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Old 12-11-2013, 10:53   #1
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How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

Is it necessary if you aren't doing off-shore passages? Do you need to avoid weather or storms that are forecasted and need to get an extra hundred miles away or so?

Is it because the wind is better or stronger at night? Or do you just want to get to your destination quicker and by traveling at nighttime, you are able to?

Are there some people who never cruise anywhere after sunset until sunrise? Would this be an acceptable choice to make?

My dream would be cruising the Great Loop on the Eastern US coast, but I don't have a timeframe for how long it would take to get from Michigan down to Florida, and if boaters would have to move fast to avoid the cold up north, yet still wait out any late hurricanes.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:59   #2
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I would not do the loop after dark. Dont make your days too long and enjoy your stops. When I move my boat on the chesapeak bay I have done it at night several times. I had to make the distance and the weather was calm and I was single handed so I motored the whole way. No wind no waves very calm enjoyable trip. But I would not do the ditch at night.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:03   #3
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

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Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post

Are there some people who never cruise anywhere after sunset until sunrise?

.
probably 99% members of this forum
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:13   #4
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

We sail at night/over night. On vacation to get where we want to spend "time" and the trip back home.

Day sailing we will go out at sunset then stay out for a few more hours. Less boat traffic (power boat) noise and their wakes.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:19   #5
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

Night sailing just for fun it awesome. As pointed out above, very little traffic. It is beautiful and quiet. I would never do it by choice anywhere I was not very familiar with unless in open water.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:27   #6
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

I have done parts of the Loop and some of it offshore and overnight. Here are some hops that can be made offshore with fairly easy ins and outs:

Galveston to Tampa- 4-5 days. Mobile to Tampa (the Loop) will be 2-3 days
Marco Island to Key West- overnight
Miami to Lake Worth Inlet- day trip
Lake Worth to Pierce Inlet- day trip
St Mary's Inlet (Georgia) to Hilton Head- overnight
Cape May NJ to Sandy Hook- overnight

Some were done because you had to. Others to make time and avoid a boring area (Georgia). Others to avoid a bunch of bridges (N of Miami).

But if you are going to run the ICW or the rivers and canals of inland America, only do it during daylight.

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Old 12-11-2013, 12:28   #7
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

Really depends on your route and surroundings. Would not recommend sailing at night in canals or the inter coastal ditch. Have sailed portions of the ditch at night and usually ended up running aground because of missed or non working lights on Nav Aids. Not quite so much of an issue with GPS but being off only a few tens of feet can get embarrassing. Personally, wouldn't do the ditch if my intent was to get south, in any case. If you are out in the ocean, no reason not to sail straight through the night to get to intermediate stops. Say leave the Chesapeake via Dismal Swamp and Pamlico Sound to Beaufort. Outside to Charleston, Savannah, JAX, etc.

If you are going to stay inside, plan the trip with 50 mile or so legs leaving at sunrise so you can be tucked in before the son goes down.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:45   #8
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Night sailing in the English Chanel with upto dates charts is great fun and a definite learning curve, but traffic lights onshore can be miss leading if there is no traffic lol
Bvi ..... They recommend not to ,we found a few marks and lights missing as well as a lot of the inter island service vessel did not show the correct - if any lights our charter vessels insurance was not valid for night sailing so we didn't !
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:51   #9
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

For fun in known areas absolutely. Going into unknown areas at night, not unless I absolutely have to
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:57   #10
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in the summer months I live on a lake approximately 27 miles long and 17 miles wide

because my work schedule does typically not allow me to be home before 8 or 9 p.m., about half of my sailing , four to five nights per week, is done at night I typically leave the dock around 9 p.m. In return about 1 a.m. I truly enjoy a night sailing

on lake superior if I am in open water night sailing is not an issue but closer to shore or around the Apostle Islands I do not sale at night because of the fishnets
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Old 12-11-2013, 13:00   #11
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Every chance I get! Sailing at night is magical! Especially out of sight of land!
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Old 12-11-2013, 13:14   #12
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In some ways sailing at night is safer than in daylight. You can see other boats pretty easily, there is often less traffic, and it can be peaceful if you are offshore in good sailing weather.

I agree you shouldn't go into inland waters at night. The dumbest thing I ever did was motoring at night from Beaufort inlet to Oriental, NC because my ex wanted to get North and didn't want to anchor. We almost went to the wrong side of the railroad bridge in Morehead City, NC which could have been....um, a disaster - in many ways. We had friends on the boat with a spotlight on the bow trying to make sense of the markers. It was not smart and I'll never do it again.

That was 8 years ago and I am way smarter than that now,
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Old 12-11-2013, 13:21   #13
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

Yup, I think the OP summed it up. There are many reasons and no, it is never a requirement. Occasionally I do, but not very often. If in or out of a harbor, it will be a passage I just made or one I know. Some times a pre-dawn start can insure that you reach your destination easily, avoid approaching weather, or simply avoid some heat. I've run at night before a storm in order to reach a town I would be happy being stuck in!

But odds are that by the time you feel you need to, you'll be perfectly ready. It won't be forced upon you.
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Old 12-11-2013, 13:38   #14
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

We aren't live-aboards, but we cruise as much as we can. Often that means getting away after work on Friday, so we regularly sail, motor sail, or motor at night to get to our cruising grounds - generally arriving between 10:30 pm and 1:30 pm. Obviously these are relatively familiar waters for us, but even so, it is good for us to get used to sailing at night and makes it easier when we find ourselves in less familiar waters after dark.
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Old 12-11-2013, 13:47   #15
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Re: How Often Do You Sail/Cruise At Night?

I love night sailing (when conditions are good). When we sail across Lake Superior, or even do big jumps on the Lake, we will often end up sailing at night. Nothing finer than hitching up the vane, and lying down in the cockpit to watch the stars flow by.
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