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Old 08-08-2019, 14:26   #1
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Boat: Island Packet 38
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Is This Okay?

I found out that crew had stood watch with the boat underway at night with the dodger closed. The dew was heavy and forward vision was obscured.

When asked the crew member said that the boat was repeatedly turned +- twenty degrees to allow observation around the dodger. The crew member couldn’t say how often this was done.

This happened on a sailboat traveling in company. Boats were spaced no closer than a half mile. Travel speed was 6.5 knots.

Is this a dangerous practice?
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Old 08-08-2019, 15:03   #2
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Boat: Nantucket Island 33
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Re: Is This Okay?

The simple answer, I think, is "it depends". Would the crew be more alert exposed to the weather? Could the lights of other boats be seen through the dew? Was the boat moving laterally back and forth due to wind, waves or current or even autopilot action? Was a vhf watch kept? I'd suspect the crew would have wiped the dew down if it was deemed by them to be that big an impairment to vision.
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Old 08-08-2019, 18:13   #3
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Re: Is This Okay?

In principle, there's nothing wrong with making "clearing turns" to check for traffic or obstacles that would otherwise be obscured by sails or other features of the boat.

The question would be whether the overall watchkeeping approach was sufficient to identify hazards in sufficient time to avoid them safely.
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Old 08-08-2019, 18:27   #4

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Re: Is This Okay?

I bet anything that helps keep them alert is a net good practice.

Barring such wide swings that the safety margins in spacing from other boats are compromised.
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