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Glad I found Sailnet
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OK so my bow light gets plunged into the ocean on those days when there a hint of BFS in the air. The first time, the thing quit for 15 minutes before it started shining again. This was not an academic problem as it was night in the shipping channel in Delaware Bay. (Ah Delaware Bay, where the waves come off the ocean, the current runs against the waves, and the bottom gets shallow right next to the channel.)

Has anyone replaced their bow lights to avoid having them frequently submerged? I was originally thinking of putting lights off the sides, aft of the bow a bit. (This would also reduce the red/green glare coming right back at you off the stainless steel bowsprit, in the exact direction you are looking the most.) But then that would mean the light would get submerged whenever the rail gets buried. And when heeling, a low light on the lee side might not show up well to other boats and ships.

Is the only recourse to get a masthead light? I plan on having the mast down 2 winters from now, not this winter. Next winter I'm planning to keep the boat in the water -- maybe take some on-the-hard sailnetters for some winter sails. So installing the masthead would have to wait 2 more years, right? Or can it be done with the mast up? Or maybe I just need a new, better-sealed bow light.

Anyone have any ideas?
 

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On my friends 35' he went with and led unit that mounted on the pulpit and it has been fine i dont like the masthead units as i am generaly not looking 60' up when i am sailing at night


On my J24 they get salted all the time and are 27 years old ,I use super lube dielectric grease on the bulb contacts as they seem to do fine
 

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Francophobe
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Grease um

On my friends 35' he went with and led unit that mounted on the pulpit and it has been fine i dont like the masthead units as i am generaly not looking 60' up when i am sailing at night


On my J24 they get salted all the time and are 27 years old ,I use super lube dielectric grease on the bulb contacts as they seem to do fine
These are both quality suggestions. Th dielectric grease on the contacts should be the trick to keep the sea water from corroding the contacts or shorting out the bulb. Liberally coat any bare metal contacts with the grease. If that doesn't work my guess is there is another problem and you may want to look into a well sealed LED unit.
 

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Telstar 28
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If you're talking about sailing off shore, you really need to use a masthead light. But you need deck-level lights for use in coastal and harbor, more settled conditions.
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Discussion Starter #6
Where can I get this dielectric grease? That sounds very useful.
 

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Telstar 28
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BENE-

Look HERE

BTW, Google is your friend...
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Speaking of Google being your friend, I found a great little video on youtube of how to use dielectric grease:

YouTube - Dielectric Grease Review - etrailer.com

I found other sites which pretty much answered some other questions that I had. I'm getting some.
 

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moderate?
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Yup...leave em where they are Bene...just make sure the wire is good and clean at the connections and then load it up with grease and silicon so they are water tight...at least for a few months. A constant battle...which is why if you ever re-wire it is good to leave a nice long spare loop to draw on in the future. I would get a mast top tri-color as an ALTERNATIVE when you tak the mast down, but would keep it on a separate circuit for sea duty only.
 

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Telstar 28
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Speaking of Google being your friend, I found a great little video on youtube of how to use dielectric grease:

YouTube - Dielectric Grease Review - etrailer.com

I found other sites which pretty much answered some other questions that I had. I'm getting some.
...thanks for the video link Bene, but does he say dielectric grease conducts electricity?... I thought it was a non-conductor that worked by sealing out the elements while moving out of the way of any metal-to-metal contact... in contrast to your experience I guess my question is academic :D
 

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You need reliable navigation lights. I would second the idea of LED lights because they never need a bulb change they can be made much more waterproof.
Also consider fitting tricolour although this is not legal when motoring. If your bow and stern lights fail I would suggest it is safe and reasonable back up.
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Discussion Starter #14
...thanks for the video link Bene, but does he say dielectric grease conducts electricity?... I thought it was a non-conductor that worked by sealing out the elements while moving out of the way of any metal-to-metal contact... in contrast to your experience I guess my question is academic :D
I saw elsewhere on the web that it is not conductive. And by the way the guy in the video is smearing in on, it better not be. (If anyone knows any different, please correct me.)
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Discussion Starter #15
You need reliable navigation lights. I would second the idea of LED lights because they never need a bulb change they can be made much more waterproof.
Also consider fitting tricolour although this is not legal when motoring. If your bow and stern lights fail I would suggest it is safe and reasonable back up.
From the Power Squadrons course I took last spring, you can use the masthead light as an alternative to the regular navigation lights. The masthead light shines the correct color in the correct direction, so from a distance it looks pretty much the same, only others can see it better since it's above the waves.

You CAN'T have both sets (masthead and regular nav lights) on at the same time. It would look like Red Over Red to those off your port bow. That is the signal for a disbled craft.

When motoring, you need a steaming light, which are typically halfway up the mast. This would be in *addition* to one set of nav lights. So you still need the nav lights when motoring.

I could be wrong with this next part, but from what I've seen on those skyscrapers going by me in the channel in the Deleware Bay, it looks like you can have as many white lights on as you want, at least while motoring. You must have 1 and only 1 red light, and 1 and only 1 green. And they must be shining only in the right direction. Amoung all those white lights you just had to look for some color to figure out which way they were heading.

There are some good graphics of all this here: Navigation Rules
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Discussion Starter #16
One correction to the never more than one set of nav lights. From the graphic that I linked to in my post above, Red over Green at the top of the mast and then the regular nav lights is also ok.

Not sure how many of us have all-around red over all-around green at the top of the mast.

Anyone have that configuration?
 

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You CAN'T have both sets (masthead and regular nav lights) on at the same time.
When motoring, you need a steaming light, which are typically halfway up the mast. This would be in *addition* to one set of nav lights. So you still need the nav lights when motoring.

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Yes I agree, but if motoring at night and I had a failure of say my port bow navigation light (that was not easily reparable) I would turn on my tricolor light and turn off my lower navigation lights. I would then be displaying the correct navigation lights for a sailing vessel. This would be illegal because I am now classified as a motor vessel, but it would seem to me the safest and most prudent alternative.
Commercial vessels are required to carry back up navigation lights. I feel the tricolor light has some use helping to fulfill this role on a yacht.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes I agree, but if motoring at night and I had a failure of say my port bow navigation light (that was not easily reparable) I would turn on my tricolor light and turn off my lower navigation lights. I would then be displaying the correct navigation lights for a sailing vessel. This would be illegal because I am now classified as a motor vessel, but it would seem to me the safest and most prudent alternative.
Commercial vessels are required to carry back up navigation lights. I feel the tricolor light has some use helping to fulfill this role on a yacht.
You would still be legal, wouldn't you? After all, you would be showing nav lights and a steaming light.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You can only use a masthead tricolor if you are a sailing. It is illegal if motoring (but the best alternative in my opinion if you have a broken bow navigation light)
Agreed. Better to let them know where you are AND which way you are headed. It's not like you are going to be going any faster with your engine on, than on a good sailing day. Old shoes excepted. :)
 
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