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Old 02-22-2010
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It appears that nowadays there's a lot of hand held spotlights with lotsa' power. Having one in a convenient cockpit locker seems more practical that having to go to an operating panel for a remote light. A lot more convenient to service as well. The only time I think a remote light would have been handy was going thru the Dismal Swamp at night on the ICW. Instead of spreader lights I use deck level lights in te cockpit and foredeck that are aimed down. This doesn't interfere too much with the helmsman's vision. If I could put in red bulbs that might be even better.
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Old 02-23-2010
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I use a 5" headlight clipped to the mast when I need it. The only time I use it is when going into the canal or near anchorages when its very dark and I'm motoring.
Seafarer 29 KCB
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Old 02-23-2010
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I've seen many boats with spreader-mounted deck lights. I always wondered how often they get used.
Would they not seriously impair night-vision?
When would you use them.
I anchor out a lot and go up on deck for a cigar (or a whiz) and haven't found that I'm missing anything by not having them.
Are these something that experienced sailors recommend? And if so, why?
I haven't done any night sailing yet - I intend to cross that bridge this summer - so I don't know anything about that aspect of sailing.
As my mast is down and will require some re-wiring before the season, now would be a good time to install these lights if necessary.
1989 Hunter 30'
Southern Georgian Bay

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Yves Cousteau
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Old 02-23-2010
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I use the deck lights only while sitting still: anchored or at the dock.
I too would think they would be a hinderance while underway.
They can be nice tools for seeing a bit better on the deck.
I have also used it at anchor for a few hours to help make us more visible in a strange anchorage but only in addition to our anchor light. Heavy on the amps, but I felt safer.
As far as spotlights, we stick with the $30 hand-held. Easier to use and a lot less expensive when you consider all you would have to do to run power etc. Plus, my wife loves her duty as spot-light navigator. She takes it very seriously.
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If a man is to be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most - E.B. White
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