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post #1 of Old 03-06-2019 Thread Starter
capta
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Masthead tricolors

Last evening we were sitting in the cockpit around sunset and three boats came in running both their deck mounted navigation lights and their masthead tricolor nav lights.
Never mind that I doubt that this is legal by anyone's regulations, but all three were so far out of alignment that we could see both the red and green on one side quite clearly and in one case the green on deck and white stern light aloft.
This is becoming so common down here that it would be laughable were it not for the fact that there are lives at stake! If you have a tricolor, definitely check it frequently to be certain it is properly configured and don't ever run both, if you have them, at the same time.
I still maintain that the masthead tricolor is a very dangerous idea at any time, but if it is so far out of alignment as these were, they are probably more dangerous than running without any lights. At least then you wouldn't be relying on something that another vessel can mistake your direction by and you would be watching out extra carefully as you know you are improperly lit.
If you absolutely feel the need to have running lights aloft, then at least go with the verticle red/green combination when under sail. There is no mistaking this for anything else and still gives other vessels some idea of your distance away, which a single red/green or white discombobulated light swinging wildly about in the sky does not.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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Last edited by capta; 03-06-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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