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Old 10-04-2010, 21:22   #1
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What's it Really Like at Sea at Night?

OK...I admit it.....Im a little afraid of the dark.

No....not whats in my closet or under my bed kind of afraid.... my wife killed all those guys...

No...its the monsters of the sea that I have yet to experience that stirs my mind.

I am the most impressed with say the likes of Jessica Watson and Abby Sunderland not so much in their ability to handle a boat around the world but handle that boat in the dark...

Near totally submerged containers floating about, sleeping whales, floating Islands drifting in the current... Ok my imagination ran wild on that one.

Storms and waves phase me not during the daylight but whats that like in the dark?

Mommy Im scared!..
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:33   #2
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Its not so bad once you surrender to it. The first storm where you come to the realization that you can't see beyond the bow, or maybe not even that far and you are doing 7 knots through the blackness, you either surrender or make up your mind if you ever get to shore you are going to swallow the anchor.
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:36   #3
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The storms and waves sleep at night, too. So no worries.

Nope, the storms, seas, logs, and container ships are still there. It can be surreal not seeing them. The storm rages on. Unseen sails luff. Waves announce their arrival with a roar. The boat feels like it's turning when its not. It goes in circles and you cannot tell until you see the compass spinning, then you don't believe it.

In some ways watches becomes easier. You are not going to see that log in time to do anything about it, so why bother even looking? Might as well read.

As for navigating, you must completely trust your instruments. I had long ago learned to fly blind, on instruments, so this was easier. Except that boat instruments, as shoddy as the best are, are a little harder to trust.

A beginner might start out on moonlit nights. Night sailing is really neato. Especially if it's warm.
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Old 10-04-2010, 21:36   #4
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Yo stillraining, it's better cause you can't see them!
In the morning you get scared as you can see what you have been sailing through?
Saw a beautiful green meteorite break up in blaze of glory over james bond anchorage 2 nights ago whilst eating my tuna surprise pasta, the anchor chain was like a blue neon light from the phosphescence.
Sailed alone, in the dark last night , totally flying on instruments, pitch black, no moon, just black shadows of the huge cliffs on the islands, to make landfall, used the search light to see amongst the 5 islands and found a mooring buoy, lucky?
I just relax and totally trust the chart plotter, its really accurate, and depth sounder, and very slowly near landfall.........
Keith.
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Old 10-04-2010, 23:11   #5
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It can be very peaceful & beautiful.Try & pick where you sail at night,someplace with few obstacles.marc
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Old 10-04-2010, 23:20   #6
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At first I didn't like night sailing because I thought it would be scary. Once I got out there, I found that night sailing has many attractions. I could see the stars at night, and it was really easy to see ships and the course they were taking by looking at their running lights. When I was looking at ships at night, as long as I didn't see both the red and green running lights at the same time, I knew that they were not going to run me down. If the white bow light and the elevated light on the bridge were not vertically aligned, I knew that I was not on a collision course. It's much harder to tell the heading of a ship in broad daylight in my experience. If the weather is bad at night, the radar works wonders looking for squalls and ships.

I don't mind sailing offshore at night. Coastal cruising at night and entering port at night are an entirely different matter. There's lots more things to pay attention to when you are close to land. Sailing offshore at night is usually safer and more enjoyable in my experience

Here is how I feel about sailing at night: Ten Reasons Why Night Sailing Rocks!

OFFSHORE MULTIHULLS - TEN REASONS WHY NIGHT SAILING ROCKS.* CAPTAIN DAVE.
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Old 10-04-2010, 23:29   #7
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I think that running at night before the wind and waves in 25+kts and more than 10ft seas is very very unnerving and after many nights of it, I never really got used to it. It is rarely totally dark and the sea glow from the breaking waves seem to be chasing you and threatening to eat you up. But they have not yet. I think the concept of "surrendering" is accurate about where you end up with it. There is no way anyone can claim to be totally in control. After 30 years, I still am not without some uncomfortableness.

I recall one such night sitting in the cockpit when an uncharted buoy (it was a NOAA giant yellow temporary thing--not sure why I did not get a radar return on it, I might have not checked it often enough) whizzed by the cockpit when I was more than 100 mi offshore at night--unlit. My guts were in my throat for several hours thinking about what 15 feet of course difference might have meant.

Another night in those same conditions, I saw some dark images on the waves ahead and was not seeing anything hard on the radar, just wave tops. As they went by my crewman saw it: a bunch of full garbage bags floating.
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Old 10-04-2010, 23:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
OK...I admit it.....Im a little afraid of the dark.


Mommy Im scared!..
Oh for pittys sake! Has one of your daughters stolen your computer?????
You pansey!

The only scarey time at night we've had... and I wasn't scare, only NICOLLE... We were sailing away from a lightening storm on the horizon heading towards us. Its was pitch black except for the lightening. All of a sudden was a whale breath right next to us.

Its raely totally black at night, either theres a moon or theres phosphorescence.

We never use torches at night except to see the shape of the sails. We know where every line and fitting is, and all can be adjusted at night in the dark by feel. Start without torches and learn the hard way

Only other thing is when you go sailing for a few days at sea you will see nothing: No containers, no trees, no whales trying to become Darwins next exterminated species. Nothing!
Then at night it will dawn on you there ain't nothing there either!


(did you like the night/dawn gag? LOL)

Night can be the most beautiful time sailing. Sitting out behind the wheel in the balmy soft tradewind, the quiet sizzel of the water, ripples of blue/green phosphorescence, And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.


Mark
PS "And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars." Banjo Patterson: Clancy of the Overflow. One of my fav poems
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Old 11-04-2010, 00:45   #9
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When the weather is nice, sailing at night is wonderful. But when squalls are around or we're in a full storm already, I always get this feeling of doom when the sun sinks below and the darkness takes over. Then, after an hour or so, we adjust. If it's really bad we play some loud rock music... ELO works wonders. After a couple of hours we're used to it and the problem is gone.... until next time and we do it all over again ;-)

Adjusting for conditions we're not used to also happens during the day: "wow, we never had a squall this bad!". But it is never with that feeling of doom. I agree it has to do with loosing a big part of control due to the darkness.

ciao!
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:25   #10
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Magical!
A few miles off Padre Island sailing north along the Texas coast, moonlit starlit night, light wind, gentle chop, phosphorescent gold green wake fanning out astern, and two playful dolphin crisscrossing under our boat, another surfing on our bow wave, their sleek forms eerily highlighted by even more phosphorescence, amazing array of brilliant golds, greens, blues, and more, and their trail of disturbed water still visible in a phosphorescent glow many seconds after each transit across our path.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
OK...I admit it.....Im a little afraid of the dark.

No....not whats in my closet or under my bed kind of afraid.... my wife killed all those guys...

Mommy Im scared!..

I'm with you! All the talk about how wonderful it is and how it isn't anything to worry about is fine. But this is the brain talking and doesn't change the emotional part. So don't feel like a lonely wimp because there are lots of people who feel the same and who just aren't going to admit it.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:26   #12
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I am sure at times when your wife is upset. You can still see the beauty she holds. You will learn to embrace Mother Nature in all her moods too. The most beautiful sail I have experienced was 50+ wind, and 20ft+ seas on the quarter rounding Point Conception on a cold December night.

I do not remeber if there was a moon, and I believe there wasn't. The stars were so bright. The wave tops crumbled behind me lighting up my stern. My only sail was a handkerchief sized headsail, and still my 30ftr. was doing 8 1/2 knots down the face of the waves, and 6 1/2 up their backs. The noise was like a symphony to my ears. I had no time to fear logs, whales, or submerged containers. I only had time to be grateful for being able to witness, and experience this sail.

Then on the other side of the coin. I was sailing north along Baja in the light of dawn. I looked up & there was a huge brown object right in front of my bow. This nearly caused a huge brown object in my pants. It stretched so far from side to side there was no avoiding it. As I passed over it we slowed momentarily as the seasweed slipped from the keel. You can't imagine the amount of relief I experienced as I realized my luck, and not my doom..........i2f
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:33   #13
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How poetic! You got to love these sailors. I love night time on the boat away from land. I love the boat at night anywhere for that matter. In July, hopefully, headed to the Abacos for three weeks. Can't wait. Please go out at night and enjoy life at its best.

David
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:49   #14
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Night sailing is beautiful. Don't sweat the containers or logs or whatever. On a long term sail you wouldn't see them in the daytime either. If weather looks iffy, shorten sail before dark.

One of my favorite sailing moments, sailing up the Straights of Florida toward Key West, completely overcast so not a star or light to be seen. So black you literally could not see your hand in front of your face. Cranked up "Dark Side of the Moon" on the stereo and rocked along.

That same night we also had a whale blow next to the boat. Until we figured it out it did get our attention.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:08   #15
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A and it was really easy to see ships and the course they were taking by looking at their running lights. When I was looking at ships at night, as long as I didn't see both the red and green running lights at the same time, I knew that they were not going to run me down. If the white bow light and the elevated light on the bridge were not vertically aligned, I knew that I was not on a collision course. [/url]


What you are saying here is ONLY true when you're not moving at all. At 4-6 knot boat speeds this is very misleading. It's a start for knowing whether to 'worry' about ships that you sight on the horizon at night but for newbies reading this post, it's very bad counsel and simply NOT true.

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) This is tougher to do as your own vessel's head is moving around a bit due to constant heading changes (so check that bearing whenever your own boat is on the same compass heading). Even with this method, the bearing needs to be taken on the same point of the other vessel (bow, stern or running light) and the closer you are to the ship or boat, the only certainty with a very slow changing bearing is that you won't hit that point on the ship. A course that permits you to pass ahead of the other ship may be just as dangerous even if it's not technically a collision course.

You took a really low hit from another poster recently. However, such blantantly dangerous advice ,without further explanation, such as you've given warrants a rebuttal.
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