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Old 26-09-2011, 16:24   #1
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Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

For some reason unknown to me, my 2003 Catalina 42 has only an anchor light up top!

I very much prefer a tricolor up there too for visibility so other vessels are able to see me at sea, no matter what the wave height.

I have purchased a tricolor / anchor light fitting but the problem is that only the wiring for anchor light is up there at the top of the mast.

The easiest solution for me is to just wire the tricolor light with existing anchor light wiring and hang out a temporary anchor light each night when required at deck level which illuminates the vessels structure rather than have a little white light up in the sky, often unseen and seemingly unattached to anything!

What do you think?
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Old 26-09-2011, 16:28   #2
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

Personally, I would use the existing anchor light wire as a messenger to run up the necessary wires to be able to have both the tri-color and an anchor light. At the same time I would also run up an additional messenger line in case I might wish to add a strobe at some future date.

Just my 2 cents, let's see what others have to suggest.

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Old 26-09-2011, 16:33   #3
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

The Aqua Signal Tricolor I sold you has an anchor light under the tricolor. Cabo sailor's advice is very sound and should be a relativly easy mission to accomplish.

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Old 26-09-2011, 18:34   #4
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

G'Day Jamel,

There is a way: using only the two extant wires, one can then use a pair of diodes in the lights to allow current to flow only one way through each one. Then a toggle switch down below is used to switch the polarity of the two wires (or turn them both off). Depending on the selected polarity, one or the other light will be illuminated. Should use Shotkey (sp?) diodes to minimize voltage drop. We've been using this setup on Insatiable II for years because we had the same situation, and it has been trouble free.

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Old 26-09-2011, 19:22   #5
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

Thanks guys, interesting!

Chris, thanks yes I realise its tri/anchor and would like to use both ideally with LED's which are fantastic for nav lights.

Jim, that sounds a lovely practical solution if I can just get my non- electrical brain around it!

A picture says a thousand words....any chance???
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Old 26-09-2011, 19:25   #6
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

The folks at Bebi, who sell LEDs, have the diagram on their website. I also recommend following their instructions for converting the tricolor standard bulb fixture to LEDs, as it saves lots of power, and you probably will never again need to change the bulb. Bebi is in Fiji at:
Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!
...Tom of Raven
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Old 26-09-2011, 19:45   #7
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

Chances are good that your wiring is not heavy enough for the tricolor, and the connections are probably all corroded by now, as well as the wires inside the insulation.

Find a reason to drop the mast. Rewire it with proper tinned wiring, including deck lights, steaming light, and any other thing you might want. Don't forget a new coax for your radio.

You can also split your deck lights into separate control for each.

Don't forget to size the ground to handle everything that might be on at one time. It'll be your biggest wire.

We had a tricolor just like yours on our cruising boat. With the 25 watt light and heavy wiring with clean contacts, we always had the brightest anchor light in the anchorage. Never a problem locating our boat, no matter how many cruisers were in the anchorage.

You do realize the tri color is only used when under sail, and not with the deck level lights on? You wouldn't believe how many times I see someone motoring along with everything glowing.
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Old 26-09-2011, 20:02   #8
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

If the wires are in good condition (and this is a big "if"), they are probably more than adequate for a LED tricolor. The LED tricolors draw around 0.2A -- much less than (for example) an incandescent anchor light.

Some tricolors come with a built-in anchor light, and use polarity to control which is illuminated. There are plenty of options.

On the other hand, replacing old wire is often a good idea.
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Old 26-09-2011, 20:47   #9
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

FWIW, it is my understanding that you may only display a masthead tricolor when under sail. When under motor you must display a steaming light and standard green/red lights on the bow and white on the stern.
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Old 26-09-2011, 21:07   #10
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

"If the wires are in good condition (and this is a big "if"), they are probably more than adequate for a LED tricolor. The LED tricolors draw around 0.2A -- much less than (for example) an incandescent anchor light."

I'm going to have to stop and think a bit more before posting. It's been a few years since I installed a tri-color. It hadn't occurred to me that they now make them with LED's. What will they think of next?
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Old 27-09-2011, 06:27   #11
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
Personally, I would use the existing anchor light wire as a messenger to run up the necessary wires to be able to have both the tri-color and an anchor light. At the same time I would also run up an additional messenger line in case I might wish to add a strobe at some future date...
Rich
What Rich said.
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Old 27-09-2011, 07:04   #12
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

[QUOTE=Weyalan;784071]FWIW, it is my understanding that you may only display a masthead tricolor when under sail. When under motor you must display a steaming light and standard green/red lights on the bow and white on the stern.[/QUOTE

That may well be so regulationswise, and as I intend to cross the Pacific I do hope I'll be sailing most of it!!

To my mind, it's all about being seen at sea, regulations like red /green lights on the bow is absolute c--p! Your chance of being seen offshore in a 10 foot sea by a crewman on night watch on a Japanese longliner is near to impossible. He will need to be as close as 100 yards to see my nav lights on the bow to get a clue which way I'm heading! i don't want him that near!!!!

As for THEIR nav lights, they are the last thing you see... their working arc lights light them up like a sports stadium!

Nav lighting regulations for yachts need to consider...safety and common sense FIRST and foremost, particularly for offshore ocean sailing!
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Old 27-09-2011, 07:15   #13
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

Rule 25(a) Sailboats - Under Sail Only:
Red and Green side lights;
White Stern light.

Rule 25(b)Sailboats - Optional Tri-color Light:
Sailing vessels less than 20 meters in length may use a combination mast top tri-color light in place of the standard red and green sidelights and white stern light.

Rule 25(c)Sailboats - Optional Mast Top Lights:
Not required by law, but to make your sailboat more visible, you can use the optional Red over Green mast top lights in addition to the required:
- Red and Green side lights;
- White Stern light.

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Old 27-09-2011, 07:26   #14
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

I understand wanting to be seen at sea. Not wanting your lights covered by wave action. When you come to shore though you will need to follow regulation, and I will give an example.

We came to an inlet at night, and new to us. We were undersail due to a motor problem. My deck lights are removable, and I had forgotten to put them in place. There were so many lights due to fishermen in the channel, maybe 20-30, I couldn't find the bouys. Only at the last second they would dart out of my way. I didn't get it. Finally I turned on the galley lights, and they spread light flies from the swat of the horses tail. 8 windows lit up like huge teeth. Only after we got the hook down did I realize they were not looking up 60 ft., and didn't see me in the dark. If I had been alert enough to follow regulations they would've known I was there.

Send the messenger wire, and get it right........i2f
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Old 27-09-2011, 07:38   #15
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Re: Masthead Tricolor Nav Light Solution

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.
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