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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #11  
Old 01-24-2011
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Reading "Supertanker" has jaded my attitude as well. Big ship radars are often a/turned off in clear weather, b/set to ignore "clutter" - anything less than 80' long, c/broken. We also had a close encounter one beautiful summer day with the Massachusetts training ship Bay State. We were about 200 miles SW of Ireland. It was so calm we barely had steerage. They came up to within 200 yards of us - close enough to read the name clearly and count hull rivets without binoculars - while failing to respond to repeated radio calls on various channels. No one showed on deck. We started our engine to be sure to keep clear as they passed by.
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Old 01-24-2011
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Another thought about LED mast head lights

I was having a beer with my friend who skippers about 50,000 tons of bulk carrier and he made a very interesting observation. Twice they have had to sheer off hard - not easy for a boat that size - because the color of "white" LED mast head & steaming lights is almost exactly the same as a star. He explained, those lights tend to be weak and look exactly like stars from a few miles away. They are so small you do not notice them getting closer on a moonless night until you are right on top of them. This from a very experienced and careful professional seaman who also owns a lovely sail boat. He uses loads of LED's on the boat but not for his navigation lights. Next time in a dark anchorage look at the other boats mast head lights and you will see what he's talking about right away. Meggi once mistook one for Venus and was waiting for it to get a bit higher so she could practice with the sextant.
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Old 01-25-2011
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Boasun will become famous soon enough Boasun will become famous soon enough
Rule 5 of both International & Inland Rules, state:
You will maintain a visual watch at all times. And that is Daylight or Dark and Fairweather or Foul.
And if the yacht's man read the STCW rules on watch keeping, he/she will learn on how hard this is stressed.
Single handers basically violate Rule 5 by sleeping or going below to fix a meal.
Now single handed sailing is your choice. But I perfer at least one or two other people on board to share the watch keeping.
In other words; Topside, awake and watching for protential hazards.
One or two words on way points: If you are sailing from waypoint to waypoint. Don't put your waypoints on top of buoys, daymarks or lights.
Not even reefs that out there in the ocean.
for channel movement, I have my waypoints going down the center of the channel. For those platforms, reefs, shoals and whatnots, I keep a safety margin on the down current side (if possible) of hopefully 1 to 3 miles. The safety margin is adjusted in accordance of the number of navigation hazards in the area. Trying to split the difference between two hazards.
And be aware of currents. You may think you are in safe waters when that current is insidiously driving you down onto a Navigation hazard. Then your wrecked boat becomes a monument to your navigation skills.
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  #14  
Old 01-25-2011
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From what I've seen the LED-based anchor lights are brighter, not dimmer than their incandescent counterparts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
I was having a beer with my friend who skippers about 50,000 tons of bulk carrier and he made a very interesting observation. Twice they have had to sheer off hard - not easy for a boat that size - because the color of "white" LED mast head & steaming lights is almost exactly the same as a star. He explained, those lights tend to be weak and look exactly like stars from a few miles away. They are so small you do not notice them getting closer on a moonless night until you are right on top of them. This from a very experienced and careful professional seaman who also owns a lovely sail boat. He uses loads of LED's on the boat but not for his navigation lights. Next time in a dark anchorage look at the other boats mast head lights and you will see what he's talking about right away. Meggi once mistook one for Venus and was waiting for it to get a bit higher so she could practice with the sextant.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-25-2011
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Thanks for the stimulation and thoughts

Well said Boasun spoken like a true paranoid seaman. You know the kind that spend years at sea and still manage to live till a ripe old age? I could not agree more and that is what I was trying to get across with a bit of tact et al. Then again I doubt my cat sailing friend has ever even seen the rule book much less read it. Come to think about it I wonder how many skippers out there have read it?

The thing about the LED,s is not brightness it is about the color of the light. Look close and you will see most are a bluish white that is exactly the color of most stars. As to bright Canopus (Never could remember how to spell that one)gets so bright some times you can see it in the day time. No my point is about looking exactly like a star when only a mile or less away.
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Old 01-29-2011
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Keeping Watch

Anyone who's ever been on watch offshore knows that no human can see what a radar does. Most radars have alarms, so you know when something threatening is near. On watch you spend most of your time checking the radar and tweaking the sales.

By the way, on the Pacific Mexican coast, if you're over 100 miles offshore, there isn't likely to be anything out there. I just returned from Sicorro Island -- an active volcano that's 330 nautical miles off the Mexican Pacific mainland -- and never saw (visually or on the radar) another vessel for the first 2.5 days.
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Old 01-29-2011
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Yes, but LED nav lights don't twinkle... stars do. And if you're looking at a star and it doesn't twinkle...guess what—it ain't a star. IMHO, you'd have to be fairly dumb and unobservant to mistake an LED nav light for a star.

Also, LED nav lights will generally move far more quickly relative to the boat than stars will unless you're headed straight for it.

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Originally Posted by HVVega View Post
Well said Boasun spoken like a true paranoid seaman. You know the kind that spend years at sea and still manage to live till a ripe old age? I could not agree more and that is what I was trying to get across with a bit of tact et al. Then again I doubt my cat sailing friend has ever even seen the rule book much less read it. Come to think about it I wonder how many skippers out there have read it?

The thing about the LED,s is not brightness it is about the color of the light. Look close and you will see most are a bluish white that is exactly the color of most stars. As to bright Canopus (Never could remember how to spell that one)gets so bright some times you can see it in the day time. No my point is about looking exactly like a star when only a mile or less away.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #18  
Old 01-29-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Yes, but LED nav lights don't twinkle... stars do. And if you're looking at a star and it doesn't twinkle...guess what—it ain't a star. IMHO, you'd have to be fairly dumb and unobservant to mistake an LED nav light for a star.

Also, LED nav lights will generally move far more quickly relative to the boat than stars will unless you're headed straight for it.
Actually SD, I have seen a red nav light on the horizon, which turned into a star and the opposite, an apparent star get bigger ( and turn into a steel island!)

Another time, hazy lights on their bridge and then in silhouette, a warship ( an american one as well!)

I have seen ships change course for no reason and have various levels of lights on show.

Lights which were really ships or other yachts and vice versa. Some nav lights do twinkle in the distance. Distances are very difficult to judge at night and often in my experience are far closer than first thought. Yachties plot opposing courses so may come close to each other. This has happened to us once in the middle of nowhere.

So we always keep a pair of eyes on deck.
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Old 01-29-2011
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Quote:
So we always keep a pair of eyes on deck.
Very wise idea....and if the Silverwoods had been doing so, they probably wouldn't have lost their boat or a leg.
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #20  
Old 01-29-2011
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boxes of sparks

stop sailing the boxes and start sailing the boat how oftern do people sail the desk and not the vessel. The books say by all available means but a good lookout at all times. bits of electronic gear is only as good as the water tight seal and when where they last replaced or looked at HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
GO SAFE
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