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    Re: Lights etc.
    From: Steven Wepster
    Date: 2003 Oct 13, 15:44 +0200

    Doug's question as to the rules that allow just one white all-round light
    on boats of at most 7 m length has been effectively answered by Trevor,
    and needs not be repeated. I have to defend two other matters:
    
    1. My boat is 8m long and the colregs allow the all-round white light only
    for boats under 7m.
    
    Formally I am definitely contravening the colregs. I won't deny that. The
    reason for doing this I will discuss in the next point. I think I can get
    away with it because from the bridge of even the smallest coaster, it
    doesn't make any difference if my boat is 7 or 8 m; I'm small stuff anyway.
    
    On the side, I do not agree with Keith Williams, when he said:
    > ..unless you are less than 7ms, in which case when at sea the other
    > guy ought to come over to rescue you. End of story.
    Length has nothing to do with seaworthiness; what matters is strength,
    integrity, and watertightness. Boats of under 7m have crossed the Atlantic.
    
    2. Even if an all-round white were legal, then why not carry the
    three-color masthead light.
    
    This point was raised by Keith and supported by George. George guessed my
    reason: the white light is much better visible than the green and red. I
    consider visibility so high that I want to sacrifice any heading or aspect
    information provided by the three-coloured light. A small boat is often
    jawing a lot. The constantly changing colours seen from an other ship as my
    sector boundaries sweep over it might prove more confusing than the single
    white light. True, the single white could be mistaken for a stern light,
    but at my slow speed I do not consider that a major problem, and I think
    Trevor will agree to that.
    
    When under sail, it would be legal if I switched off the masthead light and
    turned on the side- and stern lights, but those are only 1m above the
    surface of the undisturbed sea instead of 11m. Practically speaking they
    would provide heading information only to those who were on top of me. That
    is not an option, in my view.
    
    The read-over-green suggested by Cliff is not my option for several
    reasons, among them that they too do not provide aspect information, and
    they are both less visible than white light. However, on an other (larger)
    vessel, cruising with passengers in the North Sea, I did use them, in
    combination with side- and sternlights at a more convenient height above
    water.
    
    I would very much like to hear comments and critique upon my ideas from
    professional mariners, especially from Doug. Especially on the choice for
    an all-round masthead light instead of the tricolor. Doug, your limits for
    what your nerves can stand are enlightening.
    
    LEDs:
    I've seen the Hella Naviled on the internet, but judging from the pictures
    and the text looking smart was higher on the designer's agenda than
    seaworthiness (as all too often happens with yachting gear).
    
    White Flares:
    I always have a few ready within reach. I have never used them myself, but
    I know a fellow who did, with good result. They must be detrimental for
    one's night vision, though.
    
    Radar reflectors:
    I used to have a small octagonal (three-plane) reflector of about 30 cm
    (1ft) cross-section. One time the local VTS reported that they didn't have
    my echo; I was at only 2 miles and maybe the echo was lost against the
    steep waves that were rolling in. Exinction from interference of hull and
    reflector echoes is unlikely to play a role here, since I was more or less
    permanently invisible. Anyway, I changed to a SOLAS approved bigger
    reflector of the same design, which I have not yet tested under similar
    circumstances. It is fixed, "nailed down", but the rolling of the boat will
    break the interference. I have been told that sails wet with salt water act
    as a reflector as well.
    
    
    Steven.
    
    
    

       
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