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Sleeping Under Way

Pacific Ocean, Aboard Ketch 22

July 2004

Off shore sailing is among many things, an endurance contest.   Under way for 24 hours a day, starts to grind you down after a few days at sea.   The shifts are short, typically no more than 4 hours, but the sleep isn't very deep and after a while it   gets to you.   Hallucinations aren't unusual, nor are dreams and waking up startled in the middle of a too brief REM state to the normal sounds of a small yacht at sea.   Once ensconced in your berth however, the sleep is briefly delicious and deliriously delightful, akin to a child's sleep while buckled into a car seat, while mama is driving down the road on the way to the mall.

There is a rhythm that accompanies off shore sailing, and once enveloped in the rhythm, you drop off to sleep at the drop of a dime.   The sounds of the sea water gurgling past the hull is about as comforting as it gets, and the motion of the boat through the water combine to rock and roll you to dreamland.   Dreamland that is, until the brute on the following shift grabs you by the shoulder and shakes you back to reality because it's his or her turn for some down time.