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Old 04-05-2013, 12:21   #1
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A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

I come into a lot a anchorages in the dark. This was today's anchorage.

This is the view that I am often presented with.

I don't think many yachtsmen realise how their masthead anchor lights blend into the shore lights. If you row out to your yacht at night it is silouted against the dark open bay. A Yacht coming ino the anchorage is presented with your masthead anchor light against the background of shore lights.

Then there those boats that only use garden lights

This is a typical view coming into an anchorage at night. There is a yacht with a perfectly legal masthead anchor light. Can you spot it?

In the second photo if you look carefully you can see the riding sail of the yacht concerned in the centre of the photo.

It is difficult to represent the reality photographically, but the message is masthead lights are often completely lost against a background of shore lights.

With the low power consumption of LED lights a bright light that illuminates the deck/superstructure uses very little power and may save you from a nasty bump in the night.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:40   #2
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Nolex...

Similar experiences in our part of the world, and a similar plea. A bright LED light above the boom or in the foretriangle at a similar height works wonders. Keep the masthead light if you wish, but add a lower one so that folks in dinghies or incoming to the anchorage have a chance to see you.

Those of us who sometimes manage to arrive in the dark will thank you, and maybe not prang you!

Cheers,

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Old 04-05-2013, 12:55   #3
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Yeah, it's been discussed a few times, for safety nothing beats a lamp under the boom shining on all the boat cockpit stuff....
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Old 04-05-2013, 13:06   #4
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

I have a couple strings of blue LED lights that I hang from each spreader. Helps me pick my boat out of the others when returning in the dinghy. I would guess it would help others ID me as something other than shore lights.

I agree that picking boat lights and navigational aids out of the light pollution on the shore is some of the toughest sailing.
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Old 04-05-2013, 13:38   #5
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When it gets dark and I really have to enter a harbor then the radar gets used. It's made for it :thumbs:
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Old 04-05-2013, 13:48   #6
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Always have a very bright, hand-held spotlight as well. Even if you can see the anchored boats there's no telling what else might be out there.
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Old 04-05-2013, 13:49   #7
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

and these 'owl' lights from bebi are superb. brightest light in our anchorage. i keep it about ten feet above waterline.

LED Anchor Light-Waterproof & Rugged for Marine RV and Offgrid Use
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Old 04-05-2013, 13:56   #8
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
When it gets dark and I really have to enter a harbor then the radar gets used. It's made for it :thumbs:
And night vision cameras on the mast, too.


As for avoiding becoming the prangee, as opposed to the pranger --

A boat with a well lit interior and light shining through the ports is surely pretty visible from any angle. I also do see the point in hanging some kind of lantern from the boom. I'm not sure what kind of violation of the Colregs that might be, but I would do it.

I have experienced the problem Nolex talks about very sharply in my dinghy, from where masthead anchor lights are utterly invisible.
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Old 04-05-2013, 14:00   #9
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
and these 'owl' lights from bebi are superb. brightest light in our anchorage. i keep it about ten feet above waterline.

LED Anchor Light-Waterproof & Rugged for Marine RV and Offgrid Use
Second what was posted. Bebi anchor light, with warm LEDs on the bottom hangs in the cockpit... Bright enough to read by. Still keep the light on up the mast to keep the bEurocrats from pestering me.,,
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:00   #10
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Oil lamp from the forestay :-).Don't forget reflective tape on mast, stations, and anything else that makes you more visible. Like the OP said, it is pretty amazing how well the anchor lights blend in. Plus, many times we are so intent on looking straight ahead we forget to look up.
My friend had his boat name in reflective graphics on the mast, very nice.




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Old 04-05-2013, 15:06   #11
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

We also use the bebi anchor light with the down shining LEDs. Lights up the whole deck and is very bright as an anchor light. Uses little in the way of power.
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:34   #12
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

entering zihuatenejo bay was like the pix you posted--very difficult to see any anchored boats, even tho there were 7 there when i got to bahia zihuatenejo.
some boats use blue lights in cockpit, some use other kinds of cockpit lighting--at least cockpit lighting is lower than the mass of lights on shore, and easier to see against a city back drop.
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:47   #13
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I come into a lot a anchorages in the dark. This was today's anchorage.

This is the view that I am often presented with.

I don't think many yachtsmen realise how their masthead anchor lights blend into the shore lights. If you row out to your yacht at night it is silouted against the dark open bay. A Yacht coming ino the anchorage is presented with your masthead anchor light against the background of shore lights.

Then there those boats that only use garden lights

This is a typical view coming into an anchorage at night. There is a yacht with a perfectly legal masthead anchor light. Can you spot it?

In the second photo if you look carefully you can see the riding sail of the yacht concerned in the centre of the photo.

It is difficult to represent the reality photographically, but the message is masthead lights are often completely lost against a background of shore lights.

With the low power consumption of LED lights a bright light that illuminates the deck/superstructure uses very little power and may save you from a nasty bump in the night.
You make a good point but your plea will reach only a couple dozen of the thousands, perhaps millions of boaters out there who anchor overnight. As long as the anchored boat's lights meet the legal requirements of the country where the boat is anchored, the responsibility of not hitting it is pretty much on the boater who is moving (assuming the anchored boat isn't anchored in the middle of a channel).

Three sailboats are anchored more or less permanently down river from my marina, perhaps 1/4 mile away. One has a nice bright LED anchor light, one has what is probably a legal anchor light, and one has one of the solar lights sold at Wal-Mart that's intended for marking walkways stuck to a vertical piece with duct tape (the boat has no mast). It's also anchored with cinder blocks on a rope and is moving ever so slowly downstream.

In my area, nobody seems to monitor anchor lights or even boat registration. A few times I've been away from home and anchored and had other boats anchor near me with no anchor lights whatsoever. I converted my anchor light to LED and it's pretty bright but I've never had the opportunity to inspect it at a distance from a dingy or another boat.

I plan my trips to anchor well before dusk. Not only so I can see what I m doing, but in case there's no room in the anchorage and I have to find another place to anchor. I understand that everyone cannot do this, but it makes it much easier and I believe, safer. If I need more travel time I leave earlier to give me more daylight time underway.

The next time I get the chance I will try to get an idea of how visible my anchor light and boat is in the dark from a low vantage point.
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Old 04-05-2013, 16:09   #14
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

I have a masthead LED anchor light as part of a tri-color, and it is very bright and the blueish hue is still pretty distinct from most local cruiser's lights, that aren't LEDs I guess. I suspect that will gradually change over time. I also have two solar garden lights, one on either stay for the mast at the same height. From a distance they are quite visible as two lights side by side, and up closer they do illuminate the deck enough to make boarding easy at night. I also have reflective tape on all four corners of the boat and on a couple of places on the mast. After years of shopping around and trying different ones, the garden lights I have now have glass lenses, which might not be ideal if they break, but they certainly seem to provide a better beam effect from the lights. I think I got them on sale for a couple of bucks each, and they routinely last until well after midnight. All of the lights are automatically triggered at dusk.
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Old 04-05-2013, 16:36   #15
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

kettlewell,when you anchor in a beautiful bay with hills around it and lighted homes and restaurants, i PROMISE no one will see your anchor light.
i tested in zihuatenejo while i was there, and i could NOT see any anchor lights in playa la ropa, and i should have been able to--except for the fact the boats all were using masthead lights which truly blended in with the local house lighting and restaurant lighting and christmas lighting which surrounded zihuatenejo bay when i arrived in december 2012.
was impressive.
i KNEW there were 7 boats anchored, didnt know the location of them, and had to make a night entry. is a straight forward entry, so isnt a big deal....but trying to find other boats at anchor is very difficult.
i ended up anchoring exactly in center of playa madera, hooked onto some rocks. we saw the other boats in the morning.

never -presume your lights can be identified as sailboat masthead lighting from a bay entrance in the dark against hills full of homes and restaurants.

as a result of this test i did, i now use lights forward on the main mast, and cockpit lighting, 2 lights each, at boom level. i am installing under mizzen leds for illuminating the cockpit when not sailing. i am considering mainmast and mainboom lighting--i will see what i find.
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