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Old 12-04-2015, 06:25 AM   #21
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Watch schedule. My wife and I live in a world in which the overnight runs are made by husband and wife teams/couples. Thus the time at watch must be split between two people.

What we have found important, time and time again, is that whoever is the mechanic has got to be prepared to go to work regardless of the hour in the event of a breakdown. Thus sticking to the watch schedule and getting sleep when off watch is important. Yes, when I am feeling good I would love to let my wife sleep and extra hour at 2 am, but then I am cutting my sleep and if necessary I may have to work through my off watch - it has happened. Thus sticking to the watch schedule and getting sleep are important.
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:37 AM   #22
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Great words of wisdom and experience, Portage Bay!
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:51 PM   #23
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Like many, I've spent countless nights under sail when racing or doing long passages. My sailing start was before radar, LORAN etc were available. Eyes, ears and nose were used just as they had been for thousands of years.

On a couple of races when I manned the foredeck sail changes, the bow was being buried so I was tightly tied in. Today the foredeck crew has good communications back to the helm. Back then it was my plaintive screams hoping I'd be heard. I only went over once and easily pulled myself back up with the multi tether and harness.

Today the MV night passages are far fewer than navigating in fog. Had a few passages this year where visibility was a boat length for an hour or two. I'd much rather have been under a full moon on a cloudless night. In the PNW it is easy to cruise 14 to 18 hours per day during the summer daylight hours, so nap time is indeed a good idea.
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:25 PM   #24
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Running at Night

We have have crossed Lake Michign at night at least once per season for the last decade. Straight across is 80 mm while Chicago is 105 nm. Night crossings are better for us. It is cooler, no sunburn, no flies, and the weather is more stable. We use radar and our night vision is usually good. We do cross the shipping lanes but a freighter on Lake Michigan at night looks like a city with all of its lights on and it makes a large target on the radar.

We stand three hour shifts. Two sets of eyes is better but it is unrealistic to expect both individuals to stay awake all night. We schedule arrival at day break so that we can see coastal fishing boats and the harbor entrance. After arriving we take a several hour nap and we are off to be tourists.

One important rule that we follow. We run from the bridge at night and we always wear a PFD harness with a safety line. The line is sized so that you can not reach the edge of the boat. If you need to tend to something that is out of reach of the safety line, the other person must wake up and be on the bridge.

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Old 12-22-2015, 04:55 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Gypsy Spirit View Post
One important rule that we follow. We run from the bridge at night and we always wear a PFD harness with a safety line. The line is sized so that you can not reach the edge of the boat. If you need to tend to something that is out of reach of the safety line, the other person must wake up and be on the bridge.

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Good rule. Makes sense.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:02 PM   #26
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I do a fair amount of running at night. Either for charters that have to start between 3 and 5am or moving the boat to another area (Maryland to North Carolina) that require more than a 12 hour cruise. For me, it much easier to start night trips in the middle of the night after 6 to 8 hours of sleep and finish during the day. For moving the boat, it easier to start at midnight, travel 5 to 6 hours in the dark, and then have 12 to 14 hours of summer day light to finish the move. It's much tougher for me to be up cruising during the day, take a nap, and then struggle on through the night.

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Old 05-26-2016, 09:20 AM   #27
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Running at night/FLIR

I just ran my new( to me )2008 NORDHAVN 43 from FL to Maine, including night passages from Stuart to Charleston, from Cape May to Cape Cod Canal, then Cape Cod Canal to Rockland. I am used to running my boats from the flybridge, but ran this one from the pilot house partially due to cold weather, partially to access.( I have not yet installed lifelines) I found it almost impossible to see lobster pots, even high fliers at night from the pilot house with only red floor lights and electronics dimmed, so am considering FLIR. All I want to accomplish is to see obstacles in front of me, does that mean the fixed mount models are sufficient? Can you run with a FLIR screen without killing night vision? My boat pitches, and the pilot house is fairly far forward, will the antenna move up and down so much that it would be almost useless? Does the higher resolution model make more sense?
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Old 05-26-2016, 10:58 AM   #28
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FLIR (at least my model) has a mode that puts everything in shades of red, so that helps with night vision, but as a practical matter, at least at my helms, between FLIR and other instruments, night vision is impaired. My practice, when running at night, is to have two people at the helm at all times. Generally, we are far enough offshore that lobster pots and the like are not a concern, but whenever there is a concern the second person goes to the portuguese bridge where there is no artificial light pollution.

Although I don't recommend it as a substitute, FLIR is actually better than naked night vision for spotting objects not large enough to present a good profile. This is because, unlike human vision, FLIR doesn't depend on brightness or color differences (both of which are necessarily impaired at night).

By the way, my FLIR is the PTZ (although the z is really just 2x digital magnification, and I hardly ever use it), and I do pan with it frequently.
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:21 AM   #29
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My practice, when running at night, is to have two people at the helm at all times. Generally, we are far enough offshore that lobster pots and the like are not a concern,

Although I don't recommend it as a substitute, FLIR is actually better than naked night vision for spotting objects not large enough to present a good profile.
We use and love FLIR. Especially for any in close cruising. Now, like you, most of our nighttime cruising is going to be well offshore and away from pots of various types. We don't cruise at night along the ICW and we don't go in and out of ports and marinas. We will occasionally leave during the night when it's an easy out and an area we're confident in. We never enter a port or marina at night, other than Port Everglades.

We prefer to have two people at the helm but recognize for many that isn't an option.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:27 PM   #30
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Over thinking the problem.

Running at night has its risks....so does running in the day. If offshore, do you ever take your eye off the water in front of you?...if not you are one in a million or a fibber...especially at less than 10 knots.

While hitting something is a real danger...just how much? Realizing the bad stuff are the ones you rarely see in daylight anyway unless perfect conditions. You are more likely to hit something coastal than farther out.

If still worried....slow to 5 or 6 knots at night.

Also...make the run in the absolute best conditions possible...roughness can make a day trip hazardous too...and often it is calmer at night.

You may still hit something...but survival and rescue is way easier when calm.
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