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Old 17-07-2015, 14:24   #1
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Sleeping offshore

I have problems adjusting to a sleep schedule offshore -- especially when it's my boat. Does anyone have any tricks to share?
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Old 17-07-2015, 15:37   #2
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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I have problems adjusting to a sleep schedule offshore -- especially when it's my boat. Does anyone have any tricks to share?
It has been a while since I did any long, offshore passages so don't know how I would react today, but back then I did sleep lightly when off watch and would wake at the slightest odd sound, wind shift or whatever but more so at night.

I would try to make up by napping whenever possible during the day.

Of course when close to land, choke points with a lot of traffic, near any kind of hazard then captain was always on duty, even when off watch.
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Old 17-07-2015, 15:42   #3
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Re: Sleeping offshore

Hello.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice, with the intent to help with a different POV. My questions are simply to clarify the matter of discussion.
________

You don't mention if you are alone or with crew (family or strangers or friends).

Or how long offshore or where or what season.

Or if it is a delivery, race, or casual cruise.

Or if something bad or worrisome happened some time while you were offshore (e.g. storm, damage, close call with a large ship).

I think those things can matter.

Because you mentioned "especially when it is my boat" that leads me to ask: Why is it "especially" when it is your boat? Is it simply because you are the captain and responsible for everything that happens on your boat? Or is it something else (e.g. an uncomfortable mattress and berth)?
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Old 17-07-2015, 15:59   #4
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Re: Sleeping offshore

4 of 7 years of full time cruising, I sailed solo, and found the best piece of gear for sleeping while under, was a spring wound kitchen timer.
Look around for traffic, set timer for 20 minutes, and go below and sleep.
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Old 17-07-2015, 16:08   #5
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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4 of 7 years of full time cruising, I sailed solo, and found the best piece of gear for sleeping while under, was a spring wound kitchen timer.
Look around for traffic, set timer for 20 minutes, and go below and sleep.
Ouch! I see health problems in your future.

I like a nice 10 hour sleep especially after I do my 3 mile run, pullups, and pushups a couple times a week. Then I like to ride 20 miles or so on my bike whenever possible.

My thinking is if we live, play, and sleep like we did when we were young we will be more healthy.

When I start the consistent offshore sailing I'm thinking heave too with AIS and radar until I figure it out.

Most times when I was 15 miles or so offshore racing beach cats there wasn't any boat traffic to see except us racers.

Like the book says, it's much harder to be a coastal cruiser with the traffic and whatnot.

Much safer to be offshore.
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Old 17-07-2015, 16:22   #6
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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I have problems adjusting to a sleep schedule offshore -- especially when it's my boat. Does anyone have any tricks to share?
I'm not sure this would qualify as a trick for you, but I'll tell you what I do. First off, it is all linked to our watch schedule, which is a loose 6 on 6 off in the day, and more formal 6 and 6 through the dark. This means I have to have my first off watch at 1800. Now, it is often still light, and hard to go to sleep then, so I take melatonin, 1 mg., and if I can't find the 1 mg ones, I'll take 1/2 of a 3 mg one. It helps me fall back asleep when I rouse, and I awaken "naturally", without feeling drowsy, as one might with dramamine or benadryl. After 3 days, I'm fine. It does take the whole 3 days for me, though. Always discontinue use after 3 or 4 days. One can become habituated to melatonin.

I also wedge myself with pillows, if need be, so my body feels "safe."

In addition, during this period, I will use Stugeron (cinnarizine HCl) against seasickness. For me, there are no side effects on this regime.

Also, trusting your crew will help you to sleep on your offwatch. The crew, of course, has to earn that trust, so for the first little bit, I would expect to have to wake up for every little thing, till you know they're keeping watch or handling the sails effectively, or , or, or...... There really is an adjustment from land based life to being on an ocean passage, trust yourself to accomplish it easily, it's one of the areas where positive thinking helps.

Ann
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Old 17-07-2015, 17:11   #7
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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I also wedge myself with pillows, if need be, so my body feels "safe."
This also helps me a lot. For me the big benefit is to minimize the rolling and sliding.
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Old 17-07-2015, 19:01   #8
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Re: Sleeping offshore

1) Earplugs. They help a lot.

2) A crew you can trust. I tell mine to wake me *whenever* there is something that might need my attention, or that they aren't 100% comfortable with. That's my job. Knowing they will get my attention lets me sleep and not worry so much.

3) After a few days you will be so tired that you can fall asleep standing on your head. You probably won't need the earplugs. The trick is to manage your fatigue.

4) After a week you will have adjusted to the schedule and situation. If you are shorthanded you will still be somewhat fatigued, but it will be under control.
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Old 17-07-2015, 19:43   #9
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Re: Sleeping offshore

Spent around 50 years at sea, about 25 of them as a delivery skipper and found that as a youngster, I could easily handle 25-30 hours at the wheel without relief except pee breaks and black coffee. As I aged, it was difficult to stand a 12 hour watch so any deliveries over around 100 nm I had a crew member and we stood 4+4 or 6+6 depending ontrafficand sea conditions. Phil
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Old 17-07-2015, 19:45   #10
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Re: Sleeping offshore

You need to experiment with a watch schedule that works for you. There are lots to choose from. Most do 4 or 5 hour watches but I like this one which is somewhat unusual:

Captain - On call 24 hours. I do all navigation. On deck for any sail change. I lie down for five-six hours at night and three hours in the day. If I sleep, fine. After a few days, I do.

Crew - eight hours on and eight hours off. Evening group meal is at 5PM. Watch change at 6PM providing 6PM-2AM sleep or 2AM-10AM sleep. Each crew's "sleep" watch changes daily.
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Old 17-07-2015, 19:52   #11
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Re: Sleeping offshore

Many ocean crossers have difficulty sleeping early in the passage, for me it tends to be he first night and whilst not a 'trick', when watching weather forecasts for planned departure date/time, I will look for light and settled weather on night two; I'm not gong o sleep well on night one irrespective, but if night two's then a rough'n'bumpy one that precludes sleep, I'll be feeling dog-rough and knackered by day three.

I find 36 -72 hour passages are the worst; less than that and you can get by with limited sleep and beyond it you get into the 'rhythm' of the passage and can sleep through most any conditions.

Of course if it's more of a confidence issue in trusting to the crew, then just sleep when it's your own watch, the crew will all be asleep so they won't disturb you and you know for sure that there's someone trustworthy and competent in charge
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Old 17-07-2015, 20:21   #12
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
I have problems adjusting to a sleep schedule offshore -- especially when it's my boat. Does anyone have any tricks to share?
Yeah.... Work.

Seriously. You can't run/jog a few miles when underway but you CAN work on the boat. Placard near our companionway states: "There's ALWAYS something to do on a boat."

So do it. When you hit port almost all of the maintenance requirements will be up to date and you'll enjoy shore leave all the more because of it.

Meanwhile, between ports, you'll fall asleep when you hit the sack.
{Proviso: It REALLY helps if the crew is trustworthy.}

Edit: Try polishing the bright work in a three-metre seaway and 20-something knots of wind and you'll get the point.
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Old 17-07-2015, 21:16   #13
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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I have problems adjusting to a sleep schedule offshore -- especially when it's my boat. Does anyone have any tricks to share?
When my wife and I sail overnight, we work in with our natural preferences. I tend to be "early to bed early to rise" while she likes staying up late.

So generally I'll go to bed early, she'll stay on watch until she's had enough, usually around 2 am, when she'll wake me up.

We both seem to sleep well, and get plenty of sleep that way.

Of course if anything needs doing that will necessitate someone leaving the cockpit, we'll both be on watch.
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Old 18-07-2015, 05:23   #14
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Hello.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice, with the intent to help with a different POV. My questions are simply to clarify the matter of discussion.
________

You don't mention if you are alone or with crew (family or strangers or friends).

Or how long offshore or where or what season.

Or if it is a delivery, race, or casual cruise.

Or if something bad or worrisome happened some time while you were offshore (e.g. storm, damage, close call with a large ship).

I think those things can matter.

Because you mentioned "especially when it is my boat" that leads me to ask: Why is it "especially" when it is your boat? Is it simply because you are the captain and responsible for everything that happens on your boat? Or is it something else (e.g. an uncomfortable mattress and berth)?
Well, those things would matter in a discussion of when and whether to sleep, but as others have intuited from my brief request for advice, it doesn't have much relevance on how to fall sleep, which was my question.

-- offshore means offshore, which is to say away from the coast and shipping choke-points, although as I say, that's not really germane to my question. In any case, it's a generalization.

-- perhaps I should have clarified with crew (it would have been relevant otherwise to mention single-handed, as that would be out of the norm).

-- the difficulty with it being "especially my boat" is precisely as you mention, so that seems to have been pretty well implied.

-- this is "cruisersforum" -- so you might safely (and correctly) assume that I'm a cruiser.
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Old 18-07-2015, 05:25   #15
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Re: Sleeping offshore

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Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
Many ocean crossers have difficulty sleeping early in the passage, for me it tends to be he first night and whilst not a 'trick', when watching weather forecasts for planned departure date/time, I will look for light and settled weather on night two; I'm not gong o sleep well on night one irrespective, but if night two's then a rough'n'bumpy one that precludes sleep, I'll be feeling dog-rough and knackered by day three.

I find 36 -72 hour passages are the worst; less than that and you can get by with limited sleep and beyond it you get into the 'rhythm' of the passage and can sleep through most any conditions.

Of course if it's more of a confidence issue in trusting to the crew, then just sleep when it's your own watch, the crew will all be asleep so they won't disturb you and you know for sure that there's someone trustworthy and competent in charge
Lol. Thanks for the advice.
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