Expecially on passage, far from the sight of land, days rapidly fall into a repetitive and somewhat boring routine…
First of all, some GENERAL CRITERIA:
1) nobody steers the boat, this is a job for the wind-vane or the electronic autopilot, both more accurate and less prone to distraction than a bored or sleepy helmsman…
2) there is ALWAYS somebody in the cockpit, both as a watch-keeper and to monitor the route and the weather, ready to trim the sails or adjust the autopilot.
3) in a two-person crew there is no way out, unavoidably the one who is off-watch SLEEPS most of the time, unless when he’s busy with preparing meals, talking on the radio or performing other duties, repairs, and so on
4) if possible, the off-watch person was taking the oilskin off in order to sleep in a bunk, but when weather condition were adverse, we rested either in the cockpit or on the cabin floor, fully dressed and ready to help.
5) ALWAYS, the person in the cockpit was wearing the man-overboard alarm and the self-inflatable jacket and was tethered to the boat. Only exception, when motoring in flat calm by daytime.
6) CHARTWORK during passages was limited to little more than writing down the GPS position every 3 hours, as a backup to the track recorded by our chartplotter.
For what concerns the timetable, our solution was as follows (here every boat had its own approach):
From 00 to 03 A.M.: Baby on watch, Gian off
From 03 to 06 A.M.: Gian in the cockpit, Baby below decks asleep
From 06 to 09 A.M.: Baby in the cockpit, Gian asleep for a while and then preparing breakfast
From 09 to 12 A.M.: Gian on watch and Baby resting, except between 10 and 11, when we excanged roles during the radio roll-call; just before that, we usually connected to the e-mail service (weather forecasts in, blog postings out)
From 12 to 15 P.M.: Baby on watch and Gian preparing lunch, taking a quick nap if possible before the shift end
From 15 to 18 P.M.: nominally Gian on watch and Baby at rest (or perhaps playing on the PC!…), but often we were both awake and roles were managed according to any specific task at hand
From 18 to 21 P.M.: Baby in the cockpit and Gian preparing dinner after the afternoon radio roll-call
From 21 to 24 P.M.: Gian on watch and Baby trying to sleep
With this routine, we both had two rest periods during the night, albeit one probably not full; not surprisingly then, we slept whenever possible also during the day.
Initially, during the Atlantic crossing and then down to the Galapagos, the frequent squalls were keeping the person on watch quite busy, while afterwards the watch periods became more quiet and boring so we were able to read all the books that we carried for this purpose!
During the coastal legs, the routine did not change much: whenever possible, we preferred to stop at dusk and spend the night at anchor, but when this was not possible or we were pressed, we kept sailing all night following the usual routine: only difference, usually our pilotage was much stricter, and we had to keep both eyes well open for passing traffic.