Spreader lights: One or two? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-24-2007
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Originally Posted by Joel73
We decided to go with the steaming/deck combo light which mounts on the center of the mast.

A friend of mine has one of those, really lights up the deck nice. However... I prefer just working in the dark instead of losing my night vision. My rigging knife has a small red map light on it for close work.

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post #12 of 14 Old 05-24-2007
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Nobody uses matches anymore???????
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-24-2007
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Quite a few years back, we were in Plum Island Sound, doing a few days of exploring and birding in the estuary and taking a brake from the offshore stuff. We picked up a mooring (with permission) close to the west shore of the island, in sort of a little cove. I heard a weather report that foretold of a front that was going to pass through with high winds and rain expected to last for around 24-36 hours. I thought nothing of it as I felt we were safe inside the estuary, totally land-locked. We’d just hang out and do what we did below.
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When it hit, it came from the north. I’ve never been in anything like that before! We had no options, no place to run! 50 knot winds kicked up 5 and 6 foot seas even in there! As the tide ebbed, we found that we were inside the breaker line and when the current turned to flood, we were pulled stern-too the oncoming seas! She’d pull up, beam-too with the current, getting washed in the breakers, then she’d straighten out and catch the next wave and surf down it until she SLAMMED into the mooring line! Then she’d whip around and start that horrible ride over again and again and again.
Something was going to give. It was only a matter of time. I was keeping a radio vigil with the Coast Guard, reporting every half hour. A rescue couldn’t be affected until morning but if she parted off we’d be on the beach in a hurry and if it happened in the dark, I doubt we would have made it. I weighed my options. Not knowing the remaining strength of the mooring I couldn’t rely on it to hold much longer. I’d have to get my storm anchor out and set it as far to windward as possible. That meant deploying it off the stern when she was at the apex of her travel in the current. In the same fashion, I’d deploy the #1 anchor after she snapped around against the mooring. With any luck, I could keep her from dancing around.
It was blowing hard from the north and pouring rain in sheets but at least it was relatively warm. I’d do this operation in the buff so I wouldn’t be encumbered with getting clothing snagged on anything and I opted to not use a harness ( I know, I know ) as I was going to be messing around with a lot of cordage and didn’t want to toss another into the mix to fowl up. She was dancing like a bucking-bronco but I’d have to rely on my “sea legs” to keep me aboard. It was around 2 AM.
I hit the switch for the spreader lights and right away the port side light blew out! Bink! As I made the deck, the rain and spray and the roar of the wind and seas assaulted me! The waves, unseen broke over her, and me. I looked down at my wife and thought this may be the last time I ever see her, and closed the hatch. I have never been so scared in my entire life, before nor since! My entire world consisted of nothing more then a 28 foot wooden deck eerily lit by that single spreader light, surrounded by the blackest black void there ever was! Action is the best cure for fear and so I set out and followed my plan to the letter, praying that the starboard spreader light would stay lit!
Fortunately my plan was a success. It took better then an hour but I was able to set both hooks and keep her from riding up and surfing back. At daybreak the tide was high and the breakers had receded closer to the beach and when the tide started to ebb, coming on the bow and keeping us a bit more stable, a rescue boat was able to reach us and get us off. With the winds and sea state still high, moving her in those tight quarters was out of the question, so she’d have to hold herself for one more night, alone, which I’m happy to say, she did.
The moral of the story: Yea, TWO spreader lights!

"Who would go to sea for pleasure
would go to hell for pastime."

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post #14 of 14 Old 05-25-2007
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Forget it

I'v had spreader lights on my 323 Pearson and for 25 years, the only time i used them, they destroyed my night vision. A flashlight is all I need unless I find myself on a ball in a hurricane.

Last edited by foxglove; 05-25-2007 at 08:10 AM.
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