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post #4 of Old 03-23-2009
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We used a rotating system this summer that seemed to be quite effective for keeping alert people on watch. Instead of dividing into two watches, we wrote up a list of crew members, alternating between ones with more and less experience. We started out with the two at the top of the list on watch: one on "standby" in the cockpit, and the other at the wheel. An hour later, the third person on the list went on "standby" in the cockpit. The person who had been "standby" moved to the wheel, and the person at the wheel went off watch to sleep. Each hour, the next person listed moves up, and so on, until the list re-starts. With five of us aboard, we all managed to get good sleep over a three day sail from Bermuda to New York, and have good performance, with all hands available for tricky maneuvers. Depending upon the number of crew you have, you could have three or more "on" at the same time, if you wanted. It seemed easier to get used to than the Swedish watch system we used for the race down, and kept us moving quickly, even though we weren't actually racing on the
way back.
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