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Old 17-09-2015, 19:41   #31
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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I . . close my eyes trying to rest and listen. Ears are the primary sensors at night especially if it is very dark.
On my boat, someone (who better be wide awake) is always at the helm, and I sleep just fine, partly because I keep a radar display and collision alarms active in my stateroom. But the slightest unusual noise, like a change in engine rpms, will wake me, even though I am not making any effort to listen for problems.
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Old 17-09-2015, 19:57   #32
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Well, brownoarsman, I reckon my singlehanded cruising days are over. I just have my Bulova with the enormous face so I can make it out diving watch.You gotta love those Casios. One of the true bargains in life.I had a Rolex Submariner that didn't keep as good time. On one round the world voyage on a super tanker, I compared the two and the Casio beat up the Rolex.
Yeah-my nice watches both had their faces broken in some rougher stuff, now I only carry the Casio. They really are great!
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Old 17-09-2015, 20:29   #33
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I can't rightly recollect what it is like the first time since I was but a tiny baby.

Mostly I wake up if the wind changes direction or we hit something.

When I drink rum I try to have a shipmate onboard to sort it out for me while I sleep it off. It's good to have shipmates. I love you guys.

Beer or tequila and I am fine.
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Old 17-09-2015, 23:01   #34
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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I think It would once I got used to it. It sounds great! A lot of it I would think depends on how rough it is, it you are going downwind with 15 knot wind and long period swell it would be more restful than pounding upwind.

I just think it would be so weird , even out in the middle of nowhere, no land in sight, to go below and leave the self starring driving. P I trust my boat, I'm going sailing now in a stiff breeze and learning the sounds and everything I can about it. I'm in no hurry, just taking it one day at a time.

I've just always been curious about the sleeping part and especially the sleeping while only self steering is working. I would probably feel a lot better about it if I was sailing with the autoPilot or a windvane sai,in general with the wind direction instead of a compass heading. Sailing with a compass heading would worry me the wind would swing around and accidental gybe you and that can be very damaging.
You probably aren't planning a long trip alone right out of the block. Take a 2 or 3 day trip with a sailing buddy, someone with some experience and who you trust, practice watch keeping, let the self steering do all the work all the time so you get to know it and trust it. Try different points of sail, sleep in different bunks, cook some food, make some coffee, change the sails a few times, reef a few times (even if you don't need to,) heave to a few times, practice for an emergency, practice what to do if you are injured and alone, you know, everything. (Actually that part is not mentioned much but in singlehanding you should have a good plan for what you'll do if injured. When you get fatigued you make mistakes and can get hurt a lot more easily.) Then come home and rearrange the boat because you'll probably feel the need to. Then do another trip with crew etc. until you really feel you have a good feel for what's going on and how you'll feel once you are out of sight of land for a while. It could be as simple as heading straight out for 2 days and then turn around and come home. I am sure many of your fears or concerns will melt away. Then you can start practicing short singlehanded trips, or a longer trip with short hops so you can get good rest along the way.
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Old 18-09-2015, 02:49   #35
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

Thanks! But they aren't fears or concerns, they are excitements and dreams! I look be,ow when I'm sailing, maybe it is getting to be dusk and I am heading in and I WANT to be out alone under the night sky and sleeping below.

I just wonder what it is like. But I'm not scared of it, I'm just not ready for it, like you say, I have much practice to do,

Had a great sail today, got to reef because I need to! It was hard, I have practiced reeding this boat, but when the wind was blowing 25 and I waited too long, it was really hard. I did a lot right though, I was prepared, good thing I had a harness and was clipped in. The autopilot drove admirably, but it was hard to get the boat to point into the wind to relieve the pressure on the main so I could raise it back up a little bit and get some shape.
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Old 18-09-2015, 11:04   #36
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

Do you have your halyards led back to the cockpit? That can help a lot. If so, round the boat up yourself and let the main luff and then crank it tighter. If not, you have to have good timing where you turn the boat into the wind and run up (with your harness on) and tighten the halyard as it tacks! Remember to put a lot of slack in the mainsheet first. (Obviously a lot easier to lead your halyards back!)

and for excitement and dreams, yes! We should have a thread just for "Amazing things I have seen at sea." One thing I saw that I never would have imagined was in the black of night, on a calm sea, I had an enormous, silent, blue green cloud of light swirling below my boat. It was the bioluminescent algae being stirred up by something and it seemed it must have been a big whale causing it. But it went on for a half hour and I surmised finally (I am a little slow) it was a big school of sardines making the light show.
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Old 18-09-2015, 16:16   #37
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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....but it was hard to get the boat to point into the wind to relieve the pressure on the main so I could raise it back up a little bit and get some shape.

Glad you had a good day.

Have your tried reefing when hove to?

One way to do what you said you had trouble with is to sail upwind and drop the traveler so the main is luffing somewhat, If you have a useless traveler or none, then you'd have to use the mainsheet. That's another reason good travelers are so useful.
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Old 18-09-2015, 18:02   #38
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I nervous sweat and toss and turn for my first night or two out, always have, likely always will. Doesn't matter if I'm with a buddy on a 30 footer or a crew of 30 professionals on a ship, I guess its just part of my routine. I'm perfectly fine if I'm on watch though.

A couple days in I get into more of a routine.

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Old 18-09-2015, 18:09   #39
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I think it is best to sleep only very short periods while close to shore and traffic. Then sleep as you like while well offshore.

Do everything you can so that others can see you and you can 'see' (often=hear) them too: radar, AIS, lights, etc.

Cheers,
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Old 19-09-2015, 06:09   #40
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I can see traffic further away at night! it is easy to see a ships lights 30 miles away, but in the daytime with haze, I might not see traffic until it is 15 miles or less. So I sleep at night, scan the horizon with good binoculars check GPS for land near track, then I go below and sleep for an hour, when alarm goes off I get up and repeat the check. If I see traffic, I call them on the VHF, if they answer, ask them, "do they have you in sight?" "do I need to change course?" If they do not answer, I stay up until they are passed. I travel at 7 knots, most ships travel at about 20 knots, so I figure one hour, maximum of 27 miles closing I will see traffic before it crosses my path.
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Old 19-09-2015, 06:23   #41
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Originally Posted by Dave22q


sleeping on watch is suicidal for the single hander
and homicidal otherwise. Maybe even homicidal for a single hander if they manage to take out another vessel (but they aren't going to be more than a bump in the road to a freighter, etc.).
It's been debated ad nauseum, of course, but I've never quite understood the logic of that argument... It usually takes two to tangle. Seems the most likely 'victim' of a sleeping singlehander's negligent watchkeeping would have to be another sleeping singlehander, or another vessel likewise not maintaining a continuous watch, no?

;-)
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Old 19-09-2015, 06:40   #42
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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It's been debated ad nauseum, of course, but I've never quite understood the logic of that argument... It usually takes two to tangle. Seems the most likely 'victim' of a sleeping singlehander's negligent watchkeeping would have to be another sleeping singlehander, or another vessel likewise not maintaining a continuous watch, no?

;-)
Yes, it's such a tiny ocean that two singlehanders, seven hundred miles offshore, that take their eyes off the horizon for twenty minutes, are bound to crash into each other, especially if they are hove to.
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Old 19-09-2015, 10:12   #43
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Yes, it's such a tiny ocean that two singlehanders, seven hundred miles offshore, that take their eyes off the horizon for twenty minutes, are bound to crash into each other, especially if they are hove to.
I have to confess once I was so tired, and my buddy was so sick, that neither one of us could keep watch. I set the vane as the boat was racing at the breakneck speed of 3 knots. I fell into a deep sleep and woke six hours later in the dark to find we were careening through a glassy sea at 1/2 knot. Ashamed I resolved to keep a vigilant watch as the boat rocked back and forth, main flopping, far from any likely traffic. After about a half hour I went back to sleep. Was I being reckless and negligent, or worse, suicidal? I will defer to all of you for the judgement. But at that moment, getting that sleep did a world of good for me. I was able to take better care of myself, the boat and my sick friend. Someone mentioned probability, like when you drive on the freeway there is a chance you'll crash and die, but nobody seems concerned about getting on the freeway and going as fast as they can. They are more worried about the probability of getting pulled over.
edit, I notice I keep focusing on fatigue and getting my rest! I must be showing my age!
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Old 19-09-2015, 11:01   #44
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Thanks! But they aren't fears or concerns, they are excitements and dreams! I look be,ow when I'm sailing, maybe it is getting to be dusk and I am heading in and I WANT to be out alone under the night sky and sleeping below.

I just wonder what it is like. But I'm not scared of it, I'm just not ready for it, like you say, I have much practice to do,

Had a great sail today, got to reef because I need to! It was hard, I have practiced reeding this boat, but when the wind was blowing 25 and I waited too long, it was really hard. I did a lot right though, I was prepared, good thing I had a harness and was clipped in. The autopilot drove admirably, but it was hard to get the boat to point into the wind to relieve the pressure on the main so I could raise it back up a little bit and get some shape.
My friend lost his boat on Kaloli Point because he set his windvane to a course far from shore, had a glass of wine and fell asleep in the cockpit. The wind changed and he was driven ashore in juat a few hours.

Another acquaintance was sailing back from the South Pacific, saw lights of Hilo, went below to make some tea, fell asleep and lost his boat on the rocks.

Be careful out there.
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Old 19-09-2015, 11:50   #45
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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My friend lost his boat on Kaloli Point because he set his windvane to a course far from shore, had a glass of wine and fell asleep in the cockpit. The wind changed and he was driven ashore in juat a few hours.

Another acquaintance was sailing back from the South Pacific, saw lights of Hilo, went below to make some tea, fell asleep and lost his boat on the rocks.

Be careful out there.
Of course, you don't crash out on soundings. But, far from the shore, far from the shipping lanes, far from the Captain Huff and Puffs and the Chicken Littles , one can grab cat naps and get needed rest.one of the most famous single handed sailors, long before the currant crop of maritime idols, Blondie Hasler, opined, " whenever you aren't engaged in a shipboard task, you should be in your bunk, resting, because you never know when you will be called upon for Hurculean efforts, lasting many hours, or even days. " Reflect on the words of a real world, not hypothetical, sailor, shipmates.
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