Early Morning Solo Watch

This morning my watch began with coffee for one and oatmeal for two. After a long overnight watch and a hot breakfast Charles headed below at 6:30 am, leaving the dog and me in charge for the foreseeable future. 

We haven’t done typical 2-4 hour watches. Charles likes sailing at night so when we need to push through he sails in the darkened hours and I wake up early to relieve him when the sun is up. He takes advantage of night winds and raises the sails under the stars with the diesel off, and only the sounds of the wind in the sails and the water rushing by. Keep in mind that our preferred day and night watches don’t take place through ocean storms, usually just a calm mid-Atlantic river and the occasional Chesapeake Bay. 

This morning’s watch finds Sylvie and me enjoying an overcast sunrise, a calm river and a bit of alone time before the rain starts. It’s all fun and games until you have to figure out how to keep yourself warm and dry and captain the boat properly while not waking up your husband, while concurrently looking like you and the dog are both enjoying the sail and know what you’re doing. The rain hasn’t started yet but I’m going to master all of those things before the end of my watch.

Fast forward a bit, gentle readers. Master all of those things during my solo sunrise watch, I did. I stopped counting our consecutive hours at sea once we’d hit 24, all at a steady 6 knots.

Fast forward again to the afternoon, no rain yet. The day is hot and I’ve progressed from fleece to long sleeves to sweating off white rivulets of sunblock under a large umbrella in a tank top. 

We’re a few hours from our home port under rainclouds, trying to beat a severe thunderstorm the land weather reports are hyping up as the damper to your Friday night summer plans.

Our home marina has resort amenities and attracts locals and tourists on dates and vacations, and toting cameras, strollers and shopping bags. After every sail, coming home in-season to crowds of people, lights and noise is jarring and unnerving after spending so many days quietly on the water with only the sounds of the rushing of the wind in the sails.

“And when the day arrives I’ll become the sky and I’ll become the sea and the sea will come to kiss me for I am going home. Nothing can stop me now.” -Reznor

8 thoughts on “Early Morning Solo Watch

  1. What a nice read, first thing in the morning. Bravo for your skills of navigation. I may have had to wake my husband, if it had been me. 🙂 I’ve never sailed, but can totally understand how hard it was be to leave the quietness of the wind and water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When we first started sailing my solo watches were very short because I was worried about everything. Now that I have a bit more experience on the water, I feel pretty good about being able to let Charles sleep, wrangling the dog, making food and coffee and keeping the boat in line.
      It took me a while, but I finally figured it just enough to look like I know what I’m doing, at least to my dog.
      Hopefully our next post won’t have the sentence “and I crashed the boat while on a solo watch.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is jarring, isn’t it? Sounds as if you’ve had a good sail, a quiet time you can hold in your memory.

    And – regular watches are important for longer stretches out at sea, and I came to love the hours under the night sky. I wish the same for you!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a lovely sail!
      Our next longer passage may not be for a few more weeks – so much to plan.
      We are still working out our routine for the longer passages because one of us needs to sleep a bit more than the other. Luckily Charles has the super human ability to function on less sleep than me so I will happily take the sunrise shift and let him to go bed.

      Fair winds to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Charles is listening to books when he’s alone in the dark.
      Alone in the dark I’d be worried about Jaws, pirates, hidden buoys not marked on the GPS, crab pots with black bobbers and trying to figure out whether those lights I’m sailing directly into are on another boat or on the shore- just a small list of why I happily take the daytime watches!

      Where are you now? How’s the summer sailing season treating you?


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