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Discussion Starter #1
This is a sister thread to this thread:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/105209-trusting-someone-take-watch.html

Someone is helping you move your boat or you are the captain turning the boat you are responsible for to a person for a solo night watch.

What do you expect.

Sometimes it comes down to very small details.
Are you supposed to stay in the cockpit at all times.
Is it OK to use the head
If their is a dodger can you lookout from behind the dodger.
What if it is raining?
Can you close your eyes?
Are their any logging duties
What about the engine.
What about sail trim
What about course
What about sighted ships
What about 360's

Do you actually give detailed directions or just turn over the helm?
 

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For me it depends on who they are, and what we are doing. If it is an experienced person that I know, and we are just doing a coastal delivery I probably wouldn't do much more than give a SitRep as I head to bed. And inexperienced person, or offshore or bad weather, ect would be a little more detailed.
 

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snake charmer, cat herder
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everyone with whom i have sailed has done a report to next shift. cover traffic, potential weather issues, what may feel wrong with boat,any new sounds...stuff that might be necessary during the time on watch.
and i rarely sleep well with someone else in my home, so i will pay attention to what is going on around as well..
 

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Hold a course, don't hit anything. In normal conditions make sail adjustments as required. Stay on the boat-tethered, wear a life jacket. Update the charts. Log any communications. If using the engine monitor the temp and pressure.

Use of Head is optional...

At 5 kn. on a 3 hour watch we're talking about 21 miles or so..
 

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1982 Skye 51
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At 5 kn. on a 3 hour watch we're talking about 21 miles or so..
might want to check you math there...;)

Aside from the personal safety requirement of always being clipped in while on watch alone, day or night, fine weather or foul, STAY AWAKE AND WAKE ME UP IF ANTHING CHANGES is my only rule. if the person has sailing experience or the desire to learn, I encourage them to tinker with sail sets in decent weather. i

other than that, a change of watch briefing and logbook entry are required but those take place while both people are awake.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Presuming fairly benign conditions then I'd not bother with tether or life jacket when in cockpit but insist when going forward. No one goes forward at night unless they are tethered and have a watch partner. If conditions warrant then yes to PFD and tether.

Are you supposed to stay in the cockpit at all times. - preferably
Is it OK to use the head - yes
If their is a dodger can you lookout from behind the dodger - I hope so
What if it is raining? - What if it is raining ? That's why god gave us Gill and hopefully a dodger.
Can you close your eyes? - Is that a trick question ?
Are their any logging duties - hourly. Presuming GPS equipped log position.
What about the engine. - if motor sailing monitor temp etc.
What about sail trim - adjust as necessary.
What about course - hold. Major course change only with skippers involvement.
What about sighted ships - observe. If you even think that maybe on a converging course then get skipper on deck.
What about 360's - every fifteen minutes.
 
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Wandering Aimlessly
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might want to check you math there
Would be nice to get that distance at that speed.

Basically though, whatever you expect of yourself, less your responsibilities of being captain of the boat.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Good discussion to have.

For those that don't know already I do a lot of deliveries. In the past year I've been doing more and more owner-aboard along with brokerage clients as crew so I get some unknowns.

Are you supposed to stay in the cockpit at all times.
On most things I'm open to discussion. Not this. No one leaves the cockpit without another person on deck. With people forward someone is always in the cockpit. That means if crew wakes me for an issue that requires someone to go forward (usually me but not always) and the person forward needs help that means bringing another person up.

This "rule" is problematic with only two aboard. So much decision-making is situational. I've brought everyone back to the cockpit for a discussion before dealing with a problem. In other circumstances I've had ALL crew on deck.

Boy do I have some stories. *grin*

Is it OK to use the head
Yes
If their is a dodger can you lookout from behind the dodger.
I've been offshore without a dodger once. I'll suck it up again if I have to, but all my crew get transportation and per diem if you want us to head offshore like that. It might be cheaper to add a dodger.
What if it is raining?
You get wet. I had one crew (who was in other ways a problem child that I ultimately put on a plane home) volunteer for an extended watch - she said "I'm already wet - why should anyone else get wet?" She stood for six hours, the last three in the rain.
Can you close your eyes?
No
Are their any logging duties
Yes - position and conditions at change of watch.
What about the engine.
Depending on pre-departure assessment I check the engine once or twice a day under power. Depending on crew this may be delegated but there is ONE person who is the engineer.
What about sail trim
No major changes without me. Minor trim is okay. My go-to crew have more flexibility and they know it, and so does everyone else. Most major changes ("It's Tuesday, time to tack") happen at watch change with three on deck (off-going crew, on-coming crew, and me).
What about course
In standing orders. Avoiding collision is an exception but should never be a surprise and plenty of time to wake me.
What about sighted ships
Watch for CPA and TCPA. Wake me only if there is a problem. Wake me if you're worried. Wake me if you're lonely.
What about 360's
Every five minutes or so is encouraged. Certainly less than ten minutes.

Do you actually give detailed directions or just turn over the helm?
All in our pre-departure discussion.

Things you didn't ask about:

- I expect (and am awake for) watch handover that includes a summary of current conditions, any actions taken, traffic observed, and anything else that might help the relief do a better job.

- Understand the amount of time your relief wants to get up and get ready - some people need five minutes and some need 30.

- If your relief wants coffee, tea, or whatever get that set up for them. That may mean getting the percolator going 20 minutes before watch change and waking your relief at 10 minutes before watch change.

- Never hesitate to wake the skipper.

- Light discipline is paramount. This is a real pet peeve for me. I truly DESPISE headlamps, even though I use them. The problem is that the person wearing one looks at anyone (often me) coming up the companionway and ruins night vision. Bad. We talk about this pre-departure. You blind me once you get a discussion. You do it twice and I hold your headlamp for the rest of the voyage. I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SEE WHEN I COME ON DECK. There are implications: if your next watch is scheduled to start in the dark you should have your gear laid out where you can find it in the dark to get ready. If you have to use the head there should be a source of low light that 1. doesn't ruin your night vision and 2. doesn't spill out on deck to reduce the on-watch night vision. Smartphones with the backlight turned way down work great. The little LED candles are okay although a little bright for my taste. You do turn the backlights on nav instruments down to the lowest level at night don't you? Way offshore you can cover depth and probably boat speed.

- I expect concern and respect for the off-watch. Circumstances allowing I expect no conversation that might wake someone sleeping. Take it to the cockpit. If you're clipped into jacklines (again circumstances permitting) hold the shackle off the deck so you don't wake anyone below dragging metal bits along the deck.

- I expect participation in boat chores. This may be a little unique to me. I do most or all the cooking but I'll hand up potatoes or carrots to the watch to peel. I may hand up shrimp or hard-cooked eggs to shell. You're going to get asked to dump the garbage bowl over the side. Depending on interests I may send up grating. Some people want to learn about cooking offshore so I may take a portion of a watch so crew can practice mise en place.

- I don't delegate the ugly stuff on Auspicious or on delivery. If someone gets sick I clean it up. If the head needs to be cleaned and certainly on arrival I do it. I may ask for help emptying fridge and freezer on arrival but I'll do the head down cleaning.

I'm sure there are other things that will occur to me.
 

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Are you supposed to stay in the cockpit at all times. I like at least two on watch at all times. One in the cockpit at all times.
Is it OK to use the head - Yes, I do not like my crew peeing overboard.
If their is a dodger can you lookout from behind the dodger. - Stand up.
What if it is raining? - Foul weather gear.
Can you close your eyes? - No
Are their any logging duties - at the end of each watch.
What about the engine. - Check oil, belts, coolant before starting. Monitor gauges.
What about sail trim - adjust as needed
What about course - maintain - wake me up for wind shifts.
What about sighted ships - wake me up
What about 360's - every 10 minutes and before altering course.

Do you actually give detailed directions or just turn over the helm?

Brief oncoming watch. Course, anomalies, etc.
My current version of offshore standing orders - it is a work in progress.

http://www3.telus.net/jackdale/Jack's standing orders (offshore).pdf
 

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Picnic Sailor
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Firstly, we are cruisers who time to time take friends and sailing acquaintances as crew for multi day passages. We are not delivery skippers, and our experience is significantly less than those that move boats across oceans for a living.

Having said this we actually find it helps to keep things casual/relaxed by stating our expectations upfront in a document that we hand out and go through pre departure. As we are a shorthanded cruising yacht watches are generally always singlehanded.

Summarising and addressing your questions my main points are...

- Stand Up, full 360 horizon scan, including peering around dodger every 20 minutes( with egg timer to reset).

- Always tethered, unless you can swim faster than 6 knots and climb a reverse stern in the dark.

- Ipods ok but take earphones out every 5 minutes, books frowned upon but read with small red torch light are ok( prefer than than falling asleep and most people give up after 10 minutes).

- Help yourself to the 'On Watch Snack Bag' which is always full of goodies. No one looses weight on our boat, but I find people who are eating are generally more awake, alert and happy. It gives you something to look forward to and do.

- No one leaves the cockpit/goes forward without getting someone else up.

- In rain/cold suck it up you stand watch in the cockpit, you may help yourself to additional snack bag goodies.

- Stay warm and comfortable, use the searugs. Inexperienced men don't do this. They pretend and tough it out and then at about 4am get very cold.

- Use the head and keep it clean.

- Course and conditions discussed at dinner for overnight watches. Any significant course change contemplated wake the skipper/ Winds increase 5 knots wake the skipper/ Any unidentified lights wake the skipper.

- Anything odd, anything that doesn't make sense or add up, any strange noise wake the skipper.

- Don't be a hero. Feeling sick or sleepy wake the skipper. Feeling confused wake the skipper.

- Skipper may appear in cockpit at anytime for any reason. Don't be asleep. See above.

- Dinner is at sunset but first we all check the boat for the night, lines neat, rigging/engine checks then discussion about course and progress. DVD/cards in cabin for all but onwatch, dark boat after that.

- On watch wakes off watch with coffee. Cockpit is kept clean and neat overnight. Log is kept hourly and notes written during watch and then handed over on change of watch. Expecting the person going off watch to fully brief verbally is asking a tired person heading for their bunk to remember everything that has happened in past 4 hours and to recount it perfectly to someone who has just woken up in the middle of the night. Better that the person coming on watch reads a progressive log and asks questions.

- 2am - 6 am watch prepares and cooks breakfast. it keeps you awake. Breakfast is always a big deal for us. Ham and brie croissants as the sunrises is worth looking forward to.
 

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Lots of good advice here from Dave and others, but more than anything else, reading these threads remind me why singlehanding is generally SO much simpler :)

I'm just WAY more casual about some of this stuff than most (a result of having done so much of my boating alone, no doubt) and think that some of us might tend to make these things just a bit more complicated than they need to be... :)

But, just to show I'm not a total slacker underway, I will add one important part of my routine I haven't yet seen mentioned... This is a biggie with me, one of the few things I'm actually pretty obsessive about:

At a minimum of at least once per hour, a visual check of the bilges...

One of my biggest gripes about many of the modern production boats I run, is how inconvenient such a simple task can sometimes be... Any boat should have an easily removed floorboard over the bilge sump, better yet an open grate that can be looked through at a glance...

Anyone coming offshore with me, one assumption they will definitely NOT be permitted to make, is that the High Bilgewater Alarm is functional :)

Edit: Sorry to have missed billyruffn's link, one of the first things his excellent list mentions is checking the bilges... I'll plead the distraction from watching the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi while posting :)
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Nicely done chall03. We've expanded the discussion beyond duties to include procedures. Just some thoughts of my own.

- Help yourself to the 'On Watch Snack Bag' which is always full of goodies. No one looses weight on our boat, but I find people who are eating are generally more awake, alert and happy. It gives you something to look forward to and do.
This is hugely important. Watchstanders, especially at night, eat as much because they are bored as because they are hungry.

I keep a snack bag under the companionway steps. I have some staples in there but supplement after getting likes and dislikes from crew. As a matter of course I keep ginger snaps, peanut M&Ms, apples, oranges, Twizzlers, and plain crackers. In a small bag at the top of the reefer box are hard-cooked eggs. The snack bag concept accomplishes a number of things: it makes it easy for the watch to find something to nibble on, it keeps them from rummaging around in my fridge and eating something I needed for a meal later, and it gets them back on deck faster.

Stay out of my fridge! *grin*

- Stay warm and comfortable, use the searugs. Inexperienced men don't do this. They pretend and tough it out and then at about 4am get very cold.
This is a nice counterpoint to one of my philosophies: never be too proud to crawl.

- Dinner is at sunset but first we all check the boat for the night, lines neat, rigging/engine checks then discussion about course and progress. DVD/cards in cabin for all but onwatch, dark boat after that.
I usually have movie night once or twice on a passage. See my earlier rant on light discipline. I usually pick a light air evening still under sail. I relieve the watch and sit in the companionway to catch bits of the movie - heck they are all my movies so I've seen them before anyway.

- Cockpit is kept clean and neat overnight. Log is kept hourly and notes written during watch and then handed over on change of watch. Expecting the person going off watch to fully brief verbally is asking a tired person heading for their bunk to remember everything that has happened in past 4 hours and to recount it perfectly to someone who has just woken up in the middle of the night. Better that the person coming on watch reads a progressive log and asks questions.
I do log entries at change of watch (4 hours). I don't annotate paper charts. If electronics do fail I can build a track on the chart in fifteen minutes from the log.

I also ask crew to bring watch bags - a way to carry all their stuff like water bottles, books, electronics up and down. Debris all over the cockpit and under the dodger is inconsiderate to shipmates and bad seamensahip. It's a safety hazard at night. The best crew keep a light footprint. The skipper should set an example.

This was a good thread. Worth a read, and not just because I held forth at length. *grin*
 
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