Best Practices in Watch Keeping


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David Tyler
David Tyler
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More on the pramhood and the watchkeeper 's alarms attached as PDF documents:
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pramhoodarticle.pdf (139 views, 174.00 KB)
Watch-O-Maticarticle.pdf (138 views, 185.00 KB)
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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I am writing up the results of this thread and several that appeared on Facebook. I would like to pose a question to the single-handers in the group.

From what I have read, 20 minute intervals of sleep during the night is preferred. That is the amount of time taken to traverse the distance to the horizon as seen from the deck of a boat. In each case, alarms were cited as critical. (radar proximity, AIS, radar detection, off course alarm, wake up alarm at the companionway so you have to get up to shut it off). Some single-handers advocate heaving to during the day for longer sleep intervals. Are these some things you practice or would agree with?

What other options are there?

Vice Commodore, OCC 
David Tyler
David Tyler
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[quote="DariaBlackwell" post=1659]I am writing up the results of this thread and several that appeared on Facebook. I would like to pose a question to the single-handers in the group.

From what I have read, 20 minute intervals of sleep during the night is preferred. That is the amount of time taken to traverse the distance to the horizon as seen from the deck of a boat. In each case, alarms were cited as critical. (radar proximity, AIS, radar detection, off course alarm, wake up alarm at the companionway so you have to get up to shut it off). Some single-handers advocate heaving to during the day for longer sleep intervals. Are these some things you practice or would agree with?

What other options are there?[/quote]

Actually, it 's 20 minutes at any time of day. Blondie Hasler told me that whenever there was nothing vital that needed doing (sail handling, navigation, eating), I should lie down and close my eyes. You might not sleep deeply, but you get physical and mental rest, and your ears should remain wide awake for 20 minutes, until you start to slide into deep sleep.

And the 20 minutes is not a fixed amount. In shipping lanes where there are fast, quiet container ships, 15 minutes is the maximum. In mid-ocean, clear of shipping lanes, 1 - 2 hours is OK. Close to the coast, with fishing fleets about, 5 minutes might be sensible. Whatever the time, lie down and close your eyes.

I find that I need at least one period of 2 hours sleep in each 24 hours, to reach REM sleep. Otherwise, I start to get confused.

Alarms are certainly very useful, and have improved safety for single handers, but we managed before they were available. They are not critical, but they are highly desirable.

I might well consider heaving to if I were totally exhausted, but I 've not reached that stage (yet). Having a good self-steering system, an easy to handle rig and a comfortable, sheltered watchkeeping position mean that I shouldn 't reach that stage. I might add to the list of desirables a sea berth that puts the sleeper 's head as near as possible to the centre of pitch, yaw and roll (at just aft of the halfway point of the waterline), but that applies to crewed boats as well.
Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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It took a while but the first of the papers is now published on the website. Thanks to all of you who contributed.

Now live...OCC 's Best Practices in Blue Water Cruising

A series on Best Practices in Blue Water Cruising is being developed based on discussion threads in the OCC Forum and elsewhere. The first white paper, Best Practices in Watchkeeping , has been posted. Thank you to all the members who contributed their valuable thinking and expertise. Please let us know what you think. If you have an idea for a topic, please start a thread on the forum or contact Daria Blackwell at PR@oceancruisingclub.org.

https://liveicomgrshot.blob.core.windows.net/occfiles/Archive/images/Publications/Best_Practices/Best practices in watchkeeping procedures_r2_23-02-2015.pdf

Vice Commodore, OCC 
pmpassano
pmpassano
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Doublehanding, Marina and I prefer 3 on and 3 off starting at 6 pm. We try to get at least some sleep during the day. We show running lights ALL night and set up the Radar on "watchman" every 10 minutes with the alarm. We don 't have a AIS yet but would get one if a future passage were planned.
Some people have said with AIS & Radar you don 't have to keep watch...WRONG!
Singlehanding: Sleep mostly during the day. Cat nap ( 20 min) at night. Always use an alarm. Show lights, use Radar and AIS continuously. (Tow generator allows this without running engine)
Be sure to have a good dodger fitted on your boat to make watch keeping on deck more comfortable.
Peter and Marina Passano
s/v SEA BEAR
Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Best Practices in Watch Keeping
see attached PDF [attachment=485]Best practices in watchkeeping procedures_r2_23-02-2015.pdf[/attachment]
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