Group: Forum Members
[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.