Just coming off one, night watches are something special – although not that special, as we have three every day. One group does two 7pm to 23pm and 3am to 7am and the other just one from 23pm to 3am.
What makes them different, however, is the sailing in the dark. Even with bright moonlight, the sales look different and it is harder to see if your trim is correct and you are sailing in the most efficient way. Given that most of us a tired anyhow, to stay concentrated or even just awake is also a challenge and I notice myself nodding off in certain jobs (for example one job is just to sit on a beanbag on the foredeck and shine a torch in to headsail, to help the helmsman steering the right way.) In some wind conditions all this can be a real challenge, but our team has been so far (knock on wood) been very good and often we made ground on the other boats – as we did tonight.
Another reward, is the great scenery during night watches – a beautiful sky full of stars, mystical moonlight and dramatic clouds, providing old Vampire-movie style scenery, and, for the morning watch, some great sunrises. All great, but depending of your level of tiredness, you might not appreciate those every time….
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