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    One olympic FD sailor once remarked: “You can’t sail at night – how would you see the gusts and fades!?”
    Well, a question for those who did sail a Wayfarer at night – what are your experiences, do you have any suggestions on preparation, handling?
    Thanks, with best wishes,

    Bob Harland

    We found steering a course was quite difficult. A good compass light essential.
    If you sail purely on visual feedback from the sails and boat then night sailing is going to be difficult. If you can learn to feel from the other senses how the boat is going – pointing too high/low then it is easier.
    Not being able to see the waves is perhaps a bonus – you don’t tend to be scared by something you cannot see.

    Reefing and sail changes are a lot more difficult – so a conservative rig set before dusk.

    Best not to fall overboard – lifelines pretty essential.

    A visible and reliable masthead light – we failed miserably last time on that one.

    If you are using batteries for lights etc then make sure that they will last through the night.

    Night sailing is an interesting experience, but I prefer to be in a cosy anchorage before nightfall.

    hope that helps


    A good training tip is to practice sailing with your eyes shut – which means you have to us other senses to sail by. This is useful ability for racing (sailing whilst looking around the race course), cruising (looking at the chart or the scenery) and useful training for night sailing.

    There is a (probably apochraphal) story of an instructor on a cruising course for blind sailors who advised that the crew take down the spinnaker because night was falling and they wouldn’t be able to handle the sail in the dark!




    I would suggest trying to build up gradually if you can, such as sailing in twilight or trying to pick a night or evening with some moonlight (though obviously cloud cover cant be predicted). I’ve not sailed my wayfarer at night yet but plan to do so at some point. I remember my first night time approach to my home port of Torbay in Devon which I thought I knew like the back of my hand having grown up there and being totally disorientated until we were pretty much right at the harbour entrance so its certainly not easy and experience needs to be built up. If you give it a go, let us know how you get on!


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