Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

View Poll Results: Night Pilotage, How Do You Do It?
I study the charts and read the lights. No big deal, even without GPS. 17 34.00%
Instudybthe charts and read the lights, but wouldn't go into a strange harbor at night without GPS. 3 6.00%
I study the charts and read the lights, but wouldn't go into a strange harborbat night without a plotter at the helm. 10 20.00%
I wouldn't go into a strange harbor at night regardless of the tools at my disposal, except in an emergency. 19 38.00%
I have never faced this situation. 1 2.00%
Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-08-2013, 19:52   #31
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 4,413
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Interesting concept here. Back then before GPS when LoranC was iffy I found myself having to enter a harbor or two at night. Perhaps I was not as scared as I should have been... but studied the charts, calculated the headings and the distances to run, ranges and so forth and cautiously would motor in.

Now with several plotters including a small one in the cockpit I would be more cautious... but not do the coastal nav prep I did before gps plotters. Lazy? Probably, but I've found the technology with the paper chart and careful observation you can enter a new harbor at night. But of course that depends...

How dark is it? New moon, full moon... etc.
What is the weather and sea conditions?
How much light confusion is there?
How many hazards are there? Is this threading a few needles?
How well is it marked by lighted nav aids?
How much traffic is moving in and out?
Is the channel through an anchorage?
What is the bottom and what are the depths like?
Do they speak French? just kidding
and more

No easy answer. If it's a passage I'll follow MarkJ's stern light...
__________________

__________________
Sandero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 21:25   #32
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, Wash.
Boat: no longer on my Cabo Rico 38 Sanderling
Posts: 1,794
Send a message via MSN to John A
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
We're from all over the place! Keep in mind the scope of this forum. I can assume San Francisco even though your avatar says Vancouver, but I and many others won't know what SFO or MT San Bruno represents.
Sorry to confuse but if you'd just ask I will be happy to clarify. SFO is the identifier for San Francisco International Airport, and is 26 miles south of downtown San Francisco City Candlestick Park is where the SF 49er's play football. Mt San Bruno is a high hill to the south of SF. Hunters Point used to be a large US Navy ship repair yard. And is a point of land that marks where the shore line curves to the west.

The avatar is were I am now. BTW it's the other Vancouver. This one is in Washington state, A crossed the Columbia River from Portland Oregon. Not to be confused with Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada or Vancouver Island in Canada.
I will, from time to time, mention places I was at during 10 years of cruising and still use the Vancouver avatar.
__________________

__________________
John A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2013, 21:55   #33
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Montegut LA.
Boat: Now we need to get her to Louisiana !! she's ours
Posts: 3,421
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Don't have a plotter, never had a plotter, haven't needed one yet ! There might be 3 or 4 harbors on the NWC that I might run at night. But the weather would need to be perfect, and the night clear! I just jog or plan as well as I can to arrive just after dawn, or if the tide is important to getting in to the harbor then I try to get there on the right tide. Worked for a lot of years, don't see where a plotter would change my ideas any! Just my 2 cents
__________________
Bob and Connie
bobconnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 06:15   #34
Mooderator
 
capngeo's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Key West & Sarasota
Boat: Cal 28 "Happy Days"
Posts: 4,211
Images: 12
Send a message via Yahoo to capngeo Send a message via Skype™ to capngeo
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Not the Manatee River, but damn close to it... I fetched one up on "The Bulkhead" heading out of Tampa Bay going South on the ICW. No, not a real bulkhead, but a sandbar the locals so named.

But in response to the OP, post 23 pretty much sums it up for me too
__________________
Any fool with a big enough checkbook can BUY a boat; it takes a SPECIAL type of fool to build his own! -Capngeo
capngeo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 06:56   #35
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Toronto area when not cruising
Boat: Bristol 45.5
Posts: 668
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

I am entirely with Mark on this. We time our arrival for after dawn. Sometimes when we go in we realize that it would have been easy, other times we are really glad we did not push our luck. Just happened that we had to slow down for every port we went to in the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to Mauritius. Staying out for an extra night is no big deal when you are on a passage.
__________________
Still looking for our next boat. Have decided we want to have something that will keep us happy for the next 10 years or so. By then I will be pushing 80 and if i am still sailing that will be a very good thing.
AiniA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 06:58   #36
Moderator
 
Hudson Force's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Lived aboard & cruised for 45 years,- now on a chair in my walk-in closet.
Boat: Morgan OI 413 1973 - Aythya
Posts: 7,894
Images: 1
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
.................... So I'd wait for darkness and the wind to calm down before rounding Hunters Point to head for the channel to the marina, ..................................
Thanks, John, for the clarity. Sometimes I get lost when reading so many posts. I have to admit that I first thought that the wind was strong enough to make the lightweight Hunters round up and point back to the marina! I guess I need to slow down and get more sleep!
__________________
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
Hudson Force is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 08:22   #37
Registered User
 
Celestialsailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In Mexico, working on the boat
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35. and 14ft.Whitehall pulling skiff.
Posts: 8,013
Images: 5
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Ya...I'm another "it depends" person. I went into Santa Barbara at night where it is very difficult to distinguish city lights from buoy's. But I was told to just creep up on it. I don't use just my GPS and charts but also depth sounder. It's not something I like to do but at 11pm. and dead tired, I felt it would have been more dangerous continuing on to Point Conception where it can be a real washing machine.
__________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

http://wwwjolielle.blogspot.com/
Celestialsailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 08:32   #38
Registered User

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 466
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

I think that your past experiences determine what you will do! Once while entering a harbor at night that had a short straight entrance I was heading to a way-point between the two jetty's bypassing the sea buoys,after making the turn to the proper heading there was a jetty to starboard just as there should be BUT things did not add up could not make out the ranges(too many lights ) waves did not feel right depth getting shallower!180 degree turn. Turns out a mistake was made transferring lat lon from chart to gps!!!!only a hundred or so yards off
__________________
sartorst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 11:57   #39
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

I am in the 'emergency only' group BUT I say being e.g. very tired and out can be less safe than trying to enter an unknown anchorage/harbour at night. I think one should elect the option that is the safer one, considering all factors, not just navigational ones.

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 12:58   #40
Senior Cruiser
 
Captain Bill's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: On the boat
Boat: Endeavourcat Sailcat 44
Posts: 2,313
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

It really depends on how dificult the approaches might be. There are some harbors I just won't do at night even though I've been in them several times. Bimini is one of them. The tides run strong and the margin for error is small. If I arrive after dark I simply anchor out at Nixon's harbor and wait until morning. The first time I went in Ft Pierce inlet after dark I almost screwed up big time. I was aware of the range and planned to take advantage of it. The range lights in this case are green. I dutifully picked out the two green lights and lined them up when suddenly the upper one turned yellow then red. The correct green light was several hundred yards to the right at almost the same height. I had picked a traffic light and would have come to a world of hurt if the light had not turned red. Just before I discovered my error I looked at the compass heading and noticed it was not what I expected, but it was a new to me boat and my reaction was that I was going to have the compass swung, not that I had picked out the wrong lights. By the way I had been through that inlet in the daytime perhaps 25 times, but it's amazing how different it can be in the dark and how confusing city lights can make the approach.
__________________
Captain Bill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 14:47   #41
Registered User
 
svmariane's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Currently in South Pacific. Home Port: Vienna, Austria
Boat: Celestial, Stay'sl-Rigged Sloop, 48 ft
Posts: 1,164
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

Add me to the "It Depends" group.

In the northern med we often entered port after dark - the harbour charts were great and harbour markings sufficient.

Out here in the Pacific islands? We lay off or heave to and await sunrise. Always. And we once even waited an extra day for the wxr to abate.

Thought about what others posted above, maybe going in after dark if an emergency situation. But... How would it help rectify the emergency should I put our boat on the rocks? IDK... It really, really, depends on a lot of variables.

James
__________________
"Being offended is not the same thing as being right." Dave Barry.
Note: Offense is always taken, never given.
When life hands you lemons..... add gin & tonic!
svmariane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2013, 19:18   #42
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

The first time I did the ALIR (Around Long Island, NY) we rounded Orient Point at night, and there are things you don't want to hit, not to mention, keeping on the shortest fastest course. We had GPS and charts, no plotter. And while the charts seem straightforward and full of good lights, I looked around for quite a while and finally said "WTF?!" because there is so much background clutter that you can't find the navigation lights. I was debating taking the long way rather than risking a rock when I realized the depth sounder was the trick. I thought it was psycho because it just kept saying "----" "----" and I'd never paid much attention to it. Then I realized "----" meant "overrange" as in we were in over 200' of water which put us smack in the middle of the deepest water, and solved the question of where we were.

When you've got a varied bottom, a depth sounder can be more valuable than all the lighted marks in the world.

As for boating in the dark...I confess, I used to have excellent night vision. I could read the classified ads by full moonlight. As long as I wear dark glasses during the day and take advantage of peripheral vision at night, I can still sometimes do a good imitation of a bat. "Dark" is a very relative thing. As is the question of whether it is safe to go in somewhere.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2013, 04:35   #43
Registered User
 
Hydra's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lorient, Brittany, France
Boat: Gib'Sea 302, 30' - Hydra
Posts: 1,229
Re: Poll - Harbor Pilotage at Night

I voted #1 but I am in the "it depends" group:
Quote:
How dark is it? New moon, full moon... etc.
What is the weather and sea conditions?
How much light confusion is there?
How many hazards are there? Is this threading a few needles?
How well is it marked by lighted nav aids?
How much traffic is moving in and out?
Is the channel through an anchorage?
What is the bottom and what are the depths like?
In fact, some harbors are easier to enter at night because the ranges are easier to see then.

In some areas, I would trust a good transit more than a chartplotter, for the electronic chart may be off by a few tens of meters. It happened again the other day, when entering an anchorage in Kenmare Bay (Ireland).

Alain
__________________

__________________
Hydra is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:22.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.