Originally Posted by capta
It's very simple; bow mounted running lites will shine on the water
from time to time, possibly reflect a little light off the pulpit and maybe illuminate your jib
a bit. All this adds depth
perception so that someone looking down (not up, over the horizon at the lite like looking from a sailboat) can estimate distance.
Sorry if I sound overly sensitive on this one, but I came very close to killing some sailors (that time, don't get me started about experiences driving tugs and barges; many, many very near dead dummies) and I was very conscientious that night as I had spent six years captaining sail and power charter
yachts in that area and knew they were probably around.
This is not an opinion; it happened and I analyzed and agonized the why of it all for years afterwords.
I have to say that if you're looking down at my lights, but up at my tricolor, then our encounter went wrong a long time ago. It sounds like what you're really asking for is more incidental deck-level lighting
. My red/green bow lights definitely do not ever illuminate my sails
, regardless of any wave reflections, etc.
Did this close-quarters encounter happen in a traffic zone, or channel? When I'm in an area such as that I do run the deck-level lights, on the presumption that we will be sailing close to other traffic and they will be scanning the water
, not the sky. When I'm on the open ocean, where I consider a 1-mile CPA to be a close call, I use the tricolor.
I have to say you've given me something to think about, but my experience at sea, looking at other sailboats as well as ships, leads me to a different conclusion. Heck, my tri-color is about the same height as the running lights on most small ships.