How many of you fly a day anchor signal. In all my years cruising from Duluth MN through the Bahamas I have ssen only two and one of them was mine. Or how about a day steaming signal ?
HA! I fly my anchor ball EVERY time I anchor! I have no idea why, but for some reason I take deep deep joy in being the only one who hoists a black ball in the rigging. It makes me feel oh-so-salty. It is, as Maine_Sail found, quite the conversation starter as well. I feel oh-so-smug as well as I (a young person) explain to the grey-bearded questioner what it is and how it is required etc etc.
As it turns out though, I was not as salty as I thought. I have spent the last 10 years smugly telling people what "that thing" is in the rigging, or answering the question "why are you hoisting a radar reflector" but I was actually doing it all wrong. I routinely used my mainsail halyard to hoist it as it also kept the halyard from banging on the mast at night but I recently found out that a black ball in the forward rigging
is the rule. Oops, not as salty as I thought.
I've also caught myself underway, 2 hours into motoring, with the darned thing up as well. On more than one occasion I might add. Now I hoist it in the forward rigging and clip the lower portion to my anchor chain just forward of the windlass. No chance I can get underway with it still clipped there! I have to idiot-proof things on my boat you know....
Mine is an inflatable anchor ball with cord at both ends for a hoisting line and for a downhaul. Since it's inflatable it take up no space and I found it at a swap meet, but I can't say I've actually seen one for sale anywhere here in the USA. One thing you could do is take a small (or large) ball fender, paint it black, and then you'd have a dual purpose item. When you're anchored, your hoisted fender is your day signal, when you're docking it's your fender.