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Old 06-06-2014, 04:13   #16
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Wouldn't the aft-faced light tend to blind the helmsman? I'd consider having the two spreader lights to be on two different circuits. If deck lighting was a priority and the boat had two masts, wouldn't having lights on both masts' spreader (on different circuits) be desirable?
It doesn't appear that a spreader light aimed at the aft deck would disturb the helmsman on your boat. It's not disturbing on mine either and certainly it's not "aft-facing". From about 30' above the deck it's only about a ten degree offset from straight down to illuminate the aft deck. Anyway, like others have said, I don't use my spreader lights underway and I don't use them often enough to motivate me to make them more complicated by using more locations or circuits, but it is good of you to point out the possibilities for others.
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:34   #17
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

I have gotten by for ten years with headlamp and definitely agree with night vision concerns I have seen posted. I was seeing the utility in these lights for boarding the deck from dinghy after a bonfire (Apostle Islands), cleaning up decks that same night, docking, boarding and loading up the boat at night at slip.

Maybe I just install one as a foredeck light?
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:50   #18
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

Interesting discussion. Just exactly what is it that people do on deck at night that they can't do blindfolded? Seriously?

The only use I can think of for a light on deck at night while underway is a very dim one illuminating the telltales on the headsail. I thought the purpose of spreader lights was to make the boat look occupied and discourage boarders when anchored in a sketchy harbor. Always used the steaming light to illuminate the head sail to make the boat more visible to ships since it actually shines on the sail and not directly at your eyes.

I am not trying to be snarky. Just curious what people do with their spreader lights, especially my neighbor, who sometimes turns his on at night at the dock while he is down below for some reason.
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:54   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketchgould View Post
I have gotten by for ten years with headlamp and definitely agree with night vision concerns I have seen posted. I was seeing the utility in these lights for boarding the deck from dinghy after a bonfire (Apostle Islands), cleaning up decks that same night, docking, boarding and loading up the boat at night at slip.

Maybe I just install one as a foredeck light?
We board from the dink either over the lowered transom platform (like a swim platform) or over one quarter (if there's any swell). I have sometimes wanted some kind of light on that process. Some kind of floodlight illuminating the afterdeck might be nice for that. I've also sometimes wanted a boom light like I've seen on some Oysters. But spreader lights - I get almost no use out of them.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:29   #20
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

I used to have a pair of battery draining "tractor headlights" on my spreaders that I would never use except for an added illumination for a short time when I suspected that I was not seen while sailing at night. Two years ago I replaced these with efficient LEDs that are not very bright.


I've only used these to put a little "glow" on my deck so I can be seen and locate my boat when returning late from the dinghy dock. I could have some future regret, but I don't expect to ever need bright spreader lights. I can always carry a personally held light. I like the thoughts of different circuits, different light intensities, or "dimmer" switches; however, simplicity has a great appeal too.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:30   #21
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Interesting discussion. Just exactly what is it that people do on deck at night that they can't do blindfolded? Seriously?

The only use I can think of for a light on deck at night while underway is a very dim one illuminating the telltales on the headsail. I thought the purpose of spreader lights was to make the boat look occupied and discourage boarders when anchored in a sketchy harbor. Always used the steaming light to illuminate the head sail to make the boat more visible to ships since it actually shines on the sail and not directly at your eyes.

I am not trying to be snarky. Just curious what people do with their spreader lights, especially my neighbor, who sometimes turns his on at night at the dock while he is down below for some reason.
Very much my thoughts. I find some of the LED flashlights (the Cree LED ones, anyway) better for checking out the telltales or main shape with just a one-second "flash" and the Petzl-type headlamps focus narrowly on the side decks. Light where you want it, and no light where you don't, which is by definition the opposite of "spreader" lights, which spread light down much of the boat.

I got smacked in the head by a flying fish 400 NM south of Bermuda on a 3 AM watch. I only needed a brief flash of headlamp to find the wee bugger, who seemed as startled as me at the turn of events. And no, I didn't have the lamp on prior to that, and the instruments were dimmed right down. It's why I eat carrots.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:00   #22
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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Just curious what people do with their spreader lights, especially my neighbor, who sometimes turns his on at night at the dock while he is down below for some reason.
I, too, agree with the first part of your post.

This is like the neighbor keeping his front door porch light and back yard lights on all night. Must be a security freak.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:16   #23
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

My bad. Thread drift.

I had a remarkable experience once, as a youth night sailing across Lake Michigan. One that I will always remember, and never forget.

We were ghosting along in light winds probably, just about in the middle of the lake, a minimum of forty miles to the nearest land. I was just sort of standing on the cabin top. Hanging out watching the night go by. Resting my hand on the boom.

All of the sudden I see this dark phantom shape flutter past me and disappear into the boom right before me.

The boat was a racer with a series of go-fast lightening holes in the boom, and when I shined my torch into the hole to investigate, this little tiny bat came flying out at me.

It was sort of amazing. This itty bitty thing no bigger than the palm of my hand, out there, forty miles from land in the middle of the night flying around eating bugs on a summer's night. Doing it's thing.

I love night sailing. It's the best.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:19   #24
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

I actually have two neighbors who do this. One more than the other. Sometimes they also turn on their running lights while they are sitting at the dock. It's very strange. I asked one guy why he does it and his reply was "no reason"

These boats happen to never leave the dock, so I suppose it's good those lights get at least some use.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:17   #25
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

Got one in my Marina that has really bright, but really blue spreader lights, looks cool, but useless.
What's better is those people that pay lots to punch extra holes in their boat so that they can light up the water at night.
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:15   #26
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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Got one in my Marina that has really bright, but really blue spreader lights, looks cool, but useless.
What's better is those people that pay lots to punch extra holes in their boat so that they can light up the water at night.
It's funny how little distance we are in our displays of mating behaviour from the rest of the animal kingdom. Or perhaps I mean "false advertising".
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:18   #27
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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... Sometimes they also turn on their running lights while they are sitting at the dock. It's very strange. I asked one guy why he does it and his reply was "no reason"

These boats happen to never leave the dock, so I suppose it's good those lights get at least some use.
Testing to see if they still work?

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Old 06-06-2014, 11:20   #28
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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It doesn't appear that a spreader light aimed at the aft deck would disturb the helmsman on your boat. ...
I was thinking in terms of the typical sailboat, not my forward pilothouse motor vessel.
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Old 06-06-2014, 14:00   #29
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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I was thinking in terms of the typical sailboat, not my forward pilothouse motor vessel.
Good point! ....but still "typical" includes lights that are high above on the other side of a bimini top. Add to that, center cocpit, split rig, dim LEDs, etc.. "typical" is hard to recognize; however, I'll agree that you are right,- lights aimed in your face are bad!
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Old 06-06-2014, 14:32   #30
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Re: Spreader Light Placements

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Interesting discussion. Just exactly what is it that people do on deck at night that they can't do blindfolded? Seriously?
Examples:

  • Genaker halyard chafed thru, chute ended in the water. Pulling lines and chute out of the water, securing everything, the lights helped. a lot.
  • Night boarding by the Trinidad CG on the way from Grenada. Turned on the spreader lights to help them come aboard.
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