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)