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  #31  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboPops View Post
Thank you for the above. The case goes along the lines I have seen in the past. The point is also driven home. Do NOT expect the other ship/boat to look out for you. There are too many things that can happen (lights burn out, lookout not utilizing proper techniques or something else gets their attention, other equipment malfunction, etc.)

The only reasonable conclusions I can draw:

1. Find an inlet or other place to moor or drop anchor out of the way.

2. Sail with someone else along to share watch duties (plus never hurts to have extra hands in an emergency.)

3. Continue with as much navigational warning equipment on that I have on board and realize that responsibility for any accidents may or will be my fault!
How do you pull into an inlet half way across an ocean? How do you single hand with someone else on board? Yes if you get run over by a ship it's your fault, stay out of the way and stay visible. Orange weather cloths and bright on deck safety gear helps tremendously. The chances of another sail boat hitting you at noon half way across the atlantic for instance is hardly worth thinking about, the chances of a cargo ship hitting you in broad day light while hove to out of major shipping lanes , is worth the risk IMO as it is highly unlikely. Single handling on long off shore passages is not for everybody.
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  #32  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

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Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
... Single handling on long off shore passages is not for everybody.
And there you have it.

Like I said earlier, it depends. For some the risk of leaving the clubhouse is too great, for others the risk of sailing out of the harbor is too much. For a few the risk of being run over in the middle of an ocean in broad daylight is less than the risk of extreme sleep deprivation when on a passage. It is about acceptable levels of risk, assumption of those risks, and mitigating the multiplying factors that can be managed by making well reasoned and thought out calculations of the individual circumstances.
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  #33  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

I found Andrew Evan's "Thoughts, Tips, Techiniques & Tactics for Singlehanded Sailing" to be a great resource, with chapters on sleeping, eating, single-handed spinnaker handling, etc:Singlehanded Tips Book

It inspired me to set up and fly a symmetrical spinnaker singlehanded.
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  #34  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

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Originally Posted by Capt.aaron View Post
I don't think you need to be raised in siesta ville to take a much needed sleep after an all night watch...
All I'm saying is, that to perfect the art of "napping", and learning to maximize the benefits of 20 minute naps, and perfect the ability to subsist on them for extended periods of time, is not likely to come as naturally to most Americans or others not raised in a culture where midday napping is commonplace...

Every individual is different, the "rules" about sleeping will vary from person to person somewhat. All I'm suggesting is that is can take a considerable amount of experience, and experimentation, to learn what works best for you...

The videos posted by Drake Paragon of his voyage to Bermuda were illustrative of this... He really didn't have a clue about how to best manage his sleep as a singlehander, and it showed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Actually, the new 3G and 4G radar systems WILL pick up the trash. You can see crab pots, gulls floating on the surface and flying off as your boat approaches, pretty much anything out there including styrofoam cups. The only 3G Radar system I've seen personally is the Lowrance, and it was absolutely incredible. So in this situation, radar is definitely your friend.

Cheers,

Gary
Probably just me, but I think the effectiveness of the use of radar as a watchstanding substitute for a singlehander offshore is generally overrated, especially in a seaway... No radar is gonna be discerning styrofoam cups floating about with a 10' sea running...

And, if your guard zone alarm is indeed picking up things like seabirds or flying fish, well - you are NEVER gonna get more than a minute or two of sleep at a time... (grin)

In thick weather or restricted visibility, radar can be invaluable, of course... But, as a means of avoidance of debris, not so much... Given the choice between watching the water ahead, or monitoring a radar screen, I'll take the former every time... And, after dark, I'll stick with attempting to maintain my night vision, rather than degrading it with continuous reliance upon radar...
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  #35  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

Like Aaron, I don't advocate sleeping/napping while underway at night--it's just plain foolish. It's risky during the day, but at night it's insane.

As for spotting partly submerged debris at night, even with the best night vision - not a prayer. In 10-foot seas, especially with close wave intervals, you'd be lucky to see a telephone pole at night, let alone have the ability to avoid it during one of those 20-minute naps.

Sleep deprivation can be dangerous to your health as well, and from my viewpoint those 20-minute naps are nothing but a modified form of sleep deprivation. There have been numerous studies by major medical centers that clearly show sleep deprivation can lead to a heart attack, even for those that are relatively young. Essentially, those short naps are the medical equivalent of sleep apnea, a conditions which eliminates REM sleep from taking place.

Keep in mind that I DO NOT advocate using radar for a night watch while the captain is fast asleep--even if just for 20 minutes. Most people would not hear the high-pitched electronic alarm sounding, at least most old codgers that I know. The radar, however, makes sailing at night a lot safer than sailing at night without radar. With broadband radar you can readily identify smaller targets that traditional radar may not even see, thereby providing you with the ability to avoid them.

Sleeping during the day, especially with something on deck that is day-glo orange to make your boat highly visible, makes perfectly good sense to me, especially if you're well out of the commercial shipping lanes. Inshore, where commercial traffic is often limited to a confined area, and the surrounding water is relatively shallow, I would find an inlet, lee side of an island, etc..., drop the hook and set the GPS/plotter's anchor alarm. Eight hours of sound sleep during the day beats the Hell out of 20 minute naps in the middle of the night.

Just my 2-cents worth,

Gary
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  #36  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
... from my viewpoint those 20-minute naps are nothing but a modified form of sleep deprivation... Essentially, those short naps are the medical equivalent of sleep apnea, a conditions which eliminates REM sleep from taking place.


Sleeping during the day, especially with something on deck that is day-glo orange to make your boat highly visible, makes perfectly good sense to me...

Gary
Actually, some of the polyphasic sleep studies show otherwise.

We humans have amazing minds and bodies. It seems your brain will adapt your sleep to the type of sleep you need. If you practice sleeping in 20 min. segments, you will no longer go through the normal 3 hours sleep cycle and you might immediately enter deep sleep or only get REM in the 20 minutes, depending on what you need.

We are designed to be bi-phasic, to sleep at night and be awake during the day, perhaps with a midday nap, so early morning or late afternoon daytime sleep will always be somewhat unnatural and will never be as satisfying as nighttime sleep or your natural siesta. On the other hand, nighttime alertness or periodic awakenings might have served a beneficial purpose in our evolution. Of course, it is best to sleep naturally at night without interruptions, but that is not possible for the solo sailor without some risk of collision.

I believe you can program your brain to be a little more conscious while you are sleeping lightly, so you will be aware of any changes in wind, waves, moonlight, etc., on a coastal trip. This is the benefit of sleeping in the cockpit or the foredeck in a beanbag chair - not only can you tell when your boat is off-course or the wind direction has changed, but you also might be able to hear the engine of an approaching boat or sense some change that would allow you to avoid a collision at the last moment. Sleeping belowdecks seems dangerous to me on a coastal trip because you have that much less sensory perception and less ability to wake up in time.

I have similar nightmares for several weeks after an extended cruise - my boat is in jeopardy and I have to wake up to remedy the situation. I assume this is a carryover or extension of some kind of underlying anxiety about this really happening, and this mindset causes me to sleep lightly and alertly when I am cruising (for short periods).
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Last edited by jameswilson29; 09-21-2012 at 03:30 PM.
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  #37  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

Capt.Aaron - I am wondering if you have any of these systems on your boat, radar or AIS?
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Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

Spent over 20 years in the Army (and I mean the real muddy-boots Army), so I have some experience with sleep deprivation. Jameswilson29 is right about REM cycles modifying to your needs. If sleep deprived, you will go quickly into REM sleep. If severly sleep deprived, you'll practically REM sleep while awake - aka hallucinate. The trick is to get enough REM sleep over time. You don't have to get it all at once, but as long as you can get enough each day, you can function relatively highly. Don't get enough and you become a zombie. How much is enough? Depends on the person. I've gone for a week to two at a time on 2 hours a day or so, as long as I had a 4 hour catch up every few days. Spent almost 10 years of my life living on 4-5 hours of sleep in "normal" circumstances. Some folks can get by with less. Most need somewhat more.
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  #39  
Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

If you want to know about sleep deprivation, talk to any new mother. They probably have a lot in common with the single handed sailor.
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Old 09-21-2012
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Re: Is sleeping OK?

It appears then that most people say that single handing is definitely irresponsible and should be avoided. And yet sailors have been doing it for centuries.

And like any endeavour in life, there will be people who will die but there will be many thousands who won't. If one is that afraid of dying it's probably best to do it now and get past it.

I did just one voyage single handed - from Seychelles to Indonesia via Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), a voyage of six weeks during which I knew going in that I wasn't going to stay awake the whole time (duh). But it was a voyage of necessity - I had no crew and could find no crew and had to get home. Seychelles does not allow boats to be left there with the owner/skipper moving on so single handing was the only choice.

I slept in one hour intervals whenever the need arose, day or night and had many vessels mostly long-line fishing boats around me for a good portion of the trip. I never had a problem with them or they with me.

Another point, despite the image showing ships in every square inch of the worlds oceans (posted earlier) I sailed with my family from the USA to New Zealand keeping a full-time watch and in 24 days of sailing from San Diego to the Marquesas we saw just one ship and no yachts. And without any communication, the ship diverted his course to go around us.

I would sail that voyage single handed without hesitation.
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