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Old 05-10-2011
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Overnighting in the Ocean

Ok, I'm a little entranced about the idea of sailing out a dozen or so miles into the ocean and spending the night.

Im gathering if you are too close, you'll wake up grounded on the beach. If you are far enough out, you couldn't lay anchor.

What can you do, or how far out would one go (Im guessing 20 miles) and just drift and sleep the night? (Naturally far away from shipping lanes)

I've heard a little about "heave to" as a way to minimize your drift, as well as pinning the help to one side.

Is this an awful idea or just suck it up and anchor?
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Old 05-10-2011
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Take some crew, rotate watch-keeping duties, and just keep sailing all night long.
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Old 05-10-2011
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Bloody uncomfortable. Either anchor somewhere sheltered or do as Catamount says and keep moving. If you mean do you anchor out in the ocean , well that just sounds silly to me but maybe your ocean is more benign (and shallower) than mine.

One of my favourite things is to set sail around dusk, head straight out into the rising full moon. Keep sailing till midnight then turn around and sail home. Preferably reaching all the way of course and it helps if you are on the east coast.
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Old 05-11-2011
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Heave too on a good night and the boat can be set up to make way slowly from any point of danger.
Sleeping without watch keeping is the real danger.
With good radar it might be safer but I wouldn,t be able to sleep much unless I had crew on watch.
I am up and down all night even when in a good safe anchorage
Safe sailing
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Old 05-11-2011
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dg,when i was tuna fishing off the east coast of usa we anchored in 200 to 300 ft and kept a watch and fished,at least 20 to70 miles out it can be done but u need a way to haul it all back to surface.we used a quick release to an anchor ball when we hooked up to a giant bad boy.lots of fun and great times....last summer on jeffries ledge i used a 6 foot drouge to absolutely stop me over the ledge[opposing wind and current!!]do it!!! make no noise and let that great mama the north atlantic tell u a few secrets
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Old 05-11-2011
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Given your location (major shipping route, just north of Cape Hatteras), and not really understanding why you'd want to go out there to sleep, it seems an odd notion to be entranced with.
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Old 05-11-2011
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That all makes sense. Thanks for the answers. I imagine buffetting around and spinning all night wouldn't be comfortable. Do I recall hearing about something called a sea anchor that is like a parachute underwater so-to-speak?
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Old 05-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgbenner View Post
That all makes sense. Thanks for the answers. I imagine buffetting around and spinning all night wouldn't be comfortable. Do I recall hearing about something called a sea anchor that is like a parachute underwater so-to-speak?
yeah but it's more of a heavy-weather thing when you're trying to avoid being beam-on to big seas. and being tethered to something (at least by the bow) implies that you're not under sail, which latter means you're rolling unrestrained by the dampening effects of having sails up and filled. this is why heaving-to would be preferable to drifting or lying to a sea anchor or drogue.

Still, if you're going to heave-to, you might as well just sail, and catch your sleep in the daytime when you're more visible to other traffic. Better still, have enough crew that you're actually keeping a continuous lookout. The Collision regs require this anyway, notwithstanding what the singlehanders do.

One time heaving-to at night might be useful though is if you're reluctant to enter a strange or tricky harbor entrance until daylight and need to kill off the night hours without going anywhere. But again, keep that lookout, since you're near a port approach.

Last edited by nolatom; 05-11-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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Not to be rude, but really, while the internet is a great place to have questions answered, good old fashioned reading and research are still a great way to answer basic seamanship questions, not to mention an excuse to build a small library (or ebook library if you want to save space!) of resource material for your own 'search' function. The internet is a much better place for answering practical experiential problems like, "When we did X, Y happened. We expected Z. What did we do? Any thoughts?", or when looking for very specific, localized information. The question that the OP poses is fine, but there's clearly a level of inexperience that's hard to address without going through half of a basic cruising manual. Again, this is said with due respect, so apologies if any offense is taken. It isn't my intent at all.
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Old 05-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
Not to be rude, but really, while the internet is a great place to have questions answered, good old fashioned reading and research are still a great way to answer basic seamanship questions, not to mention an excuse to build a small library (or ebook library if you want to save space!) of resource material for your own 'search' function. The internet is a much better place for answering practical experiential problems like, "When we did X, Y happened. We expected Z. What did we do? Any thoughts?", or when looking for very specific, localized information. The question that the OP poses is fine, but there's clearly a level of inexperience that's hard to address without going through half of a basic cruising manual. Again, this is said with due respect, so apologies if any offense is taken. It isn't my intent at all.
Puddin,
The OP was the type of post that cries out for the 'newbie' to be mocked, jeered and poked with a stick and yet it must be said that this kind of question often kicks off interesting discussions that we might not have otherwise had. I'm not disagreeing with you btw and I too often wonder why people cannot simply use the Google button before an initial post but hey, first up posts can be difficult.

Back to the issue at hand, DGBenner, even on a perfectly calm evening and especially close to shore the ocean tends to heave, or at least it does in these here parts. Even motoring offshore on a perfectly windless night can be quite uncomfortable.
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