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OUPV 25 Ton
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been sailing/racing for 25 years in the SF bay and Delta. Feel I'm ready to do some coastal cruising. I've even done a couple of coastal races as foredeck crew: Spinnaker Cup, Lightship, Drakes Bay also the notorious South Tower Race 4 years in a row from the Stockton Sailing Club to South Tower of The Golden Gate Bridge ie Blackaller Bouy on a Ranger 22 . I highly recommend the South Tower Race as it is a true Iron Man race. Beating to weather in a narrow waterway for 72 miles then rounding the mark only to turn around and run back to Stockton. At a 144 miles it is the second longest inland race in North America. Although I have raced at night several times I still have apprehension/fear about sailing in the Ocean at night on my own boat.

Thanks
Smooth Sailing. _/) _/)
 

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I enjoy sailing at night. Very much so with a moonless night as the stars are wonderful.

Its just the same as daytime sailing, in several ways easier... You can see ships and boats further off than in daytime, theres less coastal traffic, and few or non sunday drivers out there.

Its a magic time to sail. So i am sure you will enjoy it when you pivk some good weather to start.

I dont use a torch or deck lights at all. If i need to it will be for some specific detail. Its good to know where everything is by feel, and it will come to you. Just let it :)


Mark
 

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You'll. LOVE it once you've done it! Absouloutely my favorite time to sail is from 2400 through daylight its just you, the boat, the sea and the Lord above! Just don't use a flashlight or other lights if you can help it; you'll be surprised how well you can see in the dark if you protect your night vision!

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway"

-John Wayne-
 

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I haven't sailed my boat at night although I look forward to it.
My plan for this summer is to do an overnight crossing of Georgian Bay (approx. 110 nM).
I have sailed from Bermuda to Nova Scotia which included a couple of nights. Unfortunately (or 'fortunately'; depending on your perspective) it was during last June's 'super moon' which practically obliterated the starlight.
I've been mid-Pacific on naval boats (blackouts). Being on the weather decks at night was incredible!
 

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One should be apprehensive 1st time sailing in ocean at
night in own boat, but the experience will open up
whole new world not to mention will be great confidence
builder and give you a great sense of accomplishment and
achievement.
If you are single handed, stage all that might be needed
beforehand and have red light available if light is needed.
No peeing over the rail day or night as is hazardous to your health!
 

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We would rather sail night than day. Only worry are the "booze cruisers" and very big boats. But they see you way before you see them, you hope. As a guy that got me into boating years ago stated"something mystical about the night on the water". We agree
 

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Just to moderate the enthusiasm for night sailing (I too love sailing at night), it is much more scary sailing at night in a coastal environment than out at sea.

Whilst it is easy to see ships and other things lit, it's not so easy to see small islands, reefs etc. and proximity (distance off) is much harder to judge.

Also can probably also be accepted that fear has a very short lifespan - what is scary at first is commonplace tomorrow or even in a half an hour. Nobody stays scared for long unless of course the experience is not a good one in which case you ought to be scared.

My overriding rule - I never enter a strange or new harbor/inlet/anchorage at night - I stand off and do it when daybreak comes.
 
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Fear can be good - it keeps you sharp. Just do not let it paralyze you.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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On a night watch last July on my boat somewhere near Big Sur, humpbacks breached all around us. Couldn't see them because of the fog, but could hear them breathing and calling. Bioluminescence trails are also very cool. For this area of the Central CA coast, you might want to make sure you're at least 10 miles offshore and have a good radar. Mind the points, too...
 

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Rahnn, are you still planning on doing the Ha Ha this year? The Central California Coast can be real nasty and a "gut check" at times but the sailing gets a lot easier once you turn the corner at Conception. Off of Baja, the big thing is to play "dodge boats" with all the other Ha Ha'rs and commerical traffic. Fun fact: the shipping leaving Panama skirts Baja en-route to North America and Asia on the great circle route. The weather gets nicer day by day as you go south and it's a really nice breeze and not at all like the bitter cold/hurricane you sailed through further north. Our plan is to do the Ha Ha in '15 or 16. We'll be up in one of the bedrooms first week in August practicing "cruising".
 

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I'm with Andre re entering unknown harbours in the dark and yes its advisable to stand off the coast in the dark but generally speaking I love sailing at night. Moonless is nice with all those stars (another good reason to get offshore a few miles) and full moon is spectacular. Not all that keen on lots of cloud, no moon, no stars, no wind. Being out there and watching the world around you go to sleep is a great way to end the day while a cup of tea as first light appears is a favourite way to start.
 

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OUPV 25 Ton
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Discussion Starter #12
Rahnn, are you still planning on doing the Ha Ha this year? The Central California Coast can be real nasty and a "gut check" at times but the sailing gets a lot easier once you turn the corner at Conception. Off of Baja, the big thing is to play "dodge boats" with all the other Ha Ha'rs and commerical traffic. Fun fact: the shipping leaving Panama skirts Baja en-route to North America and Asia on the great circle route. The weather gets nicer day by day as you go south and it's a really nice breeze and not at all like the bitter cold/hurricane you sailed through further north. Our plan is to do the Ha Ha in '15 or 16. We'll be up in one of the bedrooms first week in August practicing "cruising".
At the moment yes I'm planning on the baja haha this year if I can get my boat ready in time. There are two other Ssc members also going this year. We are planning a trip to drakes bay in mid march for a week weather permitting as kind of a shakedown cruise then I will probably move my boat to moss landing for a couple months to get some more night sailing expierence. The bedrooms are a great place to anchor although sometimes crowded it can be difficult to get good holding there due to the weeds, tying off to shore is a better option. Would be great to meet up with you on the Delta and have a beer.

Smooth sailing
Ron
 

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Barquito
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Ron - I share your apprehension about sailing at night (my wife even more so).

I think what worries me is dealing with bad conditions at night. I would assume that those who enjoy sailing at night would rather deal with a long thunderstorm in the daylight.
 

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I did my first night sail this summer and it was amazing! We were on Lake Superior and the weather was aggressive, but the sense of joy that came from the sensory depravation was fantastic. I couldn't see a thing except the compass light, and when we'd submerge the bow, water streaming back over the deck would pick up the red and green from our running lights. It was the best.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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My (much) better half was very fearful of sailing at night until the first time she did so. Her fear was of the dark, but, it really is never truly dark at sea, even on a moonless night, and particularly so if there is little or no cloud cover. The sky is covered with jewels of light and, often in the Gulf of Mexico, one's wake is alight with flashes of bio-luminescence. Our only discomfiture has once in awhile come from other traffic and particularly shrimp boats but, with a radar guard zone set at 6 miles, our Raytheon pops off early and reliably enough that we are usually able to make minor adjustments to avoid close encounters. We do snug down at night, just in case we get an unforeseen squall but our halyards and reefing lines are marked with bands of small stuff that allow one to feel when one has lowered the main enough, or hardened a reef enough, to take a reef, even if one can't see what one is doing particularly well. I am grateful, however, that the Gulf is relatively free of lost containers and such so that we have less chance of banging into something (fingers crossed!).

One caution. Always wear a harness attached to a hard point or jack-line at night. Just in case!

FWIW...
 

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The above have covered the subject so I won't be redundant. I did, though, think of this video while reading the thread. Enjoy:


Along the bottom are subtitles. I would have named my boat 'Petits-pois d'Enfer' had I seen this video before I bought her :)
 

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My fear of sailing at night is running into something i can't see. Like a sea container. I realize that it's unlikely, but all the same, isn't all fear based on the most improbable?
 

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OUPV 25 Ton
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Discussion Starter #18
I've been thinking about my confidence as a sailor and how I used to be intimidated by sailing through the Delta at night and now it really doesn't bother me. I guess it comes down to experience and knowing what to expect ahead of you. Thank you for everyone's opinion it's good to know I'm not alone with my feelings of trepidation. Facing fears and over coming them is what makes life exciting.
 

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prefer taking night watches. fish boats without AIS show up when all light up. you can not see deadheads etc. any way when a sea is running but its easier to see perturbations if there is fluorescence. Obvious suggestions- red light only in cockpit and down below. You'll be surprised how well you can see if you let your eyes accommodate. Takes ~1/2h to occur even after brief light ( cellphone screen is enough to screw you up). Get a diver's light. They now make them with ability to focus the beam and rechargeable Li batteries. Use that to shine on tell tales focused as tight as can be. I found one on the internet that also allows variation of intensity.
The sea is beautiful at night and the sky is unbelievable once you get away from land particulate and light pollution. You'll know you are far enough offshore when the stars stop twinkling. It's a blast - have fun- go for it
 

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This being my first sailing year, I was quite apprehensive about sailing at night. However one evening as I was out single handing, I lost track of time and by the time I was heading back in it was quickly getting dark. As I was just about 15 minutes from being back into the marina I noticed another sailboat coming in my same direction about 200 yards of my port quarter. His being a larger boat he walked up on me and pretty quickly I recognized him as a fellow member of my marina out single handling himself. So we sailed side by side to the marina entrance where I realized it was so much fun I hailed him and learned he was willing to stay out longer. At that point we sailed on together for another hour plus and I was hooked. Since then night sailing has actually become a favorite sailing experience. So I would say the first time find a buddy boat and acclimate that way. It worked for me...
 
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