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Old 12-01-2016, 21:00   #1
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Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Hi everyone,

I'm rewiring my mast on a 38' Morgan (1969) and wanted to know:

Do you use spreader lights or a Foredeck light more often? I'd like to go with one or the other unless it is very advantagous to have both.

Thoughts and suggestions, please!
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Old 12-01-2016, 21:15   #2
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

In all my years I have never used either except for cleaning the deck at the dock.

I find that there are no tasks required to be performed underway that can't be done with ambient night light or by feel or with a quick spot from a torch.

However, I have found that spreader lights and foredeck lights are very good for spoiling your night vision which is useful if you don't want to see in the dark!

Prolly not the answer you were looking for. YMMV
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Old 12-01-2016, 21:36   #3
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I have both, and I think I would always opt to have both as they illuminate different areas of the deck. That said they don't get used much. The spreader lights are used for reefing, but I normally put in the reef before dark so I rarely need to reef in the dark. The foredeck light is used primarily when handling ground tackle. Again another task that if most often done with still enough daylight. The most common use for both lights is to light up my boat like a fishing trawler to insure the large freighter sees me.
If I had to choose just one light it would be the foredeck light.

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Old 12-01-2016, 21:40   #4
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I have a combo steaming/foredeck light on the mast. Good illumination of the foredeck, for swabbing the deck after dark. But little to no light aft of the mast.

Spreader mounted lights may be better if entire deck illumination is your need.
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Old 12-01-2016, 22:24   #5
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Spreader lights... Rather good at illuminating the decks when unwanted, uninvited, undesirables come aboard at zero-dark-thirty. This I know from experience. Dual switching helps... Turn on from the helm OR from below - for us, at the companionway. Those lights should - IMHO - be considered as part of a boat security system. Plus noisemakers.

Foredeck light... Well, on our boat that causes a shadow when I'm up forward during anchor maneuvers or even when out checking the anchor system chaff guard. So, for me, those dinky LED headlamps are better because they put a bright light right where I'm looking. And isn't that the point?
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Old 12-01-2016, 22:31   #6
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I've always had foredeck lights rather than spreader lights. In a recent mast refit, we mounted a very bright LED lamp (came from the 4x4 market, btw) of 600 lumens IIRC. It does a great job of illuminating the foredeck when required, and there is enough scttered light at the mast base for jobs in that area, especially if there is a foresail set. It lights up the foresail very well for attracting the attention of merchant vessels if required, too.

As others have said, we don't use it very often... but w hen you need light, it is good to have GOOD light, especially for my aging eyes, so I'm happy with the choice.

Jim
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Old 13-01-2016, 00:18   #7
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I always figured the steaming light was most effective for illuminating the jib to alert other vessels to your presence. Is that a "my bad" somehow when not under power but using a foredeck light isn't? Seems like same difference.

If not why don't you just use the steaming light for that purpose? Shines horizontally and over a larger area of the sail and higher up. Just sayin.
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Old 13-01-2016, 00:25   #8
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
In all my years I have never used either except for cleaning the deck at the dock.

I find that there are no tasks required to be performed underway that can't be done with ambient night light or by feel or with a quick spot from a torch.

However, I have found that spreader lights and foredeck lights are very good for spoiling your night vision which is useful if you don't want to see in the dark!

Prolly not the answer you were looking for. YMMV

Have only needed foredeck lights a couple of times - the last time in pitch black night, gusting 40 and the forestay came adrift. Oh **** moment with lots of complexity and fiddling with small fittings, avoiding swinging stays and trying to keep the mast.

Head torch limited value.

And by the bye, LED head torches don't fade slowly or give advance warning - they just stop. Not helpful.😃


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forums lily hhrn
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Old 13-01-2016, 00:26   #9
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I always figured the steaming light was most effective for illuminating the jib to alert other vessels to your presence. Is that a "my bad" somehow when not under power but using a foredeck light isn't? Seems like same difference.

If not why don't you just use the steaming light for that purpose? Shines horizontally and over a larger area of the sail and higher up. Just sayin.
Had a thought about it and came up with this: the steaming light shines forward through an arc of 225, whilst the foredeck light shines a cone downward upon the deck, splashing some on the jib. The latter light wouldn't be mistaken for a nav light, methinks. Yes? No?
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Old 13-01-2016, 00:26   #10
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
I always figured the steaming light was most effective for illuminating the jib to alert other vessels to your presence. Is that a "my bad" somehow when not under power but using a foredeck light isn't? Seems like same difference.

If not why don't you just use the steaming light for that purpose? Shines horizontally and over a larger area of the sail and higher up. Just sayin.
Yeah, the steaming light will do what you say, but this deck light is WAY brighter than a steaming light. Observers off the boat have commented on how bloody bright the sail looks when back lit by this thing.

As for being "bad", I don't think so, certainly no worse than every damn trawler working at night with such bright deck lights that you can't see any of the nav lights. And our usage is for brief periods, theirs is continuous.

Jim
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Old 13-01-2016, 00:51   #11
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

While I am a fan of my night vision, I like to light up my foredeck when I or my crew venture forward on a dark night.

Team work is improved when I can see hand signals and such.

I am also a stickler for unzipping the dodger flap and not using the side decks at night when the boat is pitching.




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Old 13-01-2016, 00:57   #12
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

Foredeck lights for swabbing the decks at night?

Last year on a delivery had to use both deck and or speader lights in bad weather between Sardinia and Sicily, trying to get a genoa down in 35 knots of winds and crappy waves, where the furler lines snapped out from the furler drum (as the owner of the boat furled in the electrically winch rather than on the hand operated winch, which I told him 10x NOT to do in the dark).

I was so glad this boat had both foredeck AND spreader lights, operated from the steering pedestal!!

PS. Upwards facing spreader lights, although a bit "powerboatie" in a marina, are also very good to see if your sails are set correctly during a moon/starless night.
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Old 13-01-2016, 05:40   #13
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I just installed a foredeck light on the bottom of a mast radar mount. Some of you might be interested in this one, it's a 50 watt LED light fixture designed for offroad vehicles. Aluminum, shock resistant, the housing incorporates cooling fins etc. I got two of these from Amazon pretty cheap compared to "marine" lights. Which as we all know are three times what they should be priced and made of plastic.

I installed this one with the beam centered to hit the water about 10 meters ahead of the bows, and it really lights up the area. I think it will be great for lighting up the windlass, for searching for moorings, or in fact for searching for anything. It would also do a heck of a job lighting up a jib.

I think I am going to install the other one on the hardtop facing directly aft. Will be nice to be able to see what's behind us with that same clarity, and also would blind the heck out of anyone trying to board us from that direction.
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Old 13-01-2016, 06:53   #14
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

I have the combo steaming / foredeck light LED light form Marinebeam and will add spreader lights when I replace standing rigging / chainplates.
I want 10W floods for spreader lights as I want to be able to completely light the boat if the need arises. One lighting aft, one forward. http://www.amazon.com/Trendmart%C2%A...10+w+led+flood
I bought one and it is way bright, I can't imagine 50W, that is some kind of searchlight. I was suspicious of a $10 light, but it seems to do really well.

Anyway I find we use our foredeck light for getting on and off the bow of the boat when in a Marina at night and will use the spreader for that I'm sure as well.
It's nice if anchoring at night to light up the bow.
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Old 13-01-2016, 07:10   #15
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Re: Spreader Lights vs. Foredeck Light

It is pretty bright. I'll get some photos at night and post them. My wife immediately saw that it would be useful in a MOB situation at night. Will also be useful navigating through some of these coral heads in the dark. We don't like doing it, but sometimes you have to move in the dark.
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