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    Lights etc.
    From: Doug Royer
    Date: 2003 Oct 9, 13:00 -0700

    George,now I know you are a crafty,cunning fellow.I will never play a game
    of American poker with you ever! No, I didn't take it as an attack on me
    personally but couldn't understand why you were so pugualistic and like a
    trout rose to the bait.
    Stephen stated in his post of his "all around white light"on his mast he
    uses while underway.I've been reading more of this practice in other papers
    and I am witnessing it more on small sail and power vessels when I am at
    sea.Did the rules change or am I misunderstanding something?I looked in my
    copy of the rules and the only "all around white light" on a mast alone and
    not used in combination with other lights is to be used while anchored or
    aground with running lights out, not while underway.Can someone
    explain?Apperently it's legal to do.
    Have any of you used,installed or seen in use the new LED running or signal
    lights?I can tell all of you now that these are very clear,color intense,
    bright units.These lights seem to stand out better than the incandecent
    lights of the same size,thus enableing opposing vessels to visualy discern
    the intent(at least the course)of another vessel at greater distance.I would
    be interested to hear if any of you have.
    Also,as Rino stated sometimes a small vessel isn't seen or picked up by
    radar.Do any of you carry a rechargable,handheld 1,000,000 candle power
    spotlight to draw attention to yourselves?There are small radar reflectors
    one can attach to the upper mast that increase the radar return of your
    vessel by a factor of 2.
    On the subject of collision avoidance.A week ago I was onboard(on the
    2200-0400 wheel watch actually)my friends 250 GT tug towing a cripple into
    San Deigo from south of Ensenada,Mex.At this time of year the area from
    32*24' N,118*0' W to 31*30' N,118*0' W is very congested from 0000 to 0300
    hrs. and 1800 to 2100 hrs. because of the Tuna fleet and sportfishing
    yatchs(no sail boats involved) going to and from the grounds.To make a long
    story short it is always a mess.This night was more intense though.
    I'll give you my pos  at 0030 as 31*49' N,117*36'W and that will be the
    center point.There was 3 cruise ships on north headings along with 2
    merchies and us all within 12 nm of the point.There are 2 more cruise ships
    and another merchie on south headings at 22 nm from the point.The fleet and
    yachts are converging on this point at 28 nm on S. West headings.In totall
    there are over 170 vessels converging on this point.You can visualy see the
    cruise ships from a long way.I stopped the tug + tow because I'm RAM.The
    rest of the big ships start talking over VHF working channels,relaying
    manouvering schemes and manouvering.The tuna fleet(65 ft. to 100 ft in
    lenght,100 GT)with lisenced crew are also communicating with themselves and
    the big boats by VHF working channels and planning their manouvers.Most of
    the yacht drivers on the other hand are useing open channels and talking
    about fishing and not careing about what's ahead.
    To end the story my vessel at 1 point was surrounded by 18 yachts within a 1
    nm radius.Most alot closer than that.I'm showing the lights for a tow > 200
    m,barely underway and RAM to boot.The whole crew is up now with spots and
    flares if needed.I had 1 small boat(18-22 ft)go between the tug and tow
    under the tow cable while never heading the ch. 16 warnings!All the other
    close yachts turned from thier courses only when they were less than 1/8 nm
    from the tow or tug!
    This is one reason I have not that much patience or respect for most small
    boat drivers.Some have no idea what rules or lights mean nor do they seem to
    care if they do.

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