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post #21 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

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OK, sorry. I meant tricolor mounted on the top of the mast. It is an under sail only light.

When motoring, it is the deck mounted nav lights and the white light halfway up the mast, which you are referring to as the masthead light, while I always think of it the steaming light (on our boat, I have the deck mounted nav lights and the masthead light on the same circuit labeled "steaming lights").

The tricolor is not used for motoring, although I am often guilty of forgetting to turn it off when turning on the steaming lights as I drop sails just outside an anchorage to enter at night.

This bit of understandable forgetfulness at a period of much activity transitioning between sail and power, resulting in a boat coming into an anchorage with both its tricolor and deck mounted nav lights on, is why I ignore complaints about it from others already at anchor.

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Commonly seen.... and the terminology is confusing... a sailing boat has a *steaming* light for motoring... but it's technical word is masthead. And on motor boats it IS at the head of their mast! My panel uses the word MASTHEAD.. and the NAVIGATION switch turns on bow and stern lights... separate switch for ANCHOR and TRICOLOR lights.

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post #22 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

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A masthead light is the STEAMING LIGHT.... ON a sailboat it is not at the top of the mast... above halfway to 2/3 up from the deck. The lights at the TOP of the mast would be an anchor light or a tricolor. If you are motoring the masthead light is to be lit.

What is the rule for for port and starboard lights for motoring? Can you use the tri color and the masthead?
On our boat the we have masthead tri color for sailing, a 360 mast head white light and red and green 2/3 the way up the mast while under power. the 360 white mast head light is also the anchor light. 3 switches are marked for the purpose and automatically turns on the correct lights

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post #23 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

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On our boat the we have masthead tri color for sailing, a 360 mast head white light and red and green 2/3 the way up the mast while under power. the 360 white mast head light is also the anchor light. 3 switches are marked for the purpose and automatically turns on the correct lights
not clear...

a masthead light is not 360... but 120

an anchor light is 360

what are the 3 switches? what do they say and what lights does each one light and what boat do you have?

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post #24 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

not sure where you get 120 degrees? we have the ged and green running lights mounted on the mast and are used while under power with the white light on the top of my mast which is 360 degrees or you could say it is 225 degrees forward white light ( steaming portion ) and 135 degrees to the rear ( stern light ) it just happens to be mounted in the same case. When used as a tricolor it is 112.5 degree of red on the port side and 112.5 degree of green on the starboard side and 135 degrees of white too the stern. the LEDs change color. this is used when under sail. when used as an anchor light it is 360 degrees of white light mounted on the top of the mast.
https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Portals/9/D...lerts/1015.pdf

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Last edited by overbored; 03-07-2019 at 01:45 PM.
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post #25 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

Correct the masthead light is not seen from aft... I don't know the precise arc of visibility... 240 or something..

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Re: Masthead tricolors

i guess the stern light would not be called part of the masthead light even though mine is mounted on the masthead. the terms are confusing because the USCG calls it the mast head light because it is mounted on a mast and it faces ahead like a head light so it is a mast head light not masthead light

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post #27 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
i guess the stern light would not be called part of the masthead light even though mine is mounted on the masthead. the terms are confusing because the USCG calls it the mast head light because it is mounted on a mast and it faces ahead like a head light so it is a mast head light not masthead light
Cant see how these lights can work legally, when you are operating under power a 'stern' light located at the top of the mast does not meet any stretch of the definition of a stern light. Also a risky arrangement.

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Last edited by sailingfool; 03-07-2019 at 06:39 PM.
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post #28 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

A white seen from aft at the top of a mast reads as an anchor light

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post #29 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

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post #30 of 66 Old 03-07-2019
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Re: Masthead tricolors

thank you... picture worth 1000 words

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