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Old 08-20-2015, 06:12 PM   #1
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Head breaks while single-handed

What's your practice when needing to go to the head while alone underway on the boat? I normally turn the throttle to idle (resulting in a three-knot speed) for the one minute necessary to do the thing. Only do this when the conditions seem safe (no boats nearby and so on). This maintains steerage way while under autopilot. If autopilot is off, shifting to neutral.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:20 PM   #2
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Never needed to do it on the trawler because someone else would take the helm fora few minutes. On my center console though, always stopped and in neutral. My nightmare would be to fall overboard and watch the boat idle away in gear.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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Fortunately, I remain in the boat's interior moving between helm and head so there's no possibility of falling overboard.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:28 PM   #4
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If radar, AIS and visual give me an all-clear for 6+nm, and if I don't see anyone beyond that bearing down on me, I do # 1. #2 is much requires a much more complicated analysis.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:33 PM   #5
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When running alone I'm at the lower station. Head is only 4' away and down 3 steps. I check surroundings and shift to neutral. Look out portlight while doing my thing.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:36 PM   #6
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Did you know that almost every commercial fisherman that goes overboard when they are retrieved their fly is down. The moral of the story: Stop the boat if you are alone. No matter how 'easy' you think it is, once you lose your balance you are compromised in getting back aboard.

I asked an engineer I worked with why he peed in the scuppers all the time instead of over the side. He stated he had seen someone go over the side while relieving himself. He stayed away from the edge as far as possible.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:38 PM   #7
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I hate edges, but I don't want to pollute the boat with my waste.

Starting on a four-hour voyage single-handed to the boatyard:

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Old 08-20-2015, 06:43 PM   #8
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An empty orange juice jug, with a skull and crossbones painted on it so no one takes a swig.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:51 PM   #9
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Real sailors wear bags.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:20 PM   #10
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:21 PM   #11
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Depends...
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
Depends...
I'm serious!
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:24 PM   #13
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Another solution.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

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Old 08-20-2015, 09:34 PM   #14
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Larry, that really fits with your signature...

"I'd rather be happy than dignified".
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:42 PM   #15
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There are plenty of reasons to leave the helm while underway.


Any of them aren't really good enough to not have a watch....BUT....common sense dictates. Traffic, room, speed, autopilot...etc...etc all allow some leniency in the lookout policy in my mind.


Hit something and it never sounds like a great reason to leave the helm.


Having a suitable container nearby in case timing isn't great isn't a bad idea.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:51 PM   #16
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Your risk of hitting something submerged isn't any greater than when you are cruising at night. If radar and a 360 scan is clear I don't worry about it.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
I'm serious!
You've been on my boat. You know how close my lower helm is to the galley sink!
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giggitoni View Post
You've been on my boat. You know how close my lower helm is to the galley sink!
Ugh! That's what railroad dining-car staff did when there were no dormitory accommodations: sleep on the tables and piss in the sinks.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:51 PM   #19
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Use an empty wide mouth Maxwell House or Folgers plastic coffee can. It has a nice handle on the side. You can't miss and can dump it overboard or in the head at your convenience. Not so useful on the fly bridge.
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Old 08-20-2015, 10:58 PM   #20
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When in confined waters and uneasy about ducking below to the head, a plastic orange juice jug, like Tropicana's "carafe" style works fine for #1. Otherwise, steer out of the fairway, and shift to neutral while going below. For a four-hour single-handed run in narrow / heavily trafficked waters, I would try to plan my dietary intake so that more leisurely excursions to the head could wait.

Leaving the helm unattended while underway to go out on deck is dangerous. It's another of the stupid things I now realize that I didn't deserve to get away with, but once upon a time did anyway. Never again!
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