I think cruising in the Solent and off the West Cornwall coastline are two worlds apart, but I am sure sure its the same in Scotland a JW
When I did my Advanced power boat with Paul Glatzel in Pool were we tasked with finding an unlit marker using only the chart and compass..
I took the helm first and was very happy cruising at around 5 -7 knots straining my eyes to keep a look out for Pot Dans, footballs, floating containers and the like..
After about 45 min’s I reached the area where we thought the marker was, after a short scan using a searchlight we spotted it roughly where we though it would be..
Then another student who lived in the area took the helm and I tried to navigate us to the next unlit marker…
I was totally horrified when we took off at about 12-15 knots in the direction we needed, ok there wasn’t any marked bouyage on the passage etc but bloody hell what about the pots etc.
Well we found the next marker in no time and headed back in, the next day we did some search patterns etc. in the day light around the area we did the night time exercise, and there wasn’t a half inflated football stuck on the end of some garden bamboo with trailing rope in sight, or any other Jims Cash and Carry containers that might act as a Dan.
The main inshore fishing industry in Cornwall is for Spider Crabs and Lobsters, as a result there are hundreds of pot dans, rope and all manner of unlit markers all around the coastline here..
If you are out on an inky night navigating back to shore with no means of illuminating your course, you will run over a dan and you will get that rope around the prop.
Obviously this isn’t the case if your further off shore, I guess the moral of the story is that in busy shipping area such as the Solent you can be that student and take off at 12-15 knots in the safe knowledge that if it aint on the chart its not there, if you are in Hayle and outside shipping channels in West Cornwall you will have someone on the bow with a torch shouting “look out!!!”.
I would agree with the use of a spot light to navigate in or out of a minor port, I would be surprised if Roy’s spot light is not training on the water 15mtr or so in front of the RIB.
But once out at sea and in deeper water I would turn it off, how else would we see that lovely phosphorescence
Some Pots etc.