Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 11-04-2010, 08:31   #16
Do… or do not
 
s/v Jedi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: in paradise
Boat: Sundeer 64
Posts: 9,198
Quote:
Originally Posted by cchesley View Post
If you want an absolute method of predicting potential collision, then you must determine whether the other vessel is on a constant or changing bearing. (constant bearing = danger)
I was waiting for this post: you are absolutely right. This is where the binoculars with compass come in so handy.

But don't forget our electronic friends: checking the other vessels is exactly what AIS and ARPA/RADAR are doing for you too. At night, I mostly check every light around me, taking it's bearing, and checking if it is on the AIS. When it's not on AIS, I check the radar and make it an ARPA target. Sometimes we're not sure and those are the tough ones. When we change watch, we say something like "there's something at 10 o'clock I think and it looks like we're gonna leave it to port". These lights can be small open fishing boats with just a torch, or a star rising from the horizon or a million other things, but we rarely find out.

cheers,
Nick.
__________________

__________________
s/v Jedi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 08:34   #17
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 363
Both my wife and I prefer to sail at night. I find it very peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. The stars shining.... sparkles from phosphorescence in the water.... the heightened awareness of the water rushing by the hull.... its all entrancing.

Last year on passage from St. Thomas direct to Jacksonville FL while crossing the top of the Mona Passage we had a steady 20-25 knots from the east and opposing swells from both the northeast and southeast coming together creating a fairly confused sea state and "corkscrewy" type boat movement going down the face of the waves. Seas were probably 8ft or so. With just the big 135 genny out we maintained 7.5-8 knots and at night the sensation of speed was just awesome. We felt like the boat was flying along like a speedboat. The wake and water rushing past the hull was sparkly and glowing, the stars were incredibly bright with no moon for much of the night and the boat felt so alive and thrilled to be carrying us along on such a great ride. I totally fell in love with night sailing.

As for worries on hitting something.... think about it. Do you REALLY keep a solid and consistent lookout directly ahead of the boat while on passage during the day? We do not. We keep watch and scan the horizon every 10-15 minutes but we are not constantly searching for objects that could be struck ahead of the boat. That is far too much work.... and there just arent such things out there. At least not enough to justify such vigilance. (exception.... if your crossing an area filled with lobster pots!) We let otto steer and hang out relaxing or reading.

As for storms.... they suck regardless of night or day and at night perhaps you may not fret so much over that looming doom of a cloud approaching since you cannot see it!


Terry
__________________

__________________
Tspringer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 08:56   #18
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cchesley View Post
but for newbies reading this post,.
Big thing for newbies, imho, is to not be worried about ships when they are on the horizon!

Nic used to get the binoculars out for a bearing as soon as she saw lights. the bearing does NOT move for ages. Consequently she would get very nervous... finally waking me, or having a half hour of near panic.

So we made a rule: Do NOT take a bearing till we can clearly see the red or green, or both, nav lights of the ship.

All people need to find their own best methods of avoiding ships because in most of the world ships do not seem to realise the need to avoid us. But I feel we are all much better off, even when learning, to take things in a quite relaxed manner. Wait till you know he's close. Then take a bearing. Then put the compass/binoculars down. Wait. Wait some more. We wait 5 minutes between sights (obviously quicker as the ship approaches) then take another bearing.

Ships really are easy. Dave has done the biggies of ship congestion, as have we, like the Singapore Straits, and its really quite easy if you are relaxed. If you really want to practice go play on the highway for a few nights. Run your boat back and forth across the shipping route coming into to your harbour.

Many cruisers sail outside the shipping lanes as they feel its safe. We think its UNsafe outside the shipping lanes because of fishing boats, nets and pots etc, so we routinely sail inside the lanes, in the middle of separation areas, or on the edges of lanes.



Test my idea one night: Don't take a bearing till you can clealry see its nav lights

One other trick I only invented the other night: When the ship is close look at it; without moving your eyes cover your eyes with a hand for 5 seconds; remove your hand. You will see its moved or not. try it.




Mark
PS If you get flattened by the ship email me.
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 10:22   #19
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
The only time I've ever encountered a rogue wave was at night. We never saw it coming, didn't have a chance to switch the autopilot into standby mode, and I honestly have no idea how big it actually was. The bow pitched up at an incredible degree--well beyond 45 degrees from the horizon, and then after a long climb when it felt like we had begun to move backwards, suddenly the bow pitched down and we dropped.

I had a lot of time to think after that, and finally asked myself whether I should become more or less relaxed about night sailing. I concluded, ultimately, that because the boat had taken care of itself with no help from me, I should be less worried.

You can do one of two things during a night watch. Enjoy the beauty of the sea around you or freak yourself out about all the shipping containers out there you can't see. For my part, I prefer to remind myself that I've got a kevlar-reinforced bow and then spend my time watching out for falling asteroids.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 10:59   #20
Senior Cruiser
 
senormechanico's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
Posts: 5,832
Lots of good posts here.

Imho, navigating the Straits of Juan de Fuca at night during fishing season is a lot more dangerous than offshore. Nets with tiny or no lights, logs etc. are everywhere.

At least when you're offshore, there's a LOT more water than hard things.
Besides traffic, we never saw any debris on our trip down the coast to Mexico after we left the strait until we entered San Francisco Bay. Once offshore a few miles, it's just water.
Of course, the Night Monsters are asleep on the bottom during the day...
__________________
Memento,homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
senormechanico is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 11:16   #21
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,006
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
The masthead running light provided enough light to work the boat even on the darkest of nights. The sea was almost always filled with luminesence, sometimes so much that you could almost read by it. The night was the most magical time for sailing. The reduced visibility makes you more aware of the boat and sea through your other senses.

As far as seeing deadheads and containers, it isn't much easier during the day. First, you have to be constantly scanning the waters to have any hope of seeing something barely floating. Possibly if you have a payed crew of 8 or more, you can assign a bow watch to devote all their time to being a lookout. On a short handed/single handed boat you just can't keep that tight a watch, day or night. The idea that seeing something gives you comfort brings to mind a story I heard. A fellow who'd regularly made the sail from Puget Sound to Mexico finally got a radar. He was able to see the ships that he never knew were there before. It disquieted him so much that he never made the trip again. He was no safer knowing the ships were out there, just freaked out by the knowledge and the poorer for it.

If you are going to let your fears of the dark prevent you from sailing, that is your loss. Just keep in mind that there are no monsters of the dark.
__________________
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 11:24   #22
Registered User
 
CharlieCobra's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: PNW
Boat: Knutson K-35 Yawl "Oh Joy" - Mariner 31 Ketch "Kahagon" - K-40 "Seasmoke" - 30' Sloop "Baccus"
Posts: 1,290
I really enjoy sailing at night. Sailing in a blow at night does set up a pucker factor when unseen but well heard waves thunder up to or past the boat though. I've found that it does more harm than good to look aft in big following seas to see what's looming over your head than to just look where you are going so maybe not being able to see them is a blessing.
__________________
CharlieCobra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 11:26   #23
Registered User
 
Aussiesuede's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC & Seattle, WA
Posts: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post

Imho, navigating the Straits of Juan de Fuca at night during fishing season is a lot more dangerous than offshore. Nets with tiny or no lights, logs etc. are everywhere.
I agree. Logs are the primary reason I refuse to enter the straits in either darkness, or heavy fog. It's insane the number of logs we have floating around here in the PNW.
__________________
I'm On point, On task, On message, and Off drugs. A Streetwise Smart Bomb, Out of rehab and In denial. Over the Top, On the edge, Under the Radar, and In Control. Behind the 8 ball, Ahead of the Curve and I've got a Love Child who sends me Hate mail. - (George Carlin)
Aussiesuede is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 12:22   #24
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussiesuede View Post
I agree. Logs are the primary reason I refuse to enter the straits in either darkness, or heavy fog. It's insane the number of logs we have floating around here in the PNW.
Yeah, but arn't they soggy and soft?
in Asia we saw lots of palm trees that wouldnt scrap a bit of weed off, let alone a barnicle. Have seen a few big trees that would hurt hitting the trunk, bit not many.

Are the logs in the PNW ready to break up and disolve or do they look like they'd crack the keel?


Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 14:40   #25
Registered User
 
Aussiesuede's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC & Seattle, WA
Posts: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post

Are the logs in the PNW ready to break up and disolve or do they look like they'd crack the keel?


Mark
It's a mixed bag. Most of the floating debris is benign & negligible of this type:




But it's not uncommon to come upon logs of this type that have gotten away:



or like this:



That have gotten away from one of these:



Which are prevalent here in logging country. So you always have it tucked in the back of your mind that something like this:



Could easily ruin your day.

Then during the spring birthing season, you add these to the equation that sleep with their dorsal fins near perpendicular to the water - and it makes nightime sailing an adventure (and we've not even accounted for the wonderfully changing currents of the strait..)

__________________
I'm On point, On task, On message, and Off drugs. A Streetwise Smart Bomb, Out of rehab and In denial. Over the Top, On the edge, Under the Radar, and In Control. Behind the 8 ball, Ahead of the Curve and I've got a Love Child who sends me Hate mail. - (George Carlin)
Aussiesuede is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 15:45   #26
Registered User
 
Idylles15.5's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northport NY
Boat: Idylles 15.5
Posts: 262
Send a message via Yahoo to Idylles15.5
steel tow lines in LI Sound arrrrggggg

If your going to be sailing in high traffic areas I would suggest you purchase the slide rules made by weems & plath. One is called Road rule Usations and the other is Lightrule Colregs. If your not sure what a ship is doing and you don't have nave light patterns memorized. you simply slide the rule until the lights match what the ship is showing you and the rule will tell you whats going on. Here in Long Island Sound there is a lot of barges that are in tow and the barge could be hundreds of yards behind the tug. Every year there are at least two or three deaths and even more bad accidents, because people think the tug is passed them then cut behind it only to be cut in half by a piano string monster cable. They hauled one boat into our marina last year and lets just say there was enough blood in the cockpit to look like a massacre had taken place. Better safe then sorry. As far as offshore goes lets just say I smoked a carton of butts one night of the Carolinas when the weather report was a day late and a dollar short. Jib tape pulled out of the furler, sail and sheets under the boat, I had no choice but to get a steak knife and cut a brand new 130 jib free so I could fire up the engine. Even after I cut it and watched it float away I was praying the sheets didn't wrap the prop or rudder. Not fun. I don't even smoke.
__________________
Idylles15.5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 19:49   #27
Registered User
 
CalebD's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SE NY
Boat: Tartan 27' - 'Odalisque'
Posts: 135
My first blue water sailboat trip was from Tortola to the Turks & Caicos (TCI) on a 51' Beneteau. The crew was her owner and me. I was a little worried about the night watches and wanted to see how I would deal with it having only done a bunch of pleasant full moon sails on my 27 footer that were only hours long.
It was an ocean sailing trip some 400 nm past the Mona Passage. Once the sun set below the horizon for the first time while surrounded by only water I was a bit alarmed and even scared perhaps. We had gentle seas and gentle trade winds but the following 3 to 4 foot ocean ripples would still make the 51' boat yaw and move in ways I could not predict at night as I could not make out the waves until they were right up on us. The rule on the boat was to use a tether at night at all times in the cockpit which reassured me somewhat. Trying to anticipate the movement of the boat without seeing the waves is a bit difficult but eventually reassuring too.
The first night watch I had I started telling myself that I saw a UFO streaking across the night sky. I had to reassure myself again that it was just the masthead light moving through its arc of motion. Another thing that spooked me was all the various noises the boat and rigging made; I could have sworn I heard a noise like a dog barking which turned out to be the metal boom and it's rigging. I had to reason with myself and find rational explanations for what my senses were telling me and I began to relax and even enjoy the night watches, especially sunrise and any moon that came up or set. On land I am not much of a 'morning person' but on the boat I wanted to see each sunrise rather then sleep.
It was also reassuring to know that the auto pilot steered the boat 99% of the way (no wheel fatigue or tyranny of the tiller), the chart plotter kept track of the AP and 2 GPSs were thinking about where we were every second or so. To add to my complacency was the fact that the owner and boat had recently crossed the Atlantic in the ARC and the owner is a doctor of veterinary medicine. The trip was just long or short enough for me to begin to feel that my whole world was the boat and her owner and my friend. I actually began to miss the confined solitude of the life on board when I found myself at Miami Intl Airport for the trip home to NY, surrounded by throngs, thousands of people delayed by some kind of logistics cluster-fach of the land based world.
I'd do it again in a heartbeat if the opportunity arose in similar circumstances. I don't think there is any way to get over sailing through the night except by doing it in as safe conditions as you can arrange.
To be bluntly honest I will also say that I did bring along a case of beer for myself and I credit part of my being able to be comfortable and laid back had something to do with being able to have a few beers in the evenings which helped me relax. I was never drunk on the ocean, that happened when we reached our destination.

It is all about your 'Comfort Zone'.
__________________
CalebD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 20:24   #28
Senior Cruiser
 
DeepFrz's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Winnipeg
Boat: None at this time
Posts: 7,930
I'm surprised you didn't mention deadheads AussieSuede. They will wake you up when one comes shooting up 2 feet out of the water.

For Mark's edification, dead heads are logs that float vertically and will rise and fall at a rate sympathetic to the waves. They are very near the same specific gravity of seawater and they sink out of site and then come charging out of the water periodically.

Check out the pictures of an Alaska beach...
Dead Head Log in th water - The Hull Truth
__________________
DeepFrz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 20:35   #29
Senior Cruiser
 
jackdale's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 5,048
Images: 1
I sail a lot at night in the PNW:

- Ganges to Teakerne Arm to Ganges (48 hours, non stop)
- Ganges to Blind Channel
- Winter Harbour to Hot Springs Cove
- Broken Islands to Victoria (via Juan de Fuca)

I have also done passages from Honolulu to PNW and Newport, RI to St Barths via Bermuda.

Some suggestions:

1) Contact Vessel Traffic Services and ask them what you might encounter. That also lets them know that you let you are out there.

2) Monitor traffic, 16 and 13.

3) If you have radar with MARPA - track everything.

4) Establish standing orders that you are to be awakened if vessels cannot be identified or if they come with a certain distance.

5) Use a hand bearing compass to determine a risk of collision.

6) Do a 360 degree sweep both visually and by radar before altering course.

7) Contact other vessels if their intentions are unclear, or if you just want to make sure.

8) Ensure you are lit properly.

9) Keep a search light available to shine in the water to make them aware you are there.

10) Use a flashlight to illuminate your sails. (If you are powering keep your main up).

11) Make sure your have a good radar reflector.

12) Plan you passage so that you know what aids to navigation you will see along the way.

13) Stay on the chart - know where you are at all times.

14) It takes 20 minutes to get your night vision; a crucial point at watch changes.

15) Red lenses only on flashlights.

16) Everyone should have a red lensed headlamp. They are great for working on deck and doing chart work below.

17) Photochromatic lenses only transmit 80% of the light - not a good idea at night.

You will not see the logs in the dark. If you hit on under sail, it might just scratch the gel coat. If you are under power, instantly throttle down and shut the engine off. A spinning prop hitting a log is a huge expense.

All that being said, I love sailing at night - especially offshore, the daytime is boring.
__________________
ISPA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor Evaluator
Sail Canada Advanced Cruising Instructor
IYT Yachtmaster Coastal Instructor
ASA 201, 203,204, 205, 206, 214
As I sail, I praise God, and care not. (Luke Foxe)
jackdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2010, 21:25   #30
Registered User
 
jrd22's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Juan Islands, WA
Boat: 1988 Brewer Three Seas 40' Pilothouse
Posts: 251
Jack- if you hit the average 30-40' by 18-30" diameter log while sailing or motoring at 6-7 knots you're going to have a lot more to worry about than a scratch in the gel coat. There are several boats (sail/power/fishing) every year around the PNW that are sunk by collisions with dead heads and logs. Sometimes you're lucky and hit them broadside, you usually ride over the top of them, but if you're not so lucky and hit them on end the damage can be severe. It doesn't take much of a log to weigh a couple thousand pounds.
__________________

__________________
John Davidson
S/V Laurie Anne
1988 40' Brewer Pilothouse
jrd22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First Night Sail FraidNot General Sailing Forum 31 28-02-2010 05:36
WTB: ITT Night Mariner 160 night vision monocular sporf Classifieds Archive 0 17-11-2008 18:53
Models Looking for Boat / Yacht for Night Out at Sea - Singapore crustacea General Sailing Forum 7 16-07-2008 19:53
Your site has been down all night seafox Forum Tech Support & Site Help 2 29-04-2007 14:54



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:50.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.