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Nighttime sailing

Our routes so far have involved stints of continuous sailing for more than 24 hours at a time. Our shakedown was the same, and it’s safe to say we have more of these in our future.

Many have asked if we drop anchor to spend the night, but when it takes multiple days to get to your destination, or safe harbor, dropping anchorage at +300 foot depths (or 3 miles off shore) is not an option. The crew rotates at the helm every 4 hours or so, watching to make sure we are maintaining the right heading, checking that all systems are functioning, checking for neighboring ships on AIS, and making sure that no obstacles lie ahead. We usually have least 1 more person up on deck with whoever is on watch, should they need assistance.

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By sundown we begin swapping the sunscreen and big hats for warm hoodies, sleeping bags, foul-weather gear, harnesses and clipping lanyards. Our eyes adjust to the darkness and the trusty red light on the headlamp is a must when going below deck. Hot chocolate and warm tea become our go-to midnight snacks. Andy’s secret to staying awake is cashews (they offer a nice energy boost) and Meli’s been tapping into her Latin roots and hosting her own private dance party while everyone else is asleep. Reading has also been a nice way to pass the time, but no go on the podcasts – turns our Terry Gross is more soothing than the sound of the ocean. It’s incredibly peaceful to be awake during night watch. The glimmer of the moonlight on the water looked like hundreds of electric eels. Stargazing is becoming a fun new hobby; the rise of Orion’s belt giving us a chance to learn how to identify its currently unrecognizable neighbors. We’ve even spotted some dolphins.

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Foulies – check, warm hat, headlamp, life jacket and harness – check, cool sunset – check

On our route to Cabo we started to fall into a comfortable pattern for nighttime passages and midday naps, made significantly easier by having more people to split watches. We’ve also enjoyed the fun company, warmer weather, and epic 80’s rock playlists.

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Epic moonrise south on San Juanico

All in all, being awake while the rest of our world is asleep hasn’t been half bad. It’s our new normal, and we welcome it.