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  #51  
Old 09-28-2012
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Re: Anchor light

I have to agree with Gary that many masthead LED anchor lights look very similar to a star. I especially noticed this the last time down in the BVI. For me at the helm, coming into an anchorage after dark it was much easier to work through the anchorage seeing anchor lights on the fore triangle or boats lit up like a christmas tree instead of peering around the bimini top looking upward. I know it may not totally meet regulations but ahelluva lot easier on the captain to see where the boats are. Just my 2 cents. I personally use a masthead and a light at the fore triangle but also have a couple of solar lights in the cockpit.
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Re: Anchor light

More is better.

We use the Davis anchor light mounted about 8' above the water. It is not LED but it draws VERY little. Sometimes we also use the masthead anchor light.
We also have solar garden lights at the bow, stern, plus port & starboard; all at toe rail level. I think having one at the bow is especially important because of the morons who cut close to the bow.
When underway at night, we store the LEDs away.
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  #53  
Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwks4me View Post
I have to agree with Gary that many masthead LED anchor lights look very similar to a star. I especially noticed this the last time down in the BVI. For me at the helm, coming into an anchorage after dark it was much easier to work through the anchorage seeing anchor lights on the fore triangle or boats lit up like a christmas tree instead of peering around the bimini top looking upward. I know it may not totally meet regulations but ahelluva lot easier on the captain to see where the boats are. Just my 2 cents. I personally use a masthead and a light at the fore triangle but also have a couple of solar lights in the cockpit.
COLREGS do not stipulate that an anchor light must be on the top of the mast. An all-round white light in the fore triangle that is visble at the prescribed distance for your hull length is perfectly acceptable.
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Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
COLREGS do not stipulate that an anchor light must be on the top of the mast. An all-round white light in the fore triangle that is visble at the prescribed distance for your hull length is perfectly acceptable.
I do not believe this complies with COLREGS. The "all-round white light" must be visible over 360 degrees:
Quote:
Rule 21 Definitions: (e) “All-round light” means a light showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 360 degrees.
That is why the anchor light is always elevated to the highest point on any boat. (Masthead on a sailing vessel, transom pole on runabouts, top of highest point of cabin on motor yachts, etc.). Putting the light any lower causes part of the 360 degree arc to be "broken" by the vessel itself. Mounting a light in the foretriangle of a sailboat causes it to be shadowed by a furled sail and/or the mast itself, creating blind spots for vessels approaching from certain directions.

Fortunately, COREGS also allow additional lighting to illuminate your decks and thus make your vessel more visible. In fact, they require this for vessels longer than 100 meters.

So in order to be compliant with COLREGS on a sailboat, you should illuminate a light at the masthead. If you are concerned that this light is not visible enough in close confines of a protected cove, you should supplement that light with additional lights.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 09-29-2012 at 05:45 PM.
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I do not believe this complies with COLREGS. The "all-round white light" must to be visible over 360 degrees:

That is why the anchor light is always elevated to the highest point on any boat.
Actually it has to do with COLREGS. Rule 21 defines "masthead light" which, wow, has to be on the masthead. Note that rule 30 (anchor lights) specifically says "a vessel of less than 50 meters may exhibit an all-round white light where it may be best seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this rule." Note that there is no requirement that this light be on the mast nor in the fore-triangle.

To your point consider all of the other "all around" lights: red over white: fishing at night, red over green: sailing machine; red over red: captain is dead. Every ship I have ever seen has these lights in a row mounted on a mast. So the mast obscures at least some small part of the direct light. But usually the light lenses are big enough, and the diffusion is effective enough to give the impression of an "all around" light.

Switching topics slightly, I have noticed that ships carrying hazardous cargo tend not to have deck lights. All I usually see is the bow and main all around lights and the side lights (red and green.) Since most cargo ships are pretty well lit up I have been surprised more than once in a narrow channel of a big a&(*&( thing looming up along side me only to look up high in the air to see their lights.

While I am on it, Note that rule 21 does not define a "bow light" but rather "side lights." The option to combine them into a single light on the bow is an option for smaller vessels (less than 20 meters.) When I first started open ocean sailing I was confused because I expected the red and green lights to be on the bow. On most ships they are on the stern, up high on the side of the "house." There is a whole lot of ship in front of those lights (lol.)

Have we finally killed this thread?
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  #56  
Old 09-29-2012
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I do not believe this complies with COLREGS. The "all-round white light" must be visible over 360 degrees:

Yes the "ALL ROUND" light, as in the actual FIXTURE, must be a 360 degree light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
That is why the anchor light is always elevated to the highest point on any boat. (Masthead on a sailing vessel, transom pole on runabouts, top of highest point of cabin on motor yachts, etc.). Putting the light any lower causes part of the 360 degree arc to be "broken" by the vessel itself. Mounting a light in the foretriangle of a sailboat causes it to be shadowed by a furled sail and/or the mast itself, creating blind spots for vessels approaching from certain directions.
This is where it goes wrong. The definition of the FIXTURE is not applicable to the APPLICATION of the fixture.

For more details you need to dig deeper into the COLREGS. In the annex info you will find the CFR references:

"(b) All-round lights shall be so located as not to be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within angular sectors of more than 6 degrees, except anchor lights prescribed in Rule 30, which need not be placed at an impracticable height above the hull, and the all-round white light described in Rule 23(d), which may not be obscured at all."




Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
So in order to be compliant with COLREGS on a sailboat, you should illuminate a light at the masthead.
This is untrue. An all round need not be placed at a mast head and there is no requirement for it on the boats we are discussing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
If you are concerned that this light is not visible enough in close confines of a protected cove, you should supplement that light with additional lights.
You can do that or just move your main all round light to where it "can best be seen"...
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  #57  
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Re: Anchor light

Thanks, I stand corrected. I should have phrased my prior post as a question rather than a statement, since I was interested in hearing more experienced opinions like yours, knowing that my own opinion was a based on minimal experience.

So let me ask one more question: Why do US sailboat manufacturers bother to mount the anchor light at the masthead, since it's such a bad location for it, and not required by the USCG to be located there? I'm not looking to challenge any of your statements, because I'm sure you're right, but it just puzzles me why they don't come up with some alternative that works better.

And yet another question: Does someone out there make a 2nm rated light fixture that's acceptable for hanging in the foretriangle? It sounds like I ought to pick one up, but don't recall seeing anything specifically designed for this. It would seem that there should be a large demand for this sort of thing - basically, every cruising sailboat out there.
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post

So let me ask one more question: Why do US sailboat manufacturers bother to mount the anchor light at the masthead, since it's such a bad location for it, and not required by the USCG to be located there? I'm not looking to challenge any of your statements, because I'm sure you're right, but it just puzzles me why they don't come up with some alternative that works better.
I can think of a couple of reasons:
1) It is out of the way. Just about anything that sticks up on a sailboat will eventually be ripped off by a line. Putting it up on the mast gets it into a safer location.
2) Many of us who go offshore use a tricolor to be better seen. This is, by definition, mounted on top of the mast. Integrating the anchor light and the tricolor makes for a nice installation.
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  #59  
Old 09-30-2012
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Re: Anchor light

my schooner friends use a kerosene lamp, dedicated anchor light with fresnel lens, in the fore triangle. is the best place for a schooner to place an anchor light--traditional and practical. i have both dedicated kerosene anchor light with fresnel lens and some cockpit lighting leds. works better than the cant see them masthead lights.

my nav lights are 10 ft above level of water and in my shrouds. easily seen and recognized. is a traditional location for nav lights, as opposed to bow lights, which are generally unseen/more difficult to identify.
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Re: Anchor light

Quote:
Originally Posted by svzephyr44 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive
So let me ask one more question: Why do US sailboat manufacturers bother to mount the anchor light at the masthead, since it's such a bad location for it, and not required by the USCG to be located there? I'm not looking to challenge any of your statements, because I'm sure you're right, but it just puzzles me why they don't come up with some alternative that works better.
I can think of a couple of reasons:
1) It is out of the way. Just about anything that sticks up on a sailboat will eventually be ripped off by a line. Putting it up on the mast gets it into a safer location.
2) Many of us who go offshore use a tricolor to be better seen. This is, by definition, mounted on top of the mast. Integrating the anchor light and the tricolor makes for a nice installation.
A couple more, why the masthead is the single best overall location...

A light at the masthead, because of its elevation, will often be separated from background lights ashore, especially in low lying coastal areas...

Particularly in more remote areas, I believe that maximizing the height of an anchor light can lead to enhanced safety... The boat will be visible from a greater distance, sometimes over intervening landforms that might obscure a deck-level light. One can imagine a myriad of circumstances, from a medical emergency, to not making it back to the mother ship in the tender before nightfall, where it could prove vital to either be seen by someone else, or to be able to see another anchored vessel, from the maximum distance possible... Picture yourself forced to find your way to a boat in darkness in an area like the one below, wouldn't you rather be looking for a light at the masthead, than for one at deck level?



Obviously, in more crowded anchorages, or those likely to be subject to the passage of traffic after dark, supplementing or replacing a masthead light with a secondary closer to deck level is the best way to go... But anyone really going places should definitely have a light at the masthead, IMHO...

And, again, for those who are having difficulty distinguishing masthead lights from freakin' STARS, might I politely suggest perhaps the time has come for you to refrain from sailing after dark? (grin)

Last edited by JonEisberg; 09-30-2012 at 08:41 PM.
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