Six days until the start of the Solitaire and the first leg from Paimpol on the top of France round to Gijon on the north coast of Spain at just over 500 miles will be my longest solo race yet. As well as the natural obstacles along the way and the thirty six other boats my biggest challenging will be managing sleep along the way.
Sleeping in the Figaro seems to be a bit of a taboo. Getting into a sleeping bag for a good two hour stint when you feel the urge might be very pleasant but several things will happen, boats will overtake you, you will wake up wondering where you are and why the sails are all flapping and you will eventually hit a fishing boat, big ship or rock. The key is to master the art of cat napping at a time when you can get to sleep quickly and then get back to sailing the boat before anything happens. Ideal sleeping positions should be comfortable but not too cosy so you’re not tempted to laze around for too long. Here are some favorites:Down by the battery box, not comfortable but secure and it gives a good view of the computer screen.
This postion takes a bit of work to get right when heeled but the spinnaker acts as a good pillow and the engine can help stay warm in the cold.
Variations on this position supported by the windward winch can be good for really short sleeps when it’s not too cold or wet. Helps keep the weight to windward too.
Sam demonstrating ‘the plank’ only good when the boat is very flat. Not a personal favorite.
The ‘bow squeeze’, not so comfy but good for keeping the weight forward in light winds?
All above positions better than the last option of falling asleep at the helm!