Sleep is the main and most discussed problem of solo yachtsmen on the forums.
Most of us are able to stay awake for 24 hours and even 36 hours in a row in a short voyage, but further ... further sleep is necessary.
For a novice solo skater, going down to the cabin is already a problem. We are accustomed to driving a car, when we cannot take our eyes off the road even for a second. How can you sleep when the boat continues to move? I advise aspiring solo skaters to practice on short day trips when there is no reason to leave the wheel. Leave your post for 5 minutes and do something in the cabin: check the cards, make coffee, practice knitting. For these five minutes, you must resist the temptation to stick your head out.
After a few days of such training, increase the time to 20 minutes, which will allow you to cook and dine. I am assuming that you are not using electronic controls at this time. Turn off radar, AIS or SeaMe.
It takes a while to get used to 20 minutes to rely on faith alone, but it has to be done. Electronic surveillance is just a tool. It should not be a crutch or a substitute for the skipper's instinct. Look around immediately when you hear the engine noise. Whales can hear a ship 50 miles away, humans half a mile away.
Once a sailor is accustomed to being in a cabin for 20 minutes, the idea of spending an hour or more without looking around will no longer be stressful. Now it's time to turn the electronics back on. It has long been estimated that 20 minutes pass from the moment a vessel appears on the horizon until the danger of collision occurs. Therefore, just so many
time can be spent without looking back.
Sleep theory and practice
As you know, sleep cannot be put aside, like money in the bank. However, it is nevertheless highly recommended that you get a good sleep in the last two days before sailing in order to get out to sea well rested. Research into the effects of sleep on athletic performance has shown that it’s important to sleep two days in advance, not just before the day of the competition. So I don't drink on days like this (alcohol turns me on, it gets hard to sleep), go to bed early (I'm a "morning person" and get up early), and even take sleeping pills to sleep through the night. In two days, I am already completely sure that my boat is ready for sailing and therefore I avoid the prelaunch hustle and bustle and rush that is typical for many yachtsmen.
I know very well that adrenaline will not give me sleep on the first night, besides, one way or another at this time I will be in an area with a busy traffic of ships. But since I had a good rest before sailing, one night without sleep will not be too grueling.
Further along the way, the usual way to observe the situation is to get out of bed every 20-30 minutes, look around the horizon, check the compass heading and go to bed again. Just like at home, many also sometimes go up at night for 8 B short? Training? outputs, i.e. in coastal waters it is not worth turning off anything. If you have appliances and you usually turn them on, let them work - they will not interfere.
You just need to make sure that there is no danger. I used this method, for example, Derek Hatfield during single race Around Alone 2002. He set an alarm timer for 20 minutes, and a few days later he began to wake up at such small intervals without an alarm clock.
To make this method work better, I use three tricks. Firstly, getting out of the sleeping bag, going upstairs, and then going back down, requires some effort and takes a long time, and I usually wake up completely. Instead, I made a sitting hammock out of a sailing kitty, which I hung right in the cockpit. It turned out to be quite a comfortable sleeping place.
When I lie in a hammock with my head to the hatch, I only need to move a little to scan the entire horizon. If you need to adjust something a little, and the autopilot and sheets are also nearby. I used to sleep only in my hammock for up to five days in a row.
On modern racing boats for singles, special cabins are made for the same purpose next to the hatch.
Secondly, I have a small kitchen timer that clips onto the harness. It is important that after each activation, the timer is automatically reset and starts counting a new 20-minute interval. If you have to manually configure it each time, you will have to fully wake up to do this.
Finally, customize your electronics so that they don't wake you up. There is enough room in the ocean. I am not at all worried about ships passing 20 miles or even 5, but I want to know about those ships that will be less than 1 mile from me.
Tune your radar or AIS to your preference so that you feel confident, but don't jump in vain. The same applies to the wind change alarms that autopilots have. My autopilot gives this signal when the wind direction changes 15 degrees, and this is the factory setting that I cannot change. During the night, these changes in the direction of the wind back and forth occur many times, especially when the wind is gusty, so I turned off this alarm completely.
Excessive signals from the electronics not only wake up the helmsman every time, but also unnerve the anticipation of the next alarm. This problem caused hallucinations in some race participants. Singlehanded transpac 2006 year
Dr Claudio Stampi is a leading sleep specialist for solo sailors. He has lectured on this topic several times at the Chronobiology Research Institute, and his method is used by the most successful racers. It is based on two ideas: sleep time can be reduced from the usual 8 hours a day to 5 or less; sleep in short intervals, staying awake and working between naps.
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