Hank pays more attention than he appears to. I've sailed with Hank a couple of times (you have to before he'll pick you up as a pro skipper). He is at once more laid-back and do-it-yourself than I am. I've seen him take 8 hours in a row a couple of days running to allow crew to find their own groove. It works, but isn't my style..
I'm in awe of his resume. Yes I got the feeling he was doing that thing my cat does. Has is back to you but you know he knows exactly what is happening.
I've been accused of being too type "A" and was thinking it was just a sign of paranoia even though I've logged a lot of trips.
I like to stack the deck in my favor. That being said you can make yourself crazy with low probability scenarios. How many of us really check the rear view mirror when traveling in a car every 15 seconds. If you do the math it might be possible that if you are going 50 and a car behind you is going 80 you should probably check every 8 seconds depending on the visibility. But the probability is so low and the effort might cause more problems that it solves.
Same way with sailing long distances. You have to manage your energy vs the risk.
I'm pleased to find someone with more experience than I that looks at this the same way I do.
That is that if you are on watch you don't have to keep your eyes on the water all the time but you do have to do a 360 every few minutes.
I have some misgivings about the 360 as it can happen that is you are not expecting to see anything and look too quickly you can miss something important.
There are several reports of this happening.
I did have a new found respect for AIS, it worked very well.