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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Sleeping While at Sea
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Thread: Sleeping While at Sea Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-16-2013 07:48 PM
boatman61
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

I go to sleep...
Its my life...
04-25-2013 01:53 PM
youmeandthed
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

We started out doing 3 hr watches, and we still do while around busy shipping areas (windward passage, panama canal, gulf stream). We were becalmed with a dead motor of the Pacific coast of Guatemala and El Salvador. After a few nights with the few ships we encountered spotting us and us being out of their lanes we just both decided to sleep in the cockpit. We didn't use radar or AIS.

In reality the closest encounters we have had are with whales; one surfaced 20 ft in front of us one evening just a dusk. Not much you can do about whales and stray containers in the dark. So our policy now is if we are well offshore we just go to sleep, or sit inside and read or watch shows during the day.

We keep good lights on, even our anchor light. Fish boats outside of north America are plenty and don't have AIS. After many many nights of being on a watch schedule and not getting responses from frieghters, or really ever being very close to them we chose to sleep. After 4 or 5 days at sea, a good sleep makes life much better. If we are in busy shipping lanes we keep a more vigilant watch, but so do the ships.

We have friends who were boarded by the USCG in the Caribbean, they were asleep (in the cockpit) and woke up to a lot of lights shining on them. I think the USCG is more worried about drugs, guns, and people trafficking than sailboats without a proper watch.
04-24-2013 11:36 PM
outbound
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

thanks KS- good advice and great to hear only one near miss with your extensive experience. Gives comfort to newbies to the life like me. Hope you heal well,fast and fully
04-24-2013 09:23 PM
killarney_sailor
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

We only use AIS, have a transceiver which I very much recommend over just a receiver. We have seen freighters on a collision course alter their course 10 miles away and then go back to previous course after passing. We pretty much rely on eyeballs. The closest we have come to a collision was at noon on a bright sunny day off coast of Ecuador. The crew of a very large container ship obviously was not looking at radar, AIS, or outside. Call on the VHF got his attention pretty quick.
04-23-2013 09:32 PM
outbound
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

paulo- problem is it normally takes 90 to 120 minute to enter stage R ( REM) sleep. Also with even partial sleep deprivation when sleep occurs the rebound sleep is initially predominanted by stage 3 sleep ( slow wave sleep-hard to wake) and then stage R sleep. Continuous fragmented sleep destroys normal sleep archecture.The restorative physical and mental properties of sleep are markly decreased. No amount of training will curcumvent this basic neurobiology. The fragmented sleep and tolerance may vary a bit in different individuals but will cause a marked decline in cognitive functioning in all. There are deterilousl effects on mood,immune and metabolic function as well. There is a huge body of research of the effects of sleep deprivation given it's marked effect on performace ( military,medical personnel as well as jobs requiring alertness ( air traffic controller, nuclear plant commercial drivers etc.) I forget who it was who after a race around the clock decided to keep going leading to his demise. I would wonder if chronic fragmented sleep entered in to his decision. I believe many of these folks "micro sleep" while in the cockpit. REM pressure may lead to brief dreams intruding into wake. I further believe this activity may have long term implications to their health if done repetitively.
04-23-2013 09:15 PM
Brent Swain
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

In Canada, the Charter of Rights , which overrides all other laws, gives us freedom of association, which means crews can't be forced on us.
Dont AIS have an alarm which will go off, if a vessel enters a pre set exclusion zone?
04-23-2013 07:47 PM
PCP
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
Caution here--I defend commercial vessels for a living, including in collisions where lookout is an issue (meaning at least half of them).

No one wants to "outlaw" singlehand passagemaking, it's something we value both in the accomplisments those sailors have made, and the dream many have to "go it alone" with the elements.

But I do have a problem with the idea that the poor, poor singlehander, after being struck or grazed while below decks by a ship who failed to detect them, has a lesser duty of lookout than the bulker or containership who didn't notice their dim lights at night, or their wood hull end-on in the low sun and reflecting off the water, with a lousy radar reflector that didn't show on radar, and no AIS transmitter nor even a radar alarm.

I've had one incident where the sailor knew a ship was approaching from far astern with the sun directly ahead, yet went below and simply expected the ship to see and avoid him ("he has radar") and his lousy radar reflector. He and his lawyer contended the ship was solely at fault, in spite of the Granholm case clearly saying otherwise. "I'm David, you're Goliath" was the attitude.

So no, I don't think singlehanders who have to sleep should get a break under the rules for doing so, any more than the ship whose mate fails to see a small vessel without any collision-avoiding electronics (or even with).
Obviously. But a solo sailor should have the train to sleep in 20 minutes intervals with visual and radar checks in between and of course an AIS (and a radar) is an indispensable tool for a solo sailor.

Solo sailing is easy, having the train to sleep intermittently (and checking on the intervals) is not. Professional sailors train with the help of physiologists their sleeping rhythm long before each race. That does not mean that they are infallible neither that the lockout on fishing-boats or ships is.

Regards

Paulo
04-23-2013 07:14 PM
outbound
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

KS- thank you for your thoughtful and knowledgeable posts. ? Do you to have redundancies on board? e.g AIS, radar, radar detector etc. all running at once always? Agree with the speed and lack of manuverability of the larger container ships and VLCCs don't want to get anywhere close but do you have the radar scanning all the time ( bit of a juice pig)?
04-23-2013 07:03 PM
paradiselostparrot
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
...Now you will call me hypocritical, but I DO believe that all commercial vessels should maintain a watch. I do hold them to a higher standard (or the legal standard) just as I hold myself. They are a business venture and safety of their crew and cargo should be accounted for no matter what. If they have to hire more crew to fulfill those requirements,..Brian

How much are Sudenese watchkeepers cost these days? 2k USD a year?

PTL for AIS.
04-23-2013 06:10 PM
killarney_sailor
Re: Sleeping While at Sea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
What sort of schedule do you keep? Four hours? Twelve? Casually, as the situation warrants?
We are fairly flexible. During daylight no one is on an assigned watch since virtually all the time one or both of us is in the cockpit. For the other 12 hours we do 3 hour watches generally with my wife taking the first and third watch since I seem better at sleeping early, say 1900 to 2200 and she is better sleeping when it gets light in the morning. We adjust the starting times for this to reflect where we are in a time zone, ie tied to light and dark rather than the clock. If one of us is being extra tired we may do 3 - 4 hour watches so the sleepy person only does one. Generally the 3 hour ones seem much easier.
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