Reflections on a Night Watch

Mike and George are asleep.

I am solo on the 9 – 12 watch.

No moon – some clouds and stars.

Dark – I can barely make out the horizon. The only light is the faint red glow of the cockpit instruments and the bow lights.

The wind has died and Snug Harbor is motoring at 7 knots into the blacked out unseen sloppy seas. Will pass Pt Sur on my watch. So far the lumpy seas have only knocked me off my seat once (while I was seated!). It also happened to Mike on his watch.

It is disorienting motoring in the dark. I am dependent on the intruments that tell me where I am, which way we are pointed and whether there are any boats around me. Think of Tron, where you are part of the video game.

I have my Bose headphones and am listening to some nice music – it sounds particularly good against the backdrop and sensory deprivation of the solo night watch.

I am generally a sleep happy guy, nodding off at the slightest provocation when reading a book, attending a performance or watching TV – but for some reason I have no such problem on the night watch.

Nite watches on sailboats offshore are not high on most people’s lists. They are cetainly not what I dream about when I plan sailing trips. But once you get there……

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