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Old 18-10-2015, 10:31   #46
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Re: Col Regs state MINIMUM

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Ah, the Colregs does not require a anchor light at the top of a sailboats mast.

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:
(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;
(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level that the light prescribed in paragraph (i), an all-round white light.
(b) A vessel of less than 50 m 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.


As Dockhead has well proven, a Mast head light is not where it can best be seen.


Of course you say, but it says an all round light. Yes it does, so lets look at Annex I, which describes anchor lights in far more detail.



Annex I lists the following for anchor lights.


(b) All-round lights shall be so located as not to
be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within
angular sectors of more than 6 degrees, except anchor
lights, which need not be placed at an
impracticable height above the hull.



This is interesting as it implies that an anchor light could be obscured by more then 6 degrees. However, On my boat the mast obscures the anchor light for about 4 degrees of arc, based on sightings with a bearing compass, so it meets the requirements of an anchor light in either case.

So there isn't a requirement that the anchor light be a mast head light. Oh it does mention masthead. But if you note in the colregs it says masthead for power boats too. What they are talking about is the light mast to raise the anchor light above the gunnels.

I've had the coasties come by at night and not once have they complained about my home made spice jar anchor light on the backstay. It is FAR brighter that a anchor light 50-70 feet above the water that leaves the deck unlit.
A couple of points about this:

1. I think many people are missing the point of masthead anchor lights. They are visible from further away up there. The point is that you should not be detecting an anchored vessel only at the last moment, when you are already too close to see the masthead. The lower down one is for people who missed seeing it, when they should have. I understand that in some anchorages masthead lights can be obscured by shore lights, but I think that is not the most common situation. All of the anchorages I use around her are in more remote places, where shore lights are not an issue.

2. I thought I knew the COLREGS pretty well, but it seems that I have forgotten the passage helpfully quoted above by Sailorchic. This is actually new information for me. It says -- I think contrary to how Sailorchic read it -- that anchor lights are exempt from the 6 degree limit, in case the occlusion occurs as a result of not mounting the light at an "impractically high level". It also says that a second anchor light should be aft and lower, and smaller vessels are not required to show this, but may.

My reading of this is that we could use a light on the mast in a position like where the steaming light is (and not worry that it is obscured by the mast from aft), and we could have a second anchor light lower and aft -- say below the boom or on the backstay (my father showed an anchor light from the backstay on his boat). And that both of these lights would be official anchor lights (which the garden lamps will not be, even if they are useful).

Hmmm.


3. Home made jam jar lanterns are all well and good, but if I were Sailorchic, I would want at least one genuine approved anchor light, in my anchor light array. It's just adding one more risk to a possible future collision situation. The fact that the Coasties don't question it now, doesn't mean that a court won't, if you are hauled into it after being involved in a collision. It could be expensive (or impossible) to prove that the home made light meets the standards.
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Old 18-10-2015, 10:58   #47
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

If I feel uneasy, I light up one of the 3 lights I have on deck. They illuminate the boat entirely, 360degrees

One day, I could sport a LED gran pavese

Strobo lights are too expensive, and not that reliable
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Old 18-10-2015, 11:07   #48
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
An LED string was my next thought...

My #1 'remote anchorage dark as the inside of a cow with no shore lights' anchor light is a Davis thingumee...
Davis Mini-Amp Mega-Light. I used one for years. Loved it. Plugs into a 12volt socket, long cord, wrapped around the boom a couple times, fresnel lens, super low current draw, and a built-in light sensor... A great anchor light.

Now with LED techology, I use a cheap eveready battery operated lantern hung forward. 4 AA batteries last for several days of continuous use, or a solid week of anchoring nights. Also is a handy flashlight.

Around here, many boats have garden style solar powered stake lights fore and aft...they charge in the sun all day, run all night. Need no attention at all. makes it easier to find your boat after dark too.

A real shame to lose a boat (or almost) for the sake of a dollar store lantern.
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Old 18-10-2015, 11:30   #49
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I think what a lot of people forget who say you should be able to see a masthead anchor light, or even a lower hung light is how much other light noise is in the area that makes it difficult to discern an anchor light from just another house on the shore, etc.

Every skipper should decide how much light he or she needs based upon the surrounding noise, how dark it is out, the weather, fog, etc. There are many times on a full moon and quiet anchorage with little light noise to confuse another vessel that a masthead is more than adequate.

There are other times when nothing short of the cabin lights and painting the deck with the spreader lights would make me feel comfortable.
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Old 18-10-2015, 11:36   #50
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I raise a lantern on one of my flag halyards that is attached to the first spreader on the main mast. It illuminates the mast and spreader and waves back and forth with even a little boat motion. It would never be confused with a star. The lantern battery lasts about a year with normal cruising. I can always spot the boat even in a dark anchorage due to the motion of the light.
Sorry to hear of the damage to your teak rail. I would be furious.
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Old 18-10-2015, 11:36   #51
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I have a dim recollection to the effect that "that vessel which has the last opportunity to avoid a collision shall give way"

S'far as I'm concerned, I'd expect that any court of inquiry would find that that vessel would be the 30 foot toy ship skippered by a Sunday sailor.

Easier to just skive off than to let things go that far ;-)

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Old 18-10-2015, 11:40   #52
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

It could only happen at sea! You seemed to have done all the correct things. The other problem with masthead lights is fixing them when they have a problem. I fitted my boat with masthead tricolour and anchor lights and a lower tail light all made by a company beginning with H. They all failed after 2 or 3 years, one by one. When a rigger was doing some work up the mast I got him to change the lamps. Still didn't work.


The tail light failed last. When I pulled it apart, I found that the internal wiring of the product beginning with H was using plain copper wire which had rotted away in the salty atmosphere. I rewired it with tinned wire and it worked fine.


I have always used a lower anchor light in addition to the now failed masthead lights anyway. Also masthead nav lights as well as lower nav lights individually selected by a toggle switch with "up on; down on"


I later added a short 1" diameter aluminium mast to the transom that I could reach to screw a " flying saucer" TV antenna into when I wanted to watch Freeview. It's about 7' high above the cockpit seats. I incorporated on the short mast a 360* anchor light on a bracket and a tail light all with the wiring running inside the ali tube. I also use a few of those cheap automatic LED lights and a string of automatic Christmas LED lights on the backstay. None of those last more than a season and they are very cheap to replace.


Meanwhile the masthead lights are waiting for me to climb the mast, remove and presumably rewire them with tinned wire.
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Old 18-10-2015, 11:49   #53
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Good stuff.

We use a Davis mast top anchor light supplemented with an oil lamp on the backstay.

LEDs coming soon to a boat that's ours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdoster View Post
I think what a lot of people forget who say you should be able to see a masthead anchor light, or even a lower hung light is how much other light noise is in the area that makes it difficult to discern an anchor light from just another house on the shore, etc.

Every skipper should decide how much light he or she needs based upon the surrounding noise, how dark it is out, the weather, fog, etc. There are many times on a full moon and quiet anchorage with little light noise to confuse another vessel that a masthead is more than adequate.

There are other times when nothing short of the cabin lights and painting the deck with the spreader lights would make me feel comfortable.
Good luck with the repairs and the settlement(s), Dockhead.

And thanks for sharing your real life story. Hell, if ya ain't "out there" there wouldn't BE any stories, right?
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Old 18-10-2015, 12:56   #54
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I don't have time to look through all the posts but have a tip that helped us out. In anchorages with lots of boats, picking out your boat can be a real challenge going by masthead anchor lights. And even lower lights can be a problem. Someone suggested we go to an automotive parts store, or WalMart, Target, wherever they sell parts. They usually have some LED "bar" lights that use 12v. "Kids" put them on their lowriders under the bodies to jazz up their rides. They don't use much juice and they are VERY bright. They come in a variety of colors. I liked the blue ones. Good enough light to see all around the cockpit and you could pick out your boat from a mile away. They are pretty cheap too so you can buy several and throw them away if they quit. Mine never did though.
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Old 18-10-2015, 13:01   #55
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Davis Mini-Amp Mega-Light. I used one for years. Loved it. Plugs into a 12volt socket, long cord, wrapped around the boom a couple times, fresnel lens, super low current draw, and a built-in light sensor... A great anchor light.

Now with LED techology, I use a cheap eveready battery operated lantern hung forward. 4 AA batteries last for several days of continuous use, or a solid week of anchoring nights. Also is a handy flashlight.

Around here, many boats have garden style solar powered stake lights fore and aft...they charge in the sun all day, run all night. Need no attention at all. makes it easier to find your boat after dark too.

A real shame to lose a boat (or almost) for the sake of a dollar store lantern.
Yeah, we used one of those on my Dad's boat, decades ago.

But my Dad (who was a power Nazi in those days, before the solar panels) used it to save power, not for greater visibility. His masthead light drew 20 watts or something like that.

I think a battery powered lantern will the thing for me. Although -- I do have a 24v socket in my cockpit. Hmmm.
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Old 18-10-2015, 13:04   #56
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Red over green (sailing machine) is for use underway, not at anchor.

Not used on less than very large vessels because the red and green has to be separated by, IIRC, a meter, so can't be done with a single fixture.
Use red and green LED strips around the mast.
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Old 18-10-2015, 13:07   #57
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Hi
Following on from snow petrel
We were almost run down by a passenger ship at night in heavy weather on the NSW coast about 15 miles east of Batemans Bay. We were under storm jib and Tri Colour. No other lights. We were doing between 4 & 7 knots in really big waves and were about to deploy our Sea Brake when an overtaking passenger ship missed us by about 20m. We were almost out of control running down the waves as it was. The wash from the ship swamped the cockpit to almost shoulder height.
The ship failed to see our Tri colour and also our Blipper Radar Reflector.
Conditions were thick and were so that the helmsman could only steer by compass (eyes glued to compass) and relied totally on a crewmember as observer. Lucky we had 4 experienced crew and rotated a staggered watch, one hour on the watch as observer, next hour on the helm each, next hour rest.
I'm sure there are times when one thinks; well what and the hell am I doing here.
(some might say, "why weren't you hugging the coast and dodging the tide". I say yeah why not since the whole coast is a lee shore in a Southerly. I'd rather be as far away from it as prudence will allow).
I use a masthead anchor light and then also a self made hanging light. A bright LED mounted in an upturned glass Vegemite jar sealed with Megapoxy (great stuff) which is enclosed in a copper cage. I hang that from a jib halyard and it lights the whole boat. Since an anchor light suspended in the rigging swings is an added bonus. Mast head anchor lights especially LEDs just look like stars. How pretty.
By the way they say Bass Strait is tough but you can get really hammered on the NSW coast in a good southerly and a strong opposing East Australia Current.
In fact I reckon you can really get hammered anywhere so a tidy well prepared boat is essential.
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Old 18-10-2015, 14:03   #58
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Old woody...

How come you didn't see the overtaking passenger vessel if you had a dedicated lookout? They are pretty well lit as a rule...
And yes, the NSW coast can be fierce at times, as can most any body of water.

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Old 18-10-2015, 14:09   #59
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Further comment:

For every situation where a masthead light is lost in "lights on the hill behind the anchorage", there is another situation where the lights are all low down, and the higher background is dark. That's why I reckon that having both upper and lower lights is the way to go.

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Old 18-10-2015, 14:15   #60
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Re: Col Regs state MINIMUM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A couple of points about this:


2. I thought I knew the COLREGS pretty well, but it seems that I have forgotten the passage helpfully quoted above by Sailorchic. This is actually new information for me. It says -- I think contrary to how Sailorchic read it -- that anchor lights are exempt from the 6 degree limit, in case the occlusion occurs as a result of not mounting the light at an "impractically high level". It also says that a second anchor light should be aft and lower, and smaller vessels are not required to show this, but may.


3. Home made jam jar lanterns are all well and good, but if I were Sailorchic, I would want at least one genuine approved anchor light, in my anchor light array. It's just adding one more risk to a possible future collision situation. The fact that the Coasties don't question it now, doesn't mean that a court won't, if you are hauled into it after being involved in a collision. It could be expensive (or impossible) to prove that the home made light meets the standards.
You are correct that the anchor light is exempt from the 6 degree requirement. I just like to meet as many rules as I can. Silly I know.

I do have a mast heat light too, but never use it. One minor difference between us. As I have nothing that could be collected on in court, I really don't worry about folks taking me to court at all. One small benefit for being in forma pauperis.

Really the certification is for anchor lights installed on new boats and lighting on commercial vessels and vessels for hire, least wise in the US, per CFR 46. I can hang a oil lamp in the rigging and its good. Besides any half way decent lawyer would ask when was the last time someone cleaned the lens of the anchor light.

Just because it was certified when new, does not mean that a anchor light meets certification 15 or 30 years later with an old bulb, corroded wire, dirty lens, etc. All you have to do it look at the anchor lights in any anchorage and see how dim most of the mast head lights are.

I live at anchor, most of the time. In every anchorage I'm in, my home made LED anchor light is far brighter then any other I've seen, so far. Some of the old Bebi lights were pretty good too, but they are not citified either.

I'm not at all worried about not being seen. I should mention that my anchor light it too bright to look at from 10 feet away, in daylight.
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