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Old 10-23-2013
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Re: Dangers of LED navigation lights

I was on watch steaming south through the Anegada Passage one night some years back, wide awake and sober by the way, on a freighter. Bridge height about 60 feet.
From the port bridge wing I saw a red or green light (I don't remember which) ahead and it appeared to be a mile or more away. I walked into the bridge to check the radar and out f the corner of my eye I saw that light pass close to the port bridge wing. I ran out and saw about a 40' sailing boat under full sail sliding aft no more than 10 feet from the ship! I had already completed a circumnavigation under sail and numerous transAts and TransPacs before this, so I was an experienced sailor and would not ignore a sailboat's lights or take them lightly.
Ever since that night I have been passionately against masthead tricolors and consider them to be incredibly dangerous. A single colored or white disembodied light gives absolutely NO depth/distance perception and no light at all shines on the water, boat or sails. Several times in Long Island Sound, I have had other boats' masthead running lights obscured by my bimini and thought the guy was an idiot, sailing unlit!
You all can do as you please, but nothing on earth would ever convince me to sail under one.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.

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