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sailaway21 05-28-2007 12:16 AM

Navigation Lights
How many of you fly a red over green set of navigation lights at the masthead? Rule 25c COLREGs.

svs3 05-28-2007 02:35 AM

I plan to on my next boat.

sailingdog 05-28-2007 06:50 AM

Nope... they have to have a meter separation.... no thanks. I'd rather fly a tricolor....less electrical usage as another benefit too.

nolatom 05-29-2007 05:07 PM

"Red over White, fishing at night"

"White over Red, Pilot ahead"

"Red over Green, sailing machine"

But I hardly ever see the latter, mostly bow lights and a few tricolors.

And it's a lot easier to fix lights on deck or down low, rather than take a ride up the mast if you're not in port.

Giulietta 05-29-2007 05:10 PM

nolatom 05-29-2007 05:19 PM

Also, as I read the rule, red over white lights in a vertical line don't supplant the sidelights (obviously, because different sectors). So they're "extra", and Giulietta's right, racers don't want the weight aloft.

Tricolors do supplant the deck-level sidelights and stern light, and are visible much farther. But you still gotta get up there to service them.

T34C 05-29-2007 05:52 PM

The red over green at the masthead would add a great deal of visability in crowed shipping lanes. I've been thinking of adding them, but haven't done it yet.

jrd22 05-29-2007 11:52 PM

The red over green lights positively identifies the vessel as a sailboat, no other vessel can display red over green(previous reply refers to red over white, which is a Pilot vessel). With lights on deck you will be identified as a "power vessel" when sailing at night. This is a dangerous situation when a power vessel fails to give you the right of way based on his assumption that you are also a power vessel. Masthead lights are a pain to replace though and add some weight and windage at the top of the mast. For cruising and ocean crossings, I'd go with the sailboat lights, red over green.

sailingdog 05-30-2007 12:14 AM


They need to be separated by a meter distance minimum... a tricolor does not.

Deck level lights do not indicate than you are a power vessel unless you are also displaying a steaming light. If they don't recognize the difference that not having a steaming light indicates, seriously, what is the chance that they'll recognize red over green and its signifigance???? Little or none would be my guess.

sailaway21 05-30-2007 12:29 AM

I suspect the dog has hit upon the crux of it. I believe he is correct in the 3 foot seperation, and even if he is not, that amount of seperation is really needed for the lights to be distinguished from one another. That basically relegates them to a hoist on a spreader halyard on everything but the largest of sailboats. I like the idea of them, in that they make the boat visible, uniquely, at sea, and keep the running lights below where they are easily distinguished inshore. Most offshore traffic is not really concerned with which sidelight they may, or may not, be seeing on a sailboat, due to the slowness of sailboats. The tricolor's advantage is in it's visibility versus specific information conveyed.

Are your sidelights obscured ahead by your bow pulpit? Do you get backscatter at night off the pulpit? On the ships we'd paint anything forward of them, that reflected aft, flat black. Or are you scared of the dark and don't need them? (G)

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