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Old 22-10-2015, 03:41   #181
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

There are techniques for watch standing at night. I'm thinking that with the advent of radar these techniques are becoming a lost art.

It is not hard to tell the difference between a star and a light on or near the surface of the earth. Stars are so far away that they appear to be fixed in the sky. Whereas, the lights on a near by vessel will appear to move relative to the fixed background of stars as the perspective of the watch stander changes. To observe these changes takes a surprisingly small changes in position to tell the difference between a foreground and a background light. It turns out that the background lights do not have to be stars as any fixed lights on a hill side behind a harbor will work as well. Simply moving your head just a few inches from side to side or up and down is normally all it takes to tell the difference between foreground and background lights.

There is also a scanning technique for detecting dim (distant) lights at night. What you need to do is look at a spot on the horizon while being aware of what is happening in the corners of your eyes. After a few seconds you continue to scan the horizon by moving your eyes to a new spot.

I have never had a problem seeing mast top anchor lights. However, since we don't live in a perfect world (and, never will) I have to agree that lights located nearer the deck are a really good idea.

As far as COLREG's go - I think that Rule 30 (c): "A vessel [any size] at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks." Pretty well covers any question of the legality of using other lights in addition to a mast top anchor light.

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Old 22-10-2015, 04:11   #182
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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The pic was taken last winter. I store the Ferrari in the winter when I'm on my yacht.
Good man...

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you mean you don't have a one Ferrari parked at the marina in the warmer climates and another one back home?

I have a Ferrari ON my yacht

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This Lucas lantern must have a quality defect - a Lucas that has lasted 29 years without any issues?????????????? And carrying the same lightbulb for 21 years?????

Sir - I do not wish to accuse you of speaking an untruth - but I believe this is worthy of an entry in Ripleys Believe it or not! Perhaps even Guiness book of world records.
I'm sayin right???
Must surely be one of to two theories laid out by the Lucas experts below...

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maybe its a Chinese knockoff...
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Goes to show: even the prince of Darkness had his off days... failed to make a POS electrical item!

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Old 22-10-2015, 11:45   #183
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Sailboats also use masthead lights, commonly known as "steaming lights", when under power.
I'm just trying to figure out what lights I have to have on my power boat.

Now we've introduced "steaming lights," not mentioned in the Colregs at all.

So it seems to me that if you have an all-round light at the top of your mast, it can properly be displayed as an anchor light. But it shouldn't be displayed when underway (sailing or steaming), should it? If you had a collision, couldn't the other boat claim to have been confused by your anchor light?

On the other hand, if you have a masthead light at the top of your mast, it can (should) properly be displayed while steaming, not sailing, but should not be used as an anchor light as it is invisible from astern.

So I think I have to have two lights; a masthead light for underway and an all-round light for anchoring. I wonder if there is a combo unit with a switch.
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Old 22-10-2015, 12:35   #184
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Cottontop View Post
I'm just trying to figure out what lights I have to have on my power boat.

Now we've introduced "steaming lights," not mentioned in the Colregs at all.

So it seems to me that if you have an all-round light at the top of your mast, it can properly be displayed as an anchor light. But it shouldn't be displayed when underway (sailing or steaming), should it? If you had a collision, couldn't the other boat claim to have been confused by your anchor light?

On the other hand, if you have a masthead light at the top of your mast, it can (should) properly be displayed while steaming, not sailing, but should not be used as an anchor light as it is invisible from astern.

So I think I have to have two lights; a masthead light for underway and an all-round light for anchoring. I wonder if there is a combo unit with a switch.
The "masthead" is not necessarily the very top of the mast -- isn't sailing terminology fun. "Steaming light" is not the official term for this light. It's called "Masthead Light" in the COLREGS, and it's supposed to show an unbroken arc of light from 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on one side, around the bow to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on the other side. We call it a "steaming light" because it is only required to be shown by a vessel under power. Rule 23 says:

"(a). A power-driven vessel underway shall exhibit:
(i). a masthead light forward;
(ii). a second masthead light abaft of and higher than the forward one; except that a vessel of less than 50 metres in
length shall not be obliged to exhibit such light but may do so;
(iii). sidelights;
(iv). a sternlight."


The masthead light is supposed to be 2.5 meters above the gunwhale.
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Old 22-10-2015, 13:57   #185
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Cottontop View Post

So I think I have to have two lights; a masthead light for underway and an all-round light for anchoring. I wonder if there is a combo unit with a switch.
You think correct. You need both a "masthead" light and an anchor light.

Quite a few combo lights. Here's a couple that a quick search found at Defender. There are plenty of other suppliers too:

Signal Mate LED Combination Masthead Navigation / Anchor Light

OGM LED Masthead / Anchor Navigation Light with Photodiode

Edit: But if you are less that 12m in length, you may instead just have the "all round white light" not a separate "masthead/steaming light" (plus red/green sidelights of course)
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:03   #186
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
You think correct. You need both a "masthead" light and an anchor light.

Quite a few combo lights. Here's a couple that a quick search found at Defender. There are plenty of other suppliers too:

Signal Mate LED Combination Masthead Navigation / Anchor Light

OGM LED Masthead / Anchor Navigation Light with Photodiode
Mine that I put on last year is similar to the Signal Mate, but a damn site more expensive. I think mine was close to $600. All wrapped up in the rest of the money I had to spend on the main mast. It works a treat. Barely any power use.
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:09   #187
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The masthead light is supposed to be 2.5 meters above the gunwhale.
<pedant mode>

That should be at least 2.5 meters.

And if your boat is over 20 meters in length, it is at least 6 meters "above the hull"

</pedant mode>

And there are a few additional requirements in certain circumstances for the uber-pedant.
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Old 22-10-2015, 14:59   #188
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Cottontop View Post
I'm just trying to figure out what lights I have to have on my power boat.

Now we've introduced "steaming lights," not mentioned in the Colregs at all.

So it seems to me that if you have an all-round light at the top of your mast, it can properly be displayed as an anchor light. But it shouldn't be displayed when underway (sailing or steaming), should it? If you had a collision, couldn't the other boat claim to have been confused by your anchor light?

On the other hand, if you have a masthead light at the top of your mast, it can (should) properly be displayed while steaming, not sailing, but should not be used as an anchor light as it is invisible from astern.

So I think I have to have two lights; a masthead light for underway and an all-round light for anchoring. I wonder if there is a combo unit with a switch.
I have a combo motoring / deck light. It has a common negative and a positive
wire to each light each switched. The motoring segment points basically forwards around 180* and the deck light illuminates the deck as would spreader lights.
It's half way up my mast; that is 20' above the deck.

I'm not sure of the precise regulations. Maybe you could have a much shorter mast on your powerboat with the motoring lights etc there? An anchoring light should be visible 360*.

Mine has stopped working and I'm waiting for a friend to winch me up. I suspect that's because as with other lights of the same make it might be internally wired with plain copper ( not tinned ) wire that rots away.
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Old 22-10-2015, 15:05   #189
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
<pedant mode>

That should be at least 2.5 meters.

And if your boat is over 20 meters in length, it is at least 6 meters "above the hull"

</pedant mode>

And there are a few additional requirements in certain circumstances for the uber-pedant.
All correct, and not pedantic

The rules about lights are pretty complicated, and it's worth going to the primary source.
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Old 22-10-2015, 15:25   #190
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Forgot to put in my earlier post that reflective tape can be a huge addition to being seen at night.
The only light on at the moment the pic was taken was our top mast anchor light. There are three boats behind us, but one is completely invisible.
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Old 22-10-2015, 15:45   #191
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Forgot to put in my earlier post that reflective tape can be a huge addition to being seen at night.
The only light on at the moment the pic was taken was our top mast anchor light. There are three boats behind us, but one is completely invisible.
Thanks. A great idea.
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Old 22-10-2015, 17:21   #192
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
It is not hard to tell the difference between a star and a light on or near the surface of the earth. Stars are so far away that they appear to be fixed in the sky. Whereas, the lights on a near by vessel will appear to move relative to the fixed background of stars as the perspective of the watch stander changes. To observe these changes takes a surprisingly small changes in position to tell the difference between a foreground and a background light. It turns out that the background lights do not have to be stars as any fixed lights on a hill side behind a harbor will work as well. Simply moving your head just a few inches from side to side or up and down is normally all it takes to tell the difference between foreground and background lights.
It depends where you are - head to the islands or anchorages where there are no background or artificial lights, add in a long day / days of sailing to get there plus a slow, safe approach into the anchorage, and mast top lights can very easily appear as stars.

The more the anchor light can illuminate, the easier it is for others to see you (and that is the point of an anchor light after all, right?). As someone above said, reflective tape is a great idea - especially if you have a 12V portable spotlight handy.

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Old 23-10-2015, 01:04   #193
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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It depends where you are - head to the islands or anchorages where there are no background or artificial lights, add in a long day / days of sailing to get there plus a slow, safe approach into the anchorage, and mast top lights can very easily appear as stars.

The more the anchor light can illuminate, the easier it is for others to see you (and that is the point of an anchor light after all, right?). As someone above said, reflective tape is a great idea - especially if you have a 12V portable spotlight handy.

n
It is impossible for an electric light to be mistaken for a star. A light that doesn't "twinkle" could be a shore light, a ships light, a navigational light, or even one of a very few planets, but it can't be a star.

The first rule of watch standing is don't run into anything. For night watch standing that includes don't run into anything that has a light attached to it. So, if you see a light that doesn't "twinkle" steer clear of it - literally!

Being exhausted is no excuse for running into someone or something. Don't just plow ahead into an anchorage when you are so tired that you have become a risk to yourself and others. Either stand off and get some rest, or get some help. It is just good seamanship!

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Old 23-10-2015, 07:15   #194
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Am I the only one who likes my anchor light at the top of the mast because it preserves my night vision? I like to see the stars and what is going on around me. In fact, we frequently use our red interior lights at anchor.


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Old 23-10-2015, 13:40   #195
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.
The "where it can best be seen" is a very important and significant term in this rule.

I actually have two sets of anchor lights, a single one which sticks up over the solar panels but might be obscured by the mast or the wind generator and a second which consists of two lights, one either side of the vessel which cannot be obscured. When I am really feeling paranoid I switch them all on and can see their loom up the companionway from down below.

regarding night vision when at anchor, my druthers tends towards the other bloke navigating into or through the anchorage being able to see and dodge me rather than me being able to see him looming out of the gloom when I am a sitting target at anchor.
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