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Old 31-08-2010, 02:54   #1
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Watchkeeping System for Two ?

about to embark on a multi week passage

What watchkeeping systems do people use when there are two people

(both relatively experienced)

not "partners"

.
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Old 31-08-2010, 03:15   #2
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G'day, mate. Night watches are 2 hours on, 2 hours off. If the weather and sea conditions are in our comfortable zone, we might stretch it to 3. We let the watch schedule kind of "float" during the day if the conditions will allow it. Sail safe. Cheers.
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Old 31-08-2010, 03:27   #3
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we sailed a near year with 4 on 4 off - got enough sleep and were able to keep awake on watch. 2 hours is a bit short.6 hours a tad long. if stormy , we would see how bad each had to work and cut the watches a bit short - but that interfered with our sleep patterns and we got exhausted-- so we kept 4 on 4 off pattern for a near year.
others said they did 6 on 6 off--that worked for them. i prefer the 4 hour watch.
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Old 31-08-2010, 04:55   #4
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We like 3 on and three off through the night and flexible through the day. If you are not partners as you say, then a duty roster so that each person does all duties on a rotating basis is nice. No one becomes a galley slave. Pleasant and unpleasant duties are shared equally.

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Old 31-08-2010, 05:44   #5
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When my wife and I sailed around the world in the 1980s, including southern oceans and the arctic, we used the following:

7am to 8am - Breakfast together
8 am to 12 - Watch 1
12 to 1pm - Lunch together
1pm to 5pm - Watch 2
5pm to 7pm - Dinner together
7pm to 11pm - Watch 3
11pm to 3am - Watch 4
3am to 7am - Watch 5

Automatically "dogs" which we really like for long trips. Off-going watch cooks, on-coming watch cleans. We are very rigid about our watches. We feel that it keeps us well rested in the event that bad weather shows up.
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Old 31-08-2010, 06:06   #6
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watches

We too are rigid about our watches, we do three hours at night and four hours during the day. We are thinking about going to two six hour watches during the day. I always cook and whichever of us is the off watch cleans up.
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:01   #7
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I think the watch system is also partially dependent on the type of boat you are sailing, and the autopilot/self steering system.

Our boat is wet, fast, and can occasionally be unforgiving. So we typically never try to exceed two hour watches so that the crew can stay on top of their game. Anything more in our experience and we find that the crew is not as sharp as they should be.

Cheers
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:04   #8
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I think its important to maintain the watch system during the day, as otherwise the supposed offwatch never knows that they are really on or off. Its important that off watchs go below and sleep even in the daytime as otherwise the tirdness builds up and the night watches get difficult.

Dave
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:19   #9
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3 on 3 off during the night and less regimented during the day. Should the autopilot die and it has, 2 hours is all one can take in rough conditions. of course, no one leaves the cockpit without the other on deck. I really like at least three on long trips with one sleeping in the cockpit.
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:19   #10
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Four 3 hour watches 6PM to 6AM,two 6 hour watches 6AM to 6 PM. During the day, if one person is wide awake during their off watch the other can catch a nap. Works for us on passage.
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:25   #11
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Originally Posted by shipofools View Post
I think the watch system is also partially dependent on the type of boat you are sailing, and the autopilot/self steering system.
I agree. Our boat is old and slow and very forgiving and sails well under wind vane so three and four hour watches are not a burden. I've learned to sleep fast but can't sleep fast enough to do it in a two-hour period.
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Old 31-08-2010, 07:51   #12
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We have (had) the most wonderful system! Allows plenty of sleep!

0000-0400
0400-0800
0800-1300
1300-1900
1900-2400

Person ON-watch cooks meal is had at change of watch
Only chore done are done by person on-watch. The other person bunks down

Every second night you get a wonderful looooooooooong sleep at night


Mark
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Old 31-08-2010, 08:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon701 View Post
When my wife and I sailed around the world in the 1980s, including southern oceans and the arctic, we used the following:

7am to 8am - Breakfast together
8 am to 12 - Watch 1
12 to 1pm - Lunch together
1pm to 5pm - Watch 2
5pm to 7pm - Dinner together
7pm to 11pm - Watch 3
11pm to 3am - Watch 4
3am to 7am - Watch 5

Automatically "dogs" which we really like for long trips. Off-going watch cooks, on-coming watch cleans. We are very rigid about our watches. We feel that it keeps us well rested in the event that bad weather shows up.
I like that one..
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Old 31-08-2010, 13:21   #14
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Whatever you choose, focus on off-watch rest time. Anything less than four hours isn't going to keep you rested. 4-on/4-off works fine for a long time but the off-watch person needs to be resting, not cooking or cleaning or chatting on the radio. Even in daytime the offwatch needs to rest.

YMMV.
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Old 31-08-2010, 13:30   #15
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I like 3 on 3 off at night and then 6 on 6 off in the day. It worked well for myself and my crew. We took turns cooking and cleaning and stuff. AP steered the entire trip. We were very rested at the end of a 750 mile uphill motor sail. We stopped once in Turtle Bay for fuel and 8 hours of sleep then we were wind bound for five nights. I think that helped with the rest. Otherwise we just kept on pushing. Also at night we always had less sail up then we needed. eg If the conditions called for a full main we would put a reef in before dark. If the conditions called for a reef at night we would put in two. That really helped us prevent having to call the off watch person out of their bunk.
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