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Old 30-07-2020, 09:09   #16
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

This is not going to popular -- but first stop watching youtube - second get a boat and start out slow and talk in person with people you are actually like you and you can discuss things with in person



At this point i am not sure if you even know how to sail and that is kinda important. After the boat purchase and doing short learning sailins with a few overnights and the fear and understanding and talking with others you will gradually figure it out.



We have donw a couple of ocean crossings - Caribbean crossing and a few other shorter sails in our 14 years underway and we have friends who do what works for them but it does not work for us.



So stop watching youtube get a boat and learn and stop living vicarous
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Old 30-07-2020, 09:18   #17
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

First, I strongly recommend you learn how to sail/cruise in a coastal environment where you sail during the day and anchor/dock at night. In general, at anchor you can both sleep through the night like a land home. But as other's said, bad weather or other insecurities (high theft area) may keep a deck watch as needed.

You can go pretty far (at least on the east coast) without ever having to sail overnight, but you will want to at some point. I think you should always have a deck watch when underway day or night and don't agree with those who don't. That said, I have dozed in the cockpit with an alarm on a 20min repeat that forces me to get up a look around.
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Old 30-07-2020, 09:48   #18
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Ours is similar to Boatie. Underway there is always someone on watch. For day hops we alternate "helm" duties. For passages of more than 18 hours we follow a more formal watch system. We've settled on a 3-hr rotation.

Off-watch crew are free to do whatever they want. At night off-watch tends to sleep. During the day we're more lax about sleeping, or not. But the point is the off-watch crew is off-duty, and can relax as best befits them.

We rarely keep a formal anchor watch. We anchor well, and once secure are confident of our staying power. That said, when nasty weather rolls in one of us is regularly checking our status.
We do much as Mike does.

We never sail without someone watching from our Pilothouse 24/7.

Modern navigation I.e. GPS, has given us super accurate anchor watches providing you set the position of the anchor in the middle of your swinging circle. Still during a blow in a crowded anchorage or with little room to drag one of us will be up.

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Old 30-07-2020, 10:03   #19
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

We do 2-3 night passages with some regularity, but not longer than that. This is good and bad - not really long enough to get into a rhythm. We find that staying awake for 4-hour watches at night is difficult for us. Perhaps if we did longer passages more often we would get used to it. As a result, we bring a friend so we have three watch standers. Makes a huge difference for us though we are fortunate to have a friend who we both adore and is a great boat person. There is always someone on-watch, though during the day, pace is much more relaxed.

But to the OP's question about a couple, when we've run overnight with just two of us, we do 2-hour watches at night, 4-hour during the day. My wife gets pretty cranky with sleep deprivation, So I often stand a good chunk of her watch. I do think that if we did longer passages - a week or more - we'd get into a 4-hour nighttime watch rotation, but for just a couple days, it's too much for us. Having the third person is by far the best answer for us.

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Old 30-07-2020, 10:39   #20
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

Many people do the same thing single handed.

Anchor alarms can remove the watch outside of very tight areas or bad weather
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Old 30-07-2020, 10:43   #21
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Originally Posted by GreenWave View Post
This notion that it is okay to be underway and not have someone in the cockpit is foolish. As sailors, we should not be promoting this approach.

Yikes, indeed. I question whether a material number of yachts which are not single-handed are underway with everyone asleep at once. If so, this is really egregious and I agree, should not be promoted.
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Old 30-07-2020, 10:47   #22
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

When underway double handing we maintain a 24 hour a day 3 hour on-3 hour off watch schedule. During the day the off watch person may be on deck or not, but the on-watch person has the responsibility. At all times the on-watch person is expected to be on deck and maintaining watch, however there will be times when the on-watch ducks below to visit the head or make a cuppa. With three persons it gets much easier, 3 on, 6 off.

The boat is always sailing on the Monitor wind vane or autopilot so the on-watch responsibility is really just that: to watch.

When I am on watch I use a timer set to 10 minutes incase I drift off. At all times we have a CPA and TCPA alarms set on the AIS, with a horn that would awake the dead. I can tell you that after 5 days at sea without seeing any traffic, when that alarm goes off at midnight it gets everyone's attention.

If the watch stander has to go forward or get out of the cockpit for any reason the off watch is awakened so they are alert. Harness and tether is always required after dark or in rough weather.

To handle meal preparation we will stay on watch for 30 minutes or so to allow the other person to prep a meal instead of coming on deck.

For navigation duties or to maintain radio scheds the off watch person does that.

Anchor watch:

We rarely set anchor watches, but always use electronic aides for that. Our B&G will even tell us if the wind direction goes to a sector or a strength which we have determined will be dangerous. If it gets stormy or the wind shifts one of us will get up and keep a watch. With our 44lb Bruce we do not have to worry much about dragging but swinging into shallow water (or deepwater) could be a worry so the depth alarms is often set.

But the best insurance for getting a good night's sleep is a bullet proof anchorage. I will sail 100 miles extra to get to that great anchorage with good holding and protection from all directions. They are rare.
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Old 30-07-2020, 10:52   #23
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

On the learning portion of the OP's post, we found that a "cruise and learn" of 5 days with a very competent instructor was a great way to get the basic mechanics down. We'd had no sailing experience before and felt comfortable bare boat chartering after that. 10 days bare boating did give a least a little insight into cruising since we were doing everything on your own.

On the other hand, we gave our 2 kids a cruise and learn and the instructor was useless. He basically took them on a 5 day cruise with minimal learning.

If you are the BC coast then the Bluewater Cruising Association is a unique and invaluable source for courses and mentoring.
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Old 30-07-2020, 11:22   #24
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

My view: the off watch person's obligation is to sleep just as much as the on watch person must keep watch. Can't tell you how many times I had to go tell the off watch person to sleep instead of playing a game on phone or read a book.
It is the obligation of the off watch person to be well rested for shift (we do 3 hours).
On passages with new crew, I sleep in cockpit. Just like moms have kid radar, the skipper of the ship has boat radar. I have been woken by boat many times before a crewman identifies a problem.
I generally sleep in cockpit at anchor. I just like the fresh breeze.
If we have enough crew, I like staggered watch with 2 on watch especially if one of my kids or new crew are on watch. That way we have new person on watch every 1.5 hours. Two people will stay awake longer than one poor soul that has a spouse that won't sleep while off watch. We maintain watch all night on passages. Plus we do bilge, battery, weather, wind and fuel(engine( if running)) checks each shift change. If anyone goes on deck at night, someone is in cockpit watching them. Inflatable vests are worn with strobes in cockpit and on deck at night. no chutes flown at night. Oh well, that was my rant. Thanks for reading.
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Old 30-07-2020, 12:21   #25
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
We do 2-3 night passages with some regularity, but not longer than that. This is good and bad - not really long enough to get into a rhythm. We find that staying awake for 4-hour watches at night is difficult for us. Perhaps if we did longer passages more often we would get used to it. As a result, we bring a friend so we have three watch standers. Makes a huge difference for us though we are fortunate to have a friend who we both adore and is a great boat person. There is always someone on-watch, though during the day, pace is much more relaxed.

But to the OP's question about a couple, when we've run overnight with just two of us, we do 2-hour watches at night, 4-hour during the day. My wife gets pretty cranky with sleep deprivation, So I often stand a good chunk of her watch. I do think that if we did longer passages - a week or more - we'd get into a 4-hour nighttime watch rotation, but for just a couple days, it's too much for us. Having the third person is by far the best answer for us.

Peter

I agree that it's difficult getting comfortable with watchkeeping on a short passage. It usually takes us about three days before the rhythm of the routine sets in and we start getting enough sleep. So if you never do longer passages you probably will never get comfortable with night watchkeeping.

We're of the less formal group - although, when underway there is ALWAYS one person on watch - and they know who it is. As captain, when I come on watch I will say "I have her" and when I go off watch "You have her", the process usually formalized with a kiss! After dinner Sharon usually takes Scorpius for as long as she feels comfortable, wakes me, and I take over - usually until sun up. This gives both of us more than four hours of sleep at night which we find much better than chopping it up finer.

Also, I built an electronic timer that sounds a fairly quiet buzzer in the cockpit every ten minutes. Then, if the reset button isn't pushed within two minutes, the ship's main alarm is sounded which wakes the off-watch person pretty well instantly. Since this system has been installed, NO ONE has fallen asleep on watch for an extended period. Also, if anyone goes over the side (Heaven forbid - although it has happened - but not to us) the off-watch person is alerted within twelve minutes rather than possibly several hours.
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Old 30-07-2020, 12:22   #26
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Originally Posted by TheNomadicAspie View Post
The wife and I are considering getting a 35-40 foot sailboat in the next few months. One of the things we were wondering about is how couples handle sleeping? I'm assuming you take shifts sleeping when sailing? Does it depend on conditions? Does anchoring somewhere eliminate the need for "keeping watch?"

Is there a guide or resource that would teach us what we need to know? We've been on the forums and watching YouTubers but need more concrete information about how to sail and realistically what to expect.
Four hours on - four hours off seems to be the common choice. At anchor, few people maintain a watch - a dive on the anchor or the mooring ball is never a bad idea though just to make sure you're set. Plan on a lot of sleeping on the settee as this makes you more available to the cockpit should a problem arise requiring both parties on deck while under sail.
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Old 30-07-2020, 12:32   #27
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Yikes, indeed. I question whether a material number of yachts which are not single-handed are underway with everyone asleep at once. If so, this is really egregious and I agree, should not be promoted.

Because 24/7 watchkeeping is not possible I don't consider single-handed passage-making to be safe. It should be discouraged or even outlawed.


(I expect I will catch a lot of flack for this one).
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:09   #28
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

Under way, AIS, radar with alarm are convenient tools to avoid any risk at night, altough some one must be awake at all time at night but just pop up every few minutes to visualy check around, just to make sure, without freezing by staying in the cockpit, unless the night is balmy and the stars beautifull!. There are exceptions like sailing along the eastern seabord where fishermen at less then 15 miles offshore, are hard at work and a bit reckless at times, In the Bahamas Banks, navigation lights seems to be not important at all, and some time it looks like nobody care. At anchor, except in real bad wheather an all chain rode and a good anchor, A strong anchor light(Led Lights are fantastics!) plus anchor alarm are more then enough. But if you anchor on the Grand Bahamas Bank, I would recommand a serious anchor setup an person watch to avoid any risk.
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:10   #29
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post

and there are all kinds of classes you can spend money on, and again Iím not sure what that will teach you either as itís not real either.

I have to raise an objection to this line. I grant that a64pilot has a hell of lot more sailing experience than me, so I don't want to start a long argument.


However, there are good sailing schools which have specific classes that can be very beneficial. Nearly five years ago my wife decided we should buy a sailboat ( ) . I had previous sailing experience, but not for over a decade. She had been on powerboats, never sailboats. She took a three day intro to sailing class with most of the time on the water in a 20 ft boat. After that, we took together a sailing class on the school's 35 ft boat with just us and the instructor. I am a crappy teacher and she needed to learn more about sailing a larger boat. Then we bought a 37 ft boat and had a great time.


A few years later we decided to switch to a boat with a more open cockpit due to some medical issues. The boat we decided upon had twin rudders and a sail drive. I had never handled a boat with that arrangement. So I hired an instructor to come out for the day with me to show me how to handle the boat. Learned a hell of a lot more in one day than I could have stumbled upon by myself (or online).


Maryland School of Sailing has a course where they sail one of their boats with I believe 4 students from Florida to Bermuda.
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Old 30-07-2020, 13:24   #30
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Re: Sleeping as a couple?

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This notion that it is okay to be underway and not have someone in the cockpit is foolish. As sailors, we should not be promoting this approach.
Guess that rules out all singlehanders then. No more Vendee Globe, Trans Pac or so many other singlehanded races.

The oldest singlehanding woman Jeanne Socrates, to circumnavigate non-stop was 77. This was not cruising, no outside help. Spent 2 months repairing her torn mainsail at sea. Record was broken by Bill Hatfield, 81 who chose to go the opposite way (more difficult) as well.

Not everyone has multiple people on board. If you do, then keeping watch is a good thing. For myself, singlehanding, I'm not on watch 24/7. I do have radar and AIS (transceiver) that I rely on. Close to shore.... I'm up all the time.
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