mast head light - looks bad to me

Sailingsaves

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMOxypk0wGs

53 seconds in one sees the anchor lights still on in the morning, but at 55 seconds ones can see another mast head anchor light through the rigging of a boat in the foreground.

Everyone that has said on this forum before that the light should be lower is correct in my opinion from watching this 55 seconds of video.

The distant one could be lost in night lights of town or sky upon approach.

When getting closer to anchorage, the nearer ones could be lost to sky stars.

Lower ones that reflect upon boat and water seem a better option (all in my opinion only as most of my sailing experience has been deliveries where it is all hard work and no fun - and no anchoring).

Would more experienced 'anchorers' agree?
 

prv

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Haven't watched the video, but yes, masthead anchor lights are inferior to hanging ones for all the reasons you give. The only benefit is that you can turn them on with a simple switch rather than having to go on deck for a minute to rig a halyard, and that's why builders fit them. But a small LED light attached to the anchor ball and plugged into a socket somewhere on the foredeck (mine is just under the rim of the anchor locker) is much more effective.

Pete
 

GHA

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Haven't watched the video, but yes, masthead anchor lights are inferior to hanging ones for all the reasons you give. The only benefit is that you can turn them on with a simple switch rather than having to go on deck for a minute to rig a halyard, and that's why builders fit them. But a small LED light attached to the anchor ball and plugged into a socket somewhere on the foredeck (mine is just under the rim of the anchor locker) is much more effective.

Pete


+1.

I made one recently, attached to the underside of the anchor ball. Not only lower down but bright enough that you would see the boat as well. Even standing in the cockpit you just need to move your head a fraction each way for the light to be visible past the mast.
 

William_H

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LEDs are very bright with low current consumption so no excuse for poor lights anchoror nav. However yes definitely mast top lights are far less noticeable from shorter range and lower boats. A light nearer water level is where a helmsman is looking for dangers. good luck olewill
 

RichardS

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I changed all my saloon and bimini lights for LEDs so now I just leave some of the lights on at night. The lights are on at night if anyone gets up for a drink or the loo and the boat is lit up like a christmas tree from outside.

I don't see how anyone could not see that.

Richard
 

Seajet

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Haven't watched the video, but yes, masthead anchor lights are inferior to hanging ones for all the reasons you give. The only benefit is that you can turn them on with a simple switch rather than having to go on deck for a minute to rig a halyard, and that's why builders fit them. But a small LED light attached to the anchor ball and plugged into a socket somewhere on the foredeck (mine is just under the rim of the anchor locker) is much more effective.

Pete[/QUOTE

+1, and if you have a white deck/coachroof it will show the boat up when reasonably close but hopefully out of collision range !
 

prv

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What's an anchor ball? :)

It's that thing that dangles below my anchor light :)

My light is a Bebi Owl (sadly no longer made) which comes with a nice thin wire bonded into it (the whole light is potted in resin). I seized the light onto a length of 8mm braid-on-braid, then poked the core out the side (like starting a splice) and used it to pull the wire through instead. So now the wire runs down the centre of the rope, only emerging a couple of inches above the light. There's an eye splice just above the point where the wire emerges, which the spinnaker halyard clips onto. At the bottom end there's a sort of Y-splice, with the wire going down one leg of the Y and the other leg being plain rope with an eye splice on the end. The eye splice goes over a foredeck cleat to hold the bottom end of the rig in place. The other leg is a few feet long and has a waterproof plug on the end - I could have just run the wire out of the rope instead of having the Y, but I quite liked the look of the rope covering so it runs right into the strain-relief fitting on the plug. The anchor ball is seized to the rope about a foot below the light.

The light is daylight-sensing, so I put the whole rig up as soon as we anchor, and turn on the supply to the socket. Then we're properly marked and the light will come on as it gets dark. I originally bought the light for Kindred Spirit with the idea of it doubling as a cockpit light (which I never did), so I bought the version with downward-facing warm-white LEDs as well as the outward-facing bright ones. This means that the boat itself is clearly visible under the light.

Pete
 

Len Ingalls

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Those are NOT masthead lights. They are All Round ANCHOR Lights mounted at the TRUCK (Top) of mast.
A Masthead Light (Steaming Under Power Light) is mounted on the Front (a HEAD of) the mast.

Sorry to sound so picky,but there are so many cases of name confusion over these two lights-masthead & anchor.


I do agree that a lower mounting of Anchor Light is better for visibility & any kind of white light that illuminates the deck or outline of boat at anchor is beneficial.
The problem is that the Anchor Light is required by law to be an All Around visible from 360deg White light & that is a technical impossibility on a sailboat unless it is mounted at the top (Truck) of the tallest mast.
So- what is the practical solution to meeting the legal requirements(may be important in a collision lawsuit) AND preventing a collision by having an Anchor light that is more visible?

Cheers/ Len
 

prv

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The problem is that the Anchor Light is required by law to be an All Around visible from 360deg White light

And the solution is that the Colregs allow for a small amount of obscured sector for necessary structure:

All-round lights shall be so located as not to be obscured by masts, topmasts or structures within angular sectors of more than 6 degrees, except anchor lights prescribed in Rule 30, which need not be placed at an impracticable height above the hull.
(That's in Annex I, Positioning and technical details of lights and shapes, which isn't always included in publications aimed at leisure sailors, but is part of the same law.)

This is only sensible, as several signals consist of vertical stacks of all-round lights, so they can't all be right at the top.

And as well as being legal, this works fine in practice. A mast or a rolled jib simply don't make a hanging light invisible - as I said in a recent thread, it's like a fat man trying to hide behind a lamppost. The light will be moving a little, the boat will be moving a little, and the observer will most likely be moving too.

Pete
 

GHA

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The problem is that the Anchor Light is required by law to be an All Around visible from 360deg White light & that is a technical impossibility on a sailboat unless it is mounted at the top (Truck) of the tallest mast.
So- what is the practical solution to meeting the legal requirements(may be important in a collision lawsuit) AND preventing a collision by having an Anchor light that is more visible?
The practical solution is check what the real world is like and put it further down. It's a technical impossibility to move over water in such a precise path that you could continuously obscure an led anchor light behind the mast of one of our yachts. You'd probably need to keep one eye closed as well. Down low is fine, it works, the court case won't happen.


Edit-like Pete said :)
 

Len Ingalls

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Thanks prv
I wasn't aware the COLREGS spelled it out in such a practical common sense way.
I have had mine mounted under the radome bracket about 12ft off the deck for yrs but always thought I was bending the rules though I have been perfectly confidant that it was adequately visible.
Cheers / Len

And the solution is that the Colregs allow for a small amount of obscured sector for necessary structure:


(That's in Annex I, Positioning and technical details of lights and shapes, which isn't always included in publications aimed at leisure sailors, but is part of the same law.)

This is only sensible, as several signals consist of vertical stacks of all-round lights, so they can't all be right at the top.

And as well as being legal, this works fine in practice. A mast or a rolled jib simply don't make a hanging light invisible - as I said in a recent thread, it's like a fat man trying to hide behind a lamppost. The light will be moving a little, the boat will be moving a little, and the observer will most likely be moving too.

Pete
 

BruceDanforth

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I usually hoist a paraffin lamp on the spinnaker halyard. I haul it up near the spreaders and have a light line running down to the pulpit. It works pretty well unless I let it bang on something when it is being hoisted then it goes out and I have to lower it again to relight it.
 

William_H

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Those are NOT masthead lights. They are All Round ANCHOR Lights mounted at the TRUCK (Top) of mast.
A Masthead Light (Steaming Under Power Light) is mounted on the Front (a HEAD of) the mast.

Sorry to sound so picky,but there are so many cases of name confusion over these two lights-masthead & anchor.

Cheers/ Len

Warning "Thread drift" Hello Len. I would never try to tell anyone what a specific light or device is called. In old age I have discovered that the English language is such a flexible thing that almost any thing goes. Just to make language clear to communicate you have to call something what you think it is acalled then describe in detail what you are talking about. In many things the technical revolution for ordinary folks means the language is changing almost every day. So to me your statement is all wrong re names. But that does not mean I am right. We just have to learn to go with the flow. (of language) Living in the antipodes I try to be multilingual even though English is the only language I know. good luck olewill
 

prv

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So to me your statement is all wrong re names. But that does not mean I am right.

What Len said is correct according to the Colregs - although the Colregs terms don't match up all that well with what most people actually use :)

The core of the ambiguity is the term "masthead light", which the Colregs initially defines as:

“Masthead light” means a white light placed over the fore and aft centreline of the vessel showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel.

The technical annexe goes on to specify the required height of a masthead light, which varies according to the length of the vessel but, importantly, nowhere does it actually say that it has to be at the head of the mast. For a vessel under 12 metres, it merely has to be at least a metre above the sidelights, and for 12 - 20 metres it need only be 2.5 metres above the gunwale. Hence our motoring yachts with their "masthead lights" on the front of the mast ten feet or so above the deck. At the same time, the sector definition in the quote above means that an all-round light at the head of the mast is not technically a "masthead light" in the eyes of the Colregs.

So in yachts we almost always have the absurd situation that the Masthead Light isn't at the masthead, and the light at the masthead isn't a Masthead Light :ambivalence:

I generally avoid the term entirely, as it's very likely to cause confusion. Either because the person I'm talking to doesn't know about the above, or because they do but assume that I don't. The informal term "steaming light" is unambiguous for the one on the front of the mast, and the one that the builder put on the top of our mast I refer to as the "all-round white" (and it's labelled as such on the switch panel). In our case of course the "anchor light" is the one in the starboard saloon locker that needs to be brought out on deck and plugged in :)

Pete
 

JumbleDuck

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Lower ones that reflect upon boat and water seem a better option (all in my opinion only as most of my sailing experience has been deliveries where it is all hard work and no fun - and no anchoring).

Is a light halfway up a twelve metre mast better than a light at the top of a six metre mast?
 
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