It is 2:20am in the morning of day 6 on this passage when I start to write these lines. Had some good rest up to now, which is partly caused by the fact that I have optimized my night watch regime. I also felt, it is time for a hot chocolate and some star spotting.
In the past, I developed the habit to take the night watches from the cockpit. Being close to the instruments, in the blink of an eye I could check them out even without moving. It was handy to lie on the cockpit bench and wait for the alarm clock to come after 20-30min depending on the traffic situation, lift up the head for the 360° visual check for other boats position lights, glance at the plotter and turn back into dosing mode after setting the alarm for another cycle. As we all know, it is easy to change your own habits and that`s what I did now for this passage.
I am lying down on the saloon berth, having three devices next to me. The first device is my alarm clock. I bought the loudest one I could get on the market with timer and counter function. It is a brand from the US and some consumer opinions convinced me to get this device, which I am happy with. Second is the Jabra Bluetooth loudspeaker, which is linked to the Raymarine plotter enhancing the plotter alarms, which by default settings from Raymarine are really low in volume. I am not sure why. The third and final device is the iPad, which got the Ray Control App installed. This App mirrors the Raymarine Chart Plotter and all its parameter in a one-to-one set-up onto the iPad screen. I am able to change views and settings or simply check AIS, Radar, position, wind, course, etc. without getting out of my cosy berth. The Ray Control App does not play the alarms from the plotter itself, unfortunately!
What do I gain? The resting periods provide more relaxation as I am out of the wind, in a more comfortable berth with less distraction around me. What do I loose? The visual check for other boat`s position lights around me. To compensate for that, I get every alternate cycle out of the bunk, up into the cockpit to stick my eyes into the black night and sparkling stars to check for any white, red or green position lights around me.
Overall I get better rest with a little compromise on the risk profile, which I have accepted for the lady and myself.
Obviously this concept cannot be applied in the English Channel, for example.
I will take a few more cycles now before the sun sticks out.
Fair winds…