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Old 10-11-2009, 21:01   #1
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Mid-Atlantic Sailing

As a future (hopeful) cruiser, I have to ask at least one, seemingly moronic question. If a two person crew (husband wife) was crossing a large body of water, an Ocean for instance, that requires an extensive amount of time to cross, how do you go about navigating when you are sleeping?

Is it safe to leave the controls? Or is sleeping while moving akin to taking a shower while driving an RV? Clearly the ocean is much larger than a highway, and you are less likely to collide with another vessel, but what is the protocol in such a situation. Thanks.

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Old 11-11-2009, 01:02   #2
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They are called watches, one sleeps, the other sails. Navigation on a long passage is not a big time consumer till you get near the hard stuff at the edges, cooking is more fun.


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Old 14-11-2009, 04:02   #3
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Someone has to be on watch all the time, otherwise survival is pure luck. One couple I know who did that trip used an egg timer that rang every 15 minutes to remind the person on watch to get up and look around, especially astern. Saved them twice.
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Old 14-11-2009, 04:30   #4
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I love some newbee questions. I never know if the person is serious or not!

Is it safe to leave the controls? Or is sleeping while moving akin to taking a shower while driving an RV?
I like the RV annalogy!

yes, a modern boat is like an RV. The Cruise Control also has a guidence computer.

So on a long haul you just set the computer and sit back and watch the scenry.

The person who is on watch has (for us) a 20 minute timer. They do their watch and make sure the navigation is correct - currents or wind changes may stuff things up. But also there is plenty of time to make coffee, a meal, read a book etc. We just make sure we pop the head up every 20 minutes.

On some of our longer passages we have not seen another vessel for 2 weeks!

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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