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Old 15-10-2016, 16:26   #136
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Thats the danger, a dim light sitting near the horizon level is pretty normal for a very distant vessel as seen from the bridge. It won't show up on radar often for a fair while. If the bearing is steady it is easy to think the vessel is a ways off and thats why there is little bearing change, intil a weak intermittent echo apears on the radar a mile or so away giving you about 3 mins before collision at 20 knots!

A lower level light immediately alerts you that the vessel is small and close. From the bridge of a ship often 20 or meters up there is a lot of horizon out there. It is easy enough normally to get a good handle on approximate distances by the position relative to the horizon, which is usually approximately visible as a smudge even on a black night. And the brightness and type of light visible. Tricolors screw this judgement up badly and potentially add a layer of confusion.

Judging distance by eye from a ships bridge isn't taught because it is so intuitive that it doesn't need to be.

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Ben, that's a good explanation of the situation as seen from a ship's bridge... something that isn't intuitive to us yotties. So, there is a conundrum: the tricoulor is easier to see from another low vantage point (yacht, fishing boat, etc), but the deck lights are easier to see (or evaluate) from a ship's bridge.

Barring use of the red/green mast lights, which are somewhat awkward to deploy, which arrangement is best for a solo sailor or for a crewed vessel (one where full time watch is maintained)? I guess it depends upon which hazard one worries most about. For the crewed boat, it is pretty easy to see a ships lights and become aware of its presence and danger and to initiate avoidance at long distance, well before the ship is aware of your presence. (AIS makes this almost redundant, but not all yachts have even a receiver, so let's leave it out of the discussion.) In that situation, one might well be more concerned about other small vessels as hazards, and the tricolor would be best. But for the solo sailor, who must have periods of non-watchkeeping, collision avoidance lies in the hands of the "other guy", and the consequences of a collision with a ship are so catastrophic that alerting him is the prime concern, and thus deck level lights are better.

Obviously, these considerations change with location, sea state, and traffic density, but to me the choice is not a simple one... hence all the differing opinions expressed in this thread.

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Old 15-10-2016, 16:58   #137
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

^^ Ha jim, thats a fair summary of the issues and problems. Sometimes I feel I might just be safer to light the vessel as a power driven one in heavy seas, and show a steaming/masthead light and the nav lights. The white shows up far better than the weaker red/green, and the white plus lower red green immediately tells a watch officer all the info they need with a quick glance through the bino's. After all, the difference between a PDV drifting with engine off and a SV is pretty small.

You really are damned if you do and damned if you don't as even from a smaller boat a tricolor can be hard to judge due to the height of the light at close ranges and the way it can merge with any shore lights.
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Old 15-10-2016, 17:01   #138
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

[QUOTE=El Pinguino;2235793]Not really.... a white light sitting on the horizon..... he wouldn't have been expecting to see it on radar.

Judging distance by eye? SOP . Until quite recently ( well 'recent' to some of us) radar wasn't run offshore and all collision avoidance was done by watching bearing, estimating aspect, and judging distance by eye.[/QUOTE

If yhe Watchkeeper thought the other vessel was so far off that his radar couldn't pick it up, why did he think he was overtaking it and make a large alteration of course to Port?
Alarm bells should have been ringing when he made that alteration of course and the lights bearing didn't change as he expected.
The summary says he was slowly bringing the vessel back on course when the collision occurred.
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Old 16-10-2016, 01:13   #139
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Thats the danger, a dim light sitting near the horizon level is pretty normal for a very distant vessel as seen from the bridge. It won't show up on radar often for a fair while. If the bearing is steady it is easy to think the vessel is a ways off and thats why there is little bearing change, intil a weak intermittent echo apears on the radar a mile or so away giving you about 3 mins before collision at 20 knots!

A lower level light immediately alerts you that the vessel is small and close. From the bridge of a ship often 20 or meters up there is a lot of horizon out there. It is easy enough normally to get a good handle on approximate distances by the position relative to the horizon, which is usually approximately visible as a smudge even on a black night. And the brightness and type of light visible. Tricolors screw this judgement up badly and potentially add a layer of confusion.

Judging distance by eye from a ships bridge isn't taught because it is so intuitive that it doesn't need to be.

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IMHO Judging distance of Nav lights by eye at night is only intuitive if you recognise that Colregs do not prescribe such action. I believe that judging distance to a light without confirming the observation with another method is very unsafe. It brings to mind the phrase " making assumptions with scanty information". Nav lights give you a bearing on the other vessel, its aspect, and hopefully an indication of its type. They do not tell you how far away the vessel is.
The tricolour light that started all this discussion, is only lacking when viewed from astern. In that situation a watch keeper who thinks he can safely judge distance will be confused if the stern light is on the horizon.
If the tricolour light is showing red/green then the watch keeper will know that it is a sailing vessel and if he/she is on the ball he will know that the light may be displayed at the masthead and therefore his attempt to judge distance by comparison to the horizon is doubtful. I don't call all that intuitive. Sorry.
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Old 16-10-2016, 01:44   #140
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

^^ well Dave I guess you can take your chances in heavy traffic that an overworked and busy OOW, will follow your logic, I know what lights I will be showing.

I have seen a few very experianced OOW, captains and pilots make the same error at differnt times, awareness of the true situation came, but latter than it should have. Most of these times were in heavy traffic, with a target showing a poor radar signal. Simply a dim light near the horizon level without a corresponding radar target often gets low priority. Hopefully AIS will help, as do the brighter LED lights.



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Old 16-10-2016, 02:59   #141
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

IMHO, tricolor lights are not actually specified in the COLREG's. Rule 25 paragraph (a) specified stern and side lights for sailing vessels underway. It is in paragraph (b) where the trouble occurs. The statement that "the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of Rule 25 may be combined in one lantern" is miss interpreted. It turns out that the word "lantern" is used only four times in the COLREG's. All four of those time are in Rule 25. Two of those uses also are in the form of "lighted lantern". I believe that the authors of the COLREG's do in fact mean that these should be oil fueled lanterns. These lanterns are intended to be used on sail powered barge and utility vessels that are without a source of electricity. (Common in the early 1900's.)

The electric lights to be used on a sailing vessel underway is specified in paragraphs (a) and (c). They consist of (a) stern and side lights and (c) all round red over green lights at or near the masthead.

For me the unaddressed question is where to best mount the side lights so that they are visible and not blocked by an over lapping jib. I have double spreader rig so I am thinking of moving my side lights from the bow to the ends lower spreaders.
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Old 16-10-2016, 03:03   #142
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
^^ well Dave I guess you can take your chances in heavy traffic that an overworked and busy OOW, will follow your logic, I know what lights I will be showing.

I have seen a few very experianced OOW, captains and pilots make the same error at differnt times, awareness of the true situation came, but latter than it should have. Most of these times were in heavy traffic, with a target showing a poor radar signal. Simply a dim light near the horizon level without a corresponding radar target often gets low priority. Hopefully AIS will help, as do the brighter LED lights.



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Hi Snowpetrel,
I am just trying to remind people that lights are reliable for bearing, aspect and type of vessel, not distance.
Generally the OOW's I have worked with have been pretty good, with a couple of notable exceptions. MUA ratings take their lights seriously, they want you to know when another vessel is sighted and I always make a point of monitoring it until it is a reliable target on the radar.
I do have AIS on my 34, it was a huge step forward for watch keeping.
Dave.
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Old 16-10-2016, 06:51   #143
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
IMHO, tricolor lights are not actually specified in the COLREG's. Rule 25 paragraph (a) specified stern and side lights for sailing vessels underway. It is in paragraph (b) where the trouble occurs. The statement that "the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of Rule 25 may be combined in one lantern" is miss interpreted. It turns out that the word "lantern" is used only four times in the COLREG's. All four of those time are in Rule 25. Two of those uses also are in the form of "lighted lantern". I believe that the authors of the COLREG's do in fact mean that these should be oil fueled lanterns. These lanterns are intended to be used on sail powered barge and utility vessels that are without a source of electricity. (Common in the early 1900's.)

The electric lights to be used on a sailing vessel underway is specified in paragraphs (a) and (c). They consist of (a) stern and side lights and (c) all round red over green lights at or near the masthead.

For me the unaddressed question is where to best mount the side lights so that they are visible and not blocked by an over lapping jib. I have double spreader rig so I am thinking of moving my side lights from the bow to the ends lower spreaders.

Lantern is not just in rule 25, it is also used in rule 21 and Annex-1. The general use of the word in the COLREGS is in the form of lantern as a single fixture rather than lantern as an oil powered light though ther are two instances where the use seems to be the latter.

I would think that the spreader tips would be legal as long as you never flew a Genoa, drift or spinnaker of any flavor that obscured the lights at night. The problem is that at the low spreader the leeward light is going to be obscured dead ahead and somewhat to leeward for any sail at tall as the light even when said sail is sheeted tight. It just gets worse when the sail is cracked off.
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Old 16-10-2016, 07:35   #144
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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Lantern is not just in rule 25, it is also used in rule 21 and Annex-1. The general use of the word in the COLREGS is in the form of lantern as a single fixture rather than lantern as an oil powered light though ther are two instances where the use seems to be the latter.

I would think that the spreader tips would be legal as long as you never flew a Genoa, drift or spinnaker of any flavor that obscured the lights at night. The problem is that at the low spreader the leeward light is going to be obscured dead ahead and somewhat to leeward for any sail at tall as the light even when said sail is sheeted tight. It just gets worse when the sail is cracked off.
Adelie,

You are correct. My copy of the COLREG's is incomplete and different. So, I take back my previous post about lanterns. In fact in Annex 1 it speaks of a single vertical filament which can only be electric.

My sincere apology to one and all for wasting your time.
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Old 16-10-2016, 09:29   #145
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

No waste of time. Challenged me to look and think which is good.
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Old 16-10-2016, 13:11   #146
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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^^ Ha jim, thats a fair summary of the issues and problems. Sometimes I feel I might just be safer to light the vessel as a power driven one in heavy seas, and show a steaming/masthead light and the nav lights. The white shows up far better than the weaker red/green, and the white plus lower red green immediately tells a watch officer all the info they need with a quick glance through the bino's. After all, the difference between a PDV drifting with engine off and a SV is pretty small.

You really are damned if you do and damned if you don't as even from a smaller boat a tricolor can be hard to judge due to the height of the light at close ranges and the way it can merge with any shore lights.
I agree. And besides the steaming light, a deck light works wonders, if you're worried about being seen

I have no problem with showing a steaming light under sail. Just be sure to behave like a power driven vessel.
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Old 30-10-2016, 19:13   #147
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

After reading all of this thread, I must post about HOW NOT TO DO IT. I recently bought a 34 foot boat in need of a major re-fit. In the rush to get the mast down and the boat on to a trailer and having it trucked home, I really didnt pay much attention to the mast lighting. This week while working on some other things I took a look at the masthead tricolor light and was stunned to see that it was mounted 90 degrees off. I am certain that the fellow I bought from had not had the mast down and I doubt he ever took it out at night, but I wonder how many years it had been like that. The deck level stern light was a 360 degree light which would have completely blinded any helmsman. The steaming light which is mounted on the front face of the mast is also a 360. I doubt it shows the correct arc. This just adds a few items to my to-do list, but it is scary that there might be other boats out there with completely wrong lighting. Life is always interesting. ______Grant.
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Old 30-10-2016, 19:35   #148
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Re: Masthead Tricolor or Inhull/Pulpits Running Lights

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The deck level stern light was a 360 degree light which would have completely blinded any helmsman. The steaming light which is mounted on the front face of the mast is also a 360. I doubt it shows the correct arc. This just adds a few items to my to-do list, but it is scary that there might be other boats out there with completely wrong lighting. Life is always interesting. ______Grant.
Your deck level "Stern Light" would make a good anchor light.
No doubt there is many boats with incorrect lights. This forum is great the way it gets so many people thinking about aspects of their boats that may otherwise have been overlooked.
I have seen some funny installations too. One of the best was a manual bilge pump that was fitted backwards on a commercial fishing vessel. It was like that for many years.
Enjoy your refit.
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