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Old 18-10-2015, 14:15   #61
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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
Stimulated by this unpleasant incident, I have been thinking about this.

I don't actually think that there is any excuse for missing a masthead anchor light. High up it is visible from far away. If you're keeping and even half decent watch, you will see it. It's visible for miles.

The lower down one is for people who didn't see it when they were supposed to -- who look up only at the last moment.
............
As they say...the proof of the pudding is in the eating...

It will be visible for miles and yes people will see it but will they recognise it for what it is? Probably not... they will think it is just another house on the hill or a star.... listen to what people are saying.....

And also .... blue would be my pick for decklights... there is a reason many ports are now using blue lights on their leads....
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Old 18-10-2015, 14:43   #62
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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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.
In fact I found that too high is often the problem. Even more if you are looking 'against an open sea' with a not too bright sky with some stars and no moon. You can easily think the masthead anchor light is a star.

Always put the anchor light at a hight, where it will also illuminate the superstructure a bit.

Regards,

Carsten
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Old 18-10-2015, 14:57   #63
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Dockhead: sorry for the awful experience. FWIW I suspect that this is going to be expensive to repair because the crack on the inside of the bulwark extends to the deck, so part of the teak deck will probably have to be removed in order to get enough overlap for the repair. It could have been a lot worse though...

I always have made a judgement as to which light to use for anchoring. In isolated anchorages where there is no background light the masthead works fine; in crowded spots like the Solent I always hang a light in the rigging. When staying for more than overnight I usually opt for the foretriangle with a ball, but for a passage anchorage I find it best to hang the light on the backstay just above the mainsail on the boom because the light lands on the white sail and really illuminates the area. Also that shades the hatches on the centerline so there is less light down below. (If it is just for overnight I let the lazy jacks hold the main and don't bother with the sail cover.)

I am surprised that no one has mentioned using an anchor bell: there is an obligation to create a bell sound at anchor just as there is an obligation to display lights. Some of the higher end VHF radios have the ability to create the bell sound for an external speaker (which I intend to do someday) but I have never heard anyone actually ever sounding a bell. That might have helped avoid the snagged rode but not improve your sleep...

My first few years of cruising I mostly used rope rodes, as bringing up chain with the manual windlass was such a pain. I have never felt that rope (with a short chain lead) was inferior to all chain as far as holding, with enough rode. But it does have other disadvantages, including being easier for others to snag (usually when they are anchoring or recovering). After installing an electric windlass I have almost never used a rope rode, and feel that was a great investment (for several reasons).

I have found that fishermen can be the absolute worst at obeying the ColRegs. They are often working on deck with the boat on autopilot, motoring home in the middle of the channel with no one in the wheelhouse or on watch. I understand why, and sympathize, but they must always be considered a potential hazard to cruisers. Also, in some parts of the world their nets are not lit at night, crab pot buoys are neither lit or reflected, etc. Best to keep a sharp lookout when they are around.

As for the fisherman that hit Dockhead, I am sympathetic with him and his good intentions resulting in damage. However it is my understanding that he is required to carry liability insurance - a bad decision that he made much earlier and which exposed him to the current liability. My sympathy only extends to the accident, not to his failure to insure. DH shouldn't feel any obligation to cover for this bad (and probably illegal) decision. YMMV

Greg
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:01   #64
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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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.

+1 on the Davies Mega-light.the latest ones are fitted with LED bulbs so low power use and brighter too. IN Addition we have a storm lantern lookalike that is converted to LEd light and runs on 'c' cell batteries
WE bought some from Amazon USA and more in walmart, about $12 each. some are stratgically placed t home for power outages, but two are on board. One gets hung from the boom at anchor so it illuminates the cockpit and pretty much all the deck, so it serves as a useful reading come eating area light as well, it has an adjustable brightness control and will run two nights on a set of 3 'c' cells'

I have also liked using a similar style storm lantern , but paraffin (kerosene) powered in the past as these flicker and are not easily confused with shore lights. We used one such for years in Europe and found it ideal, it would stay alight in quite strong winds even hung from the jib sheets over the foredeck, clipped to the anchor shape but if really high winds were expected I would hang it from the boom to be below and therefore in the wind protection of the sprayhood/dodger. We do have a masthead all round white too but see that purely as a backup.
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:10   #65
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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I am surprised that no one has mentioned using an anchor bell: there is an obligation to create a bell sound at anchor just as there is an obligation to display lights.
Only in restricted visibility ....

Carsten
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Old 18-10-2015, 15:52   #66
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Lots of good light suggestions in this thread. I noticed Marine Beam (no affiliation, but I've had good luck with their replacement bulbs) now offers this little gem: https://store.marinebeam.com/energy-...-safety-light/. I was thinking of bending up a bracket and mounting one of these to the stern pulpit or up on the backstay a little ways. If you keep it in a location with good sun exposure and some amount of air flow when the wind is blowing, it should run completely autonomously.

Also, we've found the super cheap ($1.00 on the fall sales) WalMart solar garden lights fit almost perfectly in the winch handle socket in the tops of winches. We like to stick them in the primaries.
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Old 18-10-2015, 16:04   #67
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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
I will definitely have a lower down one now -- will have to think of the right solution. I guess the steaming light is a bad idea because it is not an "all around light". I'll try to think of something. I have super bright deck lights which I guess would be best of all, but people in the forecabin won't be able to sleep with it on.
Hmmm, a cover over the hatch, or shades inside for hatches/ports is not an option?

;-)

Very sorry to hear about this, glad it wasn't worse, and good luck getting it all sorted out... But as others have been saying, some additional illumination at a lower level really is a necessity these days, in that sort of anchorage...

Too bad Bebi is no longer around, my primary deck level light is similar to the Owl that Vasco mentioned... By far the best supplemental light I've ever seen, and mine has the additional soft while cockpit illumination, which can light the cockpit comfortably, and enhance security a bit. Suspended from the backstay or topping lift, it lights up the mainsail cover and coachroof and deck very nicely, one would have to be pretty much blind not so see a boat lit with one of these...





The Davis Megalight others have cited is probably the best alternative today... The original version was pretty lame, but the current LED version seems pretty good...

Don't discount the value of SOLAS reflective tape that someone also mentioned... I have 2" squares placed on the outboard bases of all my stanchions and rails, any boat showing running lights will begin to light those things up at a surprising distance... I've also got some longer strips higher up on the mast, as someone has already noted, such a marker can really help locate your particular boat in a crowded anchorage, or against a sea of backdrop lights...

But one of the best changes I've made recently, is to swap out my spreader lights for Blue LEDs... First, they've much easier on your night vision for working the deck underway. Secondly, if you're really concerned about being seen at anchor, they light up the boat in a VERY distinctive fashion. Not at all obtrusive or bothersome to others underway, but I believe you WILL be noticed, and at a very minimal cost, amperage-wise... I was anchored a few nights ago inside Manasquan Inlet, which is a very tight spot with a lot of traffic, and no good options other than to pretty much anchor right on the edge of the channel. The Blue Lights definitely came on that night, with so many recreational and commercial fishing boats passing by well into the night...

I've also swapped the PAR 36 foredeck light in my Aqua Signal 41 foredeck/steaming light fixture for a white LED... The illumination from this thing is amazing... So much so, that I would be reluctant to use it in a crowded anchorage, as it casts such a broad arc of illumination that it could prove to be an annoyance to other boaters... But again, it's one more arrow in the quiver, if your primary concern is being seen... It's also incredibly useful when coming into a dark dock or narrow canal such as the one I live on at night, affording great illumination without compromising your vision from the helm in the slightest...


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Old 18-10-2015, 16:13   #68
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

I actually think Dockhead has this problem solved--and sorry for the collision, DH, can be quite demoralizing.

The lantern LED mounted below his anchor ball will roll and flail around a bit, and that motion will make it quite eye catching for the forward part of the vessel. Another light, hung under the boom and powered from his external 24 v. socket, should adequately protect the aft half of it. I would keep the masthead anchor light as well. The geography (masthead and lower light[s]) is unique to the boat, and will make it visible to the owner over long distances, as well as being the most visible to others from a distance.

I am not really keen on adding all kinds of colored lights to boats, and do not enjoy the light pollution offered by the motor boats with blue leds all over the stern. The blue is the wave length visible farthest by the human eye, so I get El Ping's point.

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Old 18-10-2015, 17:14   #69
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Yeah - light the place up if in any doubt, is my motto. Masthead is as good as useless a lot of the time, so I also use the spreader lights under way, and when anchored usually have a kero lantern about 3m up the forestay and an all round LED hanging from the boom. There was a time when I had a xenon strobe in my offshore jacket, and would put up if really concerned about shore-lights - probably not legal I suspect, but ya couldn't miss it.
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Old 18-10-2015, 17:32   #70
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

After watching a UFO turn into forty foot high mast head light on an otherwise unlit sixty foot yacht motoring into a marina on a dark but calm night, I am loath to criticize poor ocean workers for failing to see another 'star', especially in adverse situations.
The strip light solution and other wise suggestions here make much more sense.
I think I will run out and invent a florescent anchor rode as well.
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Old 18-10-2015, 18:03   #71
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

How about a couple of dead Aliens in the lazarette?

(Sorry for your troubles Dockhead. I hope this bit of humor is OK)

Steve

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Old 18-10-2015, 19:03   #72
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

Very good post thanks Dockhead. LED's are particularly prone to being mistaken for stars. Liked your anchor fouling solution. Hope it sticks in my memory in case of need.
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Old 18-10-2015, 19:42   #73
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
............. The blue is the wave length visible farthest by the human eye, so I get El Ping's point.

Ann
G'day Ann,
The reason for using blue is that there are very few blue shore lights coupled with the fact that leads/ranges are either fixed or occulting....so white isn't the best choice.
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Old 18-10-2015, 19:45   #74
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

We have used deck mounted lights for 30 years. Bebi owl lights. One white and one blue on the radar arch and another on the bow which has since burnt out. Wish Bebi were still in business cause we could have sold thousands of the blue lights. That blue light stands out head above any other anchor light and you can see it from miles away. Here in the Marquesas we are know as "Oh your the boat with the blue light" where can I buy one?

Even the deck lights will blend in to the background lights so using a blue light in addition to the white is just a bonus.

Then again I will get on my soapbox and say at least a third of the cruising boats we see don't use an anchor light ok a garden LED light but many use nothing. Pitch dark

Safe anchoring and I am really sorry to hear of your problem. Thank goodness it's not worse.

Chuck



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Old 19-10-2015, 02:02   #75
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Re: Don't Rely on Mast-Top Anchor Lights -- Bitter Experience

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How about a couple of dead Aliens in the lazarette?

(Sorry for your troubles Dockhead. I hope this bit of humor is OK)

Steve

Is that from Repo Man? One of my favorite movies
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