Thoughts on safety at sea:


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Dick
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Dick - 12/18/2019
Do No Harm
It is in the nature of cruising widely that skippers occasionally have to repair a system about which they may have little knowledge. It has been my experience and observation that there are some skills which make it quite likely that one will succeed in the repair.
My first “rule” is taken right out of medical training: “Do No Harm”. The primary danger where experience and knowledge are limited is that, in the poking around searching for a solution, that matters are made worse. Next worry is that you do not document how items came apart.
Please! Do not rely on memory: your smart-phone camera is an impressive tool in this regard. The best insurance to doing no harm is to proceed slowly and thoughtfully: usually there is no rush. In addition to photos, take real-time notes: partly as the notes will be helpful, but also because the taking of notes is a marvelous stimulus to creative problem solving. It is far too easy to get stuck in a limited line of thinking.
The next and last tool to be mentioned is persistence. If one persists in poking around and resists doing harm, the problem is very likely to reveal itself. Give yourself the mind-set to persist: tell yourself that you are learning about the system at hand, rather than repairing it. Make it fun and feed your curiosity and you will very likely execute the repair. At worst, you will have a better knowledge of the problem and what the next step is.
Please find this Thought in the Forum where comments/thoughts/questions can be posted.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

In the ongoing series of Safety Thoughts:
Alarms
Alarms are a good thing. They warn of emerging problems and they do not get tired or lazy.
That said, I think many would agree that we have so many alarms, that when one goes off, it is hard to know what the warning is or where to go to respond. Someday, an enterprising entrepreneur will come up with an alarm annunciator: in the meantime, it behooves every skipper to make a “vessel alarm list” and to try to differentiate the alarms by sound (buzzer, beep, two-tone, etc.).
Then, highlight the “urgent” alarms: on Alchemy these are: engine oil pressure & water temperature, high water, bilge pump activation, propane sniffer, smoke detectors, exhaust hose temperature, and CO. Then there are the skipper-set alarms on AIS, radar, instruments and the DSC alarm on your VHF. And finally, there are the alarms that emerge from our “devices”. Post this list where it is easily accessible to remind/review (wall of the head?).
One danger with alarms is that they can support a false complacency that inhibits regular inspections. For example, an eyes-in-the-bilge inspection should remain an every-watch occurrence during passages. Also, a reminder: many alarms need attention. Some beep when batteries are low: many do not. A beginning-of-season renewal of all alarm batteries is wise. Other alarms have expiry dates (CO are often 5 years) while smoke detectors can malfunction because of accumulations of dust or cobwebs. One’s confidence in propane sniffers increases when it activates when tested with gas from an (unlit) lighter.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
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Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
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Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Another Safety at Sea Thought
A cruising skipper’s lot
If I offered you the opportunity to engage in an activity where the dominant background emotion was one a low-grade anxiety, what would you say? And, if on top of that enticing offer, I were to suggest that, during this activity, you would ask yourself many times every day and with almost every decision you make, “What can go wrong with this?”, how would you respond to me?
I would contend that, to a large extent, the above is a skipper’s cross to bear: looking for areas where the boat or crew might get into trouble. And it says something about the ultimate gratifications of cruising that most skippers bear that cross with grace and competence. A conscientious skipper has to not only tolerate, but actually embrace, a good deal of worry, or what I experience as “fretting”. This is more potently the case if the skipper has loved ones on board. And the skipper’s challenge is to transform this fretting, which starts well before the boat gets to the water, into action. For this fretting, this worry, this looking for where things can go pear shaped, is what keeps the boat and her crew safe.
It is not the boat that keeps crew safe, it is the skipper: for the boat is only an extension of the skipper. The boat reflects her skipper’s capacity to imagine the challenges that might emerge, to make choices among the various options and take the action necessary to prepare the boat and to then be prepared with creative responses to meet the un-anticipated.
We can continue these thoughts in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



Daria Blackwell
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Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi Dick,
We'd love to go to the boat and work on her or update our schematics. But they closed the marinas before we could launch and put a restriction on travel. We can't go more than 2 km from home unless we have to buy food or medicine. This coronavirus pandemic probably means we won't launch at all this year. What will that do to her systems?  No use for two years?
Daria


Vice Commodore, OCC 
Daria Blackwell
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Dick - 4/21/2020
Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Another Safety at Sea Thought
A cruising skipper’s lot
If I offered you the opportunity to engage in an activity where the dominant background emotion was one a low-grade anxiety, what would you say? And, if on top of that enticing offer, I were to suggest that, during this activity, you would ask yourself many times every day and with almost every decision you make, “What can go wrong with this?”, how would you respond to me?
I would contend that, to a large extent, the above is a skipper’s cross to bear: looking for areas where the boat or crew might get into trouble. And it says something about the ultimate gratifications of cruising that most skippers bear that cross with grace and competence. A conscientious skipper has to not only tolerate, but actually embrace, a good deal of worry, or what I experience as “fretting”. This is more potently the case if the skipper has loved ones on board. And the skipper’s challenge is to transform this fretting, which starts well before the boat gets to the water, into action. For this fretting, this worry, this looking for where things can go pear shaped, is what keeps the boat and her crew safe.
It is not the boat that keeps crew safe, it is the skipper: for the boat is only an extension of the skipper. The boat reflects her skipper’s capacity to imagine the challenges that might emerge, to make choices among the various options and take the action necessary to prepare the boat and to then be prepared with creative responses to meet the un-anticipated.
We can continue these thoughts in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



Hi Dick,

It's not just the skipper's responsibility. We sail short-handed most of the time so it's basically like single-handing half the time. I spend my watches at night thinking like an astronaut. I go through numerous 'What if...?' scenarios. What if we hit something?  What if an alarm goes off?  What if the steering fails?  What if the wind vane breaks?  What if we get a sudden and violent change of conditions?  Visualising what to do is a form of advance preparation. 

We've had things go wrong, in fact we've just about all of the above happen. What we've learned is that if we don't panic, and act as a team, we can usually get through anything. In fact, we've learned most of all that neither one of us tends to panic and freeze. So far, we've managed to do the right things. 

Thanks for sparking these discussions. Stay safe. 
Daria

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Dick
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Daria Blackwell - 4/21/2020


Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Hi Dick,
We'd love to go to the boat and work on her or update our schematics. But they closed the marinas before we could launch and put a restriction on travel. We can't go more than 2 km from home unless we have to buy food or medicine. This coronavirus pandemic probably means we won't launch at all this year. What will that do to her systems?  No use for two years?
Daria




Dick - 3/24/2020

Hi Dick,
We'd love to go to the boat and work on her or update our schematics. But they closed the marinas before we could launch and put a restriction on travel. We can't go more than 2 km from home unless we have to buy food or medicine. This coronavirus pandemic probably means we won't launch at all this year. What will that do to her systems? No use for two years?
Daria
Hi Daria,
Yes, I wrote that prior to many locations becoming as restricted as has become recommended.
A beginning on schematics can certainly be started at home in one’s easy chair and a lot of the preliminary diagrams outlined to be fleshed out later. And it would be interesting to see how one’s memory compares with the reality of the boat.
Your question about extended and unattended boat storage is a good one. I suspect most systems, if well winterized for one winter, will not be compromised by additional time with the caveat that battery banks should be charged occasionally for most battery types if not all. I will give some thought to this.
At first blush, I would pay attention to the outside of the boat. Leaves in the scuppers comes first to mind. I have known of cockpits that fill with water and the water spills into the boat. Lines may have gotten loose, jack stands may need a firming up, etc.
At the very least, I would hope that every boatyard had someone to look after the boats who you could talk with and have check things out.
It is hard to say how realistic this is, but I am still hoping for some kind of season, but I know that is at least a month in the future as the border US to Canada has recently been extended for 30 days.
We shall all see.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


Dick
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Daria Blackwell - 4/21/2020
Dick - 4/21/2020
Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Another Safety at Sea Thought
A cruising skipper’s lot
If I offered you the opportunity to engage in an activity where the dominant background emotion was one a low-grade anxiety, what would you say? And, if on top of that enticing offer, I were to suggest that, during this activity, you would ask yourself many times every day and with almost every decision you make, “What can go wrong with this?”, how would you respond to me?
I would contend that, to a large extent, the above is a skipper’s cross to bear: looking for areas where the boat or crew might get into trouble. And it says something about the ultimate gratifications of cruising that most skippers bear that cross with grace and competence. A conscientious skipper has to not only tolerate, but actually embrace, a good deal of worry, or what I experience as “fretting”. This is more potently the case if the skipper has loved ones on board. And the skipper’s challenge is to transform this fretting, which starts well before the boat gets to the water, into action. For this fretting, this worry, this looking for where things can go pear shaped, is what keeps the boat and her crew safe.
It is not the boat that keeps crew safe, it is the skipper: for the boat is only an extension of the skipper. The boat reflects her skipper’s capacity to imagine the challenges that might emerge, to make choices among the various options and take the action necessary to prepare the boat and to then be prepared with creative responses to meet the un-anticipated.
We can continue these thoughts in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



Hi Dick,

It's not just the skipper's responsibility. We sail short-handed most of the time so it's basically like single-handing half the time. I spend my watches at night thinking like an astronaut. I go through numerous 'What if...?' scenarios. What if we hit something?  What if an alarm goes off?  What if the steering fails?  What if the wind vane breaks?  What if we get a sudden and violent change of conditions?  Visualising what to do is a form of advance preparation. 

We've had things go wrong, in fact we've just about all of the above happen. What we've learned is that if we don't panic, and act as a team, we can usually get through anything. In fact, we've learned most of all that neither one of us tends to panic and freeze. So far, we've managed to do the right things. 

Thanks for sparking these discussions. Stay safe. 
Daria

Hi Daria,
I write these Thoughts with about 250 words in mind which precludes the opportunity to deal with nuances and exceptions. The Forum is a great place for follow-ups so thanks for the opportunity.
You bring up excellent points. Your habit of anticipation: the “what if” scenarios you describe, is similar to the “fretting” I describe. A crew that participates in this way makes for a safer boat better prepared to respond to challenges.
There are some few boats that function well with shared skipper duties: the danger is to ensure that, in the shared responsibility, some important function does not fall between the cracks. For most boats, in my observation, there is a skipper who takes overall responsibility for the vessel’s preparation and safety, often delegating tasks and, hopefully, responding to and welcoming crew/partner suggestions and involvement. On most boats, there is one person who embodies “where the buck stops”.
That said there will be crew on watch alone and this crew must be prepared to run the boat and make decisions about what needs doing, including when to wake the off-watch crew/skipper: the on-watch crew carries responsibility.
I think it is an interesting to note the wide continuum of crew skills: the range being from skipper level skills through experienced crew to new crew to those who operate largely as passengers. (This is an important subject in its own right: especially the ability of crew /partner to take over for a disabled skipper.)
So, in the real world, I think there is always some degree of shared responsibility on most cruising boats, but, also, most cruising recreational boats have one person who is considered skipper and who operates as such. (One can argue whether this is “best” and certainly proffer alternatives.) This person is the skipper I am referring to in my short piece of writing and who must, to my mind, shoulder the burden, the “Skippers Lot” I referred to.
Being a skipper is a considerable responsibility.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick
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Dick - 4/22/2020
Daria Blackwell - 4/21/2020
Dick - 4/21/2020
Dick - 3/24/2020
Another Safety at Sea thought:
Schematics
They would have been a great winter project, but it is not too late: use this virus plagued down time to make schematics. Do some research and start at home from the comfort of your easy chair and then go to the boat. Of all the tools that are important in diagnosis, and to then dealing quickly and effectively to an on-board problem, comprehensive schematics are likely the most neglected. This is important when in your home waters, but at sea, when all are tired and the boat is bouncing about, swift and easy diagnosis and repairs becomes a safety issue.
Even if you choose professionals to do the work, you will save him/her hours (and yourself money) by good schematics. Our boats have become quite complicated and even the best of us are wise not to rely on memory. Schematics can include the electrical system (AC and DC), plumbing (fresh, salt, sanitation, fuel), instrument wiring, and coax runs among others. You will learn a great deal, and be far better prepared with good schematics drawn up and carefully stored on board.
But note, include the details: wire gauge sizes, hose diameters, all junctions, etc. etc. Schematics can allow for “virtual” repair; instead of diving blindly into dark corners, take your schematic, settle into your settee and take the symptoms of your problem and apply them to your schematic. At minimal, this is a great stimulus to problem-solving and, more likely, save hours of chasing down dead ends.
Please add your thoughts in the Forum,
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Another Safety at Sea Thought
A cruising skipper’s lot
If I offered you the opportunity to engage in an activity where the dominant background emotion was one a low-grade anxiety, what would you say? And, if on top of that enticing offer, I were to suggest that, during this activity, you would ask yourself many times every day and with almost every decision you make, “What can go wrong with this?”, how would you respond to me?
I would contend that, to a large extent, the above is a skipper’s cross to bear: looking for areas where the boat or crew might get into trouble. And it says something about the ultimate gratifications of cruising that most skippers bear that cross with grace and competence. A conscientious skipper has to not only tolerate, but actually embrace, a good deal of worry, or what I experience as “fretting”. This is more potently the case if the skipper has loved ones on board. And the skipper’s challenge is to transform this fretting, which starts well before the boat gets to the water, into action. For this fretting, this worry, this looking for where things can go pear shaped, is what keeps the boat and her crew safe.
It is not the boat that keeps crew safe, it is the skipper: for the boat is only an extension of the skipper. The boat reflects her skipper’s capacity to imagine the challenges that might emerge, to make choices among the various options and take the action necessary to prepare the boat and to then be prepared with creative responses to meet the un-anticipated.
We can continue these thoughts in the Forum.
Safe sailing, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy



Hi Dick,

It's not just the skipper's responsibility. We sail short-handed most of the time so it's basically like single-handing half the time. I spend my watches at night thinking like an astronaut. I go through numerous 'What if...?' scenarios. What if we hit something?  What if an alarm goes off?  What if the steering fails?  What if the wind vane breaks?  What if we get a sudden and violent change of conditions?  Visualising what to do is a form of advance preparation. 

We've had things go wrong, in fact we've just about all of the above happen. What we've learned is that if we don't panic, and act as a team, we can usually get through anything. In fact, we've learned most of all that neither one of us tends to panic and freeze. So far, we've managed to do the right things. 

Thanks for sparking these discussions. Stay safe. 
Daria

Hi Daria,
I write these Thoughts with about 250 words in mind which precludes the opportunity to deal with nuances and exceptions. The Forum is a great place for follow-ups so thanks for the opportunity.
You bring up excellent points. Your habit of anticipation: the “what if” scenarios you describe, is similar to the “fretting” I describe. A crew that participates in this way makes for a safer boat better prepared to respond to challenges.
There are some few boats that function well with shared skipper duties: the danger is to ensure that, in the shared responsibility, some important function does not fall between the cracks. For most boats, in my observation, there is a skipper who takes overall responsibility for the vessel’s preparation and safety, often delegating tasks and, hopefully, responding to and welcoming crew/partner suggestions and involvement. On most boats, there is one person who embodies “where the buck stops”.
That said there will be crew on watch alone and this crew must be prepared to run the boat and make decisions about what needs doing, including when to wake the off-watch crew/skipper: the on-watch crew carries responsibility.
I think it is an interesting to note the wide continuum of crew skills: the range being from skipper level skills through experienced crew to new crew to those who operate largely as passengers. (This is an important subject in its own right: especially the ability of crew /partner to take over for a disabled skipper.)
So, in the real world, I think there is always some degree of shared responsibility on most cruising boats, but, also, most cruising recreational boats have one person who is considered skipper and who operates as such. (One can argue whether this is “best” and certainly proffer alternatives.) This person is the skipper I am referring to in my short piece of writing and who must, to my mind, shoulder the burden, the “Skippers Lot” I referred to.
Being a skipper is a considerable responsibility.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

In the ongoing series of Thoughts on Safety at Sea

Dangerous companions
There are many unappealing companions to have on board: pests come to mind. Most are more annoying than dangerous. But one companion can join you while on passage and can sneak up as it is quiet, invisible, and insidious. Part of its power is that it reduces situational awareness. And it is largely unheralded for its capacity for catastrophe.
I am referring to fatigue, particularly on the skipper’s part, arguably the underlying factor in many passage mishaps. Every skipper must be concerned with fatigue and must not only monitor their own fatigue level (not so easy without practice), but must keep a weather eye on the crew.
Underestimating the danger this companion warrants contributes to many “incidents”. At passage’s end, for example a tired skipper may attempt a nighttime entrance to an enticing anchorage. An unfortunate outcome might be attributed to “navigational errors” when the more important contributing factor was fatigue.
If, while sitting up, your eyes are drooping, take this as a warning. Less obvious signs of fatigue: rushing, clumsiness, taking (or tempted by) shortcuts, longing for the passage completion, and irritability.
Preparation: know and remember that this companion is very likely to join the cruise. Know that a passage is not a race; slow down for comfort, heave to for a watch to have a good meal and sleep, adjust watch schedules. Tell your crew if you are experiencing fatigue.
Know also that dealing with fatigue when on passage gets easier with experience.
Please go to the Forum for further discussion on this topic.
Stay safe, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Simon Currin
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Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon
Dick
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Simon Currin - 5/28/2020
Lovely article Dick and so true. I remember on a double handed passage to the Azores my crew, not Sally, fell asleep on watch. Luckily I discovered this early and let him sleep on in the cockpit until his mobile phone pinged welcoming him to Graciosa. I was the Best Man at his wedding and made sure everyone knew about his unconventional way of monitoring an imminent landfall.
Simon

Hi all,
In the above, I was referring to fatigue that builds up during a passage.
I am reminded, there is another another Dangerous Companion: pre-departure fatigue. This is fatigue which results from the work and anxiety that usually accompanies the preparation for a passage. This is especially a challenge for one’s first passage.
On Alchemy, we try to be prepared a day or two ahead of the weather window we are looking at. When well meaning friends are wanting a piece of you and throwing bon voyage parties, it might be wise to go to a quiet anchorage for a night or so to get sorted and settled after the festivities and before departure.
The beginning of any passage is stressful. Everything is far more difficult at the onset of a passage if fatigued and most are far more likely to get seasick when stressed and tired.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

GO

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