.
We got to hoist the sails (that's work, guys!) and climb some of the
rigging once we were at sea (a mile out.) Even in light seas, you're
really moving around on that rigging. I imagine the crew in the crow's
nest got extremely tired during their watches. You can do 12' circles
in mild seas! If you ever get the chance to go on a sailing ship,
_jump_ at it! You won't forget it. Remember, with Global Warming, we
may not see much free, liquid water in the future. It may all be ice!
What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of
having a patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one's
ease or vanity, of uniting a love of detail to foresight, and
of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully.
-- Charles Victor Cherbuliez
Ah yes, sailing "uphill" from Ensenada or even Cabo, can be a very
They start the sailing season here on the left coast with the
"Ensenada" race in late April.
The race starts in L/A and finishes in Ensenada with some serious
When it comes time to return, many captains hire an "uphill crew" to
bring the boat back to L/A.
Maybe, but a couple of days out takes care of that.
If you start from Cabo, it's almost worth sailing to Hawaii then back
to the left coast just to avoid that uphill climb.
As of 01/21/10, she as passed the Falklands and is headed for the Horn
of Africa per her blog.
Even in these isolated waters word of the events in Haiti have reached
her as well as getting a flyover from an RAF pilot who is probably
based in the Falklands.
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