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Old 02-01-2012, 23:13   #1
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Flags - How Big ?

I am going to buy and Australian and Q flag for my pacific crossing. What is the minimum size required?

This might be a good bit of info to add to the flag sticky.

Also do I need a red or blue Australian flag? According to wiki I can use either?

Quote:
Maritime Ensign

Technically private non-commercial vessels were liable to a substantial fine if they did not fly the British Red Ensign. However, an Admiralty Warrant was issued on December 5, 1938 which authorised these vessels to fly the Australian Red Ensign. The Shipping Registration Act of 1981 reaffirmed that the Australian Red Ensign was the proper "colours" for Australian registered ships and that private pleasure craft could fly either the Red Ensign or the Australian National Flag.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Red_Ensign

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Old 03-01-2012, 04:06   #2
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pirate Re: Flags. How big?

Q Flags come in a standard size in chandlers...
Ensign for a 31ftr... I'd go for pillowcase sizeish....
if you wanna pose... bathtowel....
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:41   #3
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Ensigns 1" length for every foot boat length.

Dutch boats often (should) have larger ensigns. Please ask me why

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:02   #4
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Re: Flags. How big?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Ensigns 1" length for every foot boat length.

Dutch boats often (should) have larger ensigns. Please ask me why

ciao!
Nick.
To hide all the drugs and prostitutes?


IMO Ensign size should be proportionate to the boat size - but not OTT.

Without wishing to stir the pot (), the size of some US Ensigns look embarrasing and say "up yours" to the locals (flags do mean something, even if "You" don't know or care that they do). Something the size of a bedspread probably works well in Kansas...........
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:09   #5
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Re: Flags. How big?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
To hide all the drugs and prostitutes
Thanks DoJ, I knew you were gonna jump in here

No, this all is from the days that drugs didn't need hiding because the trade (in opium) was legal and both Dutch and English were trying to establish monopolies on the opium trade haha

No, the historical reason for large ensigns was of course to be able to recognize them from far away. This was before AIS, VHF etc. so visual identification was the main thing.

Ships that went to do battle hoisted enormous ensigns with the official reason being that their own side couldn't mistake them for the enemy. But it was an intimidation method too of course. This was called the war-ensign or ensign #0 as they were numbered according to size like we still number jibs today.

When one was sailing alone or with few ships and thus little firepower, you didn't want to attract much attention, especially not from enemy ships, so you would fly a smaller ensign. Some even went as far as to fly an ensign from a different country ( Brits ) to escape attention. Ships had a whole range of ensigns aboard, from a small storm-ensign to the big war-ensign.

During the Dutch Golden Age, they had about 8 times as many ships as the English and all the rest of the worlds nations together didn't have more than that either so they ruled the seas and were flying big ensigns to show that off. And just because we're stubborn SOBs we still do that today

A big ensign is never a sign of disrespect for another country. It only shows one to be proud of their own country. When a huge US ensign creates some tension abroad, it is because it is an US ensign, not because it is big.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:19   #6
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Re: Flags. How big?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
... they ruled the seas and were flying big ensigns to show that off. And just because we're stubborn SOBs we still do that today ...
So, why do the Swedes also fly larger ensigns?
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:28   #7
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Re: Flags. How big?

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So, why do the Swedes also fly larger ensigns?
Same reason, the Swedes also had a formidable Royal Navy (still have I guess) and they even dared to invade Dutch territories. Like their New Sweden along the Delaware River in New Netherland. The Dutch kicked them out of course, but they were very successful elsewhere, creating a true empire. Besides New Sweden they also had the Swedish Gold Coast in Africa.

Check out "swedish empire" on wikipedia;


cheers,
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:44   #8
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Re: Flags. How big?

Oh those days of sailing ships !!! Look at this painting:



Now those were big ensigns! This was the Four Days' Battle in which the Dutch kicked English butt so hard that they still feel it today. It was the first of two battles that bankrupted the English treasury because of the cost of repairing and replacing ships. The English often declared they were victorious in this battle, which lead to this famous epigram by Constantijn Huygens:

Two fight — and for their lives
The one that caused the row
is beaten — but survives
And boasts: "I've won it now!
As master of the field!"
And did he win? For sure!
Face-down he couldn't yield:
His victory was pure
The other took his hat,
his rapier and his gold
And left him lying flat,
The glorious field to hold
So master he has been:
Our Neighbours are the same:
If thus they like to win,
we wish them lasting fame



ciao!
Nick.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:04   #9
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Re: Flags. How big?

My understanding of the British rules, which may not apply to Australia (they don't in Canada, for instance, where we don't have a naval ensign per se), is that if you are ex-British Navy, you may fly a Blue Duster (the lighter blue ensign); all others fly the Civil Ensign, the Red Duster. As Australia has a "defaced" form of this (Flag of Australia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), I would think that is your go-to choice.

Were I to fly a courtesy flag in Australian territory, however, I would choose the Blue Ensign as it is the official national flag.

I might fly a Red Duster as a courtesy flag in Britain, however, as I hold dual British/Canadian citizenship, but it starts getting confusing quickly past this point!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:28   #10
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Re: Flags. How big?

The bigger the better, you can always use it as an emergency sail. lol
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Old 03-01-2012, 16:04   #11
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Re: Flags. How big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
I am going to buy and Australian and Q flag for my pacific crossing. What is the minimum size required?

This might be a good bit of info to add to the flag sticky.

Also do I need a red or blue Australian flag? According to wiki I can use either?



Australian Red Ensign - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

G'Day Dennis,

We see both red and blue ensigns on Aussie boats both here in Oz and in the Islands around the Pacific. Size? Use your own good sense of proportion... on our 46' boat we use a 2'x3' ensign, and it looks about right to us. Nest larger common size is 3'x5' and that would look damn big.

For the Q flag, something like 1'x2' seems about right. You want it to be large enough to show up decently from shore in some ports... the officials don't always have radios!

In a very few third world countries they want your courtesy flag to be larger than your ensign. It could be handy to have a rather small ensign to use in those situations! Also, larger flags tend to be expensive and to have shorter life spans than smaller ones...

Really, I don't think that there are any legal requirements, so you have a free choice.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 03-01-2012, 16:27   #12
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Re: Flags. How big?

As stated by others in this thread, the ensign should be 1-inch per foot of boat length. Our boat is 16 meter, or just under 53-feet. Standard flag sizes sold in the USA are 2'X3' or 2 1/2'X 4' or 3'X5' -- we opt for the 3'X5' -- which is a tiny bit under-sized for our boat but the next size up would be H-U-G-E and difficult to source.

Based on comments in this thread, people from some countries might consider our 3'X5' ensign to be too large. Maybe they need to read up on the internationally recognized proper etiquette for displaying marine flags. I suggest Reed's Maritime Flags as an excellent starting primer.

The Q flag for our 16-meter boat should be minimum of 18-inches in length. As should all courtesy flags. Reeds states that the Australian ensign should be red except for certain special conditions. The blue for land use and the red for marine use. Some websites state either blue or red can be used. Most of the Australian ensigns we have seen in waters outside of Australia have been red. Use whichever you prefer.

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Old 03-01-2012, 16:44   #13
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Re: Flags. How big?

I use the smallest ensign I can get away with. The one-inch-per-foot recommendation must have originated with a flag company at some point; it certainly didn't come from someone who kept a tender on davits.
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Old 03-01-2012, 17:08   #14
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Re: Flags. How big?

Ensign 1" per foot LOA

Courtesy flag(s), etc. .5 per foot LOA

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Old 03-01-2012, 17:19   #15
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Re: Flags. How big?

My ensign just meets "regulations": 36 inches for a 35-foot, 8-inch vessel.

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