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Old 02-04-2015, 17:02   #106
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
They do look cool on the superyachts - that is what gave me the idea! I also like the underwater lights... thats also a way to increase visibility without disturbing your neighbors, and look cool while doing it.
I dunno, I can think of easier ways to make my boat visible at anchor after dark, that don't involve drilling a bunch of new holes in my boat below the waterline, while pretending I own a superyacht...

:-)



Yeah, let's see if we can come up with yet more reasons for folks to be running their Honda 2000 on deck though the night...

:-)

If you do go the underwater lighting route, you might want to bring plenty of extra zincs along for the ride ...
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Old 02-04-2015, 17:10   #107
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

It would seem to me that BLUE (probably LED array) lights located next to ones running lights would solve the problem of maximum all around visibility, being at approaching boats eye-level plus not blinding/keeping awake the sleeping crew.
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Old 02-04-2015, 17:27   #108
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
My view is that anchored boats should want to reduce their risk of collision by displaying good anchor lighting.

I might well be entering your anchorage tired, the visibility may be poor, I maybe distracted by some unrelated problem. If I hit your boat it may be legally even morally my fault.

However, this is of little consolation if you are the boat I hit.

These days led lights are available that far exceed the minimum requirements with only a very small penalty in electrical consumption. An additional deck level LED light will probably add less than 2% to your daily electrical consumption.

The surprise is very few boats take advantage of this. Few would consider embarking on offshore voyage on a boat that only meets the bare minimum safety requirements, but many site compliance with the minimum lighting standards of the collision regulations as the ultimate answer.
Thanks for you're useful perspective. I think the differences in viewpoints here derives from the dissimilar experience levels and type of sailing posters engage in. If you can sail between anchorages and always guage your arrival in daylight, as in coastal cruising or say the San Juan Islands, you may not quite understand what it's like to sail 10 days or so between anchorages, encountering different conditions along the way. Oh, how I'd like to have been able to always ensure daylight arrivals, on a favourable tide, avoiding weekend arrivals and extra immigration charges over two near global circumnavigations. If a remote anchorage must be passed when you've already been underway two weeks; and the next is another week away, you want very much to stop. It would be too bad if blue water cruisers as a whole didn't use their masthead lights to help guide others in.

When I say masthead lights are superior to anyone wanting to orient an approach into an anchorage at night, it is because they - while lower placed lights may not - can be seen far away.
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Old 02-04-2015, 20:12   #109
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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No one advocated:

1. Steering a rhumb line towards someone's anchor light without checking the chart for obstacles; or;

2. Assuming that because there's an anchor light over there, there's plenty of water for me.

These would be silly positions, which no one on here would advocate. You shouldn't put words in people's mouths. This is an argument about nothing.

If someone gets a helpful visual reference from my well-lit up boat in the anchorage before them, I am glad of it. I am going to light up my boat well in any case.
Fair enough... Although I don't think I was claiming he was ''advocating" such approaches, but rather pointing out the potential pitfalls of a reliance upon an indicator as transient or haphazard as an anchor light as an aid to navigation...

Hell, even the risk of relying upon a single charted, floating navigational aid to fix one's position should be well known to all, as buoys can so easily drift off station, or be misplaced. A few years ago, a total of 7 boats - among them a million dollar sportfisherman that eventually sunk - grounded in St Augustine Inlet due to a single misplaced buoy... So, working on the assumption that a single or cluster of anchor lights are gonna be where you think they should be could easily prove to be a costly mistake...

The hugely experienced voyager Thies Matzen - who sails the Hiscock's original WANDERER with his partner Kicki Erikson - put his boat on a reef one night years ago on their approach to the well-charted and well-lit opening of the reef towards Noumea, New Caledonia, at the end of a tiring 9 day passage from New Zealand... It is a cautionary tale, a candid and illuminating example of how we can so easily be tempted to see what we want to see in such a situation... If a guy like Matzen can confuse the leading lights of such an entrance, seems to me any of us relying upon a randomly-placed anchor light(s) to "get our bearings", or help "guide us in" in the sort of scenario described earlier, might stand a pretty good chance of coming to similar grief, no?

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Go Zeehag go!

So, when's the last time you approached A REMOTE ANCHORAGE, as in far away from any significant source of lighting ashore? In an area possibly littered with reefs, in foul weather and a narrow approach. One, maybe two boats already in the anchorage. Possibly no visible markers or other guides leading to the anchorage are available.
The piece by Matzen is well worth reading, one of the better descriptions in recent memory how easily our mind can play tricks on us, during the search to see what we want to see... As he so aptly puts it, once thought he saw the light he wanted to see, "I was HOOKED... "

Quote:
The leading lights were there, on Récif Toombo and Récif To, both of no relevance once we were on course. I fumbled with the chart-table lamp to read the small print around Récif Tabou, for that one mattered. Once we spotted it, we had to turn to port and head straight north for it, and leave the leading line. I followed the nearly indecipherable dotted arc around its light, partitioned into sectors. White; obscured. White again? The chart wasn't clear. When I headed back up into the cockpit to wait for the leading lights to fall into line, "white" was imprinted in my brain. Just off Amédée lighthouse, a tiny touch to the west and on the correct bearing from where we were, I spotted it: a light. White! Récif Tabou! I was hooked.

Having picked up the leading lights five miles off, we were comfortably holding the heading in a moderate breeze. I saw smaller red and green blinking buoys to starboard that my old chart didn't show; I interpreted these to be new guides through a secondary entrance, and in fact, that's what they were.


But with lights added, had others been changed?


How on earth could these lights have failed to reawaken the caution that had always served me well? We shouldn't even be close enough to see them. Why didn't I do as I've always done, over so many years spent in the reef-strewn waters of Kiribati, Micronesia, and Indonesia? Impeccably timing critical passages with the full moon, never taking risks, absolutely never going in-anywhere-at night. There was one resolution that my ownership of Wanderer III since 1981 had deeply ingrained in me: A storm, a freak incident, c'est la vie. But I was never to lose her through bad seamanship.


At other times, we hove to. It's so easily done. And Wanderer III does it so well, in storms, in bad weather, and off tricky landfalls. An underrated element of seamanship, hoving to is vital when sailing requires vigilance, alertness, and good judgment rather than dependence upon electronics.

Surely this wasn't a remote pass in a banana republic. This was Nouvelle-Calédonie, Europe in the Pacific; this was France. In 1961, the Hiscocks had made it through here on Wanderer III at night.


But we weren't the Hiscocks. And on that night, something went critically astray in my mind and my focus. The pelagic harmony I once knew, now two years unmaintained, had gone. After having given Wanderer III a new skeleton, she was definitely in better sea shape at the age of 50 than I was. I lacked the mental agility of the sailor that I'd been. As in a game of roulette, my vision had rotated round the dark plate of ocean and got stuck in one section: the white light. And I no longer took other things I saw into account...


Rescue of Wanderer III | Cruising World
Bottom line is, anyone who's gonna rely on someone else's anchor light as a means of helping to establish their own position, better damn well hope that guy is anchored where you think he should be anchored...

:-)
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Old 02-04-2015, 20:28   #110
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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If a remote anchorage must be passed when you've already been underway two weeks; and the next is another week away, you want very much to stop. It would be too bad if blue water cruisers as a whole didn't use their masthead lights to help guide others in.
Yeah, that "wanting to stop, NOW..." has probably brought more boats to grief than any other single desire... How can the weary mariner resist the temptation of those twinkling masthead lights, with their 'Come Hither' glow waiting to guide the next sailor into an otherwise unlit/unmarked approach...

Heaving-to, or standing off until daybreak to make and approach instead? Nah, that sort of stuff is SO 20th Century, nobody does that sort of thing anymore, especially when one can count on the Kindness of Strangers in all those "remote" anchorages out there...

:-)
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Old 02-04-2015, 22:29   #111
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Yeah, that "wanting to stop, NOW..." has probably brought more boats to grief than any other single desire... How can the weary mariner resist the temptation of those twinkling masthead lights, with their 'Come Hither' glow waiting to guide the next sailor into an otherwise unlit/unmarked approach...

Heaving-to, or standing off until daybreak to make and approach instead? Nah, that sort of stuff is SO 20th Century, nobody does that sort of thing anymore, especially when one can count on the Kindness of Strangers in all those "remote" anchorages out there...

:-)
You may be right, there. Lots of people trust their electronics implicitly. Computer assisted groundings.

The guy from Wanderer III is right in a way, you want to get into a safe anchorage at the end of a long passage. We have hove to to wait for light many times, and also, keep just sailing around on the main alone till light, if you don't want to heave to. Or, when you see you'll arrive after it's too late for good visibility into the water, slow the boat down, to arrive at the time you desire. It has certainly kept us safe all these years!

One time, we dragged without knowing it, clear across a large bay before snagging the hook on the other side of the bay (for those who are familiar with it, it was across Bonne Anse in New Caledonia from the lighthouse bay). Jim went above decks for his night time look around before sleep, and everything looked all different. We were quite relieved that another boat in the anchorage proper had seen us on our excursion across to the north side, and turned on their anchor light, and in fact, it did help us to get oriented, using the other lights we could see to work out where we were. The radar helped, too. So, following that experience, I think that while you wouldn't use other's lights to navigate by, under normal circumstances, they can indeed be helpful for others coming into the anchorage. They tell you how far away to stay from their boat, too.


Ann
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:00   #112
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

I would encourage members to practice entering anchorages at night. It is an important skill to learn. Start with an anchorage that you are familiar with, an easy entry, few hazards and choose a night with a reasonable amount of moon and good weather.

The greatest element of seamanship is judging what your crew and vessel are capable of managing safely. Deliberately practicing in gradually more difficult circumstances will improve your skill level and importantly enable you to draw the line at the correct level.

Even if you only plan to complete all journeys in daylight hours the practice of anchoring at night will be invaluable if when you drag at night.

Everyone, I hope, knows that the only time boats drag is 2am
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:14   #113
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

I've heard from a reliable source Amédée lighthouse was put in the wrong location. It was a "mistake".

Both times I've been to New Caledonia I entered at Havanna Channel. First time I hove to until morning when there was a favourable tide. Second time I arrived in daylight and was able to go right in on a favourable tide. There is no way I'd try to enter New Calidonia through any pass at night, although I know three Aussie girls that entered at night, anchoring off Amédée till morning.

It's a matter of judgement which remote anchorages you pass by or give a go at night. Even with ports, I may or may not try a night time entrance. Still, when approaching an anchorage it is the masthead lights you see first. There's a big difference between "orienting" one's self and using any lights other than clearly identified leading or channel lights for guidance. The masthead light simply informs one of your relative position to the anchorage. After that you rely on all navigational aids available to you. ALL.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:23   #114
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Fair enough... Although I don't think I was claiming he was ''advocating" such approaches, but rather pointing out the potential pitfalls of a reliance upon an indicator as transient or haphazard as an anchor light as an aid to navigation...

Hell, even the risk of relying upon a single charted, floating navigational aid to fix one's position should be well known to all, as buoys can so easily drift off station, or be misplaced. A few years ago, a total of 7 boats - among them a million dollar sportfisherman that eventually sunk - grounded in St Augustine Inlet due to a single misplaced buoy... So, working on the assumption that a single or cluster of anchor lights are gonna be where you think they should be could easily prove to be a costly mistake...

The hugely experienced voyager Thies Matzen - who sails the Hiscock's original WANDERER with his partner Kicki Erikson - put his boat on a reef one night years ago on their approach to the well-charted and well-lit opening of the reef towards Noumea, New Caledonia, at the end of a tiring 9 day passage from New Zealand... It is a cautionary tale, a candid and illuminating example of how we can so easily be tempted to see what we want to see in such a situation... If a guy like Matzen can confuse the leading lights of such an entrance, seems to me any of us relying upon a randomly-placed anchor light(s) to "get our bearings", or help "guide us in" in the sort of scenario described earlier, might stand a pretty good chance of coming to similar grief, no?



The piece by Matzen is well worth reading, one of the better descriptions in recent memory how easily our mind can play tricks on us, during the search to see what we want to see... As he so aptly puts it, once thought he saw the light he wanted to see, "I was HOOKED... "

Bottom line is, anyone who's gonna rely on someone else's anchor light as a means of helping to establish their own position, better damn well hope that guy is anchored where you think he should be anchored...

:-)
All very true, and useful, and interesting, but doesn't really demonstrate that other people's anchor lights can't be useful. I don't think any decent sailor would use other people's anchor lights to "establish their own positions". It's just a visual reference like many others, which can be either misused, or used profitably, according to the abilities and condition of the skipper in any given case.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:32   #115
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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I've heard from a reliable source Amédée lighthouse was put in the wrong location. It was a "mistake".

Both times I've been to New Caledonia I entered at Havanna Channel. First time I hove to until morning when there was a favourable tide. Second time I arrived in daylight and was able to go right in on a favourable tide. There is no way I'd try to enter New Calidonia through any pass at night, although I know three Aussie girls that entered at night, anchoring off Amédée till morning.

It's a matter of judgement which remote anchorages you pass by or give a go at night. Even with ports, I may or may not try a night time entrance. Still, when approaching an anchorage it is the masthead lights you see first. There's a big difference between "orienting" one's self and using any lights other than clearly identified leading or channel lights for guidance. The masthead light simply informs one of your relative position to the anchorage. After that you rely on all navigational aids available to you. ALL.
Indeed, but with even half decent charts, and modern electronics, night is not normally a big problem in most anchorages.

On a long trip through the Sea of Cortez we always anchored after dark. Our charts were notoriously poor -- out by up to a mile in some places. But we had radar and a depth sounder to check the charts. Twas not a big problem. I remember well that in one of them there were two boats ahead of us, and their anchor lights really helped to visualize where we were -- not to "establish a position", but to achieve orientation, which can be hard on a moonless night when you can't see anything.

I find anchoring in the dark a lot easier than entering strange ports in the dark. I had a scary moment last summer coming into some German port -- Sassnitz?. In the middle of the night, exhausted after a couple of days and nights at sea in bad weather coming from Sweden, hard on the wind and tacking. No lights on in the port - saving energy I guess. You had no choice but to orient yourself with the plotter. But the pontoons had been rearranged, and what I thought was a fairway had been closed off. Bloody good thing I saw the barrier just in time. Murphy's Law -- this always seems to happen on moonless or thick overcast nights.
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Old 03-04-2015, 08:35   #116
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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All very true, and useful, and interesting, but doesn't really demonstrate that other people's anchor lights can't be useful. I don't think any decent sailor would use other people's anchor lights to "establish their own positions". It's just a visual reference like many others, which can be either misused, or used profitably, according to the abilities and condition of the skipper in any given case.
I know I haven't, and I don't believe anyone else has said distant masthead lights should be used to establish their "position". You use charts for that. The lights are used to "orient" one's self. Ah, there's what appears to be the anchorage over there. According to my chart, that's where it should be. Now, to get my self safely into the anchorage using...
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:19   #117
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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I know I haven't, and I don't believe anyone else has said distant masthead lights should be used to establish their "position". You use charts for that. The lights are used to "orient" one's self. Ah, there's what appears to be the anchorage over there. According to my chart, that's where it should be. Now, to get my self safely into the anchorage using...

I finally figured out that was what you were really trying to say all along but were not getting the message clear in your previous replies.

I am still of the opinion in most circumstances as the anchored vessel, the main risk is going to be from new arrivals (and returning from shore bar drunks) and the difficulty of seeing masthead lights from close up, versus a light hung lower down and/or additional lights over deck and cockpit.

I will continue to hang my legal 2ml visible low power use anchor light from the furled genoa sheets or even over the cockpit. ON stupid nights in the USA like 4th July or St Pats day I might also supplement that with a very bright LED lantern hung on the boom over the cockpit. If in a truly remote anchorage in Woga Woga Boondocks land with others around and where some long distance ocean arrival might be anticipated I might also turn on the masthead incandescent anchor light as well, but I'm not going to go right out and buy a new ultra bright one or fit a strobe light on that offchance.
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:52   #118
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
I dunno, I can think of easier ways to make my boat visible at anchor after dark, that don't involve drilling a bunch of new holes in my boat below the waterline, while pretending I own a superyacht...

:-)



Yeah, let's see if we can come up with yet more reasons for folks to be running their Honda 2000 on deck though the night...

:-)

If you do go the underwater lighting route, you might want to bring plenty of extra zincs along for the ride ...
Don't be jealous of my meganot. One day you could own one as well.
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:12   #119
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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I finally figured out that was what you were really trying to say all along but were not getting the message clear in your previous replies.

I am still of the opinion in most circumstances as the anchored vessel, the main risk is going to be from new arrivals (and returning from shore bar drunks) and the difficulty of seeing masthead lights from close up, versus a light hung lower down and/or additional lights over deck and cockpit.

I will continue to hang my legal 2ml visible low power use anchor light from the furled genoa sheets or even over the cockpit. ON stupid nights in the USA like 4th July or St Pats day I might also supplement that with a very bright 0LED lantern hung on the boom over the cockpit. If in a truly remote anchorage in Woga Woga Boondocks land with others around and where some long distance ocean arrival might be anticipated I might also turn on the masthead incandescent anchor light as well, but I'm not going to go right out and buy a new ultra bright one or fit a strobe light on that offchance.
Well then, we cruisers who are nearing an anchorage will just have to hope you're not the only boat there. Experienced cruisers who know how helpful they can be to their kind arriving after dark will wear a masthead light. They been there done that too. What comes 'round goes 'round.
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Old 03-04-2015, 12:39   #120
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Re: Visibility While at Anchor

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Personally, I sleep with the honda 2000 runing, I am in the dark aft cabin, salon lights are on, anchor lite is on, and the bridge has led lights on. Lit up like a christmast tree.
I'm surprised this hasn't received more attention from anyone other than a sarcastic mention from Jon.

I can't imagine any reason to run a generator all night other than air conditioning. And if you're closed up and insulated from your surroundings and need air conditioning 24/7 why not stay tied to "the grid" at a dock, instead of annoying everyone else with your noise pollution and exhaust fumes?

I also own a small inverter generator (Yamaha 2000), and try to use it sparingly and only at day times/places it won't disturb others. (Didn't need to use it at all last summer.)

Most of us get away to get away from that kind of pollution.
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