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Rafiki 37
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey,

So my mast is coming down next month and I intend to take advantage and install new LED lights to replace the old stuff.

I've decided to use Lopolights, since they appear to be top notch quality (my wallet is screaming) and I don't want to have to clamber up the mast to replace any fittings for a while.

Now, I had originally planned to use a tricolour/anchor light fitting, with a separate steaming light - but that isn't a legal situation for being under power, right? And if I have separate deck lights, then I can't run both the tricolour AND the deck lights simultaneously, right - meaning I'd have to have two switches.

I someday plan to go offshore, so wouldn't the best setup be

Deck level bow/stern running lights
Steaming/Deck light
Anchor Light
A masthead Red over Green light

I bolded this last one because it seems to never really be mentioned as an option, but is in the colregs. This way I could hook up the deck running lights/mast red/green to the same switch, and be able to legally run lights at the mast and the deck level (thus being lit up like the proverbial christmas tree ;)). Then when I'm under power, I can still run all of that with the addition of the steaming light, correct? Or can you not run the steaming light at the same time as the red over green?

In addition, does anyone even make a red over green LED unit? I can't seem to find one.

Or would I be better off with the more conventional tricolour/deck lights combo and just alternate between them depending if I'm offshore or not?
 

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I think you're right about which lights you can and can't use together.

As to what if anything to put on the masthead, that leaves you with the "red over green, sailing machine" plus an all-round if you wanted that for an anchor light, but that would need a separate switch as you point out.

The tricolor I've heard has some limitations--yes, it's much higher up, but the problem in closer quarters is that it's higher up, and some folks will be looking more "down, not up" for your running lights and may not see you in time. So better to not eliminate your deck-level lights and invest in that separate steaming light.

I haven't done, or needed to do any of this, since I'm an OPBC member, but this is what i've heard, so take it for whatever it's worth and best wishes.
 

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Red over green can become hidden/shadowed behind the sails, especially on a mast-head rig.

The current crop of Tri-color masthead lights are simply too dim for offshore (only 2 miles) - IMO
Most ships at sea need far more light intensity to see you at 'distance' ... or so they occasionally warn.

Both are 'too high' and easily missed by others when inshore, especially along brightly lit up coasts and shorelines.
 

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Alctel,

You cannot run your steaming light, with a Tricolor or a Red/Green light.
They are restricted to vessels under sail only.

So, whichever one you choose to employ at the top of your mast, you'd have to turn it off once you turn on your steaming light and are using mechanical propulsion. You are a power boat at that point, and the steaming light needs to be above the port and starboard nav lights.
So, you'd have to have a seperate switch to turn the new lights on/off.


There was an in depth discussion of the benefits of the Red/Green here not too long ago.
 

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A tricolor is best when you are on a long trip and low on battery charging. You will be using only one bulb. For deck level navigation lights you need at least two, generally three bulbs which means 2 or 3 times consumption.

Red over green tells the others that you are a sailing boat. You might need it during an ocean cruising for informing larger ships of your presence. Theoratically if your red and green navigation lights are visible and engine light is not visible you are a sailing boat. A red over green might help others to see you more easily, because they are high on the mast. I always check the lights on all the boats, if I see a red light that means that boat has the right of way to me. I later check the other lights which gives the exact information about that boat. So carrying red over yellow in addition to navigation lights seems a good idea to me.
 

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You cannot run your steaming light, with a Tricolor or a Red/Green light. They are restricted to vessels under sail only.

So, whichever one you choose to employ at the top of your mast, you'd have to turn it off once you turn on your steaming light and are using mechanical propulsion. You are a power boat at that point, and the steaming light needs to be above the port and starboard nav lights.
So, you'd have to have a seperate switch to turn the new lights on/off.
Tempest is correct about the steaming light.

I like having my tri-color at the top of the mast for sailing, especially offshore where it is usually above the waves and can be seen better.

I use the bow running lights, stern white light and steaming light on the mast when motoring and think having them lower is better because I'm usually only motoring around marinas or anchorages and the other boats will most likely not be looking up very much.
 

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The red over green combination need 1 meter separation between the two lights.
Lopolight make green as two lights each 180° to mount on each side of the mast.
the red can be a 360° at the top of the mast.

When sailing I think that red over green in combination with deck level lights make the boat more visible.

The tricolor was introduced into the rules at a time when
- Kerosene light where going out of use
- Electric nav lights used incandescent lamps each drawing 20 watts

Today led nav lights give a different power budget, so technology advances have made i at viable option.

Link to the previous thread on the topic: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/143386-red-over-green-navigation-light.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the advice all.

I think I'll do the red over green, but there doesn't seem to be a non-cost prohibitive way to do this with LEDs. Using Lopolights (2 green 180s and a red 360) would be almost a 1000 dollars just for the red over green :\
 

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alctel, just bear in mind that if you use red over green in coastal US waters? Any non-commerical boat that sees you will be saying "WTF is THAT?".

Yes, it is legal. So is wearing golf knickers to a meeting with venture capitalists. However, it usually just isn't done.

I'd go tricolor and worry about relighting for international waters when the time comes. Prices may well tumble before then anyhow.
 

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Both the previous link and this one( http://www.sailnet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=156545

VHF mounting advice) were both started by me. I have done it on my boat, as soon as I get some power I'll hook them up and take pictures.
I ended up putting the starboard under the lights but didn't take any pictures, when I go up the mast to hook up my wind sensor and screw on the windex I'll snap some pictures of that as well.

- Ronnie...on the geaux
 

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alctel, just bear in mind that if you use red over green in coastal US waters? Any non-commerical boat that sees you will be saying "WTF is THAT?".
And so, what is the worst that could happen - the US flagged boat would?
  • Take aim and run you down since you must be an alien?
  • Think you are dangerous and keep away?
  • Fire at you?

Yes, it is legal. So is wearing golf knickers to a meeting with venture capitalists. However, it usually just isn't done.
And when did safety become a fashion statement?
 

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alctel, just bear in mind that if you use red over green in coastal US waters? Any non-commerical boat that sees you will be saying "WTF is THAT?".
As opposed to most US sailors that can't recognize the lights of a suction dredge underway, a trawler, or any one of a number of other light patterns?

The people who don't understand will probably steer clear, a result that is usually desirable.
 
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