Owner, Green Bay Packers
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SW Michigan
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Mostly sensible points being made. I do agree that Int. Orange IS God-awful ugly but would maintain the point that if you're single handing off-shore it'd be foolish not to take advantage of something that highlights the most visible part of your vessel. Int. Org. may not be the color best suited, as Rob't Ganier points out, it is a distress signal color. Especially with the proliferation of advetizing all over sails today within the racing community, perhaps a brightly colored slash of color across main and jib would serve the purpose. I'm sure it could be esthetically done. Tanbark does show up in certain conditions better than white.
I would consider it only prudent that the offshore single handed sailor also carry signals to attract attention and not rely soley on his VHF radio. For instance, you can get rocket flares in non-distress colors and even the humble mirror is amazingly effective as a signalling device. Before you poo-poo that last one, try one out and realizem that every lifeboat carries one for just the purpose. Properly aimed they are visible to a distance beyond the horizon's.
Here's kind of an anecdotal inside tip for the offshore sailor. Sometimes you don't have to even contact a ship when well offshore to get their attention. At some hundred's of miles offshore you see a ship approaching that you are unsure sees you. A simple cough into the microphone of the VHF may make the mate on watch on that ship spill his coffee, or come barrelling out of the chart room. At sea you can tell the relative distances of VHF transmissions and believe me, when you hear a cough over the radio when heretofore you were comfortably secure in the knowledge that the ocean was your's alone, it sure get's your attention. Instantaneously the mate and AB on watch have their heads on a swivel and binoculars are being polished. Don't ask me how I know this. The other side of that coin, and a bit more common, is to observe a sailboat with no watch, for whatever reason, make a slight course alteration to pass astern and give them a toot on the whistle, usually resulting in a veritable explosion of activity erupting from the companionway. I'll withhold comment on those sailboats that have appeared out of the rain or fog (I only saw them on radar at 5 miles or so), their sidelights barely visible and their VHF inaudible outside of a mile-obviously out of juice. I'd like to think that mine and other's watchkeeping kept their voyage from ending tragically.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.