Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Vancouver Island
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Lighting while sailing at night.
I had an interesting experience while racing recently that posed an interesting question.
I was sailing (on a port tack) towards the turning mark of a long distance course in the dark. We were lit like a sailboat should be, running lights and sternlight as well as a masthead red over green sailing light. Closing us on a steady bearing (risk of collision) was a vessel showing sidelights and a white light higher than the side lights. My watch Captain judged that this was a vessel under power and that we (under sail) would have the right of way. When it was apparent that the other vessel wasn't going to give way we crash tacked and got out of its way. As it went by, we saw a sailing vessel (on a starboard tack) with its anchor light on. When I later asked the skipper (he was in the same race) what he was doing, he said that they often sailed with the anchor light on so they could see the masthead wind indicator to ensure they were trimmed right. He claimed he had the right of way (starboard tack vice port tack) He never considered that it would confuse other vessels because his anchor light was on. It was a close call.
How do you folks see wind direction and set trim at night?
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217