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One person operation of 50-100 ft yacht?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by David.L, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    I agree, with single engine, keel and windage of a GB, then a bow thruster is great, but, still better to learn to handle the boat without a BT. Lets face it, years ago the skippers, including you no doubt, never had the luxury of a BT and you made do without it.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    My views on the use of bow thrusters is well documented on YF, but there are times and boats where I do recommend it.
  3. GFC

    GFC Senior Member

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    David,

    When I moved up from a 33' to the current 55' my insurance company required that I spend enough time with a licensed captain that he would sign off on my ability to safely/carefully handle the new boat. Once he did that I was on my own and have had no problems. (Not that a 55'er is a huge boat, but it was a decent step up from the 33'er.)

    Our locks on the Snake and Columbia Rivers have a much higher lift that what you'll be facing (average around 100') but they do have the floating bollards. That makes locking through quite simple. I do it with a single line from a mid-ship cleat to the bollard. The biggest challenge in single-handing the boat would be getting from the bridge or flybridge out to the side walkway to get tied up to the bollard before the boat drifts or is blown away from the bollard.

    If there's no wind blowing it probably wouldn't be a problem. My wife and I brought our boat 220 miles up the Columbia, passing through 4 locks, by ourselves. If there is any wind blowing you definitely will have a tough time doing it by yourself.

    My suggestion is if you're planning on moving the boat from one location to another through locks, recruit a deckhand or two for that journey.

    Three of us brought a 48' boat up the Columbia with the new owner. Two could easily have done it, but it would have been very difficult for one person.
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    "The biggest challenge in single-handing the boat would be getting from the bridge or flybridge out to the side walkway to get tied up to the bollard before the boat drifts or is blown away from the bollard."

    this is why layout is more important than size. boats with pilothouse are a lot easier to single hand compared to FB boats. i'll take a 70 Hatteras anyday over a 40' flybridge only boat.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Not sure if it was on this thread, but someone had mentioned flying solo. For those who think it's safe, this came across the news today:
    By Jan Lopatka

    PRAGUE — A Czech Airlines plane made an emergency landing in Prague on Wednesday after the captain collapsed and died in mid-flight, the company said.

    The ATR propeller aircraft on a regular flight from Warsaw to Prague with 46 passengers on board, landed under the control of the co-pilot and no one was injured.

    "Safety of passengers was not threatened. The landing was conducted without complications by the second pilot," the airline said in a statement.

    "Unfortunately the life of the captain could not be saved," the statement said. Czech Airlines is the state-owned Czech national carrier."

    Probably wouldn't be as potentially catastrophic with a boat, but still, these thing do happen.
  6. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    Also happens in cars.... but I also agree that being alone in a boat should be an exception and not a rule...
  7. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Let s lobby the FAA to ban single pilot operations... Darn those greedy commuter airlines who operate single pilot flights. :)

    And every car should have a double pedals

    And every electric appliance should have a label warning about using in the bath tub..

    Oh wait, they do already, boy do I feel safer!
  8. kkreicker1

    kkreicker1 Senior Member

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    WELL most boats are a Luxury if you ask me. But I love being out on the water. ;)
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    If you normally use the gears to maneuver you'll add throttle when wind or current kicks up. If you normally use throttle you'll use more and possibly thruster when they kick up. If you normally use thruster you'll use more when it kicks, and that's when it will fail leaving you to use fenders, lines and insurance policies because thrusters don't take hard use. That's natural progression. The less you depend on, the more you have in reserve.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Chris,
    You just made a very good point, and one which I never considered. Insurance settlements. Personally I don't believe that solo handling is a good practice, but that's a topic we've gone back and forth on and some minds won't be changed from a safety standpoint. In fact I myself have done more than a few solo moves for various reasons even though I don't like it. However, I could see an insurance company assigning additional liability to a captain or an owner, in the event of an incident, for not having a 2nd on board. They're definitely looking to reduce their own liability these days. Anyone from the insurance business on here that might want to chime in with an educated viewpoint on this?
  11. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Unless an insurance policy specifically sets a minimum crew, or unless there is serious rule breaking and negligence (incl not maintaining watch) I don't see how a claim could be rejected.

    Occasionaly I have been operating my own boats solo for 30 years from 12' to 53', sail and power, and don't intend on not going out boating just because I m alone that day

    Professionaly, on the boats I run, I discuss the trip requirements with owner and the crew decision is made based on the boat, trip and weather. Obviously if there are charter guests on board, there is at least one extra crew for safety purposes.

    I feel safer running my boat alone than driving on an interstate.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I don't expect anyone here to change their ways, but there are other people here learning. When Chrismol mentioned it my mind went to thinking of a situation like with the cap that was thrown overboard last year by Pt. St. Lucie. If in a situation where damage is caused by a runaway boat due to the cap's incapacity I wonder what an insurance company's position might be these days. I don't think either of us work for insurance companies so it would behoove us all to be educated about this. I don't have the answer, but I'd like to know.
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Yep, has nothing to do with size! I m more likely to get thrown over board from my 12' catboat than from the skylounge of the 70 I run :)
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    What happened to Chrismol's post?:confused:
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah well, try putting out a fire in an engine room while in a crowded harbor by yourself on a 70'. Not a good scenario.

    My theory is safety is paramount, and if the owner cannot afford the price of a mate on a 70' yacht, and I feel I need one, I'm not running the boat single handed, and would not run a boat over about a 40' express single handed (and that would only be inshore).

    A run-away 12' Cat boat has virtually no threat of injuring other people's lives or property. A run-away 70' MY has the ability to do lots of both.

    Just last week I had a carbon fiber jackshaft come apart on a new 36' express with pods....(with 80 hours on the engines)...for no apparant reason. Anything can and will happen when you least expect it.
  16. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    How the heck does a boat run away unless the operator leaves the helm and goes on deck while the boat is in gear??

    Mechanical failures happen indeed, but if you loose an engine a mate isn't going to replace it in close quarter by pushing the boat, is he? Either you can make it to a dock on one engine or you re smart enough to recognize the conditions (wind current layout) make it risky and you get a tow...
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If you get thrown overboard

    " I m more likely to get thrown over board from my 12' catboat than from the skylounge of the 70 I run "
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Well I think we can both agree that someone would have to be REALLY stupid to leave the helm while in gear... Get in Neutral and You won't get thrown overboard.
  19. 42hatteras

    42hatteras New Member

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    After reading all of these posts I would like to share my thoughts on this as well. Like Pascal I have and do move boats large and small alone with some regularity. With 34 round trips from CT to FL logged over the years and 50 years of experience,I guess can claim a little saltwater under my topsiders.

    I get a tremendous satisfaction operating a vessel of any size alone and not just for the transit,but for the planning and skill it takes to both get off the dock and safely back onto a dock without damage. When transiting as Pascal says, whenever I leave the helm the gears are in neutral.Fire is always a captain's worst fear and because of that I never run any generator underway if I am alone on the boat. Any refrigerator or freezer worth it's salt will hold food for 12 hours and running alone I am going to tie up at a marina for the night anyway.Running alone requires a lot of self discipline,planning and an extra careful check of the engine room before leaving,but I see no reason not to do it if weather conditions are fair.
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Our years of experience are about equal (I've got a few more and you've got a few more transits), and my opinion is different. We're not in this business to prove what we can do. We're in it to care for vessels to the best of our ability. That said I'm sure we've all moved boats solo, and this is a debate that could go on and on and nobody's mind will be changed. I'd really like to hear the opinion of an insurance company. If a captain on a 70' vessel chose to run solo, tripped on a cleat while setting lines and went overboard and the boat then drifted into other boats causing damage. Or worse, the captain became incapacitated while running and the boat ran over swimmers with nobody at the helm. What would an insurance company's position be on liability? Any insurance claims people on here?