Sleeping underway risk - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 31 Old 08-08-2012 Thread Starter
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Sleeping underway risk

As I was off watch a few days ago and lying down below I got to thinking about what would happen if we hit something.
We were going about 7 knots.
If you are lying down with your head forward and the boat hits a container or the pilot does something bad and you hit a reef or rock, I suspect it would be about the same as being dropped on your head from at least a couple of feet.
Almost certain neck injury probably death.

I slept with my feet forward but I noticed that not all the crew did that.

Am I the only one who thinks of weird stuff like that?
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post #2 of 31 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

Sure there is a risk of injury, but consider: when you are dropped on your head from at least a couple of feet, there's basically no friction. When you're lying in your berth, there's a lot of friction that keeps you from sliding forward as fast as you would be if you had fallen a couple of feet.

I've also noticed in those crash-test-boat videos that the boat didn't generally stop short when it hit something, but would skirt sideways or ride up it. I think the boat will absorb quite a bit of the impact.

I think damage to the hull is probably more of an issue that damage to your neck in the situation you're worried about.

That's not to say there's not a lot of sources of injury in a collision. Falling through a hatch or into the cockpit is pretty scary.

Anyway if you're concerned, you could wear a bike helmet while you sleep. They compress and absorb a lot of the energy of impact
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post #3 of 31 Old 08-08-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

I don't sleep all that well at sea, so I spend most of my time wishing I could sleep better. I nap much better during the day..than at night.

I'll sleep either in the quarter berth..because if the boat falls off a wave I won't go airborne....in that case my head is facing foward..
Or I'll sleep in the port settee where I have a crib rail set up...head faces aft there.

I've also slept on the cabin floor..in wet foulies..and on the cockpit floor because it was too stuffy below...

I think the ability to stay in the bunk, if you fall off a wave is more of a concern than hitting a container.. so, good strong lee cloths or a tight quarter berth are important.
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Last edited by Tempest; 08-09-2012 at 10:27 PM.
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post #4 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

Egyptians always transported the sick and dead feet first, so as the evil thoughts left their heads, they would't contaminate the rest of their bodies. I always sail feet forward for this reason, and as far aft as possible.
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post #5 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

If you had energy to think about that kinda stuff after hitting your bunk - then Your boat is not changing foresails often enough
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post #6 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

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Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
I think the ability to stay in the bunk, if you fall off a wave it more of a concern than hitting a container.. so, good strong lee cloths or a tight quarter berth are important.
Definitely.

Bruises, broken bones.. all possible if you can't secure yourself in your bunk well enough when the boat gets airborne off of a big wave. Which way you're facing becomes kind-of irrelevant in rough weather - it's more important that you stay in there at all.
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post #7 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

Safest way to sleep would be in a standing position. Strap yourself in with a harness.

This position would offer the least chance of getting impaled by the periscope of a surfacing submarine.
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post #8 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

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Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Safest way to sleep would be in a standing position. Strap yourself in with a harness.

This position would offer the least chance of getting impaled by the periscope of a surfacing submarine.
..but you'd drown instead. Wonderful.

Regardless, you can't sleep standing up on any yacht I've ever been on.

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post #9 of 31 Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

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Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
Egyptians always transported the sick and dead feet first, so as the evil thoughts left their heads, they would't contaminate the rest of their bodies. I always sail feet forward for this reason, and as far aft as possible.
Golly gee Professor, you're so smart! I should have gone to graduate school like you instead of playing Doby Gillis and chasing after Maryanne and Ginger!

Feet first it is then.

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post #10 of 31 Old 08-11-2012
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Re: Sleeping underway risk

I think this is the most "out there" thread I have seen yet.
Sailing is probably the safest sport there is & if you are worried about which way to sleep in a bunk and DYING, quite possibly you should find something else a little less dangerous, like staying on the couch.
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