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Old 19-10-2009, 16:38   #16
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Looking at it from a different perspective our 'little boats' are damn hard to spot all to often. Radar reflectors are bought and installed seemingly for every reason except reflecting radar waves. Lights are positioned and used for all manner of things 'other' than their stated purpose. It's not uncommon to 'see' a sailboat prior to picking it up on radar. (An octo reflecter such as the inexpensive Davis hung in raincatcher position will do the trick nicely as a suggetion)

For a while, especially on the east coast of US it was fashionable to run south sailing in packs with strobe lights at the masthead. Not practical just fashionable I guess. They are listed as an emergency signaling device. Nowadays their use is so common don't even think flashing onewill get you saved, just ignored.

Then their are priories of right of way with sailboats coming in at 8th place. No Virginia sail does NOT always have the right of way, in most nearshore cases does not.

The perspective I'm speaking of is the bridge of a frieghter or tanker ship. And by the way next time you cut in front of our bow remember it takes two or three miles before we can stop ONCE we start to stop. You lose the wind (we make good wind deflecto) or your engine while in front of our bow, you're toast plain and simple.

As for new equipment AIS is most helpful telling you where we are with more warning than radar detectors or reflectors.

Put that masthead light up as high as you can get it along with radar units and reflectors. Height equals safety and that 2.5m rule is a 'minimum.'

I felt much the same until I spent some years working on the big ships. Now my little boat has all the features....properly installed to keep my butt out of trouble. Go back and read Rule trumps everything...something about prudent seamanship....

Michael D

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Old 21-10-2009, 10:00   #17
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Do you know why the last one failed?

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Old 21-10-2009, 10:17   #18
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A higher light may be able to be seen from a greater distance and safer from that perspective, but on the other hand, going up the mast to fix a light is more dangerous than fixing one standing on the deck. A low light that is functioning is better than a high one that is not, because it couldn't yet be serviced.
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Old 21-10-2009, 12:01   #19
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A Masthead or Steaming Light (indicating that a vessel is under power, including auxiliary sailboats) must be visible for 2 miles boats <,39.4 Ft) or 3 miles (>39.4 Ft.), over an arc of 225 degrees forward.
Any installation (light fixtures & mounting height) that meets this specification is ok.
Convenience or maintainability isn’t the issue - performance is.

Anyone who cannot devise a safe way to change a light bulb, 15-20 Ft above deck, once every few years, probably shouldn't put to sea.

I know. I'm a jerk (but, in this case I'm right).
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 21-10-2009, 16:58   #20
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Thumbs down Gordons right on target. No need for excuses

Since the tried and true method for replacing a burned out light in non-perfect conditions or for those who are in non-perfect condition is simply run one up a halyard. It just wants a bit ofpreparation and one measurement.

Even if dismasted there's always something to lash up for additional wave crest clearing light AND carrying the minimum requirments may satisfy the USCG but it's only minimal.

My Lopo can beseen for much further than minimum. Since I have a cathedral mast Switch position #2 turns on another set of nav lights mounted to the bow pulpit and stern rail.arch. Likewise the light and wire length to hoist is sufficient for the mast head height and ergo sufficient for anything I can jury rig.

Off lights for a minute. Get one of those small weather balloons attach to a lanyard with a light and a davis reflector and that to a long line of 100' or so.

Just things I learned throughout the years playing the 'what if' game. Which reminds me I get to go to Gordon's school next (late summer, early fall) Still learning.

As for my's there not their.

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Old 28-10-2009, 10:54   #21
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In addition to being seen better, a steaming light further up the mast will give the helmsman less light pollution (reflection off rigging/pulpit/sails) and better night vision. Its also how I can usually tell a sailboat under power from a motorboat.

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