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Thread: Jacqueline report - long post

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    San Francisco Bay


    Also, Mike, I appreciate hearing your story. I supported Jan and others on the race deck and must say I became a bit sleep deprived myself. One of my tasks was to predict when finishers would enter the Golden Gate using the latest positions from the trackers, routing software and the latest weather and current forecasts. I predicted everyone but you within an hour or so. For you, I missed by more than 20 hours, probably because you were off the most direct course.

    The Whoo from s/vOwl

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Grace View Post
    We can and need to do a better job preparing solo sailors for the challenges they will face offshore. If it isn’t appropriate to have this discussion and express these views in an SSS forum, then you’re right. I am in the wrong group.
    To close the loop on this, the SSS is not a sailing school (and I know that's your frame of reference). Of course it's appropriate to discuss these challenges on this forum and for other skippers to consider organizing a seminar on these topics. But that's what it is: skippers helping other skippers, not skippers looking to an organization to "prepare" them to race singlehanded. There are schools for that but the only ones I know about are in Europe. That's not what we do.

    I agree our equipment requirements are excessive. In the past they were intentionally focused on the boat (not the skipper) so all boats would have at least a minimum level of safety equipment for racing solo offshore. A side benefit was that in the process of bringing their boats up to that level, skippers learned about electrical systems, communications, storm sails, etc. Skippers who just wrote checks and had all the upgrades done by others were rarely successful and didn't stick around the group.

    But we don't and can't objectively evaluate whether a skipper is adequately "prepared" to sail solo offshore. If our race requirements and seminars begin to focus on the skipper rather than the boat, we're in over our heads.
    Last edited by BobJ; 07-21-2015 at 09:13 AM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Montara, CA


    Mike, thank you very much for your story and lessons learned. Your insights and the other thread on sleep deprivation are invaluable to me as one of the newbies. In the year I have been a member, it has been a tremendous learning experience. I appreciate hearing these stories as well as the differences of opinions. The element of risk and being able to manage it is a huge part of my interest, but initially, I never intended to race single-hand; my interest was to manage my boat by myself and take friends out who might not know how to sail. The SHTP is now something I am striving to do. However, if the equipment and training requirements become too onerous or too rigid, I'd probably just go it alone trying to figure it out, and perhaps meeting with less success. There are many people out there who singlehand without the benefits of what the SSS provides.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Santa Barbara Sometimes



    Thanks for sharing your story. It was well written, candid and informative. Your tale clearly highlights some of the big challenges in long-distance solo sailing. And you and your yacht made it home safely, congratulations.

    I’m definitely on the side of personal responsibility, as much as practical… Whatever that means; as in so many things, there is a lot of grey area between too much guidance and too little. The SSS struggles to balance imposing requirements with personal responsibility. IMHO the SSS does a pretty god job. It should continue to be a bug light for weirdos and facilitate their waking dreams with races, seminars, this website, etc. But the SSS can’t and shouldn’t be responsible for individual choices above and beyond basic safety and equipment standards (which is a shifting target for many reasons including the relentless advance in available technologies). The major obstacle to moving from hardware requirements to personal requirements is that, unlike the common need for a sound vessel and basic communications (whatever that means), acceptable ways that individuals prepare and act during the race vary widely. For example, some sleep 8 hrs a day, others cat nap. Some have refrigeration, others don’t.

    For me, the most important part of preparing for the SHTP was doing a lot of single handing. Over several years before 2012 I worked from several hour-long trips, including stays at the SB channel islands, to non-stop overnighters and finally several continuous days at sea under sail. It took me three tries before I completed my own ‘latepac’ in 2012, but I learned a lot in the process, especially about how to manage my sleep and diet. In my case, my best habits under way turn out to be very different than my habits ashore. My SHTP prep kind of culminated in single handing from SB to SF (that was harder than the 2012 SHTP). But after all that, I learned a lot in 2012 and felt compelled to modify my sleep and diet regimes quite a lot for the 2014 race; which, except for a (self-inflicted) bum knee, was for the better compared to my 2012 experience. A key change that I learned the hard way in 2012 was to, rather than stick to a rigid schedule, adapt my sleep to the conditions:

    - During part 1, the inside a washing machine phase, I slept a lot (‘cowered in my bunk’ as Ken Roper so aptly described it). Very nice to be able to see instruments without having to move much. All I ate the 1st two days in 2014 was tea and honey.

    - Part 2, the transition from on to off-wind, pre-squall, pleasant part, is the easiest – I did more or less 2 hrs up, 2 hrs down.

    - Part 3, spinnaker up, squalls on is the trickiest…. I basically stayed up during squall hours (all night) and slept hard for a few hours late morning and then cat napped thru the day until it was time to repeat.

    My diet changed for the better too, but that’s another story. The result was I finished much better rested in 2014 than I did in 2012 even though I pushed the boat somewhat harder (of course the boat was better prepared too…).

    The bottom line is that I’m pretty confident that my experience is different than others, and that there are other effective ways to become comfortable single handing to HI. The key is to know thyself and your boat (whatever that means).


  5. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Charlotte, NC


    Mike, thanks for sharing this. Sleep planning is something I've been thinking about and is a top priority for me to figure out before I attempt the SHTP (hopefully in 2018). Sleeping / eating schedules are very important to everyone but as a type 2 diabetic it's something really important I get it right.

    People like you sharing your experiences really helps those like me learn!

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