Here at mid Gulf Stream, I was just radio challenged by a large Cost Guard vessel. I answered all their questions and was told to standby, after a short time they said thank you for your cooperation and wished me a good and safe sail. Homeland Defense!
Yesterday I said I'd answer some questions that I'm frequently asked, so here goes.
The term singlehanding is a good place to start; the description will address most of the questions. The term generally means sailing alone without assistance but I think it more refers to a woman or man who makes long ocean passages alone. A short or long passage -alone - is the key word.
They have to deal with all the same things fully crewed skippers deal with like: weather, navigation, partially submerged containers, sleeping whales, malfunctions, ships who may not see your vessel, anxiety, fear and the like, but there are differences.
The big one is sleep, followed by the law.
Many singelhanders cross the Atlantic on 25 foot sailboats without engines, wow. You know they need to sleep; it can take 20 days or more. Ya can't anchor in 3000' of water so they break the law.
The law, rule 5 of the international regulations for preventing collisions at sea, COLREGS for short requires every vessel; shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by site and hearing and it goes on from there.
They begin with self-confidence, experience, a lot of knowledge, (hopefully) fear, anxiety, knowing that no insurance company will cover them in what might be there home. Here's what they do.
Collision with a ship is the big one so they may buy a fuzz buster at Radio Shack that detects a radar sweep from other vessels. They may also set up their radar to alert for new targets. I met a singelhander, an Englishman at Gibraltar who painted his boat the brightest yellow I've every seen, to be seen, he said. They sleep in fifteen minute to half hour increments with one or more obnoxious alarm clocks to wake them and hope for the best.
I often single hand but it's done in legs of about 100 miles where I know I can safely anchor or go into a port and dock, get some sleep then start the next leg.
I enjoyed a video of a young Australian girl name Kay Cotty who broke a singlehand world record; she went around the world alone. During her preparations she was advised to visit with a Ship's Doctor to learn how to deal with loneliness'. He said a lot but the fun part was to tell her she would hear human voices and that it was perfectly ok to talk to them but- never invite them aboard!
I'm getting into a heavy shipping lane so I need to go post a proper watch, if I missed something your interested in send me an email.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: