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How tiring is single-handed sailing?

Wansworth

Well-known member
Joined
8 May 2003
Messages
15,853
Location
SPAIN,Galicia
In open water under normal conditions I would never bother to heave to, it's a waste of passage time. There's a lot to be said for it in heavy weather for a rest, or for a lunch stop on a day sail.
Waste of what,your at sea,that’s why you have a boat,there is no need to make smart passagesno one is timing you,taking a few hours to rest up seems a seaman like thing to do
 

doug748

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2002
Messages
9,718
Location
Plymouth
Getting ready to berth is always a pain. Going into a marina and not knowing what to expect for me means having a line rigged on both bow , midships and stern cleats As well as a lasso line if the potential of getting blown off. I prefer to berth stern to as the French pontoons are so short so six lines & fenders both sides takes a while to set up.
Yes, I find day sailing ok, you know where you are going and what to do when you get back. It's often quite small scale.

But, as you suggest, coastal passage making is more wearing. Going into a strange spot getting out the lines, 8 fenders, tying up, making food clearing away, having a thought about tomorrow's target, washing, walking to the harbourmasters office, falling into a bunk, getting up early, finding fuel water or food, rubbing your face, making breakfast, looking at the weather, clearing away, having a shave, getting a shower, taking off, getting those lines and fenders away, a full days sailing and then repeat.
Poor weather can be a relief.

.
 

dunedin

Well-known member
Joined
3 Feb 2004
Messages
6,410
Location
Boat (now back in) the Clyde
Waste of what,your at sea,that’s why you have a boat,there is no need to make smart passagesno one is timing you,taking a few hours to rest up seems a seaman like thing to do
Many / most modern boats don’t heave too particularly well, and conversely unlike the “good old days”, an autopilot will hold a course very well. So often better to simply slow down on A/P than heave to.
 

LONG_KEELER

Well-known member
Joined
21 Jul 2009
Messages
2,237
Location
East Coast
It's so much better now. Next to no sail changing, lines back to the cockpit if you want, forecasts mostly whenever you want them, not having to go ashore for the telephone. Makes it more possible to single hand later in life.
 

FlyingGoose

Well-known member
Joined
12 Feb 2019
Messages
3,594
Location
The Known Universe
I have specific medical issues one being energy management, I sail with my wife who is great but I do need to take my turn and sail handling is to much for her, I find that if you feel cold it is to late , always keep warm , I always eat food often to keep the energy levels up and I have orange lucozade that gives me the energy bursts , which can give you a dump down , so be careful, do not use the energy drinks . After that it is important to get to anchor not to late so you can have a hot meal and get a good sleep, face mask helps if the sun can come in . Just my thoughts on 7 years of energy management.

Also if the body is asking for rest listen to it , it is better to manage it over a length of time rather than boom or bust
 

blackbeard

Active member
Joined
17 May 2003
Messages
1,001
Location
Hampshire
Thanks to all for some very helpful comments. It's good to know that it's not just me!

The boat is very good to me, it doesn't demand much in the way of muscular effort, and the jib is self-tacking of course. Anchoring is a bit of a pain since by anchor is a 10 kg Britany on 8mm chain which is possibly a bit OTT for a 25-footer and is a big brute to get past the jib furler and pulpit, on the other hand the boat tends to stay where put. The really awkward thing is the dinghy which needs extracting from the forepeak and then inflating which is a pain since it's bigger than the cockpit at 2.65 m. Must get a smaller lighter one! But in general, there is no obvious reason for physical, as opposed to mental, tiredness.

Biggest cause of mental stress - arriving or leaving a pontoon mooring. One of several reasons for preferring the anchor. Avoiding crab/lobster pot markers is a continual worry, avoiding one clearly marked is easy but after a while it feels like walking through a minefield. On the other hand, I like fresh crab sandwiches.

The autopilot is quite an ancient one (Raytheon, about 2000 vintage) and in a lively sea is noticeably less effective than hand steering. I don't know if a more modern one would be more effective. In light conditions it's fine.

I'm an active 5k runner, but my general physical fitness seems to be rubbish when I get to land. I can only assume that sailing is more physically demanding than one might expect, perhaps it's moving about on something which itself is moving and I have to keep my balance. This might also explain why I tend to lose weight when sailing despite having a locker full of food within arm's reach. I remember once enjoying a rather generous meal which was easy-cook rice and a tin of something, having satisfied my hunger I glanced at the packet the rice came in, it said ".....serves 4".

But I don't need to worry about shaving.
 

Habebty

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
3,599
Location
Norfolk/Suffolk
For me it depends on the weather/wind strength. F3-4 16 hour trips are easy. F5 -6 depending on the sea state and point of sailing, 6-8 hours is what I plan for.
 

Boathook

Well-known member
Joined
5 Oct 2001
Messages
4,411
Location
Surrey & boat in Dorset. Both have pubs
I find single handed tiring in that you can't 'relax' until back a mooring or at anchor. Like blackbeard I tend to lose weight because of bracing against the constant boat movement and that everything I do on my cat seems to involve a climb. The autohelm does make it all possible and if it ever packs up the credit card will take a hammering !
 

GHA

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Joined
26 Jun 2013
Messages
11,018
Location
Hopefully somewhere warm
Coastal is really quite often just no fun solo and can be tiring, though having the boat set up with everything to hand helps a lot, checklists are great. Offshore for a week or so I sleep more than on land 😴
 

LadyInBed

Well-known member
Joined
2 Sep 2001
Messages
13,131
Location
Me - Zumerzet Boat - Wareham
The autopilot is quite an ancient one (Raytheon, about 2000 vintage) and in a lively sea is noticeably less effective than hand steering. I don't know if a more modern one would be more effective. In light conditions it's fine.
An over speced, reliable auto steering system is IMO the answer to stress free solo sailing. It is the crew that does what it is told and allows me to do other necessary jobs an sit back and relax and enjoy the trip.
Because autopilots are expensive people tend to fit the minimum spec for their boat. They work ok in moderate conditions but are totally inadequate in gusty conditions or running with a building sea up your chuff.
 

Buck Turgidson

Well-known member
Joined
10 Apr 2012
Messages
1,368
Location
Zürich
An over speced, reliable auto steering system is IMO the answer to stress free solo sailing. It is the crew that does what it is told and allows me to do other necessary jobs an sit back and relax and enjoy the trip.
Because autopilots are expensive people tend to fit the minimum spec for their boat. They work ok in moderate conditions but are totally inadequate in gusty conditions or running with a building sea up your chuff.
I'm working my way up the TP range due to exactly this! ;)
 

Concerto

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Joined
16 Jul 2014
Messages
2,616
Location
Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
Biggest cause of mental stress - arriving or leaving a pontoon mooring.
The first and last 100 yards of any journey is always the most dangerous and stressful part. For berthing in a marina (except in France) I use a line 3 times the length of the boat. One end is fixed at the bow and the other end at the stern. The rope is marked in the middle as fixed to the midship cleat to form 2 large loops. Each loop becomes a spring and breat rope and either loop can be grabbed as it is at the widest point of the hull. Give it a try and you will soon realise how useful those loops are to get the boat exactly where you want in the berth.
 

sgr143

Active member
Joined
26 Jul 2016
Messages
371
Location
Oxford & WicorMarine
I wear one of those heart-rate monitoring wristbands, and it's quite interesting what it records on sailing outings. The trace below is a typical one; a nice easy day out, just me and wife, poddling up from Wicor to the top of Southampton water and back. No hassles or alarums at any stage. Nonetheless, my heart-rate was a bit over 100bpm pretty much all of the time (annoyingly, the screenshot doesn't have a vertical scale, but it's about 60bpm when I was asleep and, as as you can see, about 120bpm at peak). The Garmin app therefore thought I'd burnt through about 3500kCal in the day. I asked various doctor friends about whether this was real energy burn or not, and the general opinion was "probably not, but that's quite a high heart-rate!"
1600001934747.png
 

pvb

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Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
40,949
Location
UK East Coast
For me it depends on the weather/wind strength. F3-4 16 hour trips are easy. F5 -6 depending on the sea state and point of sailing, 6-8 hours is what I plan for.
I'd agree with that, although my preference is for hops no longer than 12 hours.

It's worth noting, and I'm not sure whether it's been mentioned so far, that most insurance policies place a maximum 18 hour limit on singlehanding. Some are even more restrictive, banning singlehanding between sunset and sunrise - and these are the theoretical times, not when it actually gets dark.
 

LadyInBed

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Joined
2 Sep 2001
Messages
13,131
Location
Me - Zumerzet Boat - Wareham
It's worth noting, and I'm not sure whether it's been mentioned so far, that most insurance policies place a maximum 18 hour limit on singlehanding. Some are even more restrictive, banning singlehanding between sunset and sunrise - and these are the theoretical times, not when it actually gets dark.
 

Buck Turgidson

Well-known member
Joined
10 Apr 2012
Messages
1,368
Location
Zürich
I wear one of those heart-rate monitoring wristbands, and it's quite interesting what it records on sailing outings. The trace below is a typical one; a nice easy day out, just me and wife, poddling up from Wicor to the top of Southampton water and back. No hassles or alarums at any stage. Nonetheless, my heart-rate was a bit over 100bpm pretty much all of the time (annoyingly, the screenshot doesn't have a vertical scale, but it's about 60bpm when I was asleep and, as as you can see, about 120bpm at peak). The Garmin app therefore thought I'd burnt through about 3500kCal in the day. I asked various doctor friends about whether this was real energy burn or not, and the general opinion was "probably not, but that's quite a high heart-rate!"
View attachment 98672
For comparison this is a 40k bike ride:
Screenshot 2020-09-13 at 16.54.17.png
 

LadyInBed

Well-known member
Joined
2 Sep 2001
Messages
13,131
Location
Me - Zumerzet Boat - Wareham
When I changed my insurance away from Pants who gave unlimited solo time restrictions the company I changed to had an 18 hour clause. I queried it with them saying that there were no ports to pull into crossing Biscay and they said that it was ok provided I got some sleep in that period :giggle:
Not sure how #37&39 got split!
 
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