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Old 05-08-2014, 00:28   #1
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Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Hello all,

We did a three day crossing over Biscay together and quickly settled into a good routine.

We will be doing the ARC rally in Nov and were wondering if anyone's done this here as a couple and how you found it?

Three days is one thing, twenty or so is another I'm guessing.

What problems, stresses, etc, does that place on you if there's only two people on board? Or wouldn't you even conciser doing the ARC with just two?

Regards,
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:08   #2
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Re: Who's done the ARC rally as a couple?

Simon..Maybe a better question is who has crossed oceans with just husband and wife. We are going to be sharing the ocean with you as we'll be crossing the same time although we are not ARCing it.
Its always a mixed bag when crossing with a couple, personally I'd rather deal with sleep deprivation than having crew.
You need more water and more food, you get more sleep. There may be some 'issues' with certain crew members and you can't run around in your birthday suit when it starts getting hot.
We prefer to just have the two of us. See you out there, lol.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:03   #3
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Re: Who's done the ARC rally as a couple?

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Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
What problems, stresses, etc, does that place on you if there's only two people on board? Or wouldn't you even conciser doing the ARC with just two?

Regards,
Simon
Personally, I prefer sailing two-up with my husband. No stresses at all. No problems either with trusting the competency of additional crew or having problems arise with crew coping badly in tight quarters or with rough conditions. We have not crossed the Atlantic, but with long passages have found it takes 2-3 of days to settle in well and after that you feel you could go on forever.

Our routine is the person off watch must try and sleep (no reading). We don't have a regular time to swap. If the person on watch starts to tire the other is immediately woken up. This may be a couple of hours, it may be six. The opposite applies too. If the person off watch wakes up and cannot get back to sleep then they check if the other wants to be relieved. Sleep deprivation and fatigue are very easily avoided that way.

The extra sleep is needed. It is physically very tiring having the boat constantly pitching about - even brushing your teeth can be a major operation. If you don't sleep most of your off watch, you are likely to perform badly when in charge.

Crossing to Tonga from NZ we were three-up. Watches were three hours on and six off. If privacy and crew concerns are not an issue, then I think this is ideal for long passages. The other two crew are asleep on your watch, no one gets in anyone's hair, you get plenty of sleep yourself. It was five days before the three of us were up at the same time.

I personally think 4 or 5 are not ideal. Too many people if only one crew member is needed per watch and not enough if two are needed. Six would be perfect if a boat is large enough to need two on watch.
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:23   #4
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Re: Who's done the ARC rally as a couple?

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
There may be some 'issues' with certain crew members and you can't run around in your birthday suit when it starts getting hot.
Robert, You just need to choose the right crew, enjoying running around in birthday suits and it is no problem when it is getting hot!

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Old 05-08-2014, 03:17   #5
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

We have done it with crew and without crew, with crew you get more rest, its much easier if anything goes wrong, you need more provisions, you get more people to talk to, negatives if you get some a- holes.

One good piece of advice I can offer, is if you take on crew make sure they are paying a daily amount ,say 10 euro a day or something, gets rid of freeloaders secondly, get younger people, the two younger people we had were fine, the 3 older people we had later ,were more problematic, one jumped ship (glad to see the back of him) the other whines about every penny she spent and was quite lazy about the boat, the tird older person was fine, but panicked like hell when we lost the rudder 400nm from the azores and could have been a liability.

On the way over the 2 younger people, the boy was great the girl a bit air headed but otherwise ok.

Going without crew , you will not have a full time watch, sleep deprivation will become an issue and if you fall out , youre on your own, also if you have any problems with the boat more hands do make light work.

I would not go without extra crew, but would make sure its a younger person and spend a little bit of time with them, when you get to the canaries you will have no end of people looking for boats to crew on, lastly stay away from couples, they can gang up and also tend to be into each other, less sociable.

Good luck with your crossing.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:40   #6
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Not an atlantic crossing, but my wife and I just crossed the Baltic. Mark J sent us a good watch system

midnight to 4 am
4 am to 8am
8am to 1 pm
1 pm to 7pm
7pm to midnight

The above ensures that the dog watch changes hands each night and that both crew members get at least 5 hours sleep in one go.

Takes a day or so to get into it, but then you adjust and actually you're not tired.

Good luck - we'll be crossing the atlantic in 2016
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:50   #7
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

I like a modified Swedish 2 watch system:

1200 - 1800 (6 hrs)
1800 - 2300 (5 hrs)
2300 - 0300 (4 hrs)
0300 - 0600 (3 hrs)
0600 - 1200 (6 hrs)
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:20   #8
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

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Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Not an atlantic crossing, but my wife and I just crossed the Baltic. Mark J sent us a good watch system


Takes a day or so to get into it, but then you adjust and actually you're not tired.
Glad it worked for you!

For the OP asking about 20 or more days... That watch system will work well for long trips, but theres extras we put into out long passages before I started solo sailing.

We dropped the saloon table and set it up as a big "day bed" for the person ON watch. In the deep ocean we felt fine with the on watch person doing the watch below and just sticking their head up every 15 minutes. The day bed made it more comfortable to the on watch person to laze around and read.

I never allow off watch people to sleep on deck, or the daybed, because I want the on watch person to be able to be loud... Play music, stomp around, work the sails, cook a slow cook extravaganza in the galley. You can't do any of that if you are creeping around because some idiot is trying to sleep in a common area.

I try to give my partner a real responsibility in navigating the boat. To say "i've set everything up, don't touch the autopilot, wake me if you see anything" is a recipe for boredom.
Much better to note in your log entry "5 hours at 6.2 kts average" and watch them try to exceed it. Or make sure each of you hand steer for an hour a day just for the fun of it. Ensure the on watch person does NOT wake the off watch person when they see a ship but to keep clear of it themselves, etc.
In fact I couldnt care if my partner would do circles as long as she was having a bit of fun and eventually getting back on course. I inspect every bit of floating stuff, or head over to any whale sighting etc.

20 days flies by if you are not tired, if you are entertained, well fed, get exercise and use your brain a bit occasionally

Oh, the other thing about the ARC is the radio net / satellite position reports. Its great fun to plot all that sort of crap and enjoy the comeradery.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:21   #9
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post

(...)

Three days is one thing, twenty or so is another I'm guessing.

What problems, stresses, etc, does that place on you if there's only two people on board? Or wouldn't you even conciser doing the ARC with just two?

Regards,
Simon
Hi,

I think if you worry about twenty days with your partner, you cannot solve this worry on the water (other than by trial and, at times, error).

We have sailed: 72, 43, 36, 35, 33 and countless 20+ day passages. Never any issues. In fact we wished many of our passages could last longer.

If there is ever any stress (as often seems with us just prior to departure) then it seems to dissolve once we are on the water, and then things only get better the longer we go.

I know countless sailing couples. Those who report any tensions on the water soon split up. This is good news.

YMMV

b.
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:34   #10
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Commonly referred to as "water soluble relationships"
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:48   #11
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

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Commonly referred to as "water soluble relationships"
Great term!
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:36   #12
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Now being serious...

Sailing for fourty years I learnt a thing or two about crews

First of all - less crew, less issues.
Sailing as a couple (of "not water soluble" kind) is better, if only You can sail Your boat safely as a couple.

Second - if You need a crew, go for a young people. They are more adaptable, more happy with adventure, more eager to learn new ways of doing things, less touchy, less burdened by own habits etc.

Third - do not take a couple as a crew. I keep repeating - it is O.K. for two or three couples to go sailing together, You just need two or three boats to do it with success!

Fourth - do not take a pair of friends as a crew. This solution can be only a shade better than taking a couple and can be not better at all.

Fifth - any potential crew need to have a real "drive" towards sailing as a sailing itself, not just see it as another possible way to live an adventure or get to distant places.

Sixth - go with potential crew for a informal dinner at the restaurant/bistrot/tavern of Your choice. If he/she will be struggling making the choice from the menu You like or You will run out of the suitable topics for casual conversation before the end of the dinner - look for another crew.

By the way - some thirty years ago I found an interesting study regarding the optimisation of small task groups in bigger organisations.
The finding was such a group should be of an odd number, should not excess seven people (better to divide task between more small groups than form a group exceeding seven people) and should include one person of the gender opposite to other members of the group.
I tried to stick to this advice and found that crews of one female + several males or one male + several females are really much less plagued by small issues in on-board relationships than crews of more even configuration. I'm nor sure why, but I'm pretty sure this principle works

Anyway - for OP's 39 footer it is really the choice between no crew or one extra crew really
In such situation I would take an extra crew only when meeting an exceptional person, we would really want to share an adventure with

Cheers,

Tomasz
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:56   #13
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleWhisky View Post
Now being serious...

Sailing for fourty years I learnt a thing or two about crews

First of all - less crew, less issues.
Sailing as a couple (of "not water soluble" kind) is better, if only You can sail Your boat safely as a couple.

Second - if You need a crew, go for a young people. They are more adaptable, more happy with adventure, more eager to learn new ways of doing things, less touchy, less burdened by own habits etc.

Third - do not take a couple as a crew. I keep repeating - it is O.K. for two or three couples to go sailing together, You just need two or three boats to do it with success!

Fourth - do not take a pair of friends as a crew. This solution can be only a shade better than taking a couple and can be not better at all.

Fifth - any potential crew need to have a real "drive" towards sailing as a sailing itself, not just see it as another possible way to live an adventure or get to distant places.

Sixth - go with potential crew for a informal dinner at the restaurant/bistrot/tavern of Your choice. If he/she will be struggling making the choice from the menu You like or You will run out of the suitable topics for casual conversation before the end of the dinner - look for another crew.

By the way - some thirty years ago I found an interesting study regarding the optimisation of small task groups in bigger organisations.
The finding was such a group should be of an odd number, should not excess seven people (better to divide task between more small groups than form a group exceeding seven people) and should include one person of the gender opposite to other members of the group.
I tried to stick to this advice and found that crews of one female + several males or one male + several females are really much less plagued by small issues in on-board relationships than crews of more even configuration. I'm nor sure why, but I'm pretty sure this principle works

Anyway - for OP's 39 footer it is really the choice between no crew or one extra crew really
In such situation I would take an extra crew only when meeting an exceptional person, we would really want to share an adventure with

Cheers,

Tomasz
I can only agree with all this and add the following:

It is almost always better to take someone as crew who is unexperienced than a crusty old salt. The unexperienced will follow orders and do what they are told. The crusty old salt will want to do things his/her way and frequently thinks they know more/better than you resulting in unecessary discussion setc.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:01   #14
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

I certainly agree on younger crew but what does that say about us older farts, LOL. I guess we have to be happy we wrote the cheques and make the decisions as apparently we are not worth **** as crew.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:08   #15
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Re: Who's Done the ARC Rally as a Couple?

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I can only agree with all this and add the following:

It is almost always better to take someone as crew who is unexperienced than a crusty old salt. The unexperienced will follow orders and do what they are told. The crusty old salt will want to do things his/her way and frequently thinks they know more/better than you resulting in unecessary discussion setc.
All rules have exceptions though .
We have raced multiple times on overnight passages as a couple and been taken on board as crew as an experienced couple. No issues. Been invited back which is always a good indication of a happy skipper.

So be careful of generalisations. At least with a couple you know two crew members will get along and work well together .
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