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Old 09-02-2014, 07:22   #31
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
And that's what radar is for. Put up radar reflectors and run the AIS if you have it. Modern ships rely on modern equipment, not visuals.
I have crossed the Pacific from Panama to Guam to California on my 48' steel cutter. Other ocean crossings too, but that was the longest. I have a radar reflector made of three aluminum discs about 25' above the water where my split backstays join up. And an aluminum mast that is 63' above the water.

On these transits when I see a ship's lights, I call them on VHF. Many times I have asked, "Do you see me on radar?" And many times they have said, "No, we don't see you." A 48' metal boat, metal mast, metal radar reflector. "No, we don't see you on radar." This is with a regular sea running, nothing big.

I think that ships turn their radar gain so far down that only other ships or the land will show up. They don't want to be bothered examining "clutter."

Well, sailormen and sailorgals, you had better NOT assume that ships see you on radar, unless you are actively pinging. If they can't see my 48' steel boat, I would sure bet they won't see a 40' GRP boat. I don't mean all the time, but a lot of the time.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:31   #32
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

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Originally Posted by ozskipper View Post
With a sinker attached, you should nearly be able to send mousing own from the top- attach the new cable then pull it back to the top..it may take some fiddling at the top and the bottom. But if you have a hollow mast, you have a pathway for a fresh new cable.
This is possible, and if you lose a halyard up the mast, it's your only method. But anytime you drop a weighted messenger down the mast you take the following risk: it might appear to be perfectly situated, but on the way down the mast the messenger can go this way and that around other halyards, and then make a detour fore or aft of the compression bars between your spreaders.

All may appear perfectly well for quite a while, but then some funky combination of loaded and unloaded halyards will cause them to twist and tangle and go totally FUBAR, usually where twisted halyards disagree about passing over the spreader compression bars.

If you must drop messengers, do it, but really test all possible halyard combinations, going up, down, loose etc. Don't run into jammed halyard SNAFU in the middle of the ocean with big waves and ships around.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:39   #33
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
I2f,
It's similar to dinghying back to your boat in a very dark, crowded anchorage when some people don't use an anchor light.
You can almost hit an anchored boat even if you're going very slowly.
The only way you know they're there is by some ethereal "feeling".
This is what I've done to help that situation. I have a 12v plug-in anchor light I hang from the boom. Much better than the masthead anchor light which I also have, because it lights up the deck and indicates the boat clearly. Most cruisers probably do something similar at anchor.

But in addition to that one legit and legal anchor light, I take the "belts and braces" approach and I also have a half-dozen solar-powered lawn lights on my lifeline posts both sides, fore and aft. I used quality white tape to affix 8" segments of approx. 1" O.D. pvc tube to the tops of my white lifeline posts. They are barely noticeable without the solar lights. At anchor, I drop the solar lights into these 6 pvc tubes, and they clearly show the entire vessel, how it is situated, etc. They also look nice, and make walking around the decks at anchor on a dark night very easy.

The white pvc tubes might look funky on a standard stainless steel lifeline stanchion, but you can adapt to suit your vessel, placing them on the bow and stern pulpits etc. It's a huge improvement at anchor over a masthead light or single cockpit light.

PS: Standard solar lawn lights also fit right into the top of a cockpit winch, like they were made to go there. (Without the detachable dirt spike, of course.)
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