"If it comes to just the two us we will both sleep and work the same shift.Is this a common practice? "
No, quite the opposite. You MUST have someone on deck
, awake, alert, and on watch at all times unless you are anchored or docked. If you don't, you are in violation of both regulations
and common sense, because with no one on watch, you have no way to tell if you're going to be run down by a tanker, or anything else. Yes, in theory you can heave to and "park" but in practice, that's normally a terrible idea.
Emptying and refilling your tank, or polishing the fuel, is a good idea but whether it is enough depends on the state of your tank. If it is shedding lining or there is crud coming off the tank walls, the tank may need cleaning
. Polishing or refilling only takes care of what is already loose and already floating around. Just like old paint
on a wall, crud keeps flaking off from the sloshing of fuel in bad weather, if it is there. If it just clogs your filter, and you change filters, you may only be inconvenienced. But changing filters and bleeding the fuel system in bad weather can be an ugly chore. If your fuel system needs crush washers, order dozen, the shipping
is usually more than the washers are and they are typically thrown away and replaced any timeou need to bleed the fuel system. IF any of this is news to you, you may want to hire a diesel mechanic
to come down and go over the engine
and fuel system with you, to show you (and the crew) hands-on what has to be done.