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Old 27-08-2019, 21:53   #1
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night watch

How do you do night watch if you are single handling a passage over vast massives of ocean?
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Old 27-08-2019, 22:24   #2
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Re: night watch

In a sailboat I'd probably reduce sail and sleep. In my powerboat, I usually shutdown and drift, set a radar distance alarm and get up every 2 hours. If the ocean is rough, I set the pilot into the swell and one engine at idle. I have used a drogue, but it's a dangerous rigging job solo.


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Old 27-08-2019, 22:49   #3
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Re: night watch

Lots of people do it lots of ways. There have been a number of threads on here recently discussing techniques, best practices, and the legality or otherwise of single handing.

Personally I tend to nap for 15 minutes at a time, using an alarm on my watch so I can't miss it. At each 15 minute mark at least, I make sure to do a full detailed scan of the horizon and check AIS/radar. At 20 knots closing speed, that's five miles. At the edge of visibility but easily within electronic range. I then decide what to do next, whether that's fiddling with the boat, having food or drink, or straight back to another 15-minute nap. Whatever happens the 15 minute countdown starts again.
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Old 27-08-2019, 23:06   #4
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Re: night watch

And a bit of nuance :

What's considered offshore?

Where is it appropriate to take a nap?
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Old 28-08-2019, 00:37   #5
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Re: night watch

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Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
And a bit of nuance :

What's considered offshore?

Where is it appropriate to take a nap?
For me, it's when there are no other boats visible on AIS or radar at any range, and very low probability of coming across one. I wouldn't do it anywhere near a coastline or headland. But for others it may be different.
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Old 28-08-2019, 01:29   #6
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Re: night watch

Quote:
over vast massives of ocean
As the OP puts it. I probably set alarms for various activity and sleep as and when i need. The 'vast' and 'massives' gives a good indication that even seeing another vessel is unlikely let alone anything on a collision course, and even less likely something that wouldn't show up on radar, or AIS that could otherwise be seen with the naked eye.
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Old 28-08-2019, 01:39   #7
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Re: night watch

Set up radar safeguard zone, AIS dangerous targets warning, set a timer keep 360 lookout every 15...20 minutes, if nothing around, you can snooze or do other things.

Works on open waters with no traffic and moderate conditions.

Set alarms for wind speed and wind change when sailing to reef early.

You still can hit containers or whales...

Our Raymarine 4kw radar is good enough to warn early of small unlit fisherman boat's way ahead one can see them even with binoculars at night. We have a residual light amplifier monocular for night vision, helps when the radar sounds an alarm, but you can't see the cause, also when approaching an unknown anchorage or coast line.

For singlehanding irrelevant, but for shorthanded crew a great MOB safety device too.
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Old 28-08-2019, 01:50   #8
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Re: night watch

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You still can hit containers or whales...
I doubt any sail boat is fast enough to get out of the way of a moving whale, nor that you would see a sleeping whale or a container at night unless a clear sky and a bright moon. On cloudy nights, or no moon, you're not seeing anything.
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Old 28-08-2019, 03:02   #9
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Re: night watch

Egg timer is what we use when moving longer distances. Louder than a watch alarm and pretty fool proof. They make special alarms like this that are loud as a siren, but an egg timer is easy and loud enough. 20 min setting means even the fastest ship coming at you from the edge of visibility (visual or electronic) can't get you before it rings. Wake up, look around, right back to sleep with the egg timer rewound on your chest
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Old 28-08-2019, 03:22   #10
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pirate Re: night watch

Vast areas of ocean..
Vast opportunities to sleep when tired day or night, fail to see any difference between the two.
Some give the impression they peer resolutely at the horizon for a period between 15min catnaps but I sincerely doubt that.. try it for 47days nonstop Caribes to the UK.
Two hours after sunset to dawn is my norm when solo, crewed I get less sleep.
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Old 28-08-2019, 05:46   #11
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Re: night watch

I usually look first at the radar an AIS, then at the horizon. The alarms are pretty good anyway. So 15...20 minutes are feasible, even longer on the ocean. Most commercial vessel have AIS and a large Radar footprint, you see them on the plotter an hour earlier than on your visual horizon. Small fisherman boats are unlikely that far off shore. Of course thete are other sail boats, but they are much slower, so not dangerous at this distances.
High speed foiling ferries need too much fuel to get that far out, so unlikely to see too.
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Old 28-08-2019, 10:45   #12
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Re: night watch

Set radar and AIS alarm and heave to.

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Old 28-08-2019, 11:13   #13
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Set radar and AIS alarm and heave to.

Cheers, RickG
Thats costing you 40nm per 24 hrs, that is sure gonna lengthen the trip.. moving at 1knot or 5kts is not gonna decrease or increase any risks.
Just reef in the main, let the jib take the strain, that way you get woken by weather you dont have to leave the cockpit groggy from sleep... or lack of it if doing the 15min crazy shift..
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Old 28-08-2019, 12:20   #14
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Re: night watch

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Thats costing you 40nm per 24 hrs, that is sure gonna lengthen the trip.. moving at 1knot or 5kts is not gonna decrease or increase any risks.
Just reef in the main, let the jib take the strain, that way you get woken by weather you dont have to leave the cockpit groggy from sleep... or lack of it if doing the 15min crazy shift..
With a wind vane auto pilot and wind alarm set plus AIS and Radar guard zone you could probably have some sleep if the weather permits. Still risky to hit something at high speed, in contrast to heaving to.
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Old 28-08-2019, 12:31   #15
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Re: night watch

The whole concept of heaving-to at night only makes sense if every other boat does the same. You are no less likely to collide with another moving boat if you are stationary, whereas, as noted by Boatman61, you do increase the duration of your journey and thus the risk of collision. (And bad weather, and fatigue, etc)
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