Sun 9 Nov 2008 17:39
Mike and I share the main cabin. He sleeps in the starboard berth and I occupy the port one. It has always been a standing joke between us that Mike's bunk always seems to be the leeward one wherever we go. (That means that when the boat is leaning - it is the one you can't fall out of!) However, on this trip, with the almost guaranteed NE Trade Winds, the port berth will be the leeward one. At last!

In fact we have good lee cloths which are pieces of canvas attached to the side of each bunk to hold you in when the rolling tries to throw you out.

Sleeping while the boat is sailing is not always easy. Firstly, one tends to sleep patchily as there is a good deal of noise from the waves and various creaks from the boat itself as it moves along.

Secondly, one seems to be half aware of your partner and what is going on on deck. Our biggest fear is falling overboard and we go to great lengths to secure ourselves to the boat and prevent that from happening. While dozing, one is constantly thinking about the other one; is he still there? I seem to hear every small movement on the boat and I am sure that Mike sleeps with one eye open!

Thirdly, the movement can be so violent that you neither want to go below to sleep because going into the cabin makes you feel ill, nor can you rest because of the movement. (When we sailed from Cascai, during some F8 squalls, I found that I could not keep my head in contact with the pillow because the boat was bucking so much.)

Now we are 2, it seems that one of us is asleep most of the time. The night is divided into 4 three hour watches with a 30 minute change over period between each watch. The 30 min gap is a good time for a sail change or a shared drink, and the person coming off watch doesn't feel as though his sleeping time is being eaten into.
So, with 6 hours sleep each night, we have an informal watch system during the day and we both take naps to keep the sleep level up when we can. The system works well as long as there isn't too much excitement.
In harbour we can both sleep for Britain. We think we have had a late night if the lights go out at 10pm. Tony