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Old 12-02-2010, 18:34   #16
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To emphasize Jackdale:
Quote:
Night vision - it takes about 20 minutes to get accustomed to the dark. Use red lights to mitigate against vision issues.
This can't be overstated imo. Make sure to install a few red lights if you've not already.
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Old 12-02-2010, 18:58   #17
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Some very solid advice above, which I have no wish to reiterate.

Just stressing, particularly for your first trip (hopefully in moonlight):

[1] Keep the route far simpler than you might by day. Stand off far more from hazards. Plan to close the coast after dawn, or heave to until dawn, if you possibly can. You get much better ability to confirm position in the daylight, and the brain is functioning better.

[2] Plan the route in advance, and get all waypoints in plotters (if used) and marked on charts. Have bail out options & routes pre-planned, with waypoints marked on charts.

Everything is slower and error prone at 3 a.m. So do it when you are wide awake!

Enjoy.
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Old 12-02-2010, 19:06   #18
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When I first went night sailing, I was scared.

I don't particularly like night sailing in restricted waters where I have a lot of navigating to to do and where a period of inattention could create a disaster.

Sailing at night offshore is awesome. With shortened sail, and a glance around the horizon every ten minutes, I find it relaxing and something that I look forward to doing.

The one thing that I am sure to do before sunset is to put one or two reefs in the mainsail so that I don't have to do it in the dark if the wind comes up. This is particularly important if the seas are rough. The only time I have ever gotten seasick was trying to raise a mainsail in the dark in chaotic seas.

Here is why I feel that night sailing rocks:

OFFSHORE MULTIHULLS - TEN REASONS WHY NIGHT SAILING ROCKS.* CAPTAIN DAVE.
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Old 12-02-2010, 19:59   #19
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The good thing about racing at night is that you can see the upwind boats taking knockdowns when the lightning flashes. Very cool!

Just kidding, mostly. We enjoy night sailing but entering a new harbor at night is something to be avoided if it is not very well marked.

Plan well and have fun.
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Old 12-02-2010, 21:12   #20
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Night Passage on Moreton Bay

We have done one night passage along the back of Moreton Is. We departed the Northwest end of Moreton at 1:30AM and were escorted by a coastguard vessel through the channels to Tangalooma wrecks. We picked up a mooring there until morning.

The northwestern end of the island has very narrow channels that constantly move. The coastguard skipper was very cautious and only navigated successfully using a very powerful spotlight. Once out into the main channel we were able to pick up speed, but otherwise it was slow going.

Our boat draws 1.9 mtrs which I believe is going to be quite restrictive on Moreton Bay. Have you done much around the bay? what areas do you recommend?
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Old 13-02-2010, 01:23   #21
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Fraid not is in moreton bay (qld Australia) in Summer - there is no fog and there wont be a need for much additional clothing if any or thermos .

Depending on where you are going (i.e. southern or northern end, it can get very very very confusing at night. Have an up to date copy of Beacon to Beacon, and count off the markers - particularly anywhere south of Coochiemudlo/Russell.

Where are you actually intending to go Fraid Not?
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Old 13-02-2010, 05:21   #22
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Hi guys - this was a great read and I'm glad I posted on this topic. On the one hand the cautious approach I had in mind has ben reinforced - but after reading all the good ideas I'm comfortable to get into it now. I will wait a bit and make sure I have the jackstays, harnesses and PFD lights fitted first - the kids are teen and crew so must do the best for them. I think I'll do the Manly to Sandhills run first - I think the Sandhills is a pretty safe and wide open place to night anchor for the first time.
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Old 13-02-2010, 12:07   #23
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Originally Posted by NW Craig View Post
I would ditto what Hud and jackdale said above. We always take off on Friday night from Seattle to the San Juans every summer and it's one of the best legs of the trip, almost magical in someways especially if it's a clear night.

craig in the windy, rainy NW this weekend
I know that route well. Seems a bit risky with all the floatsom in the water. It's difficult enough during daytime to avoid it all. It was some years ago a large crewed sailboat was returning from I believe it was a Trans Pac. They were pressed for time being a party was being thrown for them in Seattle the next day so the decided to run at night. It was just off Port Angeles in the straight of Juan de Fuca the vessle struck a dead head. A half hour later she was on the bottom claiming David Burch's calibrated barometer he had lent the navigator. The crew was saved being they sunk close to Coast Guard Group Port Angeles. There are times you have to travel at night and times you don't. To me it's just not worth the risk in these Pacific NW waters with so many well protected anchorages avaiable.
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Old 13-02-2010, 15:13   #24
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We used to sail day and night as a normal cruising practice.

This is not a problem at all, and as already said, may be easier in some condition.

Sailing at night meaning reduced visibility and, therefore, deteriorated safety condition, all the safety measures must be enhanced accordingly:

MOB: the main rule is that, as soon you are on the deck you must have your safety harness on and duly tie to the boat...including when your are at the helm station or at watch, not only when you are dealing with sails at the foredeck...

Watches: they must be organize in a way to not be too long...neither too short (people off watch must have time enough to get a rest).

The watch must be permanent...do not forget to look...behind!

The skipper is 100% available during all the night.

He must be on deck everytime it is necessary (tacking, sail change, help or question asked...).

If he is inside having some rest or chart plotting, the first rule for the ones on deck, is that they must aboslutely call the skipper anytime they see something new, weird or that they have a doubt about the environment or a close boat...

Lighting: red is the color, white lighting must be used only inside and shaded from outside people'eyes...by people do do not have to go outside in the next minutes.

So, if you are inside to make coffee and intend to bring it outside to the watch, use red light inside.

If the companionway is open, do not light white light inside, close the hatch before.

Before departure, consider that the boat will be in sleeping mode, therefore prepare and organise the night period accordingly:

Meals and sandwiches must be ready before departure.
Snacks must be in the cockpit, ready and at hand's reach.
Coffee, tea, soup (hot) in thermos bottle outside as well.
Cold drinks and water.

Some written instructions and infos at helstation can be usefull as well.
Wheather forecast schedule and frequency and VHF ready (an outside VHF is a good point).
Have some flash lights and floodlight in the cockpit (check the batteries)

Switch on the navigation lights before everybody (off watch) has gone sleeping.

Have you engine ready to be started immediately, just in case...

Avoid going in and out each minutes, speaking loudly or making more than necessary noise.

Sail setting: unless the weather forecast is very reliable, some people find safe to not have the maximum sail area set for a night crossing but prefer having a reef or a slightly reduced foresail to have a smoother ride or being ahead any weather change.

Doing so, they avoid some physical (and potentially dangerous) job at the foredeck in the night.

Personnal equipment for the watch: life harness and tether line, flashlight, if possible a PMR, whistle and PLB.

The PMR is a very good mean to communicate betwen inside and outside the boat, specially on large boats between the skipper (if inside) and the watch.
It avoid to scream and shout to call for help.

In case of MOB, the MOB with PMR can direct the boat and help for his location.

Navigation: The best is to prepare all your navigation before for all the night period.
Prepare and check also for backup solution: possible harbour and mooring location other than the destination...security coordinates and numbers.
Another good point is to look for easy landmarks and landing point, clear, obvious, large that can be identify without any doubt (main powerful lighthouse in the area for example).

In case you see a boat, immediately make sure you have understood her route and heading, then assess if a collision is possible...if you are not sure, go away !

The best way to evaluate the situation is to be able to identify quickly other boats navigation lights...binoculars can help greatly and good navigation light knowledge as well of course.

Stop to monitor the boat only when you are sure that she is going away from you and that you are safe.

One good point at night, and provide the area has a good navigation aids network with many lighthouses and buoys, is that it is easier to find your location when visibility is OK.

When you arrive in a harbour, go very slowly and make sure you have well identify the surroundings, cities and harbour full of numerous lights onshore are usually confusing.

In such condition, somebody with a powerfull floodlight ahead, can be of a great help to detect dark and low breakwater, pontoon, buoys with no light at your arrival.

Be sure you are not tired before you go, stay warm and alert...and enjoy.

Night navigation is 50% of navigation after all...
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Old 13-02-2010, 15:41   #25
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Originally Posted by FraidNot View Post
Hi guys - this was a great read and I'm glad I posted on this topic. On the one hand the cautious approach I had in mind has ben reinforced - but after reading all the good ideas I'm comfortable to get into it now. I will wait a bit and make sure I have the jackstays, harnesses and PFD lights fitted first - the kids are teen and crew so must do the best for them. I think I'll do the Manly to Sandhills run first - I think the Sandhills is a pretty safe and wide open place to night anchor for the first time.
Good choice. Nice and easy navigation and looking away from the city and the anchorage does not require absolute precision. Waking up at the sand hills is also a bonus as is looking back at the city. Make sure there is some east in the overnight winds so the anchorage is calm and it will be great
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Old 13-02-2010, 15:52   #26
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Quote:
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Night sailing...cautious yes...weary no...with planing and care you will join other sailors who have added another dimension
to their sailing. Just a few items, all may not be applicable to
your location or conditions on your overnight passage.
You and your crew(if any?) Must be well rested.
Make sure crew knows the importance of maintaining night vision, not only you.
If you are plotting a popular route buoy to buoy, I offset route
some especially in less than ideal conditions, others may have
plotted that exact route.
Never use only one reference, use all available to you gps,
radar, depth contours, again especially in less than ideal conditions.
Lay out warm clothes/foulweather before hand.
Have flashlight(red) spotlight,handheld radio, snacks drinks
paper charts all handy.
Will there be only one standing watch at a time? Require
certain entries/checks be done and entered in log...plot progress
on paper chart, check bilge, scan horizon...no I,m not capt bligh, this will keep the watch(including you) more alert and time will pass faster in the wee hours...oh and some upbeat rocknroll music, if all else fails. And don't pee over the lee rail. And if your comfortable put up those sails, you will never feel more alive!
Excellent advice, just one clarification.
Don't pee over the windward rail either.

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Old 14-02-2010, 01:14   #27
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Thanks for the clarification Hampus, my oversight!
Another oversight, if uncertain, don't hesititate to
pull over to the side of the road and stop! Check charts
and whatever else needed before proceeding!
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Old 14-02-2010, 04:19   #28
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Rain can make sailing at night more difficult ,especialy if you where glasses
regards Jim
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Old 14-02-2010, 05:53   #29
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And to wake up the tardy off watch crew a game of kick the blocks gets them moving.
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Old 14-02-2010, 07:29   #30
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glasses in the rain

Go for contacts. If you do not want or cannot wear them, get Uvex or similar plain panoramics - you can wipe them easily while your optic glasses remain dry underneath.

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