Day 4: Night Watch + How To Sleep During An Overnight Passage From Martinique To Dominica.
Day 4: Our First Night Passage From Martinique To Dominica! The Challenge Of How To Sleep During An Overnight Passage
Overnight passages don’t come naturally for the majority of humans. As a crew member on a boat delivery, you have this concoction of feelings when it’s your turn to sleep, and you're not on watch. This is supposed to be your “downtime,” but there’s always that bottom line “being on call” feeling where you can’t really relax and let go.
Magic Carpet Ride Meets Washer Machine: Trying To Sleep While Underway To Dominica
Another element of this is how often does your mattress feel like a magic carpet riding through a washing machine in the back of a cart pulled by a mule through a dirt road after a monsoon? (Did you like that one?)
Actively sailing somewhere while sleeping is different from sleeping when you're at anchor or on a mooring ball.
The motion of the waves changes depending on weather, if you’re leeward or windward of an island, coming out of the shadow of an island if there’s a storm coming through. It can change on a moment by moment basis.
You Feel Sailing Vibrations. Literally.
For a sailing vessel, when it starts to get gusty, the vibrations of trimming a sail under the strain of the wind sounds like some kind of artillery’s going off, or the boat’s about to snap in two.
Throw in the element of if your vessel can run air conditioning while underway, or not, or in our case your stateroom doesn’t have air conditioning capabilities, to begin with, sleeping below could be likened to a hot box magic carpet rolling through a washing machine.
Yachtie Goldilocks: Picking The Right Place To Sleep While Underway
Not sailing as a primary occupation anymore, I seemed to forget all of these things during my quest for sleep, assuming the role of Yachtie Goldilocks; starting in port forward, which I quickly learned is a biiiiig mistake. I forgot the more forward you are, the higher the highs and sensation of the waves the boat’s cutting (and crashing) into. Nauseation increases.
The Worst Place You Can Go Is Below Deck
I moved to Starboard aft, thinking it would be a great spot to sleep based on the motion of the waves, and instantly regained sailor wisdom as I remember telling our guests “if you feel sick, the worst place you can go is below to your stateroom.”
“If you feel sick, the worst place you can go is below to your stateroom.”
My sailor wisdom realized, I settled into the L of the outdoor cockpit dining area with a pillow over my head and ears to muffle the howl of the wind and minimize the sail trimming machine-gun-esque noises.
I slept for about 4 hours. In comparison, I’m sure this was a head above the amount of sleep and rest poor Danny got.
Captains Never Sleep (Well)
If anything happens to that boat, if there are any collisions, any catastrophic incidents, the Captain takes the brunt of that error. There’s a certain weight that always rests on a captain’s shoulders, so those feelings I mentioned of needing to be “on”? Multiply those by about 100 for a Captain’s sense of responsibility. That’s why you need to feed your captain lots of snacks!
Pirate Sighting: Keeping Watch 3:30 AM - 5:15 AM
I took my watch sailing into morning 3:30 AM - 5:15 AM (I got the baby leg of the overnight passage!), sailing into a harbor as the first rays of light were rising over the terrain. Something was tearin’ towards our boat in that morning light. It continued, making a beeline towards us. It was a bright orange panga boat with green trim. A pirate? What pirate is up haulin’ ass across a harbor at 5:15 AM on a Monday morning?
A slender, striking West Indian man in an orange polo with a strong jawline. And we soon learned his name was Titus. Titus, with his deep, rich voice was the 5:15 AM in the morning Pirate. And we had made it. Dominica. Land Of The Morning Pirates.