Red Light District

Scot Free III
Frank & Anne
Tue 1 Nov 2016 08:13
Spending 12 hours of each day in darkness means that we are constantly wearing our head torches, switched to night mode. The main cabin, the saloon, also has red, night mode lighting. It helps to preserve your night vision and doesn't dazzle the person off watch, sleeping (or trying to). Everything, light coloured, looks slightly reddish and if you are looking for something which, in daylight, is actually red, it is difficult to spot. Some greens look black, which all makes for an interesting plate of vegetables and a nagging worry that my five-a-day may not be quite what it seems.

All of this is thanks to the wonderful invention of the LED which gives a bright light and uses almost no power, so I don't need to change the torch batteries very often. I now use two anchor lights, the regulation one at the top of the mast and one just above deck level. Which is where the early morning fishermen are looking as they steam out of the harbour, in the dark, on autopilot, sorting out their nets and pots.

It's not all good news though, the colour temperature of a white LED is quite different to a white filament bulb. I was very pleased with myself, as a bit of a trail blazer 10 years ago, for climbing to the top of the mast, on our last boat, and installing two bright white LEDs, one for the anchor and the other inside the tri-colour housing for the combined red, green white sailing, nav. light. So, one of the first things I did, when we bought Scot Free III, was to go up the mast and repeat the exercise. A chance conversation, about the serious problem with white LEDs in Nav lights , with our local chandler, gave me cause for concern. So, a few days later I walked round the harbour, at night, to look at my masthead lights. They were nothing like red and green! One was a washed out pink and the other almost blue. So the local chandler happily supplied me with the correct three-coloured LED for the tricolour housing. My apologies to all the skippers and officers-of-the-watch who have been confused, over the years, by the sight of an unseasonal Christmas tree bobbing along the coast.