ColRegs when sailing single handed

By in Navigation, Preparation | 1 comment

ColRegs when sailing single handed - get Safe Skipper Boat Insurance

ColRegs when sailing single handed

 

Don’t neglect the Colregs when sailing single handed

Sailing single-handed represents several challenges for skippers, not least how to manage sleep, keep watch at all times, and avoid breaching IRPCS Colregs Rule 5.

If you can’t keep a look out whilst sleeping, you’re technically in breach of Rule 5 of the ColRegs which states that ‘Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as by hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.’

Colregs Rule 5 is the critical rule

The RYA says: ‘This is the most important Rule. If it is not observed, the rest of the Rules might as well not exist’. The danger of breaching Rule 5 of the Colregs is why the RYA has a policy of not endorsing single-handed races.

However, in reality the single handed skipper must sleep a bit and typically manage sleep according to surroundings.

Tips for sailing singlehanded on long distances include:

  1. Setting a course further offshore, where there are fewer boats, fewer nets, lobster pots and bits of drift wood.
  2. Sizing up the density of the traffic around you. In the middle of the ocean, you can allow yourself to rest with a lower level of risk, especially if you have (see below) a working radar with an alarm.
  3. Keeping your eyes open at all times when you’re crossing a shipping lane, or a fishing area.
  4. Fitting electronic aids but not relying on them too heavily:
  • Radar target alarms and active radar target enhancers (such as Activ’Echo or Sea-Me) will help make your yacht appear larger on another vessel’s radar display.
  • Fitting an AIS unit (now a requirement in the Vendee Globe Sailing Instructions) and ensuring it is switched on (which is specified in the Barcelona World Race SIs).

The safest course of action is not to rely too heavily on electronic aids; they must not become crutches and must not supplant the skipper’s instincts.

For those training to be single handed sailors a good tip is to practise going below during short afternoon excursions, and to spend 5 minutes performing specific tasks like checking charts, making coffee and practising knots.

Safe Skipper nautical apps will help you learn and implement IRPCS Colregs, but for tips, techniques and tactics on single handed sailing you can download the 180 page ebook for free from The Single Handed Sailing Society. The ebook is packed with practical tips and advice on sleep (including “Polyphasic Sleep” for single handed sailors), and it has a whole chapter called “See and be seen”, which deals with the single handed sailing /ColRegs controversy as well as the correct use of electronic aids.

What are your personal tips for on single handed sailing over long distances?

 

    1 Comment

  1. Did some testing with sleeping before sailing long distances. Before going to sleep I checked surroundings and made notes of course, wind, speed position, etc. Then went to sleep for an hour. To be absolutely sure that I will wake up, I used my audio equipment and phone. During the trip I kept the phone on alarm for every hour. So when I wanted to sleep or just fell a sleep, I was certain I would wake up.
    To my surprise I got more than enough sleep and was in good shape after 5 days.
    I always had the luck, the weather did not interfere with this schedule. My greatest concern is to be forced to stay awake for a long time.
    A good thing is to keep away from the shore for at least 100 nm and, if possible, sleep outside.
    With a crew member I had no good experiences. This is because you can not go to sleep when you want to and the audio system will wake up everyone.

    Roel

    02/04/2018

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

468 ad