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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Mast Head Light
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Thread: Mast Head Light Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-27-2011 10:40 PM
fallard I just replaced my masthead anchor light (and mast wiring) last summer. I opted for an incandescent light, not because it was much cheaper, but because I didn't want an LED at the top of the mast.

We had a lightning strike last summer and had lost all of our electronics and other stuff that had semiconductors, including all of our internal LED lighting. Most of my remaining incandescents survived. In a direct hit, all bets are off, but with a nearby strike an incandescent anchor light is more likely to survive and save me a trip to the top of the mast.

I agree with Cameraderie regarding the cruising scene in the Caribbean. My experience is only from the Spanish Virgins to Antigua, but we have seldom used an anchor light. If you need to be seen, a removable light that you plug into a DC outlet (like a cigarette lighter socket) and place lower on the boat makes sense.

I also have a portable anchor light that I hoist about 10 ft off the deck between the forestay and the mast. It is more visible than one placed in the cockpit.
04-16-2007 02:14 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by leffklm
SD, regarding the precision in term usage, I learned it from watching you...
Guilty as charged... WOOF... ya caught me.
04-16-2007 02:04 PM
leffklm SD, regarding the precision in term usage, I learned it from watching you...



Seriously, one of my biggest fears with sailing is using the terms incorrectly around the more experienced sailors (I might be a noob sailor, but I should be able to at least talk like I know what I am doing, right?).

Like I said, I have learned so much from you all here on Sailnet, and I will keep doing my best to absorb it all.

Leff
04-16-2007 12:05 AM
sailingdog LOL.... I appreciate your honesty..
04-15-2007 11:47 PM
leffklm SD,

I'll get myself into trouble if I try to pretend I am too knowledgeable, but with all of the terms in sailing and trying to keep them straight, it is easy to get confused, and I want to make sure I am using the terms correctly. I have learned so much from reading these forums over the past six months, and I reckon that most of the frequent contributors here have forgotten more about sailing than I will ever know. Since I only have a few months of sailing under my belt, I assume I must be missing something about the terminology in a case like this (or maybe I am worrying needlessly about being too precise since I am still fresh from all of the book studying for the ASA tests).

Thanks for the clarification,

Best,

Leff
04-15-2007 11:33 PM
sailingdog Leff-

You actually have it right... but we're very accommodating to people who are less precise than you...
04-15-2007 11:28 PM
leffklm I'm confused. This is the second thread I have seen recently where the "masthead light" appears to be discussed as though it is the same thing as the anchor light. My understanding is that the masthead light is the same as a steaming light and is to be used when under power, and despite the way the name sounds, it is NOT placed at the top of the mast (that would be the anchor light, not the masthead light). I would think that a masthead light placed at the top of the mast and used as a steaming light would be asking for trouble since a white light that high up could be mistaken for a boat at anchor (yes, I know that other nav lights should clue someone in, but why create an opportunity for confusion).

Am I misinformed, or is there something I am not getting right? I am new to this whole sailing thing...

Regards,

Leff
04-15-2007 12:58 PM
Freesail99 I am still looking for a reasonably priced on a good fixture for the mast head.
04-15-2007 04:58 AM
svbillabong
Good Lights Please!!

For anchor light, use a Davis automatic on light (like described earlier), but make sure you know where you'll mount it before you buy it. I bought the mast head version and permanently mounted it high on our arch (light sensor on the top). Other's hang them under the boom or in the cockpit (light sensor on the bottom), but sometimes they are hard to see depending on the crap that is in the way. I wouldn't put it all the way at the top of the mast because most people are too busy just trying to get home from the bar to be looking all that way up. DON"T use those solar lights.. they are way too dim to be effective and if you get hit you'll be legally responsible for the accident.

Most LED's give off a bluer white which does not show effectively though the running light lenses, giving off a blue green light instead of green and a weaker red. If you spend the $$ on an LED bulb make sure it is approved for running light use not just anchor (like Dr led's Multi-Colored light). Bebi Electronics makes great lights using special LEDs which give off a much warmer light than standard cheap LED's (for their reading lights series) but I only used them to replace my reading lights (the whole boat lit up for less than 1/2 amp). For running lights we installed two sets one at the mast head and one on the deck. Only one set can be run legally, so we use the mast head at sea and the deck ones if we happen to be moving in port at night.

The last thing you ever want to do is give off unclear, dim or mis-colored running or anchor lights. The confusion could lead to an accident especially in remote places, and certainly isn't worth the extra savings.
02-04-2007 10:39 AM
sailingdog Freesail-

Marine grade wire is tinned—each strand is coated with a thin layer of tin solder to prevent corrosion from contact with the salt-laden humid air found on boats before being assembled into the different wires used. Regular, un-tinned copper wire will corrode fairly quickly, and the corrosion increases the resistance of the wiring and can cause it to heat up and start a fire. Even if it doesn't cause a fire, it can lower the voltage sufficiently that the lights will not work properly...they will be far dimmer than if you had used tinned wire, and will not meet USCG specifications.

The idea of using a good grease to protect the surface contacts of the sockets and bulbs is also a very good one.

I'd also advocate using the LED lighting, even though it is more expensive initially. If you consider that it lasts much longer than incandescent lighting, and requires far less power, it is generally worth it...given that electricity is a scarce and limited resource on most boats. Properly designed and sealed from the elements, the LED lighting can be far more reliable as well.
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