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Old 18-08-2013, 03:43   #271
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'Day Jackdale,

I read through the referenced court proceedings... very interesting indeed. The judge seems like a thoughtful and competent fellow and as a non-lawyer I was able to follow (and agree with) his reasoning. The equal apportionment of blame that followed says to me that the court essentially does not condemn single handing (as did the judgement in the Jessica Watson case), and that should be kept in mind by all those who categorically oppose single handing on legal grounds.

But, in my post that you quoted, I was simply trying to tone down Kenomac's insistence that single handing was inherently reckless, and that lots of single handers were run down by ships... things that I don't believe.

As I said, single handed sailing IS inherently more dangerous than crewed sailing. I think that any analysis will support that statement, but the degree of danger thus generated is not so great that one should not ever undertake a single handed voyage.

Now, back to the court case: here we see some real evidence of the lack of proper watchkeeping on merchant vessels. The crew admitted under oath that for some period of time there was NO ONE ON WATCH on the container ship. I suspect that they were instructed by their lawyers to minimize the time and impact of that failure, and fear that on that ship and likely others that it is a common practice. That knowledge should be kept in mind by all of us who voyage at sea in small yachts.

Thanks for the link... I wouldn't have known where to find such things.

Cheers,

Jim

PS: INcidentally, the court case showed that it is indeed possible to get insurance for single handed sailing, for the yacht that was struck HAD insurance and the insurance company was representing him in court. I was somewhat surprised by that, for like Don Radcliffe I believed it impossible, or nearly so. Wonder if that company still writes such coverage?

My insurance says that I must be within 75 miles of shore but does not specifically mention the need for any minimum crew. So I could sail my boat around much of the Caribbean -- I certainly can get to Bimini that way, and then in the Bahamas. I think that's kind of chuckle-headed given how many cruisers go to the Bahamas (and for me, spotting small craft is much trickier at night than big freighters), plus all the other navigational hazards in the Bahamas -- shallow waters etc. I won't be doing it on this boat but not because of insurance problems.
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Old 18-08-2013, 03:53   #272
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
If I were that crew member I would put a stop payment on the credit card charge, but then I wouldn't have been on the boat in the first place.

I used to hire very green crew for deliveries FL to the VI. If I had them call me every time there was a light on the horizon I would have been awake the whole trip. I did however tell them that they should call me anytime for any reason or even for no reason. Promised I would never be mad if they woke me at anytime. If they had any question, if they saw something, heard something or thought they saw something and had any doubts, call me.

Over the years I only fired two crew members. One for sleeping on watch and getting annoyed at why I made such a big deal and chewed him out for it. The other for being so out of it that in a 4 hour watch she steered us almost 20 miles off course. The fact that she ate more than the rest of the crew combined made it a little easier.

IMO if the crew member sees a vessel on the horizon, determines a possible collision course, but is incapable of confirming that and if necessary making the minor corrections needed and then returning to course -- that person does not have the necessary skills to stand watch.

Only one way to find that out. Take them out on your boat, put them on watch, and see what they do -- with your lips ZIPPED. If you're giving them cues, then you don't know if they can do it by themselves.

AND ... they should record it in the log.

If they have those skills it would be rare that they would need to be awakened because of a ship on the horizon -- unless they were hearing distress calls as well, of course ...
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Old 18-08-2013, 03:56   #273
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Reading and keeping watch is hardly difficult, glance around every paragraph or two. If someone can't do that and feel the weather worsen with their eyes closed then they aren't really up to standing a night watch alone.


IMHO.
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Old 18-08-2013, 04:08   #274
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by flash View Post
Standing orders? Are you in the navy or sailing a recreational boat? Funny.

Sailing a recreational boat that can kill you or others if you don't keep your head about you.

When I cruise (haven't done it lately) I require closed-toe shoes. I know that headsail block intimately and am missing a toenail right now because I ignored my own rule. An injured crew member is one less crew member. During the day it's not as big a deal although that's when I whacked the thing.

No doubt there are those who would object mightily, but I have one friend who is a terrible sailor but who follows directions to the letter, and because of that she was at the helm when a yahoo suddenly veered course and hit my stern. Because she followed orders she probably saved my boat from a lot of damage.

I'd rather have someone like her on board and teach her than someone who knows just enough to believe he should alter course but not tell anyone, or who is convinced that his night vision can't be compromised.

I know a guy who ties his ladder up for easy deployment from the water "except when the dinghy is on the davits." Well, that's probably more than 99% of the time. He just wants to do what he's always done, and I would not trust him to stand a watch even though he has much more experience than me.
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Old 18-08-2013, 08:31   #275
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
IMO if the crew member sees a vessel on the horizon, determines a possible collision course, but is incapable of confirming that and if necessary making the minor corrections needed and then returning to course -- that person does not have the necessary skills to stand watch.
Well IMO, based on multiple deliveries from US to the Bahamas and Caribbean, in my case the most important skill required for standing watch is knowing when to call the captain. One can't always choose experienced, well known, expert crew when making deliveries. It often comes down to going short-handed or going with green or unknown crew. I felt that having an extra hand on board so the captain got enough rest to make a clear headed decision was important.

I made three passages with at least one crew member that had never before been on a sailboat and several with crew members that had no offshore experience. It was my job to educate and evaluate each one and determine the level of responsibility they were capable of. Until I stood watch several times with each crew member under varying conditions, he/she did not stand watch alone. If we were in a demanding situation like crossing a major shipping channel, an area with reefs or other hazards, close to land, etc then I would either take the watch at critical times or be there to supervise the crew.

The worst "failure" I had in ten years of doing this was the one where a crew member fell asleep on watch. As mentioned in a previous post, this is something that potentially endangers the lives of the entire crew. At least a singlehander knows when he/she will be sleeping and makes some provisions for that, but when a crew falls asleep the captain doesn't know that the vessel is sailing blind and has made no allowances.

The reason I put that person off the boat was not because he fell asleep. It was because he refused to admit the seriousness of the situation. His response was, well nothing happened so no big deal and besides, we are way out in the ocean and what could happen anyway. Based on his attitude I could only assume that this could happen again so at the first stop he was sent home.


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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Only one way to find that out. Take them out on your boat, put them on watch, and see what they do -- with your lips ZIPPED. If you're giving them cues, then you don't know if they can do it by themselves.
Which is more or less what I did, except in the beginning I talked a lot, explaining and instructing.


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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
If they have those skills it would be rare that they would need to be awakened because of a ship on the horizon -- unless they were hearing distress calls as well, of course ...
I think I did address this indirectly in my post. While I didn't set some exact distance that was considered a concern, no one was allowed to stand watch alone until I was certain they had a good grasp of how far off a ship was, day or night, and what was close enough to be a concern.

Regarding course changes, I also had a rule that anything more than a minor sheet trimming that could be done from the cockpit required at least two on deck.
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Old 18-08-2013, 08:38   #276
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

as for feeling weather change--is too late by the time you feel it, it is on you. you must also be able to see the weather. hear the subtle changes in winds...weather is a 5 sense thing. in some cases 6th sense is even better than all 5. in floriduh one also must be able to see the haze that precedes formation of thunderheads.

as for closed toed shoes--that is strictly irrelevant.
i sail barefoot so i can feel deck and control any sudden slipperiness easily. i tried sailing with shoes---fell too many times. keep that shoe thing on your own boat. i know many really super sailors dont wear shoes, so demanding closed toes on board is limiting your sailing partners severely and you WILL miss out on finding good sailors when demanding shoes.
so far , most all my crew i have found are shoeless souls.
my boat is a 24 hour a day sailing vessel. no stops in darkness fo r sleeping nor wtf. we go until we break. then we fix and go some more. there are many places to explore an d very little time in which to do that.

i give tests to potential crew--first i have them get something and bring it to me. if they figure out the correct item they may just work out. i am specific in my request for them, so it isnt like i am inventing a hoop for them to jump thru. is actually very simple and 2 out of 2 soul shave failed, so far.
i do not allow people on my boat until i know they are adequate and a positive influence in the adventure.
special needs souls need to provide for selves, a si am not able to do that, so i dont usually accept special needs folks. btdt to boats detriment.
i will accept no crew who has no appreciation of the needs required at sea.

knowing when to advise captain is important...something on horizon is not on a collision course with anything until it is on you. plotting a course of someone elses boat or ship isnt hard...wait until you see it and then decide where it is going. wake the sleeping watch too soon and that is not cool. off watch needs sleep . mebbe your ship on a collision course is a light out in gulf or an island you need to avoid.
wow what a flood of thread this time.....and by someone not practiced in the fine art of night and solo sailing. wow. impressive.
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Old 18-08-2013, 09:01   #277
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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The key then is finding a hue that we can have at a high enough intensity that we can see the detail we need without activating our rods to the point were they obscure that detail. ...Experimentation shows a L.E.D. with a peek around 700nm seems to work best (perceived as a deep red). Note that red may be fatiguing to the eyes.
yes, but remember that 12 to 20% of white males have some higher difficulty with Red/Green.

I am NOT colour blind, I can clearly see red and green, but when tested by the Army over the 7 years I was in, they showed that there was some limiting to my red/green perception.

So red may not be the colour you want in lights!

Do a self test on the website below. I can clearly see all the numbers in the circles, but the Red/Green numbers do not show as clearly.

Try it yourself, it only takes 30 seconds.
http://www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/Ishihara.asp

To do a longer test:
http://www.colour-blindness.com/colour-blindness-tests/ishihara-colour-test-plates/

Click on a drawing and the number appears.
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Old 18-08-2013, 09:25   #278
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

i do not use a red light at night as i cannot see with it--i use a yellowish and very dim light inside boat 24/7. works great for my eyes. same with crew--we decided this was best from use not from numbers.
even the gps dimmest light is too bright at darkest night.
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Old 18-08-2013, 09:38   #279
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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i do not use a red light at night as i cannot see with it--i use a yellowish and very dim light inside boat 24/7. works great for my eyes. same with crew--we decided this was best from use not from numbers.
even the gps dimmest light is too bright at darkest night.
I fail to grasp the focus of the discussion on lights at night and vision affected by the same. The only lights necessary when running at night are navigation lights. Unless of course you are fascinated by or mistrust your compass so much staring at your instruments is a must. A quick look see using a flashlight is all that's necessary to confirm your course, and very infrequently at that. The only navigation device I have on at night is my g.p.s., and depending on the circumstances will ordinarily be below. There are occasion I'll have it in the cockpit, but only need to look at the display infrequently. Just turn it downward if the small amount of light it emits affects vision.

One thing about Cruisers Forum, is that given the simplest problem or subject you'll always have some who make a big t-doo of it. Graphs, data references, quotes - you name it. Nothing better to do I guess.

But then, many cruising boats are outfitted with gadgets for the same reason. People just can't resist making something that can be accomplished simply, complicated!
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Old 18-08-2013, 09:48   #280
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

Good point Mark it is amazing the number of people who are colour defective. A couple of points.

Its about 8% of males and 0.5% females with a colour vision defect.
The online test is worth doing, but it has got some limitations. it does miss a reasonable number of people with defects and its needs accurate colours so monitor performance makes a difference.

Consider administering the test to potential crew.

In relation to dark adaptation having a colour vision defect does not effect the superiority of red light in preserving night vision. It works even if you don't know its red. However there is an exception for 2 rare types of colour vision defect. There is no simple on line test to determine if you have this type of colour vision defect. However it is worth getting a full evaluation because with the two rare types of colour vision defect have consequences beyond sailing.
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Old 18-08-2013, 10:06   #281
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Reading and keeping watch is hardly difficult, glance around every paragraph or two. If someone can't do that and feel the weather worsen with their eyes closed then they aren't really up to standing a night watch alone.


IMHO.
How do you read at night without a light? I suppose a red headlamp might work.
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Old 18-08-2013, 10:07   #282
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
I fail to grasp the focus of the discussion on lights at night and vision affected by the same. The only lights necessary when running at night are navigation lights. Unless of course you are fascinated by or mistrust your compass so much staring at your instruments is a must. A quick look see using a flashlight is all that's necessary to confirm your course.
If you just sailing locally the above approach may be fine. When sailing longer distances there is a need to accomplish tasks at night that require good vision. Checking a map, paper or electronic filling in a log, even getting a cup of coffee all require some supplemental lighting.

The use of most flashlights for even a brief period will effect your dark adaptation for 1/2 hour. There are better ways of doing things and that is what this thread is all about.
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Old 18-08-2013, 10:16   #283
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
If you just sailing locally the above approach may be fine. When sailing longer distances there is a need to accomplish tasks at night that require good vision. Checking a map, paper or electronic filling in a log, even getting a cup of coffee all require some supplemental lighting.

The use of most flashlights for even a brief period will effect your dark adaptation for 1/2 hour. There are better ways of doing things and that is what this thread is all about.
Agreed. Headlamps also free up both hands. I have stuck my small Maglite between my teeth, but that is not very effective.
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Old 18-08-2013, 10:18   #284
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

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Originally Posted by Wrong View Post
Unless of course you are fascinated by or mistrust your compass so much staring at your instruments is a must. A quick look see using a flashlight is all that's necessary to confirm your course, and very infrequently at that. The only navigation device I have on at night is my g.p.s., and depending on the circumstances will ordinarily be below.

One thing about Cruisers Forum, is that given the simplest problem or subject you'll always have some who make a big t-doo of it.
I never use a flashlight at night. Unless for some very complicated rigging problem.

On the whole it sounds like you are a better sailor than me. Much better.

So sail on, Wrong.



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Old 18-08-2013, 10:19   #285
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Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?

We have done quite a few overnights, but have always managed to have at least one crew member awake and reasonably alert through the night. I would never consider sleeping without a watch, even with the best instruments in the world!! Nevertheless, single handers doing long passages have no choice but to get some sleep from time to time. I guess it is one more risk they take on when they make the decision to single-hand in the first place. If I were to even consider such a venture (very unlikely!!), I think I would rig some sort of high visibility strobe as high as possible, and try to remember to turn it on before sleeping at night. Probably would not help much in daylight. I understand that strobes are not appreciated by the USCG but would do it regardless!!
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