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-   -   Keeping Watch at Night ? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f2/keeping-watch-at-night-109186.html)

wkstar 11-08-2013 19:25

Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
With AIS, Radar, Sonar, AutoPilot etc
With One or Two people onboard do people just lower the sails and go to sleep
Or do people still do 3 hours watch ?

It seems to me that if the sails are low and you are not in the middle of a shipping channel. Then you should be able to get some sleep

With the gear I mentioned above a LOUD Alarm should go off if something were to approach the boat?
I am not saying take your Valium , Rum & zonk out for 10 hours.
Youtube makes it seem That going on a passage is a 20+ day prisoner of war No sleep torture test

Sailing is suppose to be relaxing, but with no sleep after a few days , I would get a bit cranky

skipmac 11-08-2013 19:56

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Well, do you like to play Russian Roulette? Sure your odds are better than 1 in 6 if you don't keep watch but not being in a shipping channel is no guarantee that there won't be a ship or sailboat to run into.

Twice when sailing offshore, away from any shipping channels I have come close to colliding with another sailboat. No one on the other boats was standing watch and if we had been asleep as well then it would not have been just close it would have been a collision.

Colregs require you to keep watch when you're at sea. If you do have a collision with another boat and no one was keeping watch on your boat guess who will bear the majority of the blame?

By the way, lowering the sails would not be the best way to go anyway. If you have no autopilot then heave to.

o_q 11-08-2013 20:03

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by skipmac (Post 1308685)
By the way, lowering the sails would not be the best way to go anyway. If you have no autopilot then heave to.

Are the chances of collision any less when not moving?

neilpride 11-08-2013 20:31

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Wow, im very surprised you ask a question like that,really, last time in a delivery to azores i found a crew member sleeping at the helm and the other one close to fail to, almost get a fight in the cockpit, both kicked in their ass in Azores..

No, i dont drop sails , i dont sleep without a competent crew in the cockpit doing their watch, even with crew or my wife at the helm i keep one eye open the other close, is like im almost in standby all the time.

If you rely in electronics to avoid a collision is up to you, a big ship is moving faster than you, even if you are fast putting your pants and starting the diesel the disorientation created is a big risk. Red light where ? oh my !!!!!!!!!!:whistling:

svmariane 11-08-2013 20:49

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
With only one person aboard - well, you have to sleep sometime. Maybe catnap, maybe heave to, maybe let her run but you'll be relying on your electronic warning systems. Electronics can and do fail in the marine environment. Got backups?

Compared to running under reefed sails, heaved to could mean a little more warning time before the approaching craft comes close IF she's coming from "ahead", but less time if she's coming up from astern. Flip a coin.

With two persons aboard - you're better off adjusting schedules depending on each person's tolerance levels and circadian rhythm. "Three hour watches" isn't carved in stone. Example: my wife takes dusk to midnight; I take midnight to dawn. Three, four, five hour watches - you'll get a sense of it after being underway awhile.

If folk start getting cranky from lack of sleep - well, that's asking for trouble besides ruining what should be a great cruise. Intellectually we all KNOW that a sleep-deprived person could make bad decisions. And anyway, who wants a cranky partner aboard?

Do what suites YOUR crew so everybody gets enough sleep.

One last gentle word of advice/opinion: Maybe other than just coming out the backside of a hurricane/typhoon/cyclone, with two or more folk aboard there isn't reason for NOT having somebody awake, alert, and on watch when underway.

And that's my take on things....

James

wkstar 11-08-2013 21:22

Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Thanks svmariane
Maybe I am ahead of the curve, But Today we have Self-Driving Cars with NO person inside
Ten years ago noone would believe

In the 1990's I would travel to rural Hospitals for work and ask about Internet and was told they had Dial-Up to a town 100 miles away
Today the same now transmit their own high speed WIFI

I will now say that in 2025, People will Laugh at the Idea of staying up all night worried about some ocean crash
Airplanes have AIS & autopilot and they are not running into each other

When the rule is that any boat out past the sight of land Must have ( %%%%% ) to prevent collisions
The seas will be safer

The ship in active motion should be the one most in need of active watch

avb3 11-08-2013 21:36

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wkstar (Post 1308730)
Thanks svmariane
Maybe I am ahead of the curve, But Today we have Self-Driving Cars with NO person inside
Ten years ago noone would believe

In the 1990's I would travel to rural Hospitals for work and ask about Internet and was told they had Dial-Up to a town 100 miles away
Today the same now transmit their own high speed WIFI

I will now say that in 2025, People will Laugh at the Idea of staying up all night worried about some ocean crash
Airplanes have AIS & autopilot and they are not running into each other

When the rule is that any boat out past the sight of land Must have ( %%%%% ) to prevent collisions
The seas will be safer

The ship in active motion should be the one most in need of active watch

Methinks someone needs to understand what COLREGS are all about. Please do yourself and others the favor of understanding and following them. It makes it safer for all.

rebel heart 11-08-2013 22:08

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
I think anyone who's singlehanded for more than a few days knows that eventually you're going to nod off for multiple hours at a click. It's much more practical and effective than continual cat naps. With the cat nap technique you end up being constantly exhausted, and then when you do need to stay away for a few hours (landfall, shipping, repairs, etc) you are completely fried to a dangerous degree.

The "problem" with singlehanding as I see it is that you then take that attitude and say "well if I can sleep for five hours underway by myself then why can't I with a crew?"

So, to the thread starter:

- If you're going to nod off underway (or just sitting there, it really doesn't matter) you'll want to avoid shipping lanes, do offshore routes, and favor anything that keeps you away from land and known traffic.

- Don't put too much faith in your alarms (AIS/radar/VHF volume cranked up), but they are pretty damn handy.

There really are not a lot of boats running into other vessels on the high seas, especially if you factor in radar/AIS/VHF/radar reflectors. I'm not trying to make light of it, but if you're short strapped on crew I'd much prefer nodding off and being rested to being a perpetual zombie.

Everyone cheered and applauded a recent youtube video posted from a singlehander on his way to Hawaii from Panama: no one mentioned that he (obviously) was getting plenty of sleep.

I know the rules and have a current master's license from the USCG. But the reality of offshore passage making on small crews is what it is.

bobconnie 11-08-2013 22:15

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
:thumb:Connie and I never have a sleep problem! She do a pre mid watch for 2 hrs and I do the rest of the dark hours. The few times I single handed, I did my sleeping on deck during the daylight! But then I can go a long time on catnaps!

rebel heart 11-08-2013 22:19

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bobconnie (Post 1308754)
:thumb:Connie and I never have a sleep problem! She do a pre mid watch for 2 hrs and I do the rest of the dark hours. The few times I single handed, I did my sleeping on deck during the daylight! But then I can go a long time on catnaps!

Singlehanding I think I averaged maybe 2-3 two hours sleeps per day, one in the day time, then maybe a couple of naps here and there. Those multihour ones were godsends though.

Mr B 11-08-2013 22:53

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
I had all my Nav lights on, The few ships that did pass me, I got the crackle on the VHF,

One ship called, Sailing vessel, I just turned my deck lights on to acknowledge I had heard them and knew they were there,

My deck light, Lights up half my sails, So they can see me easily,

Shipping at sea at night, Looks like a Xmas tree with full lighting switched on, Cruise ship, Think Disco,

You an certainly see them coming, Horizen to crunching over you, is about 20 minutes,

Big ships at 30 knots is quite common,

Sleep, I couldnt even sleep soundly at anchor, About 20 minute bursts, But for me, Thats a mind thing, I am fully rested, even tho I am not sleeping soundly,

Comes from a lifetime of working around the clock, And years of 4 or 5 hours sleep a night or day, Depending on what 12/7 shift I was working, Or 18 hour shifts,

But if your not accustomed to weird work hours, and no sleep, Your just a nine to fiver, workwise, you

will find 24/7 sailing, single handed, very difficult. You do have to go with out sleep, This will

Drain you, Mentally and Physically, Longer voyages, the worse it will get,

Shipping channels are clearly marked, so stay well away from them,

monte 11-08-2013 23:38

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
interestingly, the start of the vende globe solo round the world race had 3 yacht collisions in the first 3 days. 2 with fishing vessels and one with a stray super buoy. The professional sailors were all asleep at the time and all had the latest electronic bells and whistles.

Kenomac 11-08-2013 23:43

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
It's insane to just go down below and get some extended sleep and rely on your alarms. We regularly pass big ships here in the Med that don't have AIS or have it turned off, yes even a container ship and quite a few mega yachts. Sailing alone you're only putting yourself at risk and all other boats out there doing the same thing, but sailing with a crew on board and deciding to do something this stupid is just plain idiotic.

I would never ever count on AIS after the many experiences we've had first hand using it this summer. Radar is far better, but still not perfect.

If you get "cranky" after a few days of little sleep, maybe you've picked the wrong pastime or maybe you should do like us, and not go on long extended overnight passages unless we have ample crew on board.

Kenomac 12-08-2013 00:16

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Expanding on my previous note, yesterday morning about 6am, just as the sun was coming us we found ourselves heading towards some knucklehead who was obviously doing as the OP has described. We took evassive action to avoid a head-on collision with his or her 40ft sailboat four miles off Formentera which had it's sails set in a hove-to arrangement while sailing on a broad reach. What caught our attention, was that the vessel did not appear on our radar screen (it needed a minor adjustment) and no... it was not transmitting AIS and neither were we, and nobody was on deck. But we were on deck keeping watch and able to avoid the other boat. He probably went to bed at the tail end of a long passage and set his boat up in a hove to but apparently left his auto pilot on, so now his boat was continuing to sail towards the island at about 2-3 knots with a back winded genoa.

Eventually his luck will run out... hopefully, he woke up before running into the island which also wasn't broadcasting AIS.

D&D 12-08-2013 00:27

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by svmariane (Post 1308718)
With only one person aboard - well, you have to sleep sometime. Maybe catnap, maybe heave to, maybe let her run but you'll be relying on your electronic warning systems. Electronics can and do fail in the marine environment. Got backups?

Compared to running under reefed sails, heaved to could mean a little more warning time before the approaching craft comes close IF she's coming from "ahead", but less time if she's coming up from astern. Flip a coin.

With two persons aboard - you're better off adjusting schedules depending on each person's tolerance levels and circadian rhythm. "Three hour watches" isn't carved in stone. Example: my wife takes dusk to midnight; I take midnight to dawn. Three, four, five hour watches - you'll get a sense of it after being underway awhile.

If folk start getting cranky from lack of sleep - well, that's asking for trouble besides ruining what should be a great cruise. Intellectually we all KNOW that a sleep-deprived person could make bad decisions. And anyway, who wants a cranky partner aboard?

Do what suites YOUR crew so everybody gets enough sleep.

One last gentle word of advice/opinion: Maybe other than just coming out the backside of a hurricane/typhoon/cyclone, with two or more folk aboard there isn't reason for NOT having somebody awake, alert, and on watch when underway.

And that's my take on things....

James

Well said James.

Nil solo long passage-making here so we can't comment on that. It is, however, a very firm rule on this vessel that there is always someone on watch...and really watching too, not reading a book. The electronics are great, but like others here we've certainly come across big vessels with no AIS...and then there's all the fishing boats and other yachts.

So it's 'by the book' (COLREGs) and no Russian roulette on this vessel.

For the OP, our long voyage (Italy to Sydney, via the Panama Canal) was 3-pax with 3hrs 'on' and 6hrs 'off' watches; that worked easily, but of course it needs at least 3 pax. Now we're mostly 2pax and our night watches are more along the flexible lines of what others posted here...but there's always eyes open.:thumb:

denverd0n 12-08-2013 05:21

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wkstar (Post 1308730)
Maybe I am ahead of the curve...

Ahead of the curve!?! Wow. I always appreciate a good laugh, so I guess I owe you a hearty "thank you."

You don't even know where the curve is. Seriously. You need to get a clue. I can only hope to God that this is all hypothetical for you, and that you don't actually ever go out on any real boats (which I strongly suspect is the case).

boatman61 12-08-2013 05:46

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Regarding collisions at sea... the blame is 50/50... as at least 1 should be capable of taking evasive action... or neither...:p
As for Watch keeping... on deliveries with crew I do 3hr night watches for crew in open waters... something like the Torres Strait I'll stay up the whole time and catch up the other end.. when in open water again.. not unknown for me to come up and find the crew asleep...:D
Solo... I reef down at sunset and around midnight I'll crash if on a crossing... (drinking 15+ mugs of coffee a day means I pee a lot... so I get up and go on deck regularly)... if offshore... 10+ miles out I'll heave to around midnight and crash... my only danger should be containers and logs or another solo sailor... but... having said that I have been T-Boned 5 miles of the coast by a boat motor sailing at 6kts with 4 crew on board... they were all below having cheese and wine... I was drifting and down below making cheese and toast...
Conclusion... CHEESE IS DANGEROUS...:banghead:
And yes... I do know the ColReg's...:whistling:

goboatingnow 12-08-2013 05:52

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Maybe I am ahead of the curve, But Today we have Self-Driving Cars with NO person inside
Ten years ago noone would believe
no we dont, we have research programmes thats very different. The car hasnt fundementally changed since its introduction.

Quote:

In the 1990's I would travel to rural Hospitals for work and ask about Internet and was told they had Dial-Up to a town 100 miles away
Today the same now transmit their own high speed WIFI
so?
Quote:

I will now say that in 2025, People will Laugh at the Idea of staying up all night worried about some ocean crash
Airplanes have AIS & autopilot and they are not running into each other
funny they have two people at all times in the cockpit, neither is allowed to sleep.

Quote:

When the rule is that any boat out past the sight of land Must have ( %%%%% ) to prevent collisions
The seas will be safer
no technology will save humans from themselves.

MarkJ 12-08-2013 05:52

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wkstar (Post 1308663)
a 20+ day prisoner of war No sleep torture test

Yes 3 hour watches make it a torture. The CIA et al, use sleep deprivation as a torture. Its banned by the Geniva Convention and only sailors are stupid enough to do it... and even then not naval sailors or commercial sailors only cruising sail boat folks.

My 2 handed watch system is as follows:

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

person on watch cooks.

We have always arrived fresh as a daisy with that watch system :)


Mark

colemj 12-08-2013 05:54

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
On a recent passage from Panama to Roatan, we encountered a catamaran in the afternoon in the middle of nowhere on a perpendicular collision course to us. I watched it from several miles off as we slowly sailed toward a perfect T-bone and it was clear there was no one at the helm or on deck at all. As we approached it, I kept course until we sailed right up to it, ducked underneath just before the T-bone and passed 20' under its stern. I could see right into the whole open saloon and there was no one in sight inside. Must have been down in the hull.

I don't know the probability of colliding with another small boat outside of shipping lanes and in the middle of nothing, but the odds were with us that time.

Luckily, one of us is always awake and on deck.

Mark

MarkJ 12-08-2013 06:00

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by goboatingnow (Post 1308940)
funny they have two people at all times in the cockpit, neither is allowed to sleep.

But can pilots really see out of the cockpit at all in flight. Certainly not enough to keep a visual watch for other planes?

boatman61 12-08-2013 06:02

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by colemj (Post 1308942)
On a recent passage from Panama to Roatan, we encountered a catamaran in the afternoon in the middle of nowhere on a perpendicular collision course to us. I watched it from several miles off as we slowly sailed toward a perfect T-bone and it was clear there was no one at the helm or on deck at all. As we approached it, I kept course until we sailed right up to it, ducked underneath just before the T-bone and passed 20' under its stern. I could see right into the whole open saloon and there was no one in sight inside. Must have been down in the hull.

I don't know the probability of colliding with another small boat outside of shipping lanes and in the middle of nothing, but the odds were with us that time.

Luckily, one of us is always awake and on deck.

Mark

You could well have also missed a great salvage claim.. always check an apparently un manned vessel...:whistling:
Have come up on deck a couple of times in response to 'Hoot's' while hove to offshore to find a fishing boat circling me... big cheers and waves when they saw me then they carried of on their way... there's good men out there...

skipmac 12-08-2013 06:08

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by o_q (Post 1308689)
Are the chances of collision any less when not moving?

Not really. The reason for heaving to is to make the boat stop rolling around. A sailboat at sea with no sails up will toss you about the cabin and make it a lot more difficult to get any sleep.

skipmac 12-08-2013 06:17

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by wkstar (Post 1308730)
Thanks svmariane
Maybe I am ahead of the curve, But Today we have Self-Driving Cars with NO person inside
Ten years ago noone would believe

In the 1990's I would travel to rural Hospitals for work and ask about Internet and was told they had Dial-Up to a town 100 miles away
Today the same now transmit their own high speed WIFI

I will now say that in 2025, People will Laugh at the Idea of staying up all night worried about some ocean crash
Airplanes have AIS & autopilot and they are not running into each other

When the rule is that any boat out past the sight of land Must have ( %%%%% ) to prevent collisions
The seas will be safer

The problem is, this is not 2025 and there is currently no foolproof way to 100% eliminate the potential for collision at sea. All boats don't use AIS and small boats don't always show up well on radar, especially a wood or fiberglass sailboat with no radar reflector in rough seas.

So with technology where it is today I stick with my original analysis; it's Russian Roulette.



Quote:

Originally Posted by wkstar (Post 1308730)
The ship in active motion should be the one most in need of active watch

As pointed out in other replies, you need to study the Colregs (Collision Regulations). First, any vessel at sea, in motion or not, is required to keep a watch and if a collision occurs both vessels usually share the blame. A vessel with no one on watch would likely bear a larger share depending on the circumstances.

skipmac 12-08-2013 06:20

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by monte (Post 1308782)
interestingly, the start of the vende globe solo round the world race had 3 yacht collisions in the first 3 days. 2 with fishing vessels and one with a stray super buoy. The professional sailors were all asleep at the time and all had the latest electronic bells and whistles.

:thumb:

skipmac 12-08-2013 06:29

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 1308793)
Expanding on my previous note, yesterday morning about 6am, just as the sun was coming us we found ourselves heading towards some knucklehead who was obviously doing as the OP has described. We took evassive action to avoid a head-on collision with his or her 40ft sailboat four miles off Formentera which had it's sails set in a hove-to arrangement while sailing on a broad reach.

I have had two similar incidents. One about 100 miles south of the Windward Passage miles from shipping lanes so an area where the OP might be asleep. If I hadn't been standing a close watch I would have had a head on collision with another sailboat in the middle of the night. They were sailing with no nav lights and no one on deck. Dead dark night and I just barely saw a dim white shadow of his sails in time to alter course.

The second time was broad daylight about 4 miles off Delaware Bay. I was headed south in a crossing with another sailboat headed offshore. I was stbd tack so standon but as our courses converged it was obvious the other guy was not altering his course. I changed to avoid collision and passed a couple hundred feet off his stern to see the cockpit empty and could see the wheel turning to an AP.

thomm225 12-08-2013 06:30

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
The simple answer is that if you are singehanding there will be hours at a time when no one is on watch. But the sailor can pick his spots and if you are older, you do have to get up every couple hours for a urinary break at which time you can check on everything as you would when anchored..

I was anchored not long ago out in the boonies.................it was very dark and my anchor light had gone out. I awoke to an outboard engine at 3/4-full throttle coming by then noticed my light was out. He was headed to his favorite fishing spot and was using land contour to guide on not knowing there was a 6600 lb sailboat near his path.

rebel heart 12-08-2013 06:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kenomac (Post 1308793)
Expanding on my previous note, yesterday morning about 6am, just as the sun was coming us we found ourselves heading towards some knucklehead who was obviously doing as the OP has described. We took evassive action to avoid a head-on collision with his or her 40ft sailboat four miles off Formentera which had it's sails set in a hove-to arrangement while sailing on a broad reach. What caught our attention, was that the vessel did not appear on our radar screen (it needed a minor adjustment) and no... it was not transmitting AIS and neither were we, and nobody was on deck. But we were on deck keeping watch and able to avoid the other boat. He probably went to bed at the tail end of a long passage and set his boat up in a hove to but apparently left his auto pilot on, so now his boat was continuing to sail towards the island at about 2-3 knots with a back winded genoa.

Eventually his luck will run out... hopefully, he woke up before running into the island which also wasn't broadcasting AIS.

In my sleeping underway defense, 4 miles from shore I'd be up and alert. That's sort of my thing: get as much rest as you can so that when you need to be up you are.

zeehag 12-08-2013 06:45

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
i have been shorthanding a bit of time, now---i found that during some passages one sees many many ships and some days none at all, in same area... i have seen , in our path, unlit powerboats with no one in cockpit or on interior watch, bearing down on us fast---in total darkness all you can hear to avoid collision is ears--hearing is a big plus--you cannot hear when asleep in cabin....nor react fast enough to prevent a collision with this kind of thing occurring.
if you do not catnap you are endangring self and others..make sure your area horizon to horizon all around is clear then do a 15 min catnap.

4 hour watches are ok for a specific duration, then become sleep deprivation.
with the equipment i have on board and my specific handling ase with my boat, there is no need to four hour watches--i can do 12. i also make sure th e soul on watch is watching--if that soul is sleeping i will remain above on watch. it is my boat and my responsibility, not to mention my home, and my cats home.
someone i know does passages while sleeping beow--i think he is nutz. engine fail, sail fail, equipment fail all happen. whether you sleep or stay awake. can be dangerous.
watching in cockpit is not difficult--snoozing in cockpit is preferable to going below to sleeep the sleep of the dead--stuff happens, sorry to say.
one of my favorites is the soul who set his gps for a surfing side trip and then slept the sleep of the dead only to lose his boat on beach in mexico.

i stay 4 hours or more off beach, no less...just in case..

it is your choice---be proven wrong in a court of law should you survive the accident or be the accident waiting to happen--it still happens...often enough to remain on watch, as per regulations and common sense.
dont fool yourself onto thinking equipment is gonna save your life--lol... your own eyes and ears will do that.

goboatingnow 12-08-2013 06:46

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

person on watch cooks.
huh, whats happening when you're head is in the galley?

dave

zeehag 12-08-2013 06:51

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
sorry--off watch cooks. on watch does just that--watch

if on watch cooks, then off watch will watch until cook is done cooking and up in cockpit.

boatman61 12-08-2013 06:58

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by goboatingnow (Post 1308991)
huh, whats happening when you're head is in the galley?

dave

You get rammed by someone motor sailing...:p

barnakiel 12-08-2013 07:01

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
ONE or TWO people onboard?

In our boat there are the two of us, and there is NO FREAKING justification for one of us not to be in the cockpit: day or night, hell or high water. The watch is 99.99% of their time in the cockpit.

You are supposed to keep watch at all times. And, to me, if you do not, you are a moron.

Sure thing a SOLO sailor must sleep. In this case I say mate sleep some as I might see your ship because I am keeping watch.

b.

simonmd 12-08-2013 07:20

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
I'd like to counter anyone who says that someone who is single handing and wants to get some sleep is 'idiotic'. What IS Idiotic is doing so without the right equipment.

I single hand in Med' quite a bit but I made sure my boat is well equipped to do so, fitting radar that has a proximity alarm, AIS, etc.

It's a simple fact that doing anything when being over tired can be as bad, if not worse, than being drunk and no one here would say that's a good idea i'm sure!

Personally, if I have to do a crossing of 20 hours or more, at night I lower the main (sometimes the headsail too) and have one engine running to help her along, taking a 45 min sleep when I feel I need it. I have found this works very well in keeping me alert, combined with a 30nm range on radar and the benefits of visibility making even a small light east to spot, I have no problem with not being physically on watch for that length of time.

The comment about AIS not being reliable is very true. I have seen MANY very large vessels apparently not giving out a signal, never mind the potential for meeting a smaller craft that isn't required to have one (a Princess 64 or half decent sized fishing boat can still appear from no where and do a lot of damage!). Its main use, when you do get a signal, is to be able to see their course and speed in advance and also their name to make it easier to call them on the VHF if required. Many large boats will not answer their radio if not called by name I've found.

rebel heart 12-08-2013 07:27

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by barnakiel (Post 1309004)
ONE or TWO people onboard?

In our boat there are the two of us, and there is NO FREAKING justification for one of us not to be in the cockpit: day or night, hell or high water. The watch is 99.99% of their time in the cockpit.

You are supposed to keep watch at all times. And, to me, if you do not, you are a moron.

Sure thing a SOLO sailor must sleep. In this case I say mate sleep some as I might see your ship because I am keeping watch.

b.

Personally I don't see the difference between being engrossed in a book in the cockpit or down in the cabin. If you stick your head up and scan around every ten minutes and the rest of the time you're checked out, who cares where the rest of the time is?

We used to go into the cabin to get warm or stay dry, now we go in there to stay cool and avoid the sun at certain times of the day.

And if you have enough shade to keep the sun out of the cockpit at all angles then you effectively reduce the visibility from the cockpit, defeating the point of being in the cockpit.

boatman61 12-08-2013 07:27

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by simonmd (Post 1309019)
I'd like to counter anyone who says that someone who is single handing and wants to get some sleep is 'idiotic'. What IS Idiotic is doing so without the right equipment.

I single hand in Med' quite a bit but I made sure my boat is well equipped to do so, fitting radar that has a proximity alarm, AIS, etc.

It's a simple fact that doing anything when being over tired can be as bad, if not worse, than being drunk and no one here would say that's a good idea i'm sure!

Personally, if I have to do a crossing of 20 hours or more, at night I lower the main (sometimes the headsail too) and have one engine running to help her along, taking a 45 min sleep when I feel I need it. I have found this works very well in keeping me alert, combined with a 30nm range on radar and the benefits of visibility making even a small light east to spot, I have no problem with not being physically on watch for that length of time.

The comment about AIS not being reliable is very true. I have seen MANY very large vessels apparently not giving out a signal, never mind the potential for meeting a smaller craft that isn't required to have one (a Princess 64 or half decent sized fishing boat can still appear from no where and do a lot of damage!). Its main use, when you do get a signal, is to be able to see their course and speed in advance and also their name to make it easier to call them on the VHF if required. Many large boats will not answer their radio if not called by name I've found.

Being a Moron and an Idiot I agree with everything in this thread...:p

thomm225 12-08-2013 07:31

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
The Singlehanded Transpac Race takes anywhere from 7-23 days or so to complete. The race is from San Francisco to Hawaii.

One of the guys recommends getting up every 20-30 minutes for a quick check. See link:

https://sfbaysss.org/tipsbook/Singleh...irdEdition.pdf

Also see picture on the last page!

skipmac 12-08-2013 07:35

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by simonmd (Post 1309019)
I'd like to counter anyone who says that someone who is single handing and wants to get some sleep is 'idiotic'. What IS Idiotic is doing so without the right equipment.

I single hand in Med' quite a bit but I made sure my boat is well equipped to do so, fitting radar that has a proximity alarm, AIS, etc.

It's a simple fact that doing anything when being over tired can be as bad, if not worse, than being drunk and no one here would say that's a good idea i'm sure!

Personally, if I have to do a crossing of 20 hours or more, at night I lower the main (sometimes the headsail too) and have one engine running to help her along, taking a 45 min sleep when I feel I need it. I have found this works very well in keeping me alert, combined with a 30nm range on radar and the benefits of visibility making even a small light east to spot, I have no problem with not being physically on watch for that length of time.

The comment about AIS not being reliable is very true. I have seen MANY very large vessels apparently not giving out a signal, never mind the potential for meeting a smaller craft that isn't required to have one (a Princess 64 or half decent sized fishing boat can still appear from no where and do a lot of damage!). Its main use, when you do get a signal, is to be able to see their course and speed in advance and also their name to make it easier to call them on the VHF if required. Many large boats will not answer their radio if not called by name I've found.

As you point out, AIS is not very reliable and I would suggest that radar is also not 100%. Only recently have I owned a boat with radar so don't have years of personal experience looking at the screen to back this up but have a very interesting example from another boat.

I was in the Straights of FL headed to Key West on a very rough passage and passed a pair of tugs with a string of barges headed to TX. Was a little confused by their lights (one tug was trailing the barges and it wasn't clear to me what the second set of nav lights was about) so was on the radio with the tug captain. As we passed I was about 1/2 mile on their beam and he commented that he could not see me on his radar at all in the rough sea conditions.

This was a large, commercial operation and had a top end Furuno radar so should have spotted me if anything could. I was on a 32' glass boat but did not have a radar reflector at the time so that was a worst case scenario as far as a target. However, like AIS you cannot count on every boat at sea to have a reflector deployed.

No doubt radar will dramatically improve the odds of seeing another boat but still doesn't eliminate all the risk. I would assume a new, HD radar will be even better but don't have one of those, yet.

Oceanride007 12-08-2013 07:46

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
I've been in some lonely oceans, its surprising how you can cross the Indian Ocean and only see one vessel and yep dead on collision course & despite being the stand on vessel they didn't give way. Its happened twice. Think heaving too, is a good option if you are single handing, its unlikely a commercial vessel would ignore you for the half hour or so you were dead ahead, I would risk it on those lonely passages.

Tellus 12-08-2013 08:31

Re: Keeping Watch at Night ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Oceanride007 (Post 1309055)
I've been in some lonely oceans, its surprising how you can cross the Indian Ocean and only see one vessel and yep dead on collision course & despite being the stand on vessel they didn't give way. Its happened twice. Think heaving too, is a good option if you are single handing, its unlikely a commercial vessel would ignore you for the half hour or so you were dead ahead, I would risk it on those lonely passages.

Even happened in Biscay at daylight some years ago, by delivering a 50" Helmsman. Not a small boat but very small for a "blind" Bulker. And we were under sails, the skipper lighted the sails by flashlight too - no chance, we turned the boat hard.


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