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Thread: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

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    Default Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    I'm curious as to where other small yawls place the white stern / masthead light? The regs seem to vary from state to state, but for a 20' Caledonia Yawl with a clamp-on LED red/green bow light, do some folks hoist the white all-round to the top of the mainmast, or top of the mizzen, or just have it on a short rod/pole at the stern?

    I don't operate Goblin after dark very much, and mostly under power if I do, but thought that the LED white all-round on a 18" rod that I got from Duckworks might be more visible on top of the mizzen. Looking at the images of regs for sailboats over 16 but under 32', it looks like it should be either on the stern or on the mainmast.
    Set is similar but not the same as this image.


    Again, while it is nice to exactly match the requirements for California, Oregon and Washington states, I'm looking for a solution that is effective, visible and won't get me cited in 99/100 inspection stops. I **suspect** that most harbor patrols and CG checks won't care if the white masthead light is all-round or 112.5 degrees pointed aft on a boat this size.

    Since the CY falls under the 7 meter rule, it is unclear as to what is required other than a flashlight, but that seems rather risky to me. From the link below:
    "
    1. Powerboats less than 20m (65.7') in length need to show sidelights, a stern light and a masthead light. Power vessels less than 12m may show a single all-round light in lieu of the separate masthead and stern lights.
    2. Sailing vessels less than 20m in length need to show sidelights and a stern light. These may be combined into a bicolor light and stern light, or a single tricolor light at the top of the mast. Sailing vessels under 7m must have an electric torch or lantern available for collision avoidance."




    https://www.westmarine.com/WestAdvis...on-Light-Rules
    Last edited by Thorne; 11-26-2018 at 12:39 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Both spars come up and down easily.
    Why use the mizzen when you CAN use the main?
    Do cops check lights during the day? never had that happen.
    oh... one of my peeves... masthead anchor lights.Most do it, cops love it.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    It would seem to me that the regs would infer the main mast when referring to Masthead. I have limited experience with an all round white light low and on the stern of a small power boat, but that experience is miserable. The light can't be avoided and will wreck your night vision. I would definitely put it up, on one of the masts. If you lower the main mast on your boat for motoring the one remaining becomes the masthead by default.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    The regulations are the same and are found in COLREGS. The illustration is correct. If you are sailing, not under power, then the all around light will be quite wrong as it makes you appear as a power boat. And mounted atop the mizzen means it's glare on the mainsail will ruin your night vision.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    The regulations are the same and are found in COLREGS. The illustration is correct. If you are sailing, not under power, then the all around light will be quite wrong as it makes you appear as a power boat. And mounted atop the mizzen means it's glare on the mainsail will ruin your night vision.
    Ian - I get your point, but am wondering if anyone in boats under 7 meters actually does it that way. I could make some sort of cover to clip onto the stern light to block the other 247.5 degrees of light when sailing, then either just pull the cover or pull the cover and hoist the light to the top of the mainmast when anchored -- but wonder if that's actually being done by **anyone** in open boats under 25 feet? When I sailed my San Juan 21 all around the left coast and singlehanded it from Anacortes to Nainamo and back I had the full set of forward and stern lights on deck, and hoisted a battery light up the mainmast when anchored, but most trailerable boats with dismouted masts don't have built-in steaming lights.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Looking at the illustration, I wonder if the under 40' power boat configuration would not work since when you are running your motor, you are no longer a sailboat?

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    I say a stern light and carry a flashlight makes you compliant. You could reach out to a local US Power Squadron or USCGA flottilla and they will be happy to inform you.

    You do not need to comply with lights regs unless you are underway between dawn and dusk; or unless its foggy, smokey or snowing, AFAIK.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I say a stern light and carry a flashlight makes you compliant. You could reach out to a local US Power Squadron or USCGA flottilla and they will be happy to inform you.

    You do not need to comply with lights regs unless you are underway between dawn and dusk; or unless its foggy, smokey or snowing, AFAIK.

    Kevin
    In Vermont waters, the boat police insist that you have all safety equipment aboard before you launch, so, I must have nav lights in compliance or I get fined, night or day.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Like Goblin, I don't sail Fire-Drake in the dark much but I have done it on occasion.

    I have a similar set of lights to the one shown in your first post. Red/green combined that clamps on to the stem. All-round white light on an 18" pole with a clamp on the bottom that goes on to the transom. I just made a mask, out of tape, to cover the forward part of the lens to not only show just white for the aft 112.5 degrees, but so it also doesn't destroy my night vision.

    The few times I have needed an anchor light, I just hoist my solar Luci light to the top of the mizzen mast, as I usually have the main mast struck while at anchor. Plenty bright enough, waterproof and recharged by the sun. The reason I don't always hoist an anchor light is that I am usually anchored in such shallow water, even in busy anchorages, that no other boats are likely to come in that far and run into me. One of the advantages of a shallow draft boat.
    Alex

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    In Vermont waters, the boat police insist that you have all safety equipment aboard before you launch, so, I must have nav lights in compliance or I get fined, night or day.
    I'm not trying to, "one-up," you, but those officers seem to be incorrect in issuing summonses.

    I'd take that ticket and my copy of the Vermont Handbook of Boating Safety and show the judge how the law explicitly states:


    The required navigation lights must be displayed between
    sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility.


    Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 8.35.09 PM.jpg

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Around here (Sydney Harbour) small craft under way are better off with nav lights at deck level, so that they can be seen by larger vessels.
    Nav lights atop a mast are likely to be lost in the clutter of shore lights and lighting on ferries or party boats.

    Of course, white lights used for motoring or anchoring must be raised above deck.

    Bill

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill99 View Post
    Nav lights atop a mast are likely to be lost in the clutter of shore lights and lighting on ferries or party boats.
    Thats been my experience on the Harbour too. Spreader and deck down lights, lighting up your boat completely, are more effective than any nav light.

    You're idea for a removable cover sounds good, if a bit fiddly.
    Something like this might do both, tilted 90 degrees for either stern or all round...? I don't know the product.

    stern.JPG
    Philip K. Dick — 'Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away'.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    The Washington State regs are interesting - and since I may do several events there next season (including the Salish 100 if at all possible), I'm looking at them carefully.


    For boats under power and less than 39' you just need the red/green at the bow and an all-around white at least 39" above the bow lights.
    https://www.boaterexam.com/boating-r...on-lights.aspx

    "For powered boats less than 39.4 feet, or 12 meters, you need to have the following set of navigation lights.

    • One all-around white light that you can see from 360 degrees and from two miles away;
    • And one pair of red and green sidelights that are visible at 112.5 degrees and from one mile away.

    For boats of this size, the all-around white light needs to be positioned at a height of at least 39 inches above the sidelights."

    And for boats under 7 meters / 23', you only need an all-around white light when sailing -
    https://www.boaterexam.com/boating-r...on-lights.aspx

    Again, I'm only looking at the requirements, as I plan to use my new red/green LED bow light and white all-around stern light when either sailing or under power, and an anchor light when anchored.
    Last edited by Thorne; 11-26-2018 at 11:11 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Kayak light that you can get at REI works pretty well. I clip one on to the top of my mizzen when I’m at anchor for the night.

    https://www.rei.com/product/722830/p...ction-cup-base
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Kevin, I take your point, but the boat police position seems to be if you go out in the morning, there is no guarantee you will be back before sundown, hence the requirement that you have all safety equipment aboard including working nav lights. Makes sense, I guess. You may go out but you may not come back. Of course the boat police are not always on hand at the boat launch in fact I was only checked one time and they were interested in registration, life jackets, fire extinguisher, throwable device, and working nav lights.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    The most useful light i've found is the navistar 360 white light. it can be set to 112 for a sailing stern light. it can get mounted to a pole. i have one mounted to a short rod that goes into a 1/2" oarlock socket. i have a spare mizzen halyard that lets me hoist it up on the mizzen when i need an all around. and i could hoist it on the main as an anchor light. not cheap but will probably outlast me.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldad View Post
    Kevin, I take your point, but the boat police position seems to be if you go out in the morning, there is no guarantee you will be back before sundown, hence the requirement that you have all safety equipment aboard including working nav lights. Makes sense, I guess. You may go out but you may not come back. Of course the boat police are not always on hand at the boat launch in fact I was only checked one time and they were interested in registration, life jackets, fire extinguisher, throwable device, and working nav lights.
    Boy, checking you for safety gear for a type of boating you have no intention of doing seems odd. Do they also check if you have full equipment for a round the world voyage, on the grounds that there's no guarantee you won't decide to sail across the Atlantic on your Sunfish and then keep on going?

    When I was a kid we rescued three people (sans PFDs) from a burning boat, so there's no guarantee that you won't end up with extra people on board. Given your boat police's logic, that would mean that every boat should leave the dock with enough extra PFDs and safety gear for its maximum safe load, because there's no guarantee that you won't pick some people out of the water. Your police seem to have a very odd interpretation of the law.
    Last edited by Chris249; 11-29-2018 at 06:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Not to go too far down the enforcement rabbit hole, but I suspect these officers are influenced by their experience enforcing automobile regulations requiring safety equipment no matter if the conditions require it or not -- things like fenders and wipers for rain, head / tail / running and turn lights for dusk to dawn, etc.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    COLREGS Rule 20 (c) The lights prescribed by these Rules shall, if carried, also be exhibited from sunrise to sunset in restricted visibility and my be exhibited in all other circumstances when it is deemed necessary.

    This might appear to allow not having the lights at all if it's daylight and good visibility. Maybe.

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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    You might find this useful. I get pulled into random "courtesy inspections" while on the water. Happens to me every couple of years. A sheriff's deputy will pull their boat up next to me while I'm rowing or sailing and request to check my ship's papers and safety gear. It's annoying but that's life. Here's the results from my most recent inspection, which was in June 2016. This particular inspection occurred on Saratoga Passage just a little bit north of Langley, which is on the east side of Whidbey Island. I think I've posted this here before. Anyways, these are the things they'll be curious about.

    Last edited by Yeadon; 11-29-2018 at 11:29 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    If you do not intend to be out at night, or in conditions that would require you to show lights, then I would not fit permanent lights to the boat. I would carry a good (working) light for emergencies in any case as per rule 25(d).

    (d) (i) A sailing vessel of less than seven metres in length shall, if practicable, exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

    • (ii) A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this Rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.....

      If you plan to occasionally be out when it is dark or necessary to show lights, I'd suggest you fit the proper lights describes in section (a) of the same rule.

      Referring to Yeadon's post....Always carry whatever documentation is required for your boat....license/registration etc. as well as whatever proof of competency is required for the operator in your jurisdiction. and obviously carry all the required safety equipment and in good condition.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Simplest answer is the best. Have a mizzen light for when you're at anchor. Have the ability to illuminate your sail. Get a battery operated red/green for the bow if case you're out a bit late. That's all most of the sail and oar crowd has.

    I do pack along a waterproof Rayovac 500 Lumen spotlight that I got off Amazon. Useful. I'm sure there are better spotlights but that's the one I own.
    Last edited by Yeadon; 11-29-2018 at 12:32 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Stern / masthead light position on small yawls? Mizzen OK?

    Yeppers, I've also got a new 6000 lumen rechargeable spot, along with these two items from Duckworks -

    With the C-clamp mount -


    Also with an 18" rod and C-clamp, but I'll hoist it up a mast for better visibility.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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