Lights

You must run your navigation lights all night. LED lights allow you to do this. After a close call with a large fishing boat one night I changed my light signature. I now have the signature of a 65 ft yacht running under power, whether or not I am using the engine. Ordinary sailing lights are very weak, and they don’t always show properly if the boat is heeled in big waves. The leeward light is often masked by the genoa sail when seen from ahead. The tri-color lights at the masthead are weak and were a compromise for low powered sailboats.

I have LED red and green lights about 2M above the WL and aft of mid-ships so that the sail can’t hide them. I have a forward facing white light on the pulpit, and another forward facing light mounted on a post near the stern 2M above the deck. A stern light mounted aft of the wind vane so that is always visible. I can be seen from several miles away according to a tug boat captain. All the lights together draw only 10 watts. This is less than one of the old lights. In this picture the lights are mounted on poles P&S with fwd facing light higher than the side lights. A stern light is mounted on one of the poles. And an anchor light at the top of one which places it near to the anchor rode location - on the stern for my boat. There is another fwd facing light low down on the pulpit and the fwd sail has a strap to lift the bottom above the light.


I always sail with all navigation lights on. This provides the signature of a 65 foot yacht under power. The two fwd facing lights give good indication of which direction the boat is going. All lights are above wave height and so are not hidden by swells that are less than 10 feet trough to crest.


A tricolor masthead is practically useless. It is only to be used under sail (colregs.) and the light from it is very weak. Fishing boats will seriously misjudge your distance from them, as they expect lights to be near the deck level of a boat, not 50 feet in the air.

I have 5 of the series 25 lights with LED inserts burning at the same time - good for two miles P&S and further for the white lights fwd and astern.


We were nearly in collision with a fishing boat (big one) which was showing only one red light all around, so I had no idea where he was headed but judged right, for when we passed he was within hailing distance and going in the opposite direction from me. Had I assumed it was a port light and turned right (port to port) instead of left, we would have collided.