Night sailing is a great challenge for any seafarer interested in pushing the boundaries and putting their skills to the test. Although launching your cruiser in the twilight hours is an exciting and pretty spectacular way to view the sunset and night's sky, there are a few things you need to bare in mind and take caution with. To get you prepared for that sundown sail, Mylor Chandlery have put together our top 5 tips for sailing at night you should live by...
Dress For The Occasion
As the sunlight begins to fade and dip below the horizon, the temperature can often go from mild to bitterly cold - and you're going to feel it when you're exposed to the wide open void of the ocean. Always pack accordingly, layering up with a durable outer layer on top to keep you warm and happy.
Make sure you bring your Personal Flotation device The more experienced sailors amongst us develop a bit of a relaxed attitude towards our PFDs and we shouldn't. because for what ever prejudices we have for them being uncomfortable, unnecessary or unfashionable - they are a pretty crucial addition to your sailing nightwear. In the dimmer hours, the deck can become pretty prone to hazards, so keep it on while you're active on the boat and attach a small battery powered light so if you do go overboard, your crew mates will be able to spot you easily in the murky waters.
Know Your Light Patterns
Although you can refer to your almanac for a full list of light patterns, make sure you have a good idea of the key ones so you can tell what other vessels are up to and where they are positioned.
Pack A Really Good Searchlight
Night sailing is so much about becoming accustomed to the darkness and working with it rather than against it. Although constantly switching a torch on and off is going to play havoc with your natural night vision, we advise having a really good source of light on board to help you in the event of an emergency or simply to navigate and identify something strange in the water.
Ensure Waypoints Are Clear
All manner of perils can lie in the obscuring darkness, so when you're sailing in the night you need combine electronic navigation systems with a large helping of common sense and diligence. This will help you to avoid running into any rocks or similar hazards when you're traversing your chosen water routes.
Sail On Familiar Waters
Try not to be too daring on your first nighttime trip - stick to familiar waters with a full moon and a clear sky to give yourself the best opportunity for a safe and successful sail.