Single handed or not?

Alpha22

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I have a dilemma.....

I have a venerable Freeman 32, I regularly single hand her on the river. Manual locks, moorings ect, no problem. I am under 50 and strong, fit(ish) and agile.

Over the last 6 years I have taken her and her predecessor a Freeman 30 to sea. Leaving the Gt Ouse at Kings Lynn and round to Wells next to Sea. In low wind conditions this is a jolly and simple trip. I have always taken at least one other person as crew. We generally have to kill an hour or two waiting for the tide and anchor in a bay just short of Wells. Dingy ashore and make sand castles.

This summer my regular crew is unavailable and no one else I know has the time/holidays/inclination to come with me. I have a modest level of experience, Day Skipper, Ocean Youth Club, Sea Scout... lots of own boat experience. I feel able to make the right judgements regarding weather etc. and not put myself in danger. The boat is suitably equipped with VHF, AIS, Flares, Lifejackets, plotter, paper charts.......

Would it be considered foolhardy to single hand the trip from Kings Lynn to Wells and then on to Gt Yarmouth? I have a number of "what ifs".... fall and bang head, fall overboard, unable to raise anchor..........

OR

Should I man up and get on with it???
 

lionelz

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I thinks its a personal judgement. I for one would never go out on my own just as i feel if for whatever ever reason something happended at least there is someone who can take control of the boat. But then again people sail around the world on their own regularly so i think it is up to you and how confident you feel
 

Flynnbarr

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Don't bang your head it hurts,don't fall in its cold,carry a makita battery grinder.

Sorted,Enjoy,you'll love it:)
 

Tranona

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From what you say you can do all the difficult things such as parking the boat by yourself. The bits in between parking are the easy bits and provided you plan well and don't take chances with the weather there is little to go wrong. When you arrive at the other end, not only will you feel very satisfied, but you will also wonder why you were worried about it. I have been sailing single handed for over 30 years. The first time was a bit of a challenge, but after that pushed the boundaries a bit each time until I got to the limit of my comfort zone. Best trip of all was Poole Cherbourg and back over a weekend in a slow old long keel sailing boat.

So give it a go if conditions are suitable.
 

wonky

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For me it's all about mitigation. You (or another road user) could have a heart attack at the wheel tomorrow. That wouldn't stop you (or them) driving solo. So surely it's the same on a boat, by the sound of it you take safety seriously which is all you can do. Go for it.

Or just stay in, but it's not necessarily safer!
 

[2068]

...
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My incompetant crew brought her expired passport to the ferry terminal, and I ended up single handing from Belgium back to Hayling Island a few years ago in the S28.

It was a mini-adventure, but with a PLB and portable VHF in pockets, and good mobile reception most of the way, it wasn't as scary as first imagined.
 

Greg2

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No reason why not as long as you take sensible precautions. Obvious ones are check the weather forecast and only go in settled conditions, wear a life jacket, have a shore contact who knows you passage plan and timings, avoid any 'over the side operations... i.e. probably avoid the anchoring and going ashore in the tender. These are some of the factors advised by the MCA for single handed ops on coded boats to mitigate risk.....common sense really.

Lots of sailors go to sea single handed so no reason not to in a mobo. The bottom line is your level of competence/confidence and only you can answer that but it sounds as though it is well within your capabilities :)
 

Jurgen

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As has been said already it's personal choice, you certainly have the experience to do it.

Some of my favourite memories are of taking our S37 out on my own.
 

Robert Wilson

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For me it's all about mitigation. You (or another road user) could have a heart attack at the wheel tomorrow. That wouldn't stop you (or them) driving solo. So surely it's the same on a boat, by the sound of it you take safety seriously which is all you can do. Go for it.

Or just stay in, but it's not necessarily safer!

+1 A sensible way of looking at it.

I sail solo, nearly all of the time. As you may know, I have just completed a solo UK circumnavigation. I prepared as well as I could before hand, I took great heed of forecasts and gleaned advice from local people before setting-off each day about local conditions. My boat was well founded and equipped.
But it was a big "ask" and I was aware that I was putting myself at "some risk" and that a problem of which I could not handle may arise. Among other problems along the way I got caught by the mainsheet in an accidental gybe and broke a rib in my back - could have been a lot worse, but it wasn't.
I walked solo from Ft. William to Cape Wrath some years ago. I "filed a route" with the police - but I could still have had a heart attack, or fallen in a bog.

That's life, and I haven't regretted for one minute "pushing my envelope".

So I say "be prepared as well as possible, go for it - and enjoy yourself and the rosy glow after you complete it".

Anyone who can navigate and enter/exit Wells-next-the-sea is veritably a Master Mariner !!!;)
 

Alpha22

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Thanks for the positive encouragement.... I would only go with a favourable weather forecast..... its a 32 foot Freeman, anything above a force 4 gets very entertaining!!!! Slow down a bit to avoid having to anchor... thus probably not even needing to go on deck at all. Fenders could be the only issue.....

Anyone who can navigate and enter/exit Wells-next-the-sea is veritably a Master Mariner !!!
Wells is a doddle, Kings Lynn up to the non-tidal Gt Ouse is the big challenge.
 

wonky

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Of course another major advantage of single handed passages is that you can sing badly as loud as you want!
 

fisherman

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I work single handed, a bit older than you. 32 ft 15 tons FV. It's a matter of having strict rules, routines and equipment to minimise risk.
 

Momac

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I have just returned from Wells Next the Sea having travelled there and back via the Humber. Not single handed but I am not convinced there would be any enhanced risk by doing so.

The weather was good but the sea was rather uncomfortable and lumpy having not settled down from wind the day before we travelled. I didn't learn my lesson and did much the same both ways - not so bad on the return leg ! A slow boat taking a route close to the Norfolk coast would probably have been less troubled.

I had studied the entrance to Wells in advance and had visited there by car. The route in was therefore not a great surprise. Stick to the reds was the general advice . I did notice my chart plotter had us aground so I assume the channel is liable to change.


.
 

Alpha22

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The entrance to Wells is notorious, but if you follow the simple rules it is easy. I have done it a number of times at various states of tide and even in the dark... As long as you are prepared for the zig zag course and stick close to the reds you cannot go too far wrong. At high tide it is possible to go straight in once past the mouth!!!
In the dark, you ignore all the unlit buoys and just aim directly at the lit reds..... it works like a dream, just watch for a bit of drift if there is any incoming tide still flowing... it helps to look behind occasionally!!!

I may have secured a crew, but not confirmed. If the wind is favourable I'm fairly confident I can do it alone.

Would it be considered rude to arrive without fenders rigged, assuming the boat already rafted has sufficient?? That is the only reason I can see for having to go on deck.....
 

Plum

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Hello Alpha22, you have had lots of encouragement to go single-handed. The fact that you asked the question in the first place suggests you are the type that takes sensible precautions and plans well, which is all it takes! You may be surprised by the number of people who go solo on short coastal passages all the time. You will not be the rirst. I regularly sail single-handed in both sail and motorboat. Do let us know how you get on.

Colin. solocoastalsailing.co.uk
 

Alpha22

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Well... just to conclude this .....

I did it!! No problems.... quite enjoyable..... its all about the prep.

I took a sea sick pill..... and fell asleep for a moment at the wheel...... made a coffee.... felt lots better....

In the end I did anchor up for a few hours kip...... the sea was quite calm and safe..... always clipped on though!!!!
 

Momac

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Well done.
I didn't take a sea sick pill but we had some aboard .
The North sea was lumpy in our case - couldn't possibly have had any kip.
 

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