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Old 26-06-2020, 09:51   #1
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Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

I recently crewed on a catamaran from St. Thomas to Ft. Lauderdale. We did a staight shot St. Thomas to Turks and Caicos. I took the Midnight to 4 am watch, which followed the boat owner. On 2 different occasions I show up at the helm for my watch and would have to wake up the boat owner. Each time I woke him he acted as if everything was fine, he would mumble that we are on the magenta line and on course. Whatever sleepy head were my thoughts. This man would not listen to me about several instances and situations. One being the terrible vibration undersail. I questioned why he did not engege the transmissions to the reverse position to stop the vibration. He said that the boat has had that vibration since new (2016 Lagoon 45) and several captains had noted in there logs.(Charter Boat) The vibration was all to obvious that the props were the cause. So I engaged the trannys into reverse BOOM! vibrations gone. I could tell the owner was a little insensed by my observation being correct. Now,how do we deal with know it all captains? Should I have informed the rest of the crew, one being his green wife, about Captain Sleepys issue of falling asleep on watch?
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:00   #2
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Your story reminded me of an incident maybe 20 years ago. I was briefly involved in the construction of a 65 foot power catamaran and was asked if I would captain it. I declined, but a friend of mine joined the boat in the Med as a sort of deckhand/cook. One day the boat was roaring along with the rocky coastline of the western side of Cap Corse a few hundred yards away. The boat was on autopilot. He went to the bridge with a cup of tea and found the captain fast asleep. The boat was doing about 20 knots, and as he said....."one twitch of the autopilot would have seen the boat on the rocks in no time." Nothing like keeping a good lookout!
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:01   #3
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Wow. Tough one. Bet if you tried to "inform someone" it would have fallen on deaf ears.

People who don't perceive they are doing anything wrong - to their mind - aren't doing anything wrong.

Know what I mean?
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:11   #4
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

If you are uncomfortable with the way the boat is being run, leave at the next port stop. If you are REALLY uncomfortable, ask to be left at the nearest port. If you are not that uncomfortable, then suck it up and put up with it. You are crew. You have very little say in the matter.

If you really want to try to change behavior, the best way in this case would be to show the owner how you use the timer on your cell phone to wake you every 10 minutes for a horizon scan. Even if you don't need to do this presenting it this way makes you less of an accusatory scold. It might work, it might not.

There is a reason many delivery captains charge extra if the owner is aboard for a passage.
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:23   #5
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

I've been part of a crew on several coastal passages along the Pacific Coast with the owner as captain. My philosophy is that its their boat, and they make the decisions, as long as safety is not compromised. I'll suggest things, but it is ultimately their choice. If circumstances warrant, I leave the boast ASAP.
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:46   #6
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

So you think it was a good idea to slow the boat and risked potential damage to the engines by locking the props contrary to the skippers wishes and the manufacturer's instructions?



Now how do we deal with know it all crew?


Advisory Number: MSA08-003:

DATE February 8, 2008 Dealers and OEMs
TO: All Marine Distributors
SUBJECT: Gear in Neutral While Sailing All MODELS:

All Sailboat Engines

We continue to get questions regarding the correct gear position while sailing with the engine OFF. This advisory is issued as a reminder; Yanmar requires that if sailing with the engine OFF (not running) the transmission shifter must be in the neutral position or internal damage to the gear or sail-drive will result. This damage will not be covered by Yanmar’s Limited Warranty. Please instruct customers and dealers who deliver the sailboat to the customer, of the correct (Neutral) position for the marine gear while sailing.
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Old 26-06-2020, 10:56   #7
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

The problem is helm chairs. People on their feet can't easily fall asleep. I'm in my 70s and since I mostly solo, often stand 8 or more hours. Anybody that stands a watch on any of my boats, now or in the past, stands an alert watch.
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Old 26-06-2020, 11:44   #8
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
So you think it was a good idea to slow the boat and risked potential damage to the engines by locking the props contrary to the skippers wishes and the manufacturer's instructions?



Now how do we deal with know it all crew?


Advisory Number: MSA08-003:

DATE February 8, 2008 Dealers and OEMs
TO: All Marine Distributors
SUBJECT: Gear in Neutral While Sailing All MODELS:

All Sailboat Engines

We continue to get questions regarding the correct gear position while sailing with the engine OFF. This advisory is issued as a reminder; Yanmar requires that if sailing with the engine OFF (not running) the transmission shifter must be in the neutral position or internal damage to the gear or sail-drive will result. This damage will not be covered by Yanmar’s Limited Warranty. Please instruct customers and dealers who deliver the sailboat to the customer, of the correct (Neutral) position for the marine gear while sailing.
Did I say we left the props engaged? I was merely pointing the sourch of the vibration. I had a discusion with the boat owners about the props being engaged or not and he would need to check with the owners manual.
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Old 26-06-2020, 11:47   #9
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsailor View Post
I've been part of a crew on several coastal passages along the Pacific Coast with the owner as captain. My philosophy is that its their boat, and they make the decisions, as long as safety is not compromised. I'll suggest things, but it is ultimately their choice. If circumstances warrant, I leave the boast ASAP.
I told the boat owner on multilpe occasions. It was his boat and I was here to help.
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Old 26-06-2020, 11:48   #10
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

My thoughts exactly when reading this thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
So you think it was a good idea to slow the boat and risked potential damage to the engines by locking the props contrary to the skippers wishes and the manufacturer's instructions?



Now how do we deal with know it all crew?


Advisory Number: MSA08-003:

DATE February 8, 2008 Dealers and OEMs
TO: All Marine Distributors
SUBJECT: Gear in Neutral While Sailing All MODELS:

All Sailboat Engines

We continue to get questions regarding the correct gear position while sailing with the engine OFF. This advisory is issued as a reminder; Yanmar requires that if sailing with the engine OFF (not running) the transmission shifter must be in the neutral position or internal damage to the gear or sail-drive will result. This damage will not be covered by Yanmar’s Limited Warranty. Please instruct customers and dealers who deliver the sailboat to the customer, of the correct (Neutral) position for the marine gear while sailing.
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Old 26-06-2020, 11:58   #11
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

I asked the question should I inform the crew of the captain falling asleep? I should have left out the know it all captain part.
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Old 26-06-2020, 12:02   #12
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Two comments:
1. It's his boat, let him do what he wants to if it is not dangerous. But the person sleeping on watch without a SHORT duration timer running is doing something dangerous. I personally would not wish to continue the trip, or possibly I would take my off-watch on deck and set my own timer.

2. Having never received the yanmar bulletin I did not know that the transmission (Hurth) should be left in neutral. So I put it into reverse to stop the propeller from autorotation. Since installing this transmission (and engine) I have sailed some 55,000 miles. Almost all of it, (virtually all of it) under sail with the transmission in reverse. This, over a period of more than 25 years. I have had no transmission problems.

Maybe it causes less of an issue with a folding propeller which I have.

In any case I guess I'll continue the practice.
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Old 26-06-2020, 12:10   #13
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phisher View Post
I recently crewed on a catamaran from St. Thomas to Ft. Lauderdale. We did a staight shot St. Thomas to Turks and Caicos. I took the Midnight to 4 am watch, which followed the boat owner. On 2 different occasions I show up at the helm for my watch and would have to wake up the boat owner. Each time I woke him he acted as if everything was fine, he would mumble that we are on the magenta line and on course. Whatever sleepy head were my thoughts. This man would not listen to me about several instances and situations. One being the terrible vibration undersail. I questioned why he did not engege the transmissions to the reverse position to stop the vibration. He said that the boat has had that vibration since new (2016 Lagoon 45) and several captains had noted in there logs.(Charter Boat) The vibration was all to obvious that the props were the cause. So I engaged the trannys into reverse BOOM! vibrations gone. I could tell the owner was a little insensed by my observation being correct. Now,how do we deal with know it all captains? Should I have informed the rest of the crew, one being his green wife, about Captain Sleepys issue of falling asleep on watch?
You should move on.
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Old 26-06-2020, 12:11   #14
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

In no means do I want to come off as a know it all. The vibration was obviously the props. I was just showing the boat owner the source.
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Old 26-06-2020, 12:22   #15
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Re: Captain/Owner Sleeping at the Helm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phisher View Post
Now,how do we deal with know it all captains? Should I have informed the rest of the crew, one being his green wife, about Captain Sleepys issue of falling asleep on watch?

That depends who you were working for.


If you were working for the captain's wife, then you should have told her.
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