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post #1 of 17 Old 09-28-2006 Thread Starter
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night at sea

I am a bottom of the ladder beginner
so I will have questions,
one that I have no need for yet but I just want the answer
suppose you are at sea with your sailboat, alone
when it gets dark (night), how do you stop for the night and know you won't get hit by a passing vessel during the night, do you have to stay awake or what?
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-28-2006
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The international regulations for avoiding collisions at sea stipulate that "Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight as well as by hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision."

This means that you will need to always have someone on watch. If you are sailing solo then you obviously cannot do that without going into serious sleep deprivation so commonly sailors will have radar or radar detectors in addition to avoiding highly trafficked areas as well as potential landfalls. Sailing single-handed like that is always a technical breach of the colregs, but is done nonetheless. The problem lies in trying to get anything from an insurance company after the collision (assuming you survive).
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-28-2006
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If you are, as you say "at sea" it would be unusual to "stop for the night". You will be sailing 24/7 until you reach your destination. An exception would be "heaving to" in severe weather or in the case of extreme fatigue.

Show the proper lights for the situation and then trust the other guy is keeping watch. Hoist a radar reflector too. As mentioned, technically you may be in violation of colregs.. but it's not an uncommon thing to be doing.
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-28-2006
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Some sailors go to sleep with a 15 minute kitchen timer and wake up & look around since it takes about that long for a ship to come over the horzon and pose a danger to you.
If you are singlehanding...this is about the best you can do when in trafficked areas but sooner or later you'll need at least a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. With 2 people, my wife and I typically take turns of 3-4 hours on watch and we can keep this up for 4-5 days without a problem and by taking long daytime naps as well. The other alternative is to simply not keep a watch and many people don't on an ocean passage that is not in the traffic lanes.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-28-2006
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Has there any reported cases that two boats collided becasue none of them were on watch?
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-28-2006
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No boats have ever collided because all of them always maintain a good watch, as Colregs requires. The Andrea Doria and the Stockholm was obviously just a story made up to sell newspapers. Perhaps there are no reports of any two boats colliding due to no one being on watch on either of them because they both sank and everyone drowned.
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-29-2006
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Unfortunately many such collisions are between a small boat and a very big one. All that is left of the small boat is flotsam and some jetsam while the big one occasionally has some white fiberglass smears on it. Seriously, oftentimes the "bump" isn't even felt on the tanker/freighter.
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-29-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk
Perhaps there are no reports of any two boats colliding due to no one being on watch on either of them because they both sank and everyone drowned.
And this will add to another case of Bermuda triangle.
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-30-2006
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If you're going to be sailing overnight, make damn sure that your navigation lights work properly and are visible for the two nautical miles required by law. A masthead tricolor is far better than deck level lights, as it is far more likely to be seen, especially in heavy seas, where the deck level lights may be blocked by the seas.

Many people who are single-handing will stay awake at night and get most of their sleep during the day, as it is far more likely that a small boat will be seen during the day, and that the crew of large ships are far more likely to be alert during the day than the night watch is.

I'd agree that the radar reflector is also a necessity. If you do have radar, setting it with a watch zone alarm is a very good idea...

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post #10 of 17 Old 10-01-2006
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Don't most ocean crossing sailing vessels stay away from the shipping line to minimize the chnace of collision.
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