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Old 11-09-2011, 14:04   #1
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Tips for First Overnight Solo Sail

Ok I admit that I am feeing a bit niave about what I need to do to be ready for my first a solo night passage. but after a couple of weeks sailing solo plus s few weeks with crew now, I am feeing like doing an ovvernighter solo sail wont be that hard.

i think I have all the necessary safety gear on board. have an AIS receiver to keep track of ships and freeies. One thing I might need to add some red lights in the cabin to not screw up my night vision when below. and maybe some head mounted lights for on deck.

I would probably set off at sunset and then stay awake most of the night but perhaps try to do a couple of "cat naps"
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:18   #2
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

Nap all day, and the excitement with some caffiene will keep you up all night.......i2f
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:24   #3
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

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I would probably set off at sunset and then stay awake most of the night but perhaps try to do a couple of "cat naps"
If you leave at sunset you probably won't be far enough from the shipping traffic to safely "cat nap."

There's no reason you shouldn't be able to keep a proper watch during an overnight sail. If you don't think you can accomplish this, either don't go or don't go alone.
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:24   #4
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

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Nap all day, and the excitement with some caffiene will keep you up all night.......i2f
A fridge full of Redbull should keep mr going
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:28   #5
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

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If you leave at sunset you probably won't be far enough from the shipping traffic to safely "cat nap."

There's no reason you shouldn't be able to keep a proper watch during an overnight sail. If you don't think you can accomplish this, either don't go or don't go alone.
I probably won't plan on sleep, and wil stock-up on redbull.

I am thinking about it as a fun thing to try
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:40   #6
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

All of the above, plenty of hot drinks, mines usually coffee, flask is good, and pre-prepped food is good to have, and just keep a really good look out.
Dont know your sailing area, but if fish pots etc are common, try and find out where they are and avoid them.
I enjoy night sailing, unless its beating into a F8, then it sort of losses the romance
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Old 11-09-2011, 14:40   #7
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

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I am thinking about it as a fun thing to try
It's glorious to watch the sun set knowing you're going to sail the night all the way through to sunrise.
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Old 11-09-2011, 15:01   #8
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

IF you feel either a cat nap or distraction below is a risk, hang a kitchen timer (or equivalent) around your neck. Often, when very tired, I will set it for 15 minutes even when I do NOT intend to nap. If I remember before 15 minutes, I reset it to 15 minutes.
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Old 11-09-2011, 16:04   #9
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

You don't really say enough about your plans to give you any specific advice. However, having a timer is essential if you are overnight, and the timer should have a loud alarm. Generally, set the timer for 20 minute periods and try to get some rest both during the day and during the night. I don't think a gallon of red bull is really a solution if the trip is inordinately longer than your normal awake hours. A totally reliable autopilot is also essential. If you are out of busy shipping lanes the alarm on the AIS, the alarm on the radar perimiter (if you have radar) in conjunction with the timer will probably give you enough peace of mind to get some rest without substantial risk. If along the coast check your boat's course against water depths and buoys before nodding off, and after twenty minutes the timer goes off, recheck everything, and reset the timer for another twenty minutes. Also, if possible run all lines aft into the cockpit, reef lines, halyards, furling lines etc, and manage everything without going up on deck. Set up a solid set of jacklines in advance in case you have to go forward. Strategically position a couple of knives at the helm and mast in case you need one in a hurry and keep one on your belt. I keep a small cooler in the cockpit so I don't have to go below to get drinks or sandwiches. I also keep a paper chart in a huge ziplock type bag in the cockpit and have two flashlights there to look at the chart if I need to. Finally, when stowing docklines, fenders, I found keeping them as easily accessible as possible was helpful because when preparing to dock I was also in the proximity of a narrow channel or other boats. Good luck.
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Old 11-09-2011, 16:14   #10
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

As TEE outlines, it's about planning. Think of EVERYTHING you are going to need or will reasonably need during the passage, lay it out, and have a one-person plan for it. A task, but then again, you only have yourself to watch out for, thus, no distractions. A single hander should never be in a hurry to do--more importantly never rush--any task.
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Old 11-09-2011, 16:23   #11
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

The most important thing I can think of is... Jacklines and a harness. Everything else isn't important if you're not onboard.
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Old 11-09-2011, 16:35   #12
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

I probably have a bit of nyctophobia (fear of the dark) so I would be planning for a night with a reasonable amount of moon light. Good weather, obviously.
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Old 11-09-2011, 16:46   #13
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Having sailed only a couple of over-nighters, I'm am definitely not an authority. But I have found while doing 10-12 hour drives by myself in a car (sometimes overnight) that sunflower seeds and a book on tape are great. The constant motion of shelling and eating the sunflower seeds work great for keeping you awake. The book on tape (if you get a good one) will keep you mentally alert. Fir what it's worth.
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Old 11-09-2011, 19:17   #14
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

I just did this (Bellingham Washington to Sidney BC). Started at 1400 and arrived at 0400. My advice, in addition to keeping good food and drink, prepare for everything in the cockpit and know your area is:
Have your navigation down cold. Either you have done the journey before or you have gps, radar etc and seamanship to find your position at any time. It is funny how lost you can get in the dark among unfamiliar islands. (Or how easy you can get lost in the dark among familiar islands)
Make sure and ease off the sails and plan so you never have to get out of the cockpit (except to anchor)
I keep a lifejacket and lifeline on anytime at night I am soloing. I probably should do it all the time.
I would have a number of places I can go to get rest if I need it along the way. In coastal sailing, which you pretty much have to be alert all the time, so I have places I can anchor and sleep before reaching my goal.
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Old 11-09-2011, 19:22   #15
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Re: Tips for first overnight solo sail

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I would probably set off at sunset and then stay awake most of the night but perhaps try to do a couple of "cat naps"

First solo all-nighter, don't worry about sleep--you won't.
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