sidelights mounted on spreaders?
Sorry to ask another "COLREGS lawyer" question, but this question has both regulatory and practical issues that may be of interest. For the typical cruising sailboat auxiliary slash motorsailer, there's the question of how to rig the sidelights, sternlight, and masthead light for both sailing and motoring.
Somewhere on the web I saw a complaint about factory installed sidelights being so low as to offer unacceptable visibility. If one was building a pure sailboat, then the masthead tricolor light thing would be perfect, but then there's the problem of requiring a totally independent set of motoring lights. So I was thinking about how to have high visibility for separate sidelights and sternlight regardless of sail configuration, and still be able to show a higher masthead light for motoring. It occurred to me that the sidelights could be put on the spreader tips to get them up above the swell and clear of the sails, yet still low enough to be sufficiently below the masthead light. I did some web searching but didn't run into any mention of doing this, and I don't recall seeing this done.
I should limit the discussion to yachts under 20 meters (if I could afford a 21 meter yacht, I could afford my own COLREGS lawyer!) and really focus the discussion on boats 20-50ft overall.
1) would this be legal?*
2) would it be practical? I know it would be a pain to run the 12v power to them, but at least they'd be away from wild booms and boathooks, not to mention green water.
* It looks to me like Annex I, Int'l Rules, section 84.03, part g applies, thus requiring the sidelights to be "placed at a height above the hull not greater than three quarters of that of the forward masthead light", which I guess most spreaders would be below...
Two problems, in close quarters manuvering, boats wouldn't ever see the side lights, might be a tad dangerous.
Two while up out of the way of the sea, you then have to contend with rain water and chafe from the sails, and both is a position where maintenance without dropping the rig would be nearly impossible. How would you change a burnt out bulb for example?
I don't know of a specific area of COLREGS that may address this question, but I was thinking a lapping jib could blanket a spreader mounted nav lamp and that is covered in COLREGS. You'd also have a lot more movement that high up in the rig and your 10 point lights may not show ten points all the time, at least not fore and aft. Certain points of sail would cause the lee side lamp to be blanketed by the jib from forward of the midship and the main aft.
These are enough reasons to use a tri color masthead with all around white above or bi color bow, both with typical white stern 12 pointer.
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