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Old 04-08-2012, 16:04   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz
Oh lord, another single hander thread. Maybe I should throw in an anchor...
Make it big one with a good batch of chain.
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Old 04-08-2012, 17:31   #17
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

"
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Originally Posted by Canibul
Its not just other boat traffic. There are a number of situations that can develop with a boat and it's systems that are best handled immediately. Things like shackles, knots coming loose. Wires getting hot and smoking. Bilge pumps that start running continuously. Diesels that leak all their oil out.....approaching squalls can hit suddenly with violent gusts. Eventually something fails and the interval it takes to wake up and get up topside and assess the problem and come up with a response can cost valuable time. Whoever is on watch is supposed to catch a lot of these things in time before the drama starts.

Some days it wouldn't matter if you slept 8 hours straight. But how do you know which day that is?


Just asking, but do you often have that much go wrong on one voyage? "


You only need one ...
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Old 04-08-2012, 17:53   #18
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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Originally Posted by purplecaiman View Post
While sailing is it normal to set the autopilot and go down and sleep till morning or get what sleep you want?
I'm thinking if you are making a big blue crossing one may but while doing the islands ( caribbean ) you should have somebody on watch?
Anybody?

I'm sure people do it! Even if they only planned for 15 minutes that turned into hours because they were so tired.

But I'm also pretty people aren't going to admit it etc.
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Old 04-08-2012, 18:07   #19
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

You don't say whether you are single handed, or have crew. If you have crew, then you may as well put someone on watch! If you are sailing solo, then I'm surprised you are even asking... if you are going to go solo then you will simply need to chose between keeping a good lookout or sleeping.

Some solo sailors sleep on deck and set an alarm every 15 minutes to take a look around. But I recall one girl who did just that, and was so tired she failed to see a tanker bearing down on her and it hit her... (Was it Jessica?) I recall that both parties were apportioned blame for not keeping a proper lookout, since it turned out the Captain of the big boat was off watch, and the chap on duty didn't recognise her lights and therefore ignored them...

Solo sailing clearly has its risks!
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Old 04-08-2012, 18:21   #20
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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I'm sure people do it! Even if they only planned for 15 minutes that turned into hours because they were so tired.

But I'm also pretty people aren't going to admit it etc.

I know someone who took one of those 15 minute naps, slept through his alarm, and woke up -- because he sensed a wind shift (wind vane) -- steaming along at 6 knots -- in the middle of a shrimping fleet. That was in the Gulf of Mexico, not real far off shore.
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Old 04-08-2012, 19:01   #21
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Ive nodded off a time or two but on deck not in the bunk with the boat on auto pilot!! I can't belive anyone doing that !! I sleep days for a couple of hours at a time while connie watchs! and do the Mid to 6am everynight ! If your coastal sailing ya better keep a GOOD watch as theres much more danger there! If your 300 miles offshore heading across to somewhere, maybe nod off for 15 mins or so but never go below ! at least to me it's just unthinkable !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 04-08-2012, 19:03   #22
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Are dogs aboard boats useful for waking you up when they sense something unusual? I wouldn't expect cats to do that, but some parrots are pretty smart. Goldfish....probably not.
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Old 04-08-2012, 19:22   #23
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Micah, your kidding right ?? our dogs Sleep at night unless we are at the dock or anchor!! They seem to know they don't have to be on watch at sea !! Ive never had them come on deck at night unless called ! just my 2 cents
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Old 04-08-2012, 19:46   #24
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

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Micah, your kidding right ?? our dogs Sleep at night unless we are at the dock or anchor!! They seem to know they don't have to be on watch at sea !! Ive never had them come on deck at night unless called ! just my 2 cents

I think people are more likely to be awakened by a change. That's what happened to my friend -- he sensed the change in wind in his sleep. Of course, he's been sailing for decades. I would never count on that although I have had the experience of a change waking me up. I would just never count on it.
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Old 04-08-2012, 20:13   #25
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

I think a lot of the napping on watch got started with the use of wind vane steering systems!! ya can't sleep much if ya got to steer !! when we started useing one it was a whole new world !! We did not have the batterys back then to use our Iron Mike 24 hrs a day !! so we had to hand steer at least half the time !! but I will say when the wind changed it woke ya up !! ahh I miss those days !! LOL
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Old 04-08-2012, 20:33   #26
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Can't believe no one on this thread has mentioned the Aegean in this year's Newport-Ensenada Race. Four crew, only one night, but the current investigation indicates that they set the autopilot, all went to sleep (for 3-6 hours), and the boat drove itself into a cliff at the Coronados. All dead.

Single-handing you have no choice, but even when there are only two of us on the boat we stand four on, four off. Four off gives you a reasonable amount of solid sleep, and four on you can stay awake. With more than two we generally do one person on watch, usually three hours. With a three person crew that means six hour sleeps, and with four crew you get a full night's sleep (we stand a dog watch so the same person doesn't end up with the midnight-3 or 3-6 watch every night).

We've only come close to a collision at night once or twice (once with another sailboat that had no lights and did not respond to a hail, good thing one of the two of us was standing watch). But I can't count the number of times a squall has come screaming down on us in the tropics and doubled or tripled the wind speed in a matter of ten minutes or less. With someone awake and alert you can actually get the sail reduced before the wind is howling.
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Old 04-08-2012, 20:46   #27
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

Bob & Connie:

Well, no, I wasn't kidding.........I thought that a dog would get used to shipboard life, perhaps use its brain a little (they can be quite smart), notice what its owners do and seem to take special notice of, and warn them of danger. If a sailor can wake up at a wind or seastate change, I bet a dog can too....and they'll hear other boats way before anyone else, perhaps even smell them, considering there's not much else out there for that panoramic technicolour nose to sniff. One of the breeds used as service animals would be more likely to be sea-smart, I think. The Belgian Schipperke is one breed I know of that was purposely bred for boats....would be keen to try it out, at least. Not by dozing off and hoping the dog saves my butt, but by training him/her.

Hmmm, might have finally found an untapped income stream for cruisers......manufacturer and programmer of meat-powered watchstanding machines. Comes with a free roll of astroturf and some bark surrounds for the mast boot......
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Old 04-08-2012, 21:38   #28
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

I don't think a dog would help you. And I think most of the advice given on threads like these is just CYA. So:
I keep a watch when i solo. There.
Next topic.
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Old 04-08-2012, 23:46   #29
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

I usually don't sleep if I'm within 4-5 hours of something solid on the chart. Further offshore, I sleep when I feel like it. Sometimes go below but also often sleep on deck under the dodger. Seldom sleep more than 4 hours at a stretch but have gotten in a solid 8 hours on occasion offshore. been doing this for nearly 40 years and way more than 10,000 miles. If I have a crew, which I seldom do, will maintain a watch schedule and keep someone on deck at all times. My boats have been set up with self steering vanes so little if anything to do for the watch stander. When you have done a lot of miles on a boat you become accustomed to its ways. Changes in wind or sea will get your attention even when asleep. It's kind of Zen thing becoming one with the boat.

Personally feel that sleep deprivation is a way greater enemy than hitting anything on that big ocean. Making a quick delivery from SF to Newport Beach without self steering, stayed up almost the whole way. Got really goofy after 72 plus hours awake and finally had to heave to and sleep after rounding Point Conception. Hallucinations can be really interesting. 3-30 day passages you simply have to sleep. Can't believe anyone could make a passage of many days only sleeping 15-20 minute intervals.

As far as things going wrong, it always seems to happen at 0 dark thirty on a moonless, heavily overcast night. Wouldn't make a good story if it didn't. When I sailed solo from SF to Hilo a couple of years ago, the whisker pole pretzeled at around three in the morning on a moonless night under an overcast sky. Woke up to the sail flogging and the pole banging against the hull. Tried to pull in the sail and lift the pole out of the water without success. Took a moment to think it over and suddenly remembered I had roller furling. Just furled the sail which brought the pole on deck. Detached the whisker pole, replaced it with the spinnaker pole and I was back in business. The only time I had to attend to the sails except for one jibe in about 2,000 miles on that passage.

Thinking about it, that is the only time I had anything happen on a crossing at night. Had one boat try and self destruct because of crappy construction but discovered it during the day and it was a coastal passage so just headed into the nearest port. My self steering lost a bolt and ripped out of the transom but that happened in the afternoon and I was sitting in the cockpit. Being wide awake and on deck didn't help as I didn't realize what was happening and tried to fix what wasn't broken. Doubt it anything I could have done would have kept the vane from tearing out. That's about all that's gone wrong in all the sailing I've done.
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Old 04-08-2012, 23:59   #30
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Re: Sleeping while auto pilot is on

An experienced singlehander is more aware fast asleep than half the multi-handed watch standers are wide awake (head down in a book, never actually looking around, too inexperienced to even recognize a situation requiring attention, etc.)
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