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Old 15-08-2013, 10:07   #166
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
I close my eye that has the best distance vision. I try to remember to keep it closed till I am back abovedecks. That eye will retain its night vision.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Also learned to look ~5 degrees away from any light source on the horizon to see it better.
+1 to both of those.
If yours eyes have equal acuity close the dominant eye and preserve night vision in that eye.
To find your dominant eye keep both eyes open and point at a target (preferably with both hands). Close one eye then the other. The eye that retains the alignment is your dominant eye for distance vision.

Concentrate away from your fixation point because the rods dominate scotopic vision and these are absent from the centre of vision. This takes some practice, but it is a skill worth acquiring. It also gives you some idea of your level of night vision. If you can see better looking directly at the target your level of night vision is poor.

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Originally Posted by Mr B View Post
Close your eyes lightly, count to 15 slowly, Then open your eyes, You can see in the dark,
-1 Not so good.
Full dark adaptation takes 30-45mins. You cannot speed it up and even a brief exposure to bright light takes you back to the start.

You don't necessarily need full dark adaptation for every task. In fact many yachts have ambient levels bright enough to ensure that full dark adaptation cannot be obtained.
However even partial dark adaptation takes many mins. Don't give away your dark adaptation carelessly.
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Old 15-08-2013, 10:25   #167
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

As a single hander who must sleep - or stay home - I choose the former over the latter. While you may not like my choice, were you in the same place I wonder which you'd choose? Easier to be critical and place yourself on a high horse than actually choosing. Especially if you cannot afford a boat that will carry sufficient crew or own a boat that due to it's small size cannot accommodate another person comfortably, giving them adequate space and privacy to make it practical.

I'll never forget the backpacker at Rarotonga who excitedly said she wanted to sail with me after I told her I was looking for crew. I invited her down to see my boat first. Once at the harbour she, pointing in the direction of large sail boats, asked - which one of those is yours? I replied. None of them, mine is over there. Horror stricken she exclaimed - "you go on the ocean in that? Oh, I couldn't do that!" So, you see - obtaining crew on a small boat is difficult if nigh impossible - not that I have not been successful on occasion getting crew. Usually not though.

Prerequisite #1. Because my 27', 4 ton sail boat is going to come out the loser if there is an encounter with a much larger vessel - ships, long-liners and most commercial fishing boats included - I accept the possibility I'll die if a collision occurs.

Prerequisite #2. I must know my proximity to shipping routes, fishing grounds, land masses of every type including under water reefs and judge the probability a collision with another vessel is probable. Whether I heave to for rest or continue under sail depends upon these factors. Whether I rest at all depends on these factors. I always heave to leeward of land masses if possible. Even small islands a significant distance away. If nearer than 50 nautical miles to a land mass with onshore currents - even if the wind is not - I'll sail farther out to heave to. Current can rule over wind where direction of your boat's travel is concerned.

Prerequisite #3. From experience I know fatigue is dangerous - especially when approaching a destination. Fatigue can cause confusion and affect our interpretive abilities. Are the lights leading lights or a tug pulling a barge? I must get try to get a maximum amount of rest before approaching my destination.

Prerequisite #4. I have to be willing to at the most take quick cat-naps if I am to sail off shore. I accomplish this by lying on my back with knees bent and feet placed against a bulkhead. If I am approaching deep sleep my feet fall and I am awakened. Probably less than 5 minutes of rest here, but better than nothing. I go up for a look around. Repeat. Sometimes though it is necessary to sleep for hours, in which case I heave-to. At least I don't have to worry too much about ruining someone's livelihood by t-boning them at 5 knots. Can I be run into while hove-to? Sure, it's a chance I take. See prerequisite #1. Considering the odds most other vessels have a watch, including yours, the odds are lower though.

I asked a ship's captain once which is easier to spot. A sail boat in daylight or lights at night. His answer was clear - lights at night. So, I sleep at night with masthead running lights or anchor light on. My choice depends on which is likely to be be understood given my proximity to land and whether or not I am hove-to. Opinions are welcome concerning which lights are best. I tend to favour the running lights because they at least indicate where the bow, stern port and starboard are. Since my S.O.G. is typically 3/4 knot when hove to - any approach by a vessel judging my direction of travel and position indicated by my boat's lights that will clear my vessel is good. Under way the same.

I remain awake during daylight hours, taking cat-naps if necessary.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:06   #168
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Most of the sailing icons, and really anyone who spends enough time on the water eventually (via circumstance), is singlehanding.

Joshua Slocum
Bernard Moitessier
Matt Rutherford (solo'd the Americas last year)
Jim Howard (long time sailor, author)

All incredible mariners with staggering sea time and experiences. Labeling them as idiots is a little much.
If I sat at a table each night and put a gun to my head which somehow contained a thirty round capacity revolver that had just one bullet, spun the cylinder and pulled the trigger... would you call me an idiot? Or, would I be considered an icon if I lived while doing this behavior for one complete year?

Very few of the singlehandlers who've been mowed down by a freighter eventually write a book and become an icon.

Another example: Earlier today while sailing down the Spanish coast we were heading right for two fisherman on a very small boat who were anchored while re-baiting their long line. If I want to be considered an icon... is it then OK for me to mow these two down with our boat while getting some beauty sleep? They were stationary, and just trying to earn a days euro.

Reckless behavior is reckless behavior... Even the 70 yr old woman who recently sailed around the world alone, Socrates... ran her first boat aground while sleeping.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:08   #169
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

.Re: Maintaining night vision. Red lights rigged where illumination is needed helps a lot. Remember "Rig for Red" aboard military ships? Experience taught them the benefits of doing that. But they had separate systems for day/night.

So, years ago I'd swapped out the "normal" bulbs for red ones below decks. Well, except for the galley! That would have caused a riot....

With the advent of LED technology and (slowly) lowering costs for same, I'm replacing all the overhead lights below decks with dual function units that allow selecting red or white as needed. It really makes a positive difference - and those LEDs take less amps!

Passageways and Cabins: Dr. LED LED Dome Cabin Light

Galley: Dr. LED John Under-cabinet LED Light

{And, yes, warships of old had their gun decks painted red to obscure all the blood, after being hit, so as to lesson shock / mental impact on the crew. But we don't really want to go there, do we?}
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:17   #170
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
If I sat at a table each night and put a gun to my head which somehow contained a thirty round capacity revolver that had just one bullet, spun the cylinder and pulled the trigger... would you call me an idiot? Or, would I be considered an icon if I lived while doing this behavior for one complete year?

Very few of the singlehandlers who've been mowed down by a freighter eventually write a book and become an icon.

Another example: Earlier today while sailing down the Spanish coast we were heading right for two fisherman on a very small boat who were anchored while re-baiting their long line. If I want to be considered an icon... is it then OK for me to mow these two down with our boat while getting some beauty sleep? They were stationary, and just trying to earn a days euro.

Reckless behavior is reckless behavior... Even the 70 yr old woman who recently sailed around the world alone, Socrates... ran her first boat aground while sleeping.
You exaggerate. The dangers sailing single handed don't even approximate the danger posed in your example.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:24   #171
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

I vaguely remember something about green or blue light being better for preserving night vision, I don't recall which color it was. I have several fixtures that will do either red or white light depending on the situation.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:45   #172
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

We do seem to have this discussion often. Unfortunately there is a lot a lot of bad information on the Internet.
Brightness is the most important factor. Keep the light very dull and reduce the brightness as your dark adaptation progresses.

Dull red light is very difficult and unpleasant to use. It does not work for any tasks that require colour discrimination.
However, it the best option for preserving night vision. If you want to make a cup of coffee it is the best option.
If you want to read figures, say on the compass, it is the only option that will allow you to do this and preserve your full dark adaptation.


If your want to do detailed complex chart work dull red is very difficult to use and you may be better to sacrifice some of your night vision and use dull white light.

The recovery time will depend on the brightness of the light used and the level of illumination (is it a full moon or not). Typically you will be looking at 10-15 mins to full dark adaptation after doing chart work under dull white light.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:01   #173
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
If I sat at a table each night and put a gun to my head which somehow contained a thirty round capacity revolver that had just one bullet, spun the cylinder and pulled the trigger... would you call me an idiot? Or, would I be considered an icon if I lived while doing this behavior for one complete year?

Very few of the singlehandlers who've been mowed down by a freighter eventually write a book and become an icon.

Another example: Earlier today while sailing down the Spanish coast we were heading right for two fisherman on a very small boat who were anchored while re-baiting their long line. If I want to be considered an icon... is it then OK for me to mow these two down with our boat while getting some beauty sleep? They were stationary, and just trying to earn a days euro.

Reckless behavior is reckless behavior... Even the 70 yr old woman who recently sailed around the world alone, Socrates... ran her first boat aground while sleeping.
The parallel to singlehanding and Russian roulette is absurd.

If you're along the Spanish coast, or any coast, you need to be paying attention constantly. If you're withing ~50 miles of a coast line things get very different, likewise if you're in a shipping path, or any other quasi-legitimate cause for increased collision risk.

Roughly one year ago today a crew of four people smashed their boat (and died) right up on a clearly charted island while standing watches off the coast of Southern California / Northern Mexico.

I singlehanded the same area quite happily before and after, because I know that when I'm slicing between ~10 miles of water between unlit islands and the shore that's no time for taking a nap. The accident investigation couldn't show much data, but what's imagined is that they plowed into an unlit (but charted) island because the watch stander lapsed in his navigation duties, didn't see anything on the horizon, and a few minutes later collided with jagged rocks at 7 knots.

Anecdotaly speaking the majority of singlehanders I've met doing offshore passages are often better sailors than many of the crew on "properly crewed" vessels.

To widdle this whole thing down to "singlehanders are less safe than fully crewed cruisers" would somehow suggest that there is clear empirical evidence to support that, which simply isn't the case.

For every singlehander on a beach you can point to, I'll point to another boat loaded with crew that did the exact same.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:06   #174
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
If your want to do detailed complex chart work dull red is very difficult to use and you may be better to sacrifice some of your night vision and use dull white light.
"...detailed complex chart work..." is the province of the off duty crew, performed at the below-decks nav station and with fully-encapsulating blackout curtains wrapped around that position that also cover the porthole, thus ensuring that no stray "white" light escapes to destroy the on-watch person's night vision. Furthermore, a second coffee maker should also be installed at the nav station, thus providing the required caffeine source. An optional addition is a NASA designed/approved toilet tube for use by the navigator.



{Was that a tad over the top? Sorry.... Was meant in jest. Really.}
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:09   #175
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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You exaggerate. The dangers sailing single handed don't even approximate the danger posed in your example.
My guess is if we took a small boat, maybe an unsinkable, solar powered dingy and set it on a course using a computer to stay away from land at 100 miles, Making random paths throughout the world....it would never have a collision. Most the examples of collision I have seen are within probably 20 miles of land, often in a channel or harbor entrance etc. I dont imagine single handers are sleeping while entering harbor. how close is a close call? if you miss by 100 ft is that a close call? If so , I have had many... all within sight of land....
Let's face it, people have drifted for months in a raft and not been run over... or even seen a ship close enough to hail...
I say: "Go forth and single hand!" probably less risky than the risk of driving and having a heart attack, stroke or seizure....
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:11   #176
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

How long does it take your "night vision" to return after the lights are turned off? nevermind its in the post above....
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:18   #177
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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How long does it take your "night vision" to return after the lights are turned off? nevermind its in the post above....
It comes back gradually and I'm sure it's different for every body but I'd guess ~30 minutes. Even just looking at illuminated instruments or the moon can screw you up.

A couple of minutes after the lights are off you can see decent enough, but picking up a faint red running light 10 miles off on the horizon is probably not going to happen for at least ~20 minutes.
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:25   #178
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
If I sat at a table each night and put a gun to my head which somehow contained a thirty round capacity revolver that had just one bullet, spun the cylinder and pulled the trigger... would you call me an idiot? Or, would I be considered an icon if I lived while doing this behavior for one complete year?

Very few of the singlehandlers who've been mowed down by a freighter eventually write a book and become an icon.

Another example: Earlier today while sailing down the Spanish coast we were heading right for two fisherman on a very small boat who were anchored while re-baiting their long line. If I want to be considered an icon... is it then OK for me to mow these two down with our boat while getting some beauty sleep? They were stationary, and just trying to earn a days euro.

Reckless behavior is reckless behavior... Even the 70 yr old woman who recently sailed around the world alone, Socrates... ran her first boat aground while sleeping.
Kenomac, you are getting a bit absurd here! The Russian roulette comparison is just silly.

Now, can you please name some of the singlehanders who have been run down by a freighter... you imply that they are common, but I can't seem to remember very many.

Sailing down the Spanish coast... anchored fishing boat... seems to imply being in fairly shallow water... just the sort of conditions that the single handers have said caused them to be more careful.

And Jeanne running aground in Neried (sp?)... one such incident in nearly two full circumnavigations and lots of additional miles! She is obviously a danger to herself and to us all.

It is certainly true that sailing singlehanded increases the risks of passage making. It is not clear that the increase is overwhelming nor that the risk to others is unacceptable. I strongly disagree that single handed cruising is inherently reckless. I'm less sure about large, fast singlehanded race boats... ones that would cause serious damage to other craft in a 30 knot collision.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:27   #179
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

my nav lights are a PITA, they are mounted centre of the catamaran and reflect off the stainless pullpits either side. Also the plotter and instruments even on lowest levels are too bright. I usually throw a towel over the instruments and peek under when I need to.. Any suggestions? Im considering a tricolor masthead but would probbably be a pain to install, or seperate the port and starboard lights to each hull so they don;t reflect..
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Old 15-08-2013, 14:31   #180
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Tricolor solves that decklight problem.

"....but picking up a faint red running light 10 miles off on the horizon ..."
I'm thinking 5 mins of adjustment to pick these up for me, but they are white to the eye at that distance anyway.... The hardest part being they obscure due to the waves.... you have to look not once in each direction, but a few times carefully... usually, if my mind says "did I see something there?" but I cant see it now... it's there!

of course I've already seen it on radar....
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