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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Trusting someone to take a watch
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Thread: Trusting someone to take a watch Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-02-2013 07:09 PM
Uricanejack
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

I allways give the same 3 pieces of basic advice to a new mate. sailing with a new skipper
I still follow myself.

1 never ask the skipper what he (or She) thinks you should do? (he will think you don't know and lack confidence)

2 Allways tell the skipper what you intend to do.( If he doesn't like it he will tell you)

3 At the first opertunity call the skipper and tell him what is up and what you are doing. you are just letting him know whats going on.( The biggest worry a skipper has is you wont wake him in time)

Its about developing mutual trust.

If he comes on deck.
you should allways be able to tell him
where you are.
when you expect to get to the next alteration.
what any other vessels close by are doing.

when I am the boss it what I looke for.
11-02-2013 12:02 PM
davidpm
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Hank pays more attention than he appears to. I've sailed with Hank a couple of times (you have to before he'll pick you up as a pro skipper). He is at once more laid-back and do-it-yourself than I am. I've seen him take 8 hours in a row a couple of days running to allow crew to find their own groove. It works, but isn't my style..
I'm in awe of his resume. Yes I got the feeling he was doing that thing my cat does. Has is back to you but you know he knows exactly what is happening.

I've been accused of being too type "A" and was thinking it was just a sign of paranoia even though I've logged a lot of trips.

I like to stack the deck in my favor. That being said you can make yourself crazy with low probability scenarios. How many of us really check the rear view mirror when traveling in a car every 15 seconds. If you do the math it might be possible that if you are going 50 and a car behind you is going 80 you should probably check every 8 seconds depending on the visibility. But the probability is so low and the effort might cause more problems that it solves.

Same way with sailing long distances. You have to manage your energy vs the risk.

I'm pleased to find someone with more experience than I that looks at this the same way I do.
That is that if you are on watch you don't have to keep your eyes on the water all the time but you do have to do a 360 every few minutes.
I have some misgivings about the 360 as it can happen that is you are not expecting to see anything and look too quickly you can miss something important.

There are several reports of this happening.
I did have a new found respect for AIS, it worked very well.
11-02-2013 07:49 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious
I'd like to think I treat my crew a lot better than just as cogs in a wheel *grin* but the do eat, stay hydrated, and get rested. I will send people down to rest, especially in the first few days while everyone is excited and jazzed on adrenaline.
That makes a lot of sense to me but I've never seen anyone do that not even Hank.
When I see that everyone is excited at the beginning of the trip I volunteer to sack out for a couple hours. Then I check on everyone again, usually everyone is still going strong. But by midnight all of a sudden it hits everyone at once and then they all get the same idea.
I inevitably get the whole boat to myself from midnight till 4 AM or later. It has happened that they don't wake up until morning.
Hank pays more attention than he appears to. I've sailed with Hank a couple of times (you have to before he'll pick you up as a pro skipper). He is at once more laid-back and do-it-yourself than I am. I've seen him take 8 hours in a row a couple of days running to allow crew to find their own groove. It works, but isn't my style.

During the same pre-departure session I mentioned earlier in which we discuss any medical issues or concerns we also talk about sleep patterns (after all there are morning people and night owls) and set the watch schedule. We also make sure everyone has a chance to describe what they want to learn from the trip. Some just want the sea time, others have some knowledge or skill in particular they want to gain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
When I am instructing offshore or on bluewater, I like to take myself off the watch cycle. I doze in the saloon where I will usually wake up when i sense something is wrong. I have a set of standings about when to wake me up.
I do the same on delivery whenever I can. I usually do most or all the cooking, weather, navigation, and instruction. If I'm not doing one of those things I'm resting. The primary responsibility of the off-watch is to get rested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I was concerned about my timing. Was it 3 minutes or 6 minutes. As you can tell I'm a worry wort. I was thinking about getting an egg timer kind if gadget so between scans you could just huddle under the dodger.
Somewhere in there. Just don't let it creep up to 10 or 15 minutes. That's just too long. If I'm reading I do a scan every time I turn the page. If I'm listening to music I scan between songs (just not Ina Gadda Da Vida). Sometimes I'm just thinking and keep an eye on the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patient View Post
I always thought it would be really helpful if someone made a Linkedin/Anges List/Yelp style website that was based solely on actual end user interactions with said crew using a rating system.
I don't intend to turn this thread into a love fest for Hank Schmitt. Offshore Passage Opportunities does an informal version of that. I still use OPO as a crew source in addition to my own list. When I get candidates together and start my selection process I call Hank and get his assessment of his guys at the top of my list. He's corresponded with them over time, he's talked to them, he's often sailed with them, and he gets feedback from skippers (like me) and owners.
11-02-2013 07:26 AM
Tempest
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

if you're going to do more cold weather sails, you might want to get a couple of balaclavas. They keep your face and neck warm. I have lightweight synthetics, wool and fleece..varieties accumulated over years of winter sports activities.
11-02-2013 06:52 AM
Patient
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

There are a ton of "crew finding" websites out there right now, I think I even have a profile on a few of them myself. What always bothered me though, is that you can basically invent your credentials on your profile without any verification what so ever. These sites understandably, never ask the really important questions, such as "Are you mental?", "Are you wanted by Interpol for Organ trafficking?" or even "Have you escaped a court mandated drug treatment facility within the last 15 days?" instead it is left to the user to describe their ability to function as able crew and sound mind with little or no need to verify such claims.

I am too busy to code up something right now, but I always thought it would be really helpful if someone made a Linkedin/Anges List/Yelp style website that was based solely on actual end user interactions with said crew using a rating system. You would run into the same hurdles regarding authenticity as those sites do, but at the end of the day it would still be far more descriptive of actual hands on experience than the no frills fill in the blank crew finding sites we have now.

I am really busy this winter with coding, but perhaps if enough people were interested in the spring, I love to push out a test platform. Just as some in this thread have described, the worst experience i had with a crew member happened to also have the most credentials spouted at the dock.
11-02-2013 12:46 AM
davidpm
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

The reason I'm asking is because on this Norfolk trip I did miss a really big ship.
In my defense I was not on solo watch, the captain/owner was also on deck, The ship was two miles away, and it was not on a collision course with us.

The AIS alarm picked it up before me and even after we knew it was there it took quite a few seconds staring in exactly the right place before we could see it.

On a night watch you have way too much time on your hands to do some mental calculations.

At a theoretical high end closing speed of 35 knots that two miles would close in about 3.5 minutes.

I'm pretty confident we would have seen it because even though we were out of the shipping channel we were both on high alert coming near the Norfolk harbor.

I also found that the very good condition dodger glass was still a significant hindrance to visibility especially when it was raining or when looks at certain angles because of curves in the glass. They guy I was with was on his way to do the Salty Dog by himself. He has soloed for tens of thousands of miles and was way more relaxed then I was.

You really couldn't see that well out of the dodger. So what I did was every three to five minutes pop my head above the dodger and do a 360 scan.
You really couldn't stay out in the open for more than a few minutes at a time as your face would freeze.

I was concerned about my timing. Was it 3 minutes or 6 minutes. As you can tell I'm a worry wort. I was thinking about getting an egg timer kind if gadget so between scans you could just huddle under the dodger.

I've done hundreds of hours at night, probably more than in the day but it still bothers me a bit, overactive imagination.

I guess what I'm trying to find is a protocol where I just follow the protocol and while nothing is perfect it is what I'm going to do and it will have to be good enough.
11-01-2013 11:42 PM
jackdale
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

When I am instructing offshore or on bluewater, I like to take myself off the watch cycle. I doze in the saloon where I will usually wake up when i sense something is wrong. I have a set of standings about when to wake me up.

On a couple of deliveries I have had watch captains in whom I had faith - I am prepared to go onto a watch.

Several years ago I had a Canadian Navy Lieutenant Commander as a student. I asked him how the captains on naval vessels managed. He said they did the same thing. They were in in their cabin or in the operations room. If they showed up on the bridge, there was a problem.
11-01-2013 06:34 PM
tdw
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

The Wombet is an excellent watchkeeper. Erred on the side of caution in the beginning , but that's OK, and now is utterly reliable. I don't get seasick very often but when I do I'm down for the count. She can be relied upon to keep on keeping on.

Otoh .... she cannot reverse under power to save her life. EWG.
11-01-2013 04:54 PM
Group9
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

Ask a lot of questions before you leave. I once helped deliver a 33 foot sailboat from Mobile to Biloxi with three other people, myself and one other person (who I barely knew from work) being the only people with any boating experience.

On the night passage, through the Mississippi Sound, I and one of the other inexperienced crew kept watch until midnight when we turned it over to the other two (including the one who had claimed he had boated and sailed a lot). I lay in my bunk for about 45 minutes, and couldn't sleep, and went back up to the cockpit. Looking ahead I couldn't see any stars in one direction. It took me about five seconds to realize that the reason I couldn't see any stars was that a large ship, an oil tanker, proceeding down the Pascagoula ship channel toward the Chevron refinery, was blocking them out, and that we were about to cross directly in front of his bow.

I made an immediate course change in the same direction the ship was going and we missed being hit by it by a good ten feet, as we surfed off of the bow wave. We were motoring and neither of the watch had seen the vessel.

I stayed up the rest of the night.
11-01-2013 04:26 PM
davidpm
Re: Trusting someone to take a watch

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
I'd like to think I treat my crew a lot better than just as cogs in a wheel *grin* but the do eat, stay hydrated, and get rested. I will send people down to rest, especially in the first few days while everyone is excited and jazzed on adrenaline.
That makes a lot of sense to me but I've never seen anyone do that not even Hank.
When I see that everyone is excited at the beginning of the trip I volunteer to sack out for a couple hours. Then I check on everyone again, usually everyone is still going strong. But by midnight all of a sudden it hits everyone at once and then they all get the same idea.
I inevitably get the whole boat to myself from midnight till 4 AM or later. It has happened that they don't wake up until morning.

My thinking is that while everything is going well, the weather is nice, the boat is OK and everyone is healthy I sleep as much as I can.
Then if something goes bad I've got a good 20+ hours in me because I've banked some.
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