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Old 04-12-2019, 06:36 PM   #21
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Interesting question. I think there are many factors, but a complete ban seems overly strict to me I find I'm able to check texts, get wind/tide/Google maps, plan stops, etc with minimal distraction while underway and it's a useful tool. In that context no more distracting than the MFD. But I have self-imposed rules against reading anything long or writing or playing games while underway, because I know that I'm not very good at multitasking.

There are similar debates in many areas. People are walking into traffic while staring at their phones. Distracted driving is a big cause of fatalities. But chugging along at 8 knots in open water is not usually something that requires razor-sharp attention :-)
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:15 PM   #22
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Here's one thing to consider. I have been on multiple night runs where it is pitch black out. You can't see anything. And I mean nothing. There could be a brick wall in front of you and you wouldn't know until you hit it. In that situation you are operating solely on radar, and faith that the ocean is reasonable clear of debris. It's a calculated risk. I think this helps put a pee break, or use of a phone in perspective when there isn't traffic or other active maneuvering required.

What I very much object to is taking a nap while at the helm. That's not stepping away, or looking away for 1-2 minutes. A lot can happen during a nap. This in turn rules out single handed operation longer than one can reasonably stay alert. I think all these single handed races and other distance feats should be scorned, not celebrated.
Given what you've described, why not set your radar and AIS alarm on those pitch black nights and grab a nap? I mean that as a serious question. What additional risk does that introduce? If you have systems that you trust and you're in open water why not sit on the couch and read a book for half an hour at a time?

I'm planning to do a couple of 300 mile solo sailing races on the Great Lakes this summer. These events get a dozen or more competitors. I think most veterans are more concerned about going overboard than hitting something while sleeping. There are various sleep management schemes but you've got to sleep over the 2-3 days they typically take.

I understand there's a difference between a 3 ton sailboat and a 40 ton power boat. I'm not too worried about sinking someone else with my 31' boat. And I think I can manage risk with good instrumentation and alarm systems and regular napping.

Sorry to drag the thread off topic, but I've been thinking lots about this lately. I don't think it's hugely irresponsible. Not trying to celebrate this activity, but don't think it ranks particularly high in terms or risk, particularly to others.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:21 PM   #23
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Anyone who has been behind another car at traffic lights waiting for the driver to stop messaging or get off Farcebook after the lights go from red to green,knows there is a problem. Usually requires use of the horn.
Same goes for people head down screen watching, walking head on into other pedestrians.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:22 PM   #24
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Geez!! Such seriousness!

When on watch I read books, or occasionally watch a movie on my ipad. Often times I am visiting one of the several great forums I frequent.

At 8 knots you will flat die of boredom if all you do is stare at the ocean and your nav system.
Kevin, I bet after you put the hook down, you have a single-malt scotch to relax?
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:40 PM   #25
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Might it make sense to limit use of cell phones in places like the ICW, where there is often traffic, and the channel can be narrow and shallow, while allowing them in the ocean? I have sometimes listened to a book on tape with one AirPod while crossing an uncrowded open area.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:12 PM   #26
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Heck, get 25 or 30 miles off shore and going away, the problem takes care of itself.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:34 AM   #27
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Kevin, I bet after you put the hook down, you have a single-malt scotch to relax?
Sometimes A nice scottish ale or good stout is also nice!
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:19 AM   #28
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Mostly depends on the person....focusing on experience, training and discipline.


Some people can't multitask at any time doing anything, others are impressive.


Know thy crew..... then figure out works for them.... not rules just because there is "risk".


If you believe in monitoring every risk, you would have a live engineroom watch and someone roaming too.... which I feel is almost as important as looking ahead. Plenty of ships crews with multiple sets of eyes miss stuff all the time or make bad judgement calls despite the sighting info...but more boats I know get into serious trouble from what happens below decks.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:02 AM   #29
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At 8 knots you will flat die of boredom if all you do is stare at the ocean and your nav system.
Agreed. You can't let yourself get so head-down into your cell phone, book, tablet, whatever that you fail to actually keep a watch. But it is entirely possible to do a good job of watch-keeping while still doing these other things.


Indeed, as you imply with your comment about dying of boredom, I think a reasonable distraction can actually keep you MORE alert on a long, boring watch. It's a matter of balance (as with so many things).
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:40 AM   #30
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The only distraction I would allow is music at low volume; no headphones or earbuds. One night crossing on a friend's boat the person on watch had a kindle and music w/ headphones. He never noticed the port engine oil pressure gauge dropped to zero (blown oil hose) until a very loud banging noise ($24,000.00) woke everyone up.
In our area of the Gulf, Louisiana waters, there is as much boat activity at night as there is during daylight. Oilfield supply vessels, 100s of shrimp boats and a huge fleet of sportfishing boats can be found along the coast to over 75 miles offshore running at night, not to mention all the oilfield structures lit and unlit. A quality Radar at night becomes the co-captain of your ship....along with a good vhf.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:26 PM   #31
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I am surprised at the amount of people who mentioned boredom, although I have sometimes found the same problem on slow boats. A book on tape in one ear might do the trick, but I agree with Ragin Cajun that a crowded waterway at night is no place for additional distractions. In traffic,one is much less likely to get bored.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:41 PM   #32
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So I guess many of you guys pretty much disrespect the solo around the world sailors who actually go to bed and have a good nights sleep every 24 hours.

Crossing to the Bahamas, in the Far Bahamas, using the cell phone browser responsibly is NOT an issue. And for anyone who says it is - they haven't been here.

Have at it!
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Old 04-16-2019, 01:22 PM   #33
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So I guess many of you guys pretty much disrespect the solo around the world sailors who actually go to bed and have a good nights sleep every 24 hours.

Have at it!
I think most would tell you they rarely have a "good nights sleep" :-). The modern boats regularly do 400 nm days. The 24 hour record is over 500 nm. That's freaking fast. So they're napping regularly for an hour or two.

As I said earlier, I don't think that presents much of a risk to others.

I'd say the bigger question is about undertaking high-risk activities voluntarily and how much public effort may be involved in mounting a rescue operation. Lots of controversy there. Should we just ignore them when they get into trouble in the Southern Ocean?

Getting back to sleeping, I know of a few cases where solo sailors have hit land, but can't think of a case when they've done harm to another boat or person. So I have a hard time disrespecting that.

Solo cruisers are extremely responsible in my experience, slowing down or heaving to, and setting appropriate electronic guards and alarms. They are harmless to others.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:44 PM   #34
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Given what you've described, why not set your radar and AIS alarm on those pitch black nights and grab a nap? I mean that as a serious question. What additional risk does that introduce? If you have systems that you trust and you're in open water why not sit on the couch and read a book for half an hour at a time?

.
Not everyone has AIS, most don't.
Not everything is picked up by radar.
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:16 PM   #35
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Not everyone has AIS, most don't.
Not everything is picked up by radar.
Coastal cruising at night is hard. I hit a 20 something foot panga at about 4:15 one morning off of the Guatemalan coast with Hobo. Two guys sleeping in their boat, the nets were out and no lights. Radar didn’t help, I was switching between 3 and 6 miles plus I was awake. Nothing gets your attention quicker than two boats getting tangled up. I (we) got lucky with a glancing blow into the paravanes with no real damage to either boat. After a few “Todo bien(s)”, we continued south. I’d didn’t need anymore coffee on that watch.

That being said, when we crossed the Pacific, once we left the shipping lanes on the west coast, we saw 2 boats in 24 days. I used a kitchen timer at night set for 20 minutes to do a walk/look around and radar scan when on watch. I read a lot and didn’t worry or we never would have done the trip.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:08 PM   #36
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Like many things in life, what is appropriate for this time and place may not be for a different set of circumstances.
Hard and fast rules are generally for the inexperienced.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:51 PM   #37
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six point three knots works for me. occasionally increase to a maximum of 7.3 when needed. in my often-crowded waters, such speeds allow one to communicate by phone or radio in most situations. don't know how that works when one goes a lot faster.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:43 AM   #38
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six point three knots works for me. occasionally increase to a maximum of 7.3 when needed. in my often-crowded waters, such speeds allow one to communicate by phone or radio in most situations. don't know how that works when one goes a lot faster.
Wrong thread?
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:48 AM   #39
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Anyone who has been behind another car at traffic lights waiting for the driver to stop messaging or get off Farcebook after the lights go from red to green,knows there is a problem. Usually requires use of the horn.
Same goes for people head down screen watching, walking head on into other pedestrians.
Two days ago I went aground after about a 30 second loss of attention. I think I was fiddling around with a plotter screen. I was in a channel and the 30 MPH wind drove me out of the channel. I tried to recover but it was too late. I spent five hours waiting for the tides to come in. Ultimately, I had to call Towboat US because every time I floated free the wind and current just drove me against the shoal again. It would have been impossible to get out without help.

Open water, very wide channels, I'm okay with diversions. Anything else, stay off the phone.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:36 AM   #40
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Tow boat?
Come to the rest of the world that doesn't have tow boat and your skills would have to improve markedly or wallet drained dry.

I'd imagine any sort of tow here would cost several thousands of dollars for a largish vessel if there was a boat anywhere nearby that could do it.
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