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Old 10-01-2008, 16:58   #1
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SLEEP, enough or not enough??

Hi all,

From my research and meeting many cruisers, what is the average sleep people get on their boats here??

I know that when doing long passages, everyone takes turns or shifts so sleep is minimal. How about when anchored? Are people constantly waking up from various noises outside, i.e. shrimp, barnacles, people partying or people trying to board, etc..

Do you all sleep better when on the water or is everyone just too alert to every noise or has everyone just gotten used to it and sleep very well??

Let me know your sleeping habits, cheers!
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Old 10-01-2008, 17:34   #2
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It takes me three sleep cycles to become accustom to being at anchor. The first one, I'm up every hour on anchor watch. The second is chilling out and getting use to how the boat rides. The third night ... unless something strange goes bump in the night - I'm sleep'n well.
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Old 10-01-2008, 17:35   #3
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I sleep pretty soundly; basically what I would get on land, unless we're in transit. To be honest I lose more sleep because of typical stress situations (money, relationship stuff, etc) than I do from popping shrimp. The only unique sleep problem that stayed around for a while is leaks sometimes; if you get one of those on you when you sleep, you're in trouble.
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Old 10-01-2008, 17:53   #4
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I am prfetty much like Tomas, first night out up and weary of anchor drag. Then on I am OK with a full 6 hours of sleep. Out on the ocean, it takes a couple of days to get comfortable in a rolling bunk. Then general weariness from being awake for a couple let me sleep like a baby for 3-4 hours off watch.
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Old 10-01-2008, 17:55   #5
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Thanks for contributing!! I always slept well when I was a "guest" on my friends boats because I never had the worries as the owners would nor was I never on watch. So I slept soundly especially with the constant rocking of the boat and hearing the water outside!!
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Old 10-01-2008, 18:12   #6
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Originally Posted by S/V Elusive View Post
It takes me three sleep cycles to become accustom to being at anchor. The first one, I'm up every hour on anchor watch. The second is chilling out and getting use to how the boat rides. The third night ... unless something strange goes bump in the night - I'm sleep'n well.
I agree with Thomas also....

At sea, you no longer have "days"...& ..."nights". You have 24 hour days and you get sleep whenever you can. I usually get lots of sleep at sea but I get it in spurts. I don't allow myself to get into a stage of sleeplesness. That's when something will go wrong and you can get yourself in trouble. Sleep is a lot more important at sea than it is at anchor..afterall, you must stay alert, in case you catch a fish .
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Old 10-01-2008, 19:17   #7
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Here's one for sea that I wanted to ask some like Kanani and others who have done a lot of long passages with just 2 up. I want to try this one out next time.

I found it on this website blog of a cruiser Two handed Watch-Keeping systems

Basically I like longer watches and find 3 hours a bit short, and on the odd occasion we have done just 2 hours on, to be quite boring. Worst is 2 on 4 off where I just seem to get lost! But 4 hour watches I find exciting because you get somewhere in 4 hours, and its a good time to feel the weather cycle.
Also, and is this the big downfall, I do like a reasonable length kip! Having 2 x 5 hour sleeps one day, and a 6 hour sleep the next seems bliss!
Also this watch system seems to lend itself to cooking duties on watch: On watch makes lunch for 1300 watch change, and then On watch makes dinner timed for 1900 watch change. with new person on watch doing the washing up in each instance so the other can get their full sleep.
Each do their own breakfast.

In heavy weather a longer off watch period means that theres still sleep time even though you've had to be on deck an hour or so in the middle. But if theres quipment failure, vis a vie auto pilot then its not much sleep for anyone

And in answer to the question in general about sleeping... I think sailors sleep with one ear open! As soon as something sounds odd sleep goes LOL

Mark
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Old 10-01-2008, 19:24   #8
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And in answer to the question in general about sleeping... I think sailors sleep with one ear open! As soon as something sounds odd sleep goes LOL

Mark
I basically sleep with one ear and eye open now just out of habit. I was curious if this would get worse on a boat or be about the same..
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Old 10-01-2008, 19:24   #9
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Who's A Sleeping?

Shadow: My experience 'bout sleeping on sailboats has been like this: In a reasonably calm marina or tied up to a mooring ball, I sleep like a baby. If the wind pipes up in any marina we're in, ya probably gonna hafta check the lines at least once during the night. On a mooring ball I usually get up a couple of times a night just to take a look around & make sure there's no boats dragging their anchors. A fact of life is that as ya get older, ya have a tendency to pea once or twice a night anyway. At home I sleep with ear plugs, away from the dock I don't. The only time I have not been able to get at least 2 to 3 hrs sleep at time while sailing overnight, is on a trip years ago from Key West to Cuba. With the SW Gulf Stream current and NE wind banging into each other during the 12 to 15hrs crossings even the 46ft full keel Westsail we were on was bouncing too much to get more than 20 to 30 minutes sleep before you got bounced up off the saloon floor hard enough to be wide awake. Where you sleep on a passage makes the biggest difference how you sleep when it's a little ruff. Aft cabin best, mid saloon next, forward berth last. If there is enough crew rotating thru the schedule, at some point you will get so tired that most people will sleep or drop dead ! If you are concerned about overnights, most everyone can get thru the first night without sleep but, the second night will be a long miserable march if you don't get several hours sleep during the day time. For me, it is easier to sleep on someone else's boat during almost any conditions, probably because the ultimate responsibility is not mine. Right now, I have a new Hunter 38 sitting in my slip, that due to the Northwest winter, equipment installations, trips out of town, etc... we have only been out on the boat for for 3 day sails. I'm sure that the first few nights out, even in my usual anchor spots, I will be a little more sleepless until I get more comfortable about the boat. Take Care, Anchor Well & Get Some Sleep! Night, Night, Jack P.
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Old 10-01-2008, 19:52   #10
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Each couple has to do what suites them. Watches are very personal things. When there's 2 people, it's easy. When you add one more, it becomes more of a manditory regimine that must be adhered to. That was always difficult when I did deliveries.

After several years of making long ocean passages, we slowely fell into a pattern of keeping very strict watches 24/7 (remember night & day means nothing) of 3 on 4 off. Once off shore far enough, we set the perimeter on our radar to 6 miles and watches were all mine.

I think it's funny when I hear people talking about watch keeping. 90% of cruisers start their watches at sundown and end them at sunrise. I guess they think that they will just automatically see a ship during the day somehow.

My wife could sleep through anything so she slept through the night every night and was always fresh and alert, if I needed her. I slept through most nights unless the alarm sounded on the radar (usually about 3-4 times a night). Most radar alarms were false but it was like a watch alarm and got me up to chck things out.

As for sleeping in marinas.......forget it....I go nuts with clanking halyards and all the drama that takes place in marinas. I have been known to go around to other boats and tie off their damn halyards, to keep them from banging the mast.

I far prefer to be on the hook or a mooring. However, if I take a mooring, I dive on it and check it myself (or I won't sleep at all). I have seen a lot more boats break mooring lines than I have break anchor lines.
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Old 10-01-2008, 23:03   #11
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I've slept in a torpedo room for a few months before I got my dolphins (and my own rack). Ever since then, I've never had a problem standing watches, or crashing out instantly.

Even as a kid though, I've can't remember ever "trying" to go to sleep. The longest I can lay in bed without passing out is maybe two minutes, tops. Usually it's more like 20-30 seconds. Drives my fiancee crazy.

On watches we use an egg timer. Set it for 15 minutes, and just keep setting it for 15 minutes, over and over again. I find that recording proper log entries helps break up the boredom and reminds me that I'm on an underway vessel. Barometer, bilge check, fuel and water levels, voltage, etc.

At night I usually have a red headlamp on, and read a book in the cockpit under the dodger. Every 15 minutes, I look around nice and good. Then I go back to my book, and reset the egg timer. Tick.. tick... tick...
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:39   #12
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If you think about it..."sleep" doesn't mean "off". We can close our eyelids to block out most light--but our ears are still 100% functional while we sleep. As is a lot of the brain and body, or else we'd be dead.<G>

How well I sleep depends on how secure I feel. Anchored alone, I'll wake briefly at every change in the weather or the way the boat swings, or any new noise. At sea with a full crew and faith in whoever has the watch, I can sleep like a log through much greater changes.

Most folks just don't realize when they are sleep-deprived, because it is a lot like the argument "Oh, I'm just buzzed, I'm not drunk, I can drive". So far the best--and the only--way I've heard of to tell if you have enough sleep, is to ask "Do you need an alarm clock to get up?" If the answer is yes--you're sleep deprived.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:29   #13
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Originally Posted by shadow View Post
Hi all,

From my research and meeting many cruisers, what is the average sleep people get on their boats here??

I know that when doing long passages, everyone takes turns or shifts so sleep is minimal. How about when anchored? Are people constantly waking up from various noises outside, i.e. shrimp, barnacles, people partying or people trying to board, etc..

Do you all sleep better when on the water or is everyone just too alert to every noise or has everyone just gotten used to it and sleep very well??

Let me know your sleeping habits, cheers!

Even though it's a nice type of sleep (and the best possible when things are calm), I'd have to vote for "Not enough sleep" compared to land.

Sure, at the dock you get a good night's sleep... when there isn't a thunder storm. However, out at anchor you end up getting less sleep due to unexpected traffic coming too close, storms and general odd noises (from wildlife) that do awaken you.

We call those late night, unexpected boaters coming to close "night boaters." You know the boat I'm talking about. Big powerboat, no lights on, a bunch of guys on it with no girls in site... you just KNOW they're dumping a body... ha ha Well, that's what goes through your mind anyway.

As for passagemaking.... NOBODY gets good sleep on a passage. The only way you can call passagemaking "good sleep" is if you are one of the types that can sleep for 2 hours and feel great instead of getting a good night's sleep.

I require some REM time. Boating life kept me awake more than I would have preferred. But... the rewards outweigh the loss of sleep.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:42   #14
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Even though it's a nice type of sleep (and the best possible when things are calm), I'd have to vote for "Not enough sleep" compared to land.

Sure, at the dock you get a good night's sleep... when there isn't a thunder storm. However, out at anchor you end up getting less sleep due to unexpected traffic coming too close, storms and general odd noises (from wildlife) that do awaken you.

As for passagemaking.... NOBODY gets good sleep on a passage. The only way you can call passagemaking "good sleep" is if you are one of the types that can sleep for 2 hours and feel great instead of getting a good night's sleep.

I require some REM time. Boating life kept me awake more than I would have preferred. But... the rewards outweigh the loss of sleep.
Not true.....my wife slept better at sea than she did anywhere (everyone is different). She was up & at 'em all day and slept 8 hours a night. She slept through the night during a cyclone in the Tasman Sea. I was astonished. The noise was unreal. We were sitting on a para-anchor, which made it quite comfortable but the noise.......I couldn't believe that she could sleep through it.

As for sleep patterns........again, every individual is different. I feel more rested if I get 1 hour at a time then if I sleep 9 hours straight. I can fall asleep in 5 seconds flat. Some people take hours to fall asleep.
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Old 11-01-2008, 13:01   #15
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You can do pretty well if you arrange watch schedules to get a 5, preferably 6, hour sleep in daily. That can be hard to do, even for "two on two off" without some fiddling, but if you use a 23-hour "day" and change the "pair" during their watch (so each person is rotating differently) it's possible.
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