What is your favourite watch system? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 09-05-2017 Thread Starter
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What is your favourite watch system?

I have written an article taht discusses some of the issues that should be considered. The article includes a few sample watch systems that can be downloaded too.

The Perfect Watch System - Halcyon Yachts

What systems work best for you?

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post #2 of 7 Old 09-05-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

sched for crew of 4
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post #3 of 7 Old 09-05-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

Good write up. As you mention, it comes down to how many teams of watch standers you have. I've stood watches on 4 systems, each one for years.

I've done 4 on 4 off with, a dog watch system that used 2x2 hour dog watches in the evening to rotate who's on what hours. I didn't realise it at the time, but that was a pretty silly watch system as regular sleep hours weren't possible. I was young at the time and didn't need much sleep.

With 3 teams I've done 4 on 8 off. That was awesome because you got 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of leisure time every day. Good system, but it needs lots off people since you need at least 3 people who are competent to stand a watch on their own.

6 on 6 off is an industry favourite for 2 teams. I did it for years. It's terrible, it feels like your a slave to the watch system. The watches are long enough that they feel really long, but the off time isn't long enough to ever get a decent sleep. After a few months of that, you can barely think.

The best system I've used for two teams is "8 and 4" and 4 and 8. So the less experienced watch keepers does from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, then has 4 hours off to chillax, then is on at 8 pm until midnight, then off for a full 8 hour rest. The other team does midnight until 8 am, then sleeps all day until 4. Then does a 4-8 watch, then chillaxes from 8 pm to midnight. This system might sound terrible because somebodies stuck with midnight to 8, but it's not that bad, because every one is on a routine and every one gets a proper 8 hour sleep. I can go months on end with this system and still feel somewhat human.
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post #4 of 7 Old 09-06-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

I'm pretty much a traditionalist. Three crew, 4 on and 8 off whenever possible. Add another person and it goes down to 3 on 9 nine off, which ain't half bad. Add another and it gets even better, but then you need a bigger boat or y'all had best be amiable folks.
My watch has always been the navigator's watch, 8 to 12, which gets me 2 of my three daily sun sites plus most evening sites and their reductions on my watch or at least close, eating up the least amount of my sleeping time. Of course, with GPS all that is reduced to seconds, but being the creature of habit I am, I hang on to my 8 to 12 watches. Anyway, I hate sunrises.
I did one TransAt on a 55 foot schooner and there were 9 of us, and they did 2 on and 10 off, with me not needing to take a watch. We had chess games and card games going 24/7: we were all so well rested, even in some pretty heavy weather.
Some of the larger sailing vessels I've sailed on or operated had 4 crew on each watch of the 4 on and 8 off schedule, but it was still all hands for sail handling or maneuvering on those big girls.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
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post #5 of 7 Old 09-06-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

Sailed with many different captains with their own version of the perfect watch system. Most of them worked fine. The standard 4 on was very popular. My favorite, which I crossed the Pacific three times with a crew of three was 3 on and 6 off. We loved that the watches rotate and you always didnt have the same watch every day. Some prefer to have the same watches every night but we loved the rotation. 76 foot yacht with a crew of three and we never had fatigue.


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post #6 of 7 Old 09-07-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

I prefer the "everyone else stands watch while I just sleep, and come up only when I feel like it" system.

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post #7 of 7 Old 09-08-2017
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Re: What is your favourite watch system?

I can't stand watches that charge every night. makes for little sleep. so give me static watches any day
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