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Old 08-07-2015, 19:04   #46
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by sailjumanji View Post
In three weeks, we are going to pull the mast on our 13 yr old Seawind,. The rigger suggested that at the same time the mast is down, we consider changing out the anchor light and the steaming/spreader light to LED units at the same time. He's a big fan of the Stecktronic LED's, having fantastic service and experience with them. Right now I have an Aqua Signal anchor light at top of mast, that I put a Dr LED light in. So I am already low-draw LED. (Just as an FYI, I also had to put in a diode and a resistor (I think) to kill the interference I was getting from the bulb. Had to do this for all of the fixtures with the Dr LED bulbs, as otherwise the VHF was unusable due to the amount of static.)
.
We have Aqua Signal tricolor converted to LED by Marne Beam. Check out the bi-color & tri-color replacements potted in aluminum. The emitters are red, green, white so you could abandon the tinted lenses. Nearly all of the energy is available as light, & not filtered out. To avoid RF interference, the PWM circuit needs to operate at around 30 KHz or higher. We get no interference with Marine Beam. Bayonet Bulbs with Indexed BAY15d Base (for Nav Lights) Many of the less sophisticated bulbs operate below 20 KHz. On our conversion, I also added sharp dividers to make sure the color separation was good. These things are painfully bright. The other replacement bulbs and fixtures are also good. I have the 10-inch fluorescent replacement in the wire chase behind the NAV station-no interference.

We have Signalmate bow & stern red, green, white emitter fixtures at the deck level with switching for mast or deck. These are also very bright. Signal Mate - Products
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Old 08-07-2015, 21:07   #47
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by alctel View Post
True, but my Running Lights draw 0.3 amps and Red over Green draw 0.2 amps, so not a huge problem overall
Sweet! Sounds like you have the ideal system, then.
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Old 08-07-2015, 21:15   #48
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

Lights near the deck are easier to service. Small boats (perhaps under 20 meters in length) don't usually come with very bright lights, so range is limited anyway. Cabin height is a nice compromise.


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Old 08-07-2015, 21:25   #49
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
Not quite. The mast top light signals are all two lights, vertically arrayed one meter apart:
"Red over Green, I'm a sailing machine"
"Red over White, Fishing at Night"
"Green over White, Trawling at Night".
Trawlers have to be moving, green for go. Fishing vessels might be stopped, red for stop.
Great mnemonics.

You are correct, though a fishing or trawling vessel of less than 50m has no masthead light, so a sailboat under power with a steaming and tricolour light match the definition.

Red over red is actually Not Under Command. I don't think green over green means anything in particular.
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Old 08-07-2015, 21:54   #50
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
I love these NavRules threads. The discussion on masthead lights always comes up. In my Captain License course I almost hate to see sailors signed up, there's so much not by the book terminology they have to unlearn to pass the exam. The course would be easier to teach to some one who had never seen a boat.

I think you are quite right here. I think I'm quite ok with light requirements until I read threads like this and then I get a headache trying to work out what's according to the rules and which one's arnt.
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Old 08-07-2015, 22:47   #51
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I have the Amazonia tricolor at the top of the mast, and they have worked well for some time now (7 years?). They produce zero radio interference, as they use a linear regulator, not a switcher. I have checked this with my radio test and measurement gear, as well as my co-located VHF antenna.

You will have to do some fancy wiring, or use their switching circuit to make use of the strobe / anchor light features, since they reverse the polarity to control one of these functions (I forget which).

I use my deck-level nav lights when near land, as people usually are looking at your hull, not the top of the mast. At sea the tricolor gives you a lot more range.
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Old 08-07-2015, 23:24   #52
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by capt jgw View Post
The masthead light and steaming light are one in the same, a 225 degree white light showing forward. On a sailboat it is usually half way up the mast, not at the "masthead". That's why we call it a "steaming light" instead. It's only required to be one meter higher than the red and green side lights. The one you're referring to is the "tricolor" light which is the red and green side lights and white stern light combined. It is at the "masthead" or top of the mast and may only be used under sail alone.
I think that is what causes a lot of confusion and I find use of the term 'masthead light' in the rules odd as it is rarely at the mast head on most ships.

'Steaming light' is what I have always used..saves confusion if tri-light is used for the other one.

Mind you there aren't many steamships out there these days - apart from the USN, the british and russian navys.....
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Old 08-07-2015, 23:28   #53
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
....
I use my deck-level nav lights when near land, as people usually are looking at your hull, not the top of the mast. At sea the tricolor gives you a lot more range.
Ditto... speaking from my day job experience tricolours have a very bad habit of blending in with shore lights ..
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Old 09-07-2015, 00:39   #54
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I think that is what causes a lot of confusion and I find use of the term 'masthead light' in the rules odd as it is rarely at the mast head on most ships.

'Steaming light' is what I have always used..saves confusion if tri-light is used for the other one.

Mind you there aren't many steamships out there these days - apart from the USN, the british and russian navys.....
Is that true? Sailboats are a tiny fraction of the vessels out there. On ships and powerboats aren't the masthead lights found on the top of their masts? What else would they have above that other than possibly antennas?
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:44   #55
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Is that true? Sailboats are a tiny fraction of the vessels out there. On ships and powerboats aren't the masthead lights found on the top of their masts? What else would they have above that other than possibly antennas?
I expected to be picked up on the USN steamboat bit

Big ships for years have put them all over the show... just so long as they comply with the regs....
First pic ... frd steaming can be seen hanging below the forestay..after steaming is between the yardarm and the crosstrees on the foremast
2nd pic.. the world's first 'mastless' liner.. one steaming light on the front of the mast... the other on a samson post
3rd pic... frd steaming light is probably on that metre long stump above the bridge... either that or the after steaming light is on the funnel... who knows.

That said many container ships and bulk carriers have their steaming lights 'near' the top of their masts.... or poles..or stumps..or whatever..


ooooops...lets try again with the pics....
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:24   #56
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Ditto... speaking from my day job experience tricolours have a very bad habit of blending in with shore lights ..
+1 Have had some bad frights while oow on container ships. The tricolors are too dim and too high to be easily spotted. Even offshore they present as a distant star or ship, not a close yacht. So I consider them dangerous and don't use them if I have deck level lights.

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Old 09-07-2015, 06:27   #57
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

Bugger... to late to edit.... that should read as below....
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
...
Big ships for years have put them all over the show... just so long as they comply with the regs....
First pic ... frd steaming can be seen hanging below the forestay..after steaming is between the yardarm and the crosstrees on the foremast
2nd pic.. the world's first 'mastless' liner.. one steaming light on the front of the funnel... the other on a samson post....
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Old 09-07-2015, 17:15   #58
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
+1 Have had some bad frights while oow on container ships. The tricolors are too dim and too high to be easily spotted. Even offshore they present as a distant star or ship, not a close yacht. So I consider them dangerous and don't use them if I have deck level lights.

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G'Day Ben,

I'm missing something here... why are deck level lights brighter than tricolors? And at a distance of a couple of miles (the range specified as required but often exceeded), the angle observed from the bridge of a merchant vessel shouldn't be all that different. I've been sailing with tricolours offshore with the belief that they are easier to see, and would be interested to learn otherwise and to understand why.

Seems that some of the newer LED tricolours are pretty bright... likely brighter than our old incandescent bulbs at the distant end of a lot of wiring. Have you any experience observing them at sea?

HOpe that you haven't frozen to death down there, mate!

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Old 09-07-2015, 17:32   #59
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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G'Day Ben,

I'm missing something here... why are deck level lights brighter than tricolors? And at a distance of a couple of miles (the range specified as required but often exceeded), the angle observed from the bridge of a merchant vessel shouldn't be all that different. I've been sailing with tricolours offshore with the belief that they are easier to see, and would be interested to learn otherwise and to understand why.

Seems that some of the newer LED tricolours are pretty bright... likely brighter than our old incandescent bulbs at the distant end of a lot of wiring. Have you any experience observing them at sea?

HOpe that you haven't frozen to death down there, mate!

Jim
I don't have a problem with tricolours offshore... inshore is a different matter.

No yacht photos to hand ( I have some good ones somewhere in the archives ) but just put yachts into these two photos and think where their trilights can end up.... on or near the visible horizon....think 'cloak of invisibility'.... if you do see the light the perspective can go tits up.... what is half a mile off can look like its just off the beach. Those pics show it as seen from the bridge of this (3rd pic https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/pho...94401/#forward ...lower the height of eye... higher the trilight is in the sky...

El Ping ...feeling right at home in sunny Auckland....
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Old 09-07-2015, 17:50   #60
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Re: Navigation Lights on Mast or Bow, or Both

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I don't have a problem with tricolours offshore... inshore is a different matter.

No yacht photos to hand ( I have some good ones somewhere in the archives ) but just put yachts into these two photos and think where their trilights can end up.... on or near the visible horizon....think 'cloak of invisibility'.... if you do see the light the perspective can go tits up.... what is half a mile off can look like its just off the beach. Those pics show it as seen from the bridge of this https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/pho...94401/#forward ...lower the height of eye... higher the trilight is in the sky...

El Ping ...feeling right at home in sunny Auckland....
OK, but how about some photos where it's dark? You know, like when we would actually have our tricolors turned on? Sure, around sunset / sunrise there might be a horizon issue, but any lights are hard to see in those conditions. Hell, my tricolor is still closer to the water than deck-level nav lights on a freighter...

I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I don't understand. Inshore, I get, but offshore? From my sailboat I can sure see a masthead tricolor much further than a small boat's deck-level lights.
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