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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    481

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Make sure you have an insurance company that allow multi-day single handed sailing and talk to them about what you are planning to do. "Y" have a time limit of 18 hours (there are times I can't get from Plymouth to Roscoff in that time). Another issue I found was most insurance companies limit you to 12 miles offshore unless "on passage"; crossing Lyme Bay is OK as long as you are heading from Dartmouth to Portland, but just going to look at the Channel Light Vessel is not, unless you have an agreed limit, e.g. 40 miles offshore.[/QUOTE]

    Agree - I do a fair bit of Singlehanding and in many respects find it easier, but despite being pretty experienced have struggled with insurers and their limits. It's very hard to get cover for longer durations, despite pointing out I have Cockpit mounted chartplotter, AIS, and an RTE. My insurer's eventually agreed to cover me for xchannel but there were time limits imposed. I now make a habit of telling them when I have made a trip SH, overnight etc and therefore giving them the opportunity to object after the event. May not help me in the event of a claim but makes me feel better ;-)

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,474

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ross84 View Post
    So as a few of you probably won't remember, I've been around these forums asking various newbie questions. I've been doing a period of CPD (don't ask!) but soon I've got some time off from work and will do a fast-track course, hopefully buying some sort of 29ft sailing boat early next year. I'd like to live on it, but also, go sailing!

    My first plan would be to sail it back to the north-west solo, and then next summer do a circumnavigation of Ireland and maybe go back around the UK. I'd have six weeks off work. I've read a lot of stories about solo circumnavigations because ultimately that's my goal.

    That said, what would it be like sailing a yacht, say from Hamble to North Wales solo? Do solo sailors just set the course and go to sleep or must stay up all night? Or with plenty of time, might the solo sailor put in 12 hours a day and find an anchorage to call it a day? Can you anchor at sea?

    Thanks for the advice!!!
    Your problem on that passage will be the scarcity of places to stop and rest. You can't "anchor at sea" - in most places, the water will be too deep to anchor just a couple of hundred yards out from the shore - often much less. Many sailing boats will pretty much take care of themselves for quite long periods of time if you "heave to" which is a particular way of pointing it into the wind and setting the sails - but they will still drift with the current and trying to sleep "heaved to" close to shore is likely to be an unfortunate experience.

    That Cornish and Welsh coast is short of friendly bays and harbours where you can safely moor up for the night. You will need to do some very careful passage planning to ensure that you can arrive at your next stopping place within your personal endurance limits. Your 29 foot boat will be doing well to average 5 knots - if you think that you can manage 18 hours without sleep and still be safely in control of the boat, you will be covering somewhere between 50 and 100 miles (optimistically) per day. It certainly can be done, but an inexperienced sailor can easily overestimate the speed of their boat and their endurance and find themselves exhausted, in the dark and a long way from the next safe place to stop!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Devon, England
    Posts
    2,559

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    I agree with all that has been said.
    Maybe set up your boat in year 1 and do local trips. Practice year 2 with multi-day hops up and down the coast. Then year 3 go further if you are happy with your skills and your boat.
    And sail with others as much as you can, on your boat or theirs.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,589

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by chriss999 View Post
    I agree with all that has been said.
    Maybe set up your boat in year 1 and do local trips. Practice year 2 with multi-day hops up and down the coast. Then year 3 go further if you are happy with your skills and your boat.
    And sail with others as much as you can, on your boat or theirs.
    I’m not sure I would be that cautious but you just need to be ready to fix things as you go.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    I pretty much single hand most of the time I am sailing. The longest passages that I do during the summer tend to be around the 100 mile mark, so about 20 hours of actual sea time, but if it's a west coast of Scotland trip, or an Irish Sea trip, I usually try to work the tides and anchor when the tide is foul, so that gives a 6 hour rest.

    I did recently buy a new boat and did the delivery trip at a weekend, with the necessity to be back for work on the Monday. I have never felt so exhausted in a long time. It was 160 miles non stop and took 30 hours. I was fighting the need to sleep from about 18 hours into the passage, and it's not something I would like to do again. So I can understand the insurers' 18 hour limit. Do not underestimate fatigue and the need for rest. Sailing is mentally tiring.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,508

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    For single hand sailing, you will require additional experience and exposure; also, the boat has to be geared up for singlehanded. Each trip has to be planned in more detail and always have a plan "B" and think of the "what if" scenario. Additional personal safety electronics may be needed and always remember that you are on your own. Need to know your own capabilities and limitations. Long distance single hand sailing is demanding but rewarding. Enjoy and stay safe.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Brighton
    Posts
    5,039

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ross84 View Post
    I've got some time off from work and will do a fast-track course
    If you mean a fast-track yachtmaster course save your questions. After 4 months of being immersed in it you'll probably be able to answer a lot of your own questions and have a few different ones to ask.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    2,124

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Realistically a sailing course without prior experience of sailing isn't going to prep you enough for sailing a new and unproven boat from the Hamble to N Wales. Much of single handed sailing is about knowing your boat. As others have said that really comes into play when parking it!

    So can you single hand to N Wales. Yes certainly and people do that sort of thing no problem. Will you have all the experience of tides, your boat and weather needed... probably not. I would try and get assistance for that first passage and then consider single handing later.

    You can do day sails most of the way to N Wales but going around Lands End you may which to overnight. In that case you can take 20 minutes naps which it is safe.... i.e. when not in a shipping lane, other vessels are not nearby, when your off shore and when you're happy your autopilot is reliable. 20 min naps is the normal time which means you don't enter deep sleep and usually gives you time to avoid something.

    An AIS transponder with a CPA alarm is a must for me when sailing singlehanded.

    When I bought my boat in Falmouth and took it back to Bristol, which looked fine and passed the sea trial, loads went wrong.... I wouldn't have wanted to deal with all those things while single handed. To name but a few.... engine oil leak as someone didn't fit the filter correctly. Boom vang snapped, Fuel leak.. etc
    Last edited by northcave; 12-09-19 at 20:40.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    A Member State of the European Union
    Posts
    6,404

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevie69p View Post
    I pretty much single hand most of the time I am sailing. The longest passages that I do during the summer tend to be around the 100 mile mark, so about 20 hours of actual sea time, but if it's a west coast of Scotland trip, or an Irish Sea trip, I usually try to work the tides and anchor when the tide is foul, so that gives a 6 hour rest.

    I did recently buy a new boat and did the delivery trip at a weekend, with the necessity to be back for work on the Monday. I have never felt so exhausted in a long time. It was 160 miles non stop and took 30 hours. I was fighting the need to sleep from about 18 hours into the passage, and it's not something I would like to do again. So I can understand the insurers' 18 hour limit. Do not underestimate fatigue and the need for rest. Sailing is mentally tiring.
    I remember doing a single-handed trip like that. I was so tired I stood up and leaned on the companionway hatch to try and keep awake but even then I kept nodding off. When I got to Yarmouth I had just enough energy to secure to a buoy and then I slept for ten glorious hours!
    "Brexit: like watching a library being burned down by people who can't read"

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Solo cruising - am I being realistic?

    Learn to sail, complete a few passages with someone maybe with a little more experience than yourself, then you will better understand the problems and difficulties of single handed sailing in busy coastal waters around the UK. I don't want to pour cold water on your ambition but please take the time to get some experience first.
    In answer to your question about anchoring at sea, no you don't anchor at sea normally, you may heave too and take a rest but not in the busy coastal waters of UK. It may be possible to find shelter along the coast and tuck in somewhere and anchor for a few hours in depths where you have enough rode to effectively anchor.

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