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Old 16-09-2015, 23:55   #1
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What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I have never been overnight, and I was thinking and trying to picture what it would be like, to set the autopilot or windvane and with the wind blowing, in some seas, and then just go below and sleep.

What ISO it like? Is it impossible because you are scared for the first night and then you get so tired you just pass out the next night?

Are there any YouTube videos or anyway to accurately portray what it is like and how you feel? Especially singlehanded.
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Old 17-09-2015, 00:11   #2
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
I have never been overnight, and I was thinking and trying to picture what it would be like, to set the autopilot or windvane and with the wind blowing, in some seas, and then just go below and sleep.

What ISO it like? Is it impossible because you are scared for the first night and then you get so tired you just pass out the next night?

Are there any YouTube videos or anyway to accurately portray what it is like and how you feel? Especially singlehanded.
Hmmm - If you're not single-handing, if you trust your crew - you just go to sleep.

Single-handing and going to sleep for the entire night is a subject of vast discussion on this forum. Boatman does it all the time (when he is well out to sea and far away from ship traffic).

That would be the key - far away from ship traffic.

I've never tried it single-handing and I doubt if I would feel comfortable - although I guess if you do it often enough, you get used to it.
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Old 17-09-2015, 00:20   #3
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I can't speak to the singlehanded experience, but for me with a crew, it's very hard to sleep the first night. Actually, my first attempt at sleep might be in the afternoon, depending on our watch schedule. But whenever it is, the excitement, anticipation, trepidation, and change in schedule all conspire to keep me awake. The noise and motion of a boat at sea also add to the difficulty. But we need to get as much rest as practical, or pretty soon we will be unable to perform our duties. As crew we depend on each other to be capable and pull our weight, so everyone makes the effort to sleep when we can.

I find that for the first few days earplugs are a great help. Sometimes I wear headphones and play soft music while I am lying down. With an iPod and headphones even if I'm not playing music I can set an alarm to wake me in time for my next watch. Initially I might not be able to actually fall asleep, but closing my eyes and resting is almost as useful. Even with the earplugs and headphones I can hear if something needs my attention, but as my crew and I get accustomed to the boat and each other I can let go and trust my crew to wake me if needed. That makes getting to sleep much easier!

After a few days I will be so tired after my watch, and so familiar with the noise and motion that I don't need the earplugs, and could fall asleep standing on my head. A few days more and I am settled into my cycle and as long as the watch schedule isn't too brutal the fatigue is under control and sleep comes easily.
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Old 17-09-2015, 04:00   #4
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I usually single-hand. First night: cannot sleep, neither on the go nor at anchor/marina, so prefer to start a long journey in the evening. If on the go, I set everything, sails, course, autopilot, and go below for shorter and longer periods, close my eyes trying to rest and listen. Ears are the primary sensors at night especially if it is very dark. You can hear lot of things before it happens (accidental gyb can be sensed for example, if the waves suddenly hitting the hull from a strange direction). When I get up, I stick my head out to the night, see if there are no danger, have a look at the stars, instrument etc. If any little doubt I stay up and follow up on the story until it clears (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours), then go back trying to rest.

You can get used to this broken sleep. Two weeks ago one night I was sailing through the night and as it wasn't the first night I was in the V-berth half asleep despite the rough enough sea (I usaully take up an uncomfortable position-easier to get out, harder to fall asleep). I felt that I am falling in to the very deep dreamless phase of the best night sleep. Unfortunately, on one side I had the shoreline, 10-15Nml close, the other side a shipping lane a bit closer. I couldn't afford to have a good night sleep, so I forced myself to turn back from it and woke myself up. Kind of a mindfullness...
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Old 17-09-2015, 04:17   #5
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pirate Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Hmmm - If you're not single-handing, if you trust your crew - you just go to sleep.

Single-handing and going to sleep for the entire night is a subject of vast discussion on this forum. Boatman does it all the time (when he is well out to sea and far away from ship traffic).

That would be the key - far away from ship traffic.

I've never tried it single-handing and I doubt if I would feel comfortable - although I guess if you do it often enough, you get used to it.
Have been known to grab a couple of hours going down the English Channel now and then.. with the flow of course..
Overtaking vessels and all that...
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Old 17-09-2015, 04:37   #6
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Have been known to grab a couple of hours going down the English Channel now and then.. with the flow of course..
Overtaking vessels and all that...
I'm usually the give way boat while sleeping as well...
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Old 17-09-2015, 04:53   #7
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

Obviously depends on a lot.

I think with competent crew and OK conditions if one is tired sleep should be no problem. Change the inputs and it's harder to sleep.

Singlehanded sleeping is another issue.

There can be no watch and no one to trim so conditions can be changing and dangerous. And of course other vessels out there.

When I single handed ocean passages I slept in 20 minute stints... YUCK. I popped up to scan the horizon, the wind situation and trim... logged the position, adjusted the heading on the AP and went back to sleep. This was very difficult... but one has no choice. Luckily I didn't see much traffic. I had a guard zone with alarm set on the radar when I am sleeping.

You can't sleep single handed in high traffic areas.
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Old 17-09-2015, 05:05   #8
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

I've not been on long passages, four days being the longest, but I catnap in the cockpit, wake up every 30 min or so, quick look around, look at Radar and AIS and go back to sleep. Now this is the Gulf, so there is liable to be someone out there, many don't have AIS or don't turn it on.
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Old 17-09-2015, 05:09   #9
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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Have been known to grab a couple of hours going down the English Channel now and then.. with the flow of course..
Overtaking vessels and all that...
Never doubted you'd do something like that - but then you're gutsier than me
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Old 17-09-2015, 05:15   #10
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

Stay up all night and sleep during the day - it's easier to see me then!


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Old 17-09-2015, 10:06   #11
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

A quick question for the big ocean travelers. I was under the impression that shipping lanes don't really exist anymore and that routing services determined the course. I suppose taking into account weather, currents and so on. So are you safe, relatively speaking, outside the traditional shipping lanes?

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Old 17-09-2015, 10:36   #12
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

On our passage from Mexico to the Marquesas we had to change course four separate times to avoid collision courses with large freighters. I did not expect that. I thought it would be rare to see a ship that far out, and outside what you would call shipping lanes. I only hailed one and the captain was French. He was going from Chile to California with some type of cargo. These all happened in day time, which is just a coincidence since they are always out there.

They come up on you extremely fast - within 20 minutes from the time you first see them on the horizon to the time they cross your path. I napped on night passages but I was definitely taking chances.

But sleeping off watch is always different, depending on weather, seas, confidence, boat issues, whatever. The first night is always the hardest but it gets easier as you settle in to the rhythm of the boat and the passage. What is hard is sleeping in rough seas where waves hit the boat like a freight train and/or you are rising and falling in the berth from the boat falling out from under you in troughs to being pressed down by a giant hand when you come up on steep seas. Ear plugs definitely can help but caution: sometimes the watch needs you to come up immediately so you need some way to make that happen. We could have lost the boat and our lives one time because my wife went below and took a sleeping aid in a gale and the autopilot would not steer the boat going downwind. I am going to rig a loud bell or something I can trigger from the helm.

But it can be so peaceful and restful with the boat pulling strongly and you can hear/feel the water rushing by. And then you hear porpoises outside and you rush up to see them cavort around the boat at night. Magnificent!
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Old 17-09-2015, 10:47   #13
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

Single handed for years. My method was to use a forty dollar Casio with a count down timer set to 20 minutes. Get up on the cabin top and take a good 360 look around. If you don't see any lights, start the timer and lie down in the cockpit and doze . When the alarm goes off, you'll get a shot of adrenaline. Jump up and take a good look. If you see anything, stay up and deal. If not , reset the timer and lie back down and doze. You can accumulate around five hours rest through the night. Once used to it, becomes natural. Had a few close calls, but still alive. Don't care about what others think of my method but I got it from Blondie Hasler, who did a bit of single handing.
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Old 17-09-2015, 10:55   #14
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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A quick question for the big ocean travelers. I was under the impression that shipping lanes don't really exist anymore and that routing services determined the course. I suppose taking into account weather, currents and so on. So are you safe, relatively speaking, outside the traditional shipping lanes?

Rich


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The problem with this... say from NY harbor to the Carribean. How far off the rhumb line would commercial traffic go? Little! Ergo shipping lanes... Beware.
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Old 17-09-2015, 11:04   #15
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Re: What is it like sleeping your first night out?

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orty dollar Casio with a count down timer set to 20 minutes.

You'll be happy to know that they are only $20 now! And have moon and tide data


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