The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Always Have A Way To Rest

There is so much about this story (originally reported in Cruising Compass but no longer available) that worries me that it is hard to know where to start: A single-handed sailor abandoned his boat because he was totally exhausted from three days of hand steering, not because there was anything wrong with the boat.

“On May 8th, I left Little Creek, Norfolk en route to Scotland. The wind and general conditions were much stronger than expected. So for the next three days, I stayed at the helm. No water, no food and no sleep! After three days I called my wife on the satellite phone and was hallucinating, seeing things that were not there. From my conversation with my wife she determined that I was in trouble and called the U.S. Coast Guard.”

The key take away is that when going to sea, particularly short-handed, you must have a tried and proven way to leave the boat safely to herself in heavy weather while you rest.

See our heavy weather series for how we have rigged and equipped Morgan’s Cloud to make sure that we can always take a break.

Please leave a comment on any system that you have used successfully to take a break at sea.

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