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Old 10-05-2010, 12:31   #1
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What Do You Do on Watch ?

Since I am in the planning stages of cruising life, I find myself thinking about various scenarios of what my days and nights will look like when we are out there. My latest thinking has me focused on the topic of night watches.

So, other than the obvious, chartplotting, checking radar, scanning the horizon, checking the autopilot and setting the egg timer to repeat, what do you do on night watch to stay alert, awake and pass the time?

Reading comes to mind, however that would put me right to sleep. Cross-word puzzles, Sudoku, etc would certainly pass the time. Internet surfing is not practical.

So, what do you do to pass the time on a night watch?

Do you typically spend your time in the cockpit or down below?

Do you actually sleep or doze?
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Old 10-05-2010, 13:04   #2
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Hi,
I find it tough to be on watch and down below:0
We do 3 hours / off between the two of us and what with an initial coffe / snack, logging position each hour, 3 minutes out on the hour to listen on the radio, a scan of the horizon every 20 minutes.
We equally keep a loud egg timer in under the spray hood just in case we nod off.
The time does fly by - it goes slowest when you are tired.
Enjoy the planning - and the doing!
JOHN
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Old 10-05-2010, 13:09   #3
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I like to steer. I realize that most people use the autopilot but steering is a good way to occupy yourself and it is fun.
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Old 10-05-2010, 13:15   #4
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Great question.

Bugger all.


I do bugger all.

After 30 years of working its great to sit back and do nothing but sail for a few hours.

I can watch waves.

I can watch clouds.

I can watch birds (feathered).

At night I watch the phosperesence


I never get the chance to read books. Nic reads heaps on passage.

When we are off shore and away from land and shipping routes we are allowed to run a timer for 20 minutes if we want to snooze.

I think you will find you own things to do so don't worry to much about what we say Its quite personal, I spose

Have a good watch system so you are never tired
Our watches: 0000-0400 0400-0800 0800-1300 1300-1900 1900-2400


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Old 10-05-2010, 13:23   #5
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Reading comes to mind, however that would put me right to sleep. Cross-word puzzles, Sudoku, etc would certainly pass the time. Internet surfing is not practical.
One of the most important considerations of standing night watch is to preserve your night vision. Reading, cross-word puzzles, sudoku, etc would not be a good idea because the light you need to conduct such activities degrades your watch.

What I most like about night watch--if it's a good watch, which for me means not having to make a sail change--is having nothing to do but to watch. Day watches are for getting around to chores: splicing a new snubber; whipping the ends of the dock lines; polishing the bell. Night watches are for polishing the brain.
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Old 10-05-2010, 13:55   #6
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sudoku, would not be a good idea because the light you need to conduct such activities degrades your watch.
How about doing a Sudoku with a green or red pen. that would keep the night vision.






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Old 10-05-2010, 13:55   #7
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All great responses so far! ok, so first I have to tell you that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat and I have been acused of sleep being my hobby at times...perhaps this will change with the disconnect from the corporate world...we'll see. Anyway, my biggest fear is that I will fall asleep and get into trouble as a result. Did any of you have this fear prior to getting out there? Was it ultimately not an issue?

Like all the suggestions, BTW Mark, what is "bugger all"? Is this some aussie slang with which I am not familiar?

Quote:
One of the most important considerations of standing night watch is to preserve your night vision. Reading, cross-word puzzles, sudoku, etc would not be a good idea because the light you need to conduct such activities degrades your watch.
I have a plan for this...my hubby bought me a headlight that has a red light on it, so I plan to use that for such activities to preserve my night vision. You know you are a cruiser when...you get excited when your hubby buys you a headlight for sailing. Yes, it's true...one of the best gifts I ever got.
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Old 10-05-2010, 13:57   #8
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BTW Mark, what is "bugger all"? Is this some aussie slang with which I am not familiar?
Awaiting Mark's explanation with bated breath.....
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Old 10-05-2010, 14:04   #9
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Anyway, my biggest fear is that I will fall asleep and get into trouble as a result. Did any of you have this fear prior to getting out there? Was it ultimately not an issue?
.
As mentioned, a little kitchen cooking timer works wonders. You set it to ring every 20 minutes. You'll get to the point where you'll be grabbing that bugger at the 19 minute mark just to prevent the noise. But don't set it? Then your internal clock won't wake you until it's good and ready. It's kinda funny how our internal clocks work. And like everything else, eventually it'll all become habit. I wouldn't fret too much about it. You'll figure out what works best for ya!
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Old 10-05-2010, 14:12   #10
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"Bugger all" is what a cultured gentleman like Mark would say instead of "f*** all". Roughly the equivalent of "squat" in American.
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Old 10-05-2010, 14:28   #11
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"Bugger all" is what a cultured gentleman like Mark would say instead of "f*** all". Roughly the equivalent of "squat" in American.
A Brit may say 'Sweet Fanny Adams'

P.
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Old 10-05-2010, 14:46   #12
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We always make a point on setting the alarm on the radar for 6 miles.. then I just set back in the corner with a blanket around me and snoozzzzzzz...
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Old 10-05-2010, 21:35   #13
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We always make a point on setting the alarm on the radar for 6 miles.. then I just set back in the corner with a blanket around me and snoozzzzzzz...
Too much faith in electronics for my taste. What about a weak echo, within your sea clutter and the gain not tuned to optimum...?
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Old 10-05-2010, 22:13   #14
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Some good music, with a headset so as not to wake the off watch.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:42   #15
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"Bugger all" is what a cultured gentleman like Mark would say instead of "f*** all". Roughly the equivalent of "squat" in American.
The Army said: "Thumb in bum, mind in neutral."

Thats a bit gross. Sorry.

Sometimes doing nothing can be very good because we haven't really had much chance to do that in our previous lives

We love our watches

One night I gunna start counting the stars.
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