Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-08-2010, 07:47   #1
Registered User
 
BubbleHeadMd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater, MD
Boat: Coronado 25
Posts: 315
Send a message via Yahoo to BubbleHeadMd
Nighttime Navigation- Do You ?

I'm taking an event that happened to me on my first cruise and putting it here in it's own thread in order to generate some feedback.

One thing I often hear cruisers say, is that the first thing to break during a sailing trip is the schedule.

On my first "cruise", I departed a little late, but still had a reasonable expectation of arriving at my destination within my desired window. Unfortunately, the wind faded early on, and I arrived 3 hours or so, outside of my desired window.

I ended up navigating at night, in restricted waters in order to get to a safe anchorage to sleep. I used a GPS and plotted myself on a chart, the area had decent navaids, and traffic was light to non-existant but it was my first time navigating my own vessel instead of one of Uncle Sugar's steel canoes and I don't have radar. There were shoals and rocks to avoid.

So I put it to you- Coastal/River night time sailing:

To be avoided at all costs?
Do it with caution, by necessity?
No big deal, just part of cruising.

I'm not talking about open ocean sailing here obviously.

Thanks.
__________________

__________________
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
BubbleHeadMd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 08:12   #2
Registered User
 
Misiu's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bocas del Toro, Panama
Boat: Catalina 30 "Niunia"
Posts: 180
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleHeadMd View Post
To be avoided at all costs?
Do it with caution, by necessity?
No big deal, just part of cruising.
Thanks.
Things certainly look different at night, don't they? Experience helps a bit. It got easier for me after first several nights but never relaxing easy...

I vote for "Do it with caution, by necessity?"
__________________

__________________
Michał
"The acquisition of the knowledge of navigation has a strange effect on the minds of men." /Jack London/
Misiu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 08:57   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: La la Land
Boat: 37' Oyster Heritage
Posts: 410
Like so many things, "It depends".

Closing with a unknown shore with dodgy buoys, lights and probably the chart hasn't been re surved since Noah was a boy, I'd be inclined to stand off till daylight.

If I trust the lighthouse authority, it's all a bit different. I'd happily approach a new landfall in say, Brittany, without a qualm. The ferocious tide and very sharp rocks not withstanding, just take care.

If I'm in the USA the poxy backwards buoys plus the lack of cardinals give me grief and unwanted anxious moments....

My home waters; can I do it with my eyes shut this time?
__________________
sestina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:16   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,313
We, my wife and I, often transport the boat up and down the Detroit and St Clair Rivers at night. We find it easier because the river is less busy and the range lights are more readable.

That said, making landfall into a port that was not well marked and unfamiliar would cause us to stand off shore till morning.
__________________
Joli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:27   #5
Registered User
 
sabray's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wash DC
Boat: PETERSON 44
Posts: 3,169
I think it depends on how you are feeling about your navigation the risks and the tools and equipment. Ive stayed off waiting for daylight before when I felt the risk and my ability werent up for the task. Other places ive gone in with low visibility and only radar visibility. Very different places with different exposure to risk. Now that wasn't helpful was it.
__________________
sabray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:36   #6
Registered User
 
BubbleHeadMd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater, MD
Boat: Coronado 25
Posts: 315
Send a message via Yahoo to BubbleHeadMd
I was singlehanded, so if I felt that I couldn't safely navigate (unable to identify navaids, didn't trust the chart, etc...) that would have made for a very long night offshore. What do you guys do, just sail in circles or what?

I was actually originally aiming for a particular marina, but when I arrived, they were closed and it was dark so I felt it was too dangerous to find the marina entrance at night, so Plan B was the anchorage. I had that plan set up before I even left. I had conferred with friends who were familiar with the area, and they provided me with Google Earth photos of where to anchor in case I didn't make the marina.

The wind freshened in the evening, about the last 1/3 of the transit and built through the night, so I'm glad I made my anchorage instead of dealing with higher winds and sailing all night in it.
__________________
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
BubbleHeadMd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:37   #7
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
for those who sail during the winter months in latitudes higher than 30 degrees, night landings become a way of life. especially true if one's cruising agenda doesn't lend itself to eight-hour hops.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:43   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Oriental, NC
Boat: Mainship Pilot 34
Posts: 1,429
It all depends on your experience and the situation. An examplez:

Ten years ago I made an overnight passage from Marco Island to Key West. I didn't want to enter the KW northwest passage in the dark, so I reefed down and was able to enter it just at dawn.

A year ago I did the same passage. This time I arrive a bit before dawn, but didn't sweat it. I had been there before and knew what it was like.

Nothing beats experience. You can look at the charts all day long, but until you have been there it isn't the same.

David
__________________
djmarchand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:46   #9
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
I personally enjoy coastal passagemaking at night because of less traffic, navigation by lights with predictable intervals, range lights and other navigation aids such as lighted bouys and other lit up vessels. This makes the experience relatively safe provided you have up to date charts, a decent radar and other navigation instrumentation and keep a good watch. Growing up on commercial vessels on the west coast, as the youngest crew member, I always had the dark watches while the rest of the crew slept. This was a 'right of passage' in the 60's and 70's and we didn't have many of todays' modern exotic navigation equipment. But it was a great learning experience and confidence builder. Later in life, doing delivery work I actually preferred the dark watches, enjoyed the peace, quiet and solitude. Sure, it can be sometimes boring but there are many things with which one can stay busy provided you maintain your night vision. Handling a vessel at night and enjoying the experience will double your cruising time and remove the dreaded deadline syndrome where you push yourself and your boat to meet a predetermined and probably unrealistic destination at a particular time and date... so sit back and enjoy... where else would you rather be? Cheers, Capt Phil
__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:53   #10
Registered User
 
BubbleHeadMd's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Edgewater, MD
Boat: Coronado 25
Posts: 315
Send a message via Yahoo to BubbleHeadMd
Oh, it was anything but boring. But yeah, there was nowhere else I'd rather be. The sky was crystal, and there was no light pollution. I hadn't had such a view of the stars in ages.

We had a freak cold front move in also, so the temps at the end of June were absolutely fantastic. I slept with the forepeak hatch open so I could see the stars.
__________________
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
BubbleHeadMd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 09:57   #11
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
In October 2009 I did the Baja Ha Ha. It was really windy and the autopilot had only worked for the first half hour. We decided to pull in to Bahia San Carlos. It is a half moon shaped bay with no navigational lights and poor charting. I crawled in about a half hour after sunset. I had the radar going but didn't feel comfortable. I looked around and couldn't get the feel for the anchorage. My 13 year old daughter said, "Go with your gut." So I turned around and decided that we were going to continue towards Turtle Bay.

In May of 2010 I had practiced with the radar and had studied the charts better. One thing I found was a GPS way point that was good for anchoring. The second point was that I was approaching the anchorage from the South which provided better radar targets and third I was using the depth sounder and knew that there were not supposed to be any reefs. With this information I adjusted the noise from the radar just right. Motored in slowly watching the depth sounder and dropped anchor in a spot close to shore. We let out an 10 to 1 scope and waited for the storm to blow in. Well the next morning we found out that we were about 3/4 of a mile from the beach. We pulled up anchor and brought ourselves in to a half mile.

I think night sailing is a very important skill to learn. It is always possible for a schedule to be thrown off and to arrive somewhere after dark. Being able to navigate at night becomes a crucial safety tool.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 12:35   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
s/v Beth's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
Boat: Valiant 40 (1975)
Posts: 4,066
I try never to rely on GPS during a night sail, and I will go to great lenghts with bonocs and compass to determine where I am with traditional fixes. Then if the chartplotter or Gps agrees with me fine...
Night passages are great if you are a bit paranoid.
__________________
s/v Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 15:02   #13
Registered User
 
Capt Phil's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Stateline NV
Boat: Prior boats: Transpac 49; DeFever 54
Posts: 2,749
Hey, Newt... you sound 'old school' like me... I've always relied on charts, fixes, dead reckoning and nav aids THEN confirmed with the new technology. One trip into Puerto Vallarta at night had the GPS putting us somewhere about 3 blocks into downtown but managed to pick out the harbour entrance range lights just before we got into the surf. I was driving a Sea Ranger 65 and had slowed down to almost a dead stop so was able to adjust and and get tied up about 2:00am. Later found out the raster charts for Banderos Bay were all out by about 1 1/2 miles! Hopefully, they have updated with new survey data by now. The owner was aboard and tried to rip the GPS off the fly bridge and throw it overboard he was so upset! Cheers, Phil
__________________
Capt Phil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 15:43   #14
Registered User
 
CalebD's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SE NY
Boat: Tartan 27' - 'Odalisque'
Posts: 135
BubbleHead
I've done some night sailing in your area. We sailed from the Rhode River across the bay to the mouth of the Wye River with a gibbous moon up. The crab pots are probably the biggest danger if they can catch your rudder or prop. We would not have done it by DR most likely so the GPS was used to place us on the chart.
Night sailing is great. Maybe I enjoy it more then some because my eyes still work pretty well at night.
__________________
CalebD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2010, 15:58   #15
Moderator
 
Hudson Force's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Lived aboard & cruised for 45 years,- now on a chair in my walk-in closet.
Boat: Morgan OI 413 1973 - Aythya
Posts: 7,894
Images: 1
Lots of variables! 'many said above....Traffic, current, local knowledge, interfering lights. Once I was in Charleston, SC years ago Friday night with a football stadium bright lights totally blinding me from what could have been easy...I would add a strategy of using VHF assistance. I've found local fishermen or local cruisers extremely helpful when I'm in need. 'not unusual for someone to hunt me down and guide me in. I'm always quick to ask for VHF advice. Some years ago, in my own home port, I was returning from a Christmas light parade and heard a call for assistance from a foreign cruiser. Given his position, I approached and turned on my generator. With my parade Christmas decorations I called on my VHF for him to follow the big lighted tree! Take care and joy, Aythya crew
__________________

__________________
Hudson Force is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
navigation

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Navigation Shopping Muzzey9000 Navigation 10 24-06-2011 19:56
The XO Computer for Navigation phiggins Marine Electronics 345 01-01-2010 14:29
Navigation Without Electronics Stuarth44 Navigation 46 28-07-2009 22:15
Navigation Kai Nui Challenges 0 09-08-2008 17:03
navigation text scgilligan General Sailing Forum 6 05-08-2007 03:27



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:16.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.