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Old 26-04-2016, 16:08   #31
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I like rotating shifts as well. I also like 2 people on watch.

With a two watch system I use 2 6 hour shifts during the day, then reducing the next 3 shifts by an hour each shift

0600-1200, 1200-1800, 1800-2300, 2300-0300, 0300-0600

With a 3 watch system - I like 4 hours on, 8 off during the day; 3 on, 6 off at night.
I use exactly the same "modified swedish watch". But for both 2 and 3 watch systems.
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Old 26-04-2016, 16:12   #32
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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I use exactly the same "modified swedish watch". But for both 2 and 3 watch systems.
Can you describe how you use it on a 3 watch system? Thanks.
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Old 26-04-2016, 20:56   #33
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

I like the schedule proposed. Although the 5 hour daytime shifts are long, it's my experience that the off watch crew are around and happy to keep an eye out during toilet time etc. that a five hour watch entails. But you do need a semi-formal handover process even for a toilet break.
I'm surprised at some replies that leave the day time "flexible". To me being "on watch" is like being the driver of a car, you can't just hand it over. When I was flying planes we had a process of saying to our co-pilot "You have control" and until they said "I have control" you didn't let go of the stick.
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Old 26-04-2016, 21:33   #34
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

Not sure how you got from flexible to undefined. By flexible I meant that times would vary from day to day, not that it was unclear as to who was on watch.

The second night watch ended at 8, with breakfast then and followed by a nap for the recent off-watch - who takes the watch when he gets up. Late afternoon, prior to dinner, was reserved for a nap for the person going on watch at 8. In between we would trade back and forth easily, as both were awake.

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Old 26-04-2016, 21:40   #35
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

What ever the schedule at night I want the next watch to come on deck at least 20min before the previous watch is reliefed to get their night vision.
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Old 27-04-2016, 00:05   #36
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Can you describe how you use it on a 3 watch system? Thanks.
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Old 27-04-2016, 06:25   #37
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Your clock never sets...
My question would be, how long does it normally take for someone's clock to "set" to a completely new and different schedule?

See, my guess is that for most people their clock is just about getting "set" at the same time that the typical 8-10 day passage ends. Shorter passages, your clock never really sets, which is why the changing schedules work okay for so many people.

Having said that, I personally prefer a consistent schedule, even if it is only for a couple of nights. Still, I can see where it probably doesn't matter much until you get into longer passages, where the watch schedule has to be maintained for weeks at a time.
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Old 27-04-2016, 07:32   #38
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Attachment repeats every three days.
Merci mucho.
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Old 27-04-2016, 14:45   #39
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Merci mucho.
I second that! lots of great discussion
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Old 27-04-2016, 15:19   #40
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Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
My question would be, how long does it normally take for someone's clock to "set" to a completely new and different schedule?

See, my guess is that for most people their clock is just about getting "set" at the same time that the typical 8-10 day passage ends. Shorter passages, your clock never really sets, which is why the changing schedules work okay for so many people.

Having said that, I personally prefer a consistent schedule, even if it is only for a couple of nights. Still, I can see where it probably doesn't matter much until you get into longer passages, where the watch schedule has to be maintained for weeks at a time.

US Army spent a whole lot of grant money trying to find that out and even sometimes woke us up, handed us a pill to make us wide awake, fly the mission, come back and take a sleeping pill. Never would identify the pills, but buddy let me tell you, you could get an enormous amount of work done after taking the wake up pill, and the sleeping pill, you had better be at your bunk before you took it.
It didn't work, it was sort of like being a wide awake drunk, you were wide awake, couldn't sit still, but performance suffered. The sleeping pill did make you unconscious, but apparently there is more to sleep than being unconscious. Melatonin in small doses does help reset the Circadian rhythm, no other drug, even the powerful ones did. But a flight Doc told me to be careful with the Melatonin, it's apparently a hormone that your body makes to tell you it's time for bed, replace it artificially, and your natural production of it is reduced.
On average it takes a week per hour of time change for you to become fully conditioned, some people, especially younger people are more tolerant than others.


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Old 01-05-2016, 06:35   #41
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

Hi all

Thanks for this most interesting thread and topic. I must say, I like the schedule in the original posting very much.

My brother and I did a delivery a couple of years ago from Cape Town to the Caribbean and except for a day and a half at St Helena it was 38 days of the ever changing 3 hours on 6 hours off schedule. We found it torture and I could feel my mind slowing down and almost starting to play tricks on me because of sleep deprivation.

It was a very successful and safe trip though, I might add, and I have never been someone who copes well with too little sleep. Need my 8 hours generally.

Now that my own boat is almost ready, when we reach the cruising stage, I will definitely give this schedule a go. The only thing I might change is to shorten crew no 3's 5 hour shift to 4 hours. This opens up an hour between 16h00 and 17h00 when everyone is on and prepare an early dinner and sit down and eat together.

There should still be someone in the cockpit, put it becomes like a game of tag-you're-it while one peels the potatoes and another maybe boils some eggs etc. Sitting and eating together at least once a day during a crossing binds the crew together. It is also nice doing this before last light, then dishes can be washed and packed away with the use of natural light still. During the 10 minutes actually spent sitting down eating, crew no 3 can pop his head out to scout the horison after 5 min or so. Crew no 3 has, in my view, the worst schedule, it being the reason why I think he/she deserves the shorter 4 hour shift.

Thanks again and all the best
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:06   #42
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Re: Sleep Science and Watch Keeping Schedules

You shouldn't worry too much about watch schedule specifics. It's good to have a plan, but the ability to take naps is essential to cruising. If your watch below is spent with little wind and swell on the beam, you're not going to sleep until you haven't slept for a long time. Then as a captain you will start having to manage peoples fatigue levels.

After having a crew of 5, we prefer just the two of us. We can take turns taking 1.5-3 hour naps during the night or day as needed. Many times conditions are better during the day for sleeping than at night, on a 2-3 day passage we might spend more time napping during the day then at night. Just depends on what the sea gives us.

So don't worry about the details too much, and practice napping.
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