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Old 03-11-2011, 11:07   #16
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Re: Sailing at Night

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Originally Posted by Olemissreb11 View Post
Im trying to learn all i can about sailing and i was just curious if i were traveling a far distsnce and wasnt really close to a shore or anything and i wanted to sleep.. What is the smartest thing to do. Just anchor it until you wake up and continue from there or what? I wanna travel the world someday so i figured sometimes i wont be close to anything! Ha
Have plenty of sea room and learn to heave too. Alway's leave your nav lights on though. Never do this in the shipping lanes or where there are the presents of working fishing boats. I personly only sleep for 20 minutes at a time. Sleeping for hours could be very dangerous....Michael..
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:25   #17
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Re: Sailing at Night

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In a word - crew.
In 2010 I sailed solo NJ USA to Newfoundland South Coast and return. During this cruise there were several instances of double and triple overnights. I would suggest that the difficulties of overnight solo sailing inshore are highly UNDERstated.

My boat is well equipped electronically, but in at least 2 instances off the Nova Scotia coast I encountered commercial traffic that required immediate action. I am not suggesting that I don't get my rest (i.e., sleep) on a cruise like this, but I am glad that I was not asleep, even for 20 minutes, during the times in question.

I have no specific advice for the OP other than to suggest either crew, or offshore practice (read: well offshore).
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:56   #18
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Re: Sailing at Night

Experienced crew.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:57   #19
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Re: Sailing at Night

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Experienced crew.
Good adjective.
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Old 03-11-2011, 18:10   #20
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Re: Sailing at Night

Yep. If it is shallow you can anchor. Anchor where others do not sail, so that they do not run you down. Normally, this will mean you get well inshore to an anchorage in a bay or something. You can also anchor in open water if there is little or (preferably) no shipping. But not if it is too deep.

Offshore, if it is safe to do so, you will either let the boat go while you sleep (windvane or autopilot will help) or else you will lay ahull or hove too and sleep. Some sleep by day, others at night and others in many short periods every couple of hours. But this is all not necessary if you have crew that can keep watch while you sleep.

Whichever way you go make sure, try to make sure, you and the boat do not hit something, nor get hit by anything, while you sleep.

b.
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Old 03-11-2011, 18:23   #21
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Re: Sailing at Night

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set the alarm for 6 miles
Randy, I use the same system regardless of fog or clear, day or night, sleepy or wide awake, shorthanded or not. The radar never gets tired or distracted, and it's twice as likely to pick up a boat at that range than I've ever been.
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Old 03-11-2011, 19:54   #22
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Re: Sailing at Night

Search the archives and you'll find several threads on solo sailing and sleep.

For sails along a coast of more than 36 hours or so, angle offshore till you are far enough away that the boat cannot possibly sail into any hazard within about 8 hours. Once you've got the safe distance, sleep as much as you want. You'll probably find you'll sleep more than about 4 hours at a stretch. I doubt that anyone advocating using alarms on short intervals has sailed for much more than 48 hours doing it. Sleep deprivation is dangerous to your ability to evaluate and react to situations. On the other hand, hallucinations are kind of a trip.

If you've got the bucks, get an AIS transponder with proximity warning. That will give you warning when ships are in your area and warn them of your presence. Radar eats too many electrons unless you have a pretty good wind or solar recharging system. For me, anything I have to run an engine more than once a week to keep going is not going on my boat.
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Old 03-11-2011, 20:10   #23
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pirate Re: Sailing at Night

Most who talk 20min catnaps are harbour hoppers...
The real deal if your solo is get your sleep... as much as you can when/wherever you can...
Anyone who says they did a solo 21day+ voyage like that is fulla ex-stuff...
Don't fret about the Pussies freaking out about no lookout...
its something you have to live with... or don't go offshore...
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:27   #24
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Re: Sailing at Night

Once your offshore, just let it take its corse, and a pattern will develope for sleep, and no two trips or days for that matter will be the same.
I often find the early morning sight of the sun rising to be a great start to the day, and soon after when the warmth of the sum hits me, I also find it very hard to stay awake.
Its a great time for a morning nap....
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:03   #25
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Re: Sailing at Night

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... I doubt that anyone advocating using alarms on short intervals has sailed for much more than 48 hours doing it. Sleep deprivation is dangerous ...
I don't doubt it since in general I do it myself, and often on legs much longer than 48 hours. I suspect you will find that many solo sailors use similar if not identical methods. The problem of course is that reliance on any mechanical, electrical, or electronic aid is in itself treacherous.
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Old 04-11-2011, 12:27   #26
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Re: Sailing at Night

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Most who talk 20min catnaps are harbour hoppers...
... Anyone who says they did a solo 21day+ voyage like that is fulla ex-stuff...
Strictly speaking, all sailing that does not end in disaster is a hop from one harbor to another. Still, a 21+ day passage is most likely not coastal, and some techniques appropriate for a coastal solo trip do not apply well offshore. Well offshore I, like most other solo sailors, make sure I get my rest in order to be awake when really necessary (landfalls, etc.). However along shore I don't believe in general that one has such a luxury, and 20 minutes is (probably) better than nothing. Meanwhile, this kind of activity is illegal in the first place, but folks still seem to do and like it.

BTW the mention of "shipping lanes" in several other posts in this thread sets off alarms for me, since I have encountered large meandering steel vessels barely under command in the strangest places.
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Old 04-11-2011, 14:11   #27
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Re: Sailing at Night

I have only crossed one ocean. It was recently and it was on a crewed boat so most on this forum would have more experience than me. However I have singled handed along the coast of NSW Australia which can be pretty thick with freighters, particulaly coal ships off my home port.

Here are my preferences.
1. Have crew that can stand a watch with me. They don't have to be sailors but it helps if they're not cronically sea sick. You set the boat up for their watch and just get them to wake you up for a range of eventualities. In practice this hasn't always worked well for me and on occasions has been more exhausting than if I had no "help" at all.

2. If no help is available and I'm on my own:
I get going early in the morning after I have had a good night's sleep. I take half a dozen 20 minute or so naps in the cockpit during the day. I don't always fall properly asleep but still cumulatively it seems to do me some good and it means I can then go all night and keep watch. I do seem to struggle a bit close to sunrise but when the sun comes up it gives me a second wind and I can resume the short naps OK. I haven't and wouldn't try, and there is probably no need to do a second consecutive night using this method while coastal sailing.

3. Offshore single handed plan As I've said, I yet to cross an ocean single handed but suspect that I will need to at some point or I will not get my boat to where I want it to be. My plan is basically the same as number 2, except that my course initially will be to get me as far offshore as possible. If after 30 hours on number 2, I'm not 120 - 150 miles offshore then I should have waited for more favourable wind. To you experienced single handers, is this a reasonable plan?

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Old 04-11-2011, 14:46   #28
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Re: Sailing at Night

Crew is a great choice, AIS is wonderful for ships (and few boats that transmit), a good radar is a must, also good binoculars and a LOT of coffee! We've had to change coarse 50 miles offshore in Costa Rica and Panama due to fishermen in pangas with nets stretched out...and you WON'T see pangas on radar at night - also most don't have lights either...you may get lucky and see the blinking lights of their nets...but it's tough to decide which way to run at night when blinking lights are suddenly all around. Basically just be extra cautious at night and be on the lookout as big ships appear seemingly from nowhere (we love our Garmin Radar and AIS!).
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