Ambassador 6

Well, there’s progress. I got the boat today form the maintenance marina, and am now parked on the main Moorings dock, watching all the charterers come and go. The weather has been sunny and hot, and I am currently munching a warm crispy loaf of fresh-baked multigrain bread, with some salami and garlic cheese, sipping a diet coke, in the air-conditioned comfort of my own boat. Hooray!

There are still a few items to be repaired, though, such as the forward air conditioning unit (the main salon and aft unit work fine), which keeps tripping the circuit. The engine idle needs to be adjusted up a bit, a fuel filter replaced, and the autopilot also needs some tweaking. All of these are going to be addressed tomorrow, so hopefully we are still on schedule.

I am just starting my own work list, and hope to make good progress tomorrow also. We’ll see…

I’ve had a few questions about the watch schedule on a trip like this. We’ve got 3 people and a long journey and a good autopilot. That means only one person is officially “on” at a time. So mathematically speaking, each person needs to stand watch a total of 8 hours a day, and gets 16 hours off. However, 8 hours is a long time, and standing the same watch everyday is boring and unfair- especially if you get stuck with the 10pm to 6am shift every day!

I have used a variety of watch schedules over the years, each customized for the purpose (race or cruise), and number of crew aboard. I have found that in cruising situations, and in long races, rotating watches keeps everyone happier. This means you don’t stand the same watch every day- there is an odd number of hours or watches, which causes the shifts to rotate.

For this journey, we have will have shifts of 4 to 6 hours “on” (longer during the day, shorter at night), followed by 8 to 11 hours off. As night shifts tend to be harder, we keep them shorter. And after your night shift, midnight to 4am for example, you get a longer rest period of 11 hours. This means you can eat something, sleep a full 8 hours, and still have time to get up, cook a meal, relax or whatever before coming on watch again.

All put together, each person stands 5 watches every 3 days, with some daytime, some nighttime, and some in between. Each person gets to stand every watch once in a 3-day period. After 3 days the rotation starts over again. The 5 daily watches are:  0000-0400, 0400-0900, 0900-1500, 1500-2000, and 2000-2400.  I have attached a picture of the watch schedule, to save another 1000 words.

More tomorrow…

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