This IS Voyaging

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Does anybody really care?

We care. We care because we like to sleep. I've never thought of myself as a person who likes to sleep, now I find myself checking the time and thinking, "I can go to bed in an hour." "I can go to bed in 45 minutes." You get the idea. We have three rules at sea: 1. Stay on the boat. 2. Drink plenty of water. 3. Get plenty of rest.

We've sailed beyond sunrise and it's impacted my sleep.

To recap: The laptop and the log book are "programmed" at UTC; formerly known as Greenwich Mean Time, UTC is the time of the world clock. We are sailing toward UTC Land. Our bodies and the ship's clock are set for Atlantic Standard Time -- the time in Sint Maarten, which was congruent with the rising and setting of the sun and worked for our watches. Our watches are as follows:

6P to Midnight
Midnight to 6A
6A to 10A
10A to 2P
2P to 6P

We each get two day watches of rest every other day. This works great for us and many thanks to S/V Aurora for the idea.

Now that we have traveled for over almost two weeks, the sun is rising at 3 AM and that is just wrong, so we need to gradually get our bodies and our clocks all over to UTC. I brought it up a few days ago and EW has been pondering it. I was going to rectify the situation by an hour yesterday and actually changed one of the analogue clocks before I figured out that I would have to shorten EW's time off, not give him an extra hour. Since I want to stay on the boat,(Rule 1) I decided not to make that decision unilaterally, so I let it go and left one clock at the (soon to be) new time of one hour ahead.

Are you confused yet? We were, and it just gets worse. I realized that while the laptop is now on the same UTC time as Nimble Navigator and our GPS, this Sailmail program has UTC at one our later. One of these is wrong.

This morning, I was off until 6A AST but the bright sun streaming into the hatch woke me shortly after 5. I got up and made coffee to discover that EW had been trying to wrap his brain around changing the time. The discussion, during which one participant was waiting for coffee to perk and the other was ready to crawl into the sea bunk, was interesting.

EW: The IPad won't give me a time for where we are now.
B: Maybe you need a land mass. What time is it in Iceland?
EW: It doesn't have Iceland.

A moment of quite contemplation. I felt sorry for Iceland.

B: We need to go four hours ahead right? I set the kitchen timer one hour ahead yesterday - just so you know.
EW: I changed the laptop to UTC so it's the same as the Nible Navigator.
B: We just have to figure out how to do the watches and when. I think we shorten a watch by an hour, so the person off loses an hour of rest.
EW: If a train leaves Chicago, going 50 miles an hour...

We decided that we'd each lose an hour of rest on one of our two-rest period days. EW went down at 6 AST - which is now 7 on the boat and I'll wake him up at the new 10, which used to be 9. We'll give it a couple of days for us to settle in and then I'll give up an hour. That should put us more in sync with the sun. As we get closer to the Azores, we'll have to adjust another one or two hours -- depending on which UTC clock on board is correct.

Seriously, does anybody really know what time it is?

There is no jet lag at sea. But there is math. I could never figure out those train problems.

If a sailboat leaves Sint Maarten on the 16th of June and averages 5 Knots per hour .... it won't pass anyone. Trust me.


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Sandy Dreams

I am pretty sure that Barbara will not be able to read the comments until she reaches land; so can someone with their sailmail address please ask her to keep including the lat and long in her posts?! I like tracking her and seeing where they are.

When you do get this message....we love and miss you guys!
Jen, Ryan, and Sissy

Ps: in Reykjavik, Iceland the time is 4 hours ahead of STT. ;)


Time is all relative.


Brilliant post! I never really thought about all the math involved either. Poor Iceland - I hope someone has found them.

Carolyn - The Boat Galley

Why not change time zones an hour at a time as you cross time zones (every 15 degrees), and just adjust the times of your watches so they are still the same number of hours?

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