Round the clock watches

Kosmos, a Nordhavn 43, is about 2/3rds around the world on a circumnavigation. Their blog mentioned that they have done two passages over nine days, with just Christi and Eric onboard. I wrote to them to ask how they manage the watches, and this is their response.

-Ken W


Hi Ken,


At sea, we do a minimum of 4 hour watches. So, when my 4 hours are up, if I don’t want to do watch anymore, I go get Eric. If my 4 hours are up and I am wide awake and content to stay on watch, I will just stay in the pilot house until I need a break, then go and get him. And vice versa. In rough seas and/or at night, we are generally done at the 4 hour mark. In calmer weather and/or day (or we’ve been out long enough that we are fully acclimated to being up at night), we will often stay longer to give the other more sleep.


We will nap on watch if tired. We set the a small timer for 15 minutes. When the alarm goes off, we look around, reset the timer, and go back to sleep again. The radar alarm is set, so if something gets close during the 15 minute interval, it should go off and wake us up.


We do leave the helm to go to the bathroom and do engine room checks and get something to eat (though we eat in the pilot house). We do an engine room check and fill out the log book at the start of each watch. I think Eric does a more detailed check than I do. I walk inside and make sure the gauges all read normal, it smells normal, and there is nothing on any of the diapers. We’ll add additional log entries if anything out of the normal happens, as well.


Thank you for the nice compliments. We are so sorry to hear that it didn’t work out to go to Alaska. We hope that you are still having a fun summer, anyway. We hope all is well with you and Roberta!



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