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The thought of sailing at night frightened me until I actually did it.  I never sailed offshore at night before I started our circumnavigation.  Daytime sailing wasn't a problem; it was nocturnal hobgoblins that stirred up fear.

When we were children, one of the first fears we conquered was fear of the dark.  Nevertheless, people who haven't been afraid of the dark for fifty years sometimes go catatonic when they sail offshore at night.  They simply can't bear the thought of sailing into the inky blackness.

For those of you overwhelmed by fear, there's good news.  Sailing at night is easier and more comfortable than sailing in the day - at least that's the way it is on Exit Only, and here's some reasons why.

1.  It dark outside, and it's easier to fall asleep when you're off watch.
2.  Your bunk is cooler after the hot tropical sun goes down,  You might even need to use a sheet to keep warm.
3.  We slow the boat down at night so the ride is more comfortable.  There's less bouncing around to cope with.
4.  We reduce our sail before sunset.  We don't go on deck at night to raise or lower the main.
5.  It's easy to see navigation lights from oncoming ships when you check around the horizon.
6.  Navigation lights quickly reveal whether a ship is coming directly at you or will pass by at a safe distance.
7.  Night vision binoculars let you see the loom of lights from ships even before they come over the horizon.
8   We run radar at night to track thunderstorms and monitor nearby shipping.
9.  After sunset, we view a DVD and eat popcorn as a family activity before night watches start in earnest.
10. Our night watches are civilized.  The most sleepy person climbs in his/her bunk and instantly falls asleep.  The person who is the most awake and alert takes watch until he becomes sleepy, and then he wakes up a rested crew member to assume watch.

Sailing offshore at night is both restful and safe.  Give offshore night sailing a try.  It's safer than you think, and you might even enjoy it.

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