Navigation lights for a small motorsailer?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by cluttonfred, Mar 27, 2024.

  1. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    I have recently started thinking again (see old thread) about building a Bolger Storm Petrel (16' plywood skiff, shallow steel keel, 6 hp outboard, modest sail area, tiny cabin) and I am wondering about navigation lighting. Technically, under the international rules, boats under sail or boats under power and not capable of exceeding 7 knots, both under 7m length, are not required to have navigation lights at all, just a white light to show to prevent a collision. If I did put on navigation lights, then I need to use the rules for the next size up, 12m. I'll also want a 360-degree white light for anchoring.

    So, what's the simplest installation with the smallest number of lights that would meet the rules for both sail and power and anchor? I'd like to avoid having bicolor and stern and masthead and anchor lights, but I am not sure that will work even though just one 360 white and the bicolor are sufficient under power. I'd have to use the 360 anchor light on the (short) mast and I think that's too far forward to be clear. Any better ideas out there?

    Cheers,

    Matthew

    storm petrel bolger book.jpg bruce hallman storm petrel 7.jpg bruce hallman storm petrel 2.jpg
     
  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Top of mast
    White over red over green
    All all round
    Available as a single unit
    Two switches white while anchoring or motoring
    Red/green sailing
     
  3. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    Interesting, thanks, but as I understand it, a boat under sail can use a tricolor masthead light (red/green/white each in the appropriate direction) in place of the separate port/starboard/stern lights. The all round red over green are only in addition to normal port/starboard/stern lights. And the tricolor would leave me with just white under power, since a powerboat can't use the masthead lights.

    On reflection, I am thinking that normal red/green lights (separate or a single bicolor one) at the bow and a combined stern light/all-round light aft on a pole (higher than the cabin top) would be the simplest choice. That would mean red/green and stern light under sail, red/green and all around light under power, just all around at anchor.

    COLREGs course - Rule 23 (Power-driven vessels underway) https://ecolregs.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=31&Itemid=366&lang=en

    COLREGs course - Rule 25 (Sailing vessels underway and vessels under oars) https://ecolregs.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=33&Itemid=397&lang=en
     
  4. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    As you stated
    Vessels under 7m and capable of less than 7 knots only need to shine a white light to prevent collision.
    The all round white fulfills this requirement.
     
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If it is a motorsailor, it has to comply with the same rules as any powerboat.
     
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    This would be the simplest because if powering at night you need this configuration. It can be wired so that if sailing at night only the red/green combo shows, which for less than 7 meters you really aren't required to have when sailing. But I would feel really nervous it it were me. Plus the all around white light can be wired and used as an anchor light, without the red/green showing. It's actually wired that way on my power boat. There are switches available from most marine retailers for very little money that will allow that combination, red/green with 360 white, red/green without 360 white, 360 white only. Usually they cost about $20. Plus if you do it this way you don't need wires running up the mast.
     

  7. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Junior Member

    Yes, so far that does sound like a good option. One clarification...I would use a combination stern/masthead light on a pole aft so I could use sidelights + stern under sail, sidelights + stern + masthead (making 360 degrees) under power, and just the 360 as an anchor light.
     

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