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Old 13 February 2011, 16:43   #1
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Night Cruise, Advice Needed

I am planning to start some cruising sessions during the hours of darkness.

This is mainly to be able to travel on the rib for longer distances. As a novice night cruiser I plan to do it in Tidal Thames first (as I know this area very well).

Equipmentwise, I have
1. Nav lights,
2. Fog Lights (two massive 50W searchlight)
3. Chart Plotter / GPS/ Depth Sounder
4. VHF
5. Lifejacket..

So does anyone have any experience going on the rib during the night? what else do I have to be aware of?

Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 13 February 2011, 17:42   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandad View Post
I am planning to start some cruising sessions during the hours of darkness.

This is mainly to be able to travel on the rib for longer distances. As a novice night cruiser I plan to do it in Tidal Thames first (as I know this area very well).

Equipmentwise, I have
1. Nav lights,
2. Fog Lights (two massive 50W searchlight)
3. Chart Plotter / GPS/ Depth Sounder
4. VHF
5. Lifejacket..

So does anyone have any experience going on the rib during the night? what else do I have to be aware of?

Any advice is appreciated.
The MOON you need one of those!!!!

I went out on a 80 mile trip with no moon light or plotter and nearly hit a outfall marker post at 25 knots just out side Lymington. It was a very rude awakening. It was really very dark search light can play tricks on your eyes and ruin your night vision. check the tide and moon before going out. Good luck.
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Old 13 February 2011, 18:41   #3
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I would say handheld VHF and Epirb attached to your lifejacket.
Plus backup GPS, handheld or otherwise.
Warm clothes, it gets cold at night.

Some other bits depend on where you are going-
lights can be confusing in habited areas where shore lights can make nav lights and bouys hard to pick up. Alternatively uninhabited areas can make it feel if you are travelling through the blackness of nothing for miles and miles.
Don't make waypoints of bouys etc, especially at night. I know folk who have hit lit bouys at night.
Distances can deceptive, in some circumstances what you see and what the plotter is showing can look different so practice and be comfortable that the plotter is showing what it is supposed to.
Be careful of wake and waves, you can't always see them coming until very close, so weather and ships are something to be more aware of at night.
And have fun!
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Old 13 February 2011, 18:52   #4
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You need night eyes and to that end the boat has to be really dark, even the glint of a nav light off a bit of shiney surface will prevent you seeing as well as you could. Slow down, give yourself time to react, 15knots max imho.
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Old 13 February 2011, 19:10   #5
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Strobe light on your jacket as well
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Old 14 February 2011, 03:22   #6
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All of what they said. I've only had one genuine night time cruising experience and that was when acting as a cover boat for a APB course. It's quite "exciting" and turns even the most boring cruise (by day) into an adventure.

Light Discipline is vital if you are away from built up shores. You mention the Thames, so I guess you may need shades . We were off Donegal so were relying on the moon. Personal torches were issued to all crew, as were lifejacket lights. Torch use was banned when under way as it ruins the helm's night vision. It was necessary to restrict the intensity of the forward facing part of the white nav light (bit of tape ) and obviously intrument lights went off, electronics dimmed to minimum etc. Even at that, I found the plotter very bright, if I was doing that often, I'd look into a photography filter to reduce the light even more. Red head lamps are very useful. I made an assembly with a 12v red LED, wire and plug that can be moved around the console or whatever, useful. Forget about spotlights, etc, they're only going to be a help when berthing or recovering.

If cruising in company, DO NOT travel the wake of the lead boat/s, if a MOB occurs, you'll nail them. Probably good advice in the daytime too
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Old 14 February 2011, 04:44   #7
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If you are doing it gradually it might be worth going out early morning for a few times first, that way the light is getting better not worse and you can find out for yourself how important all of the above posts are.

I would reiterate the need for gear on your person.
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Old 14 February 2011, 07:32   #8
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Tell someone where you are going and when you will call them when you are safe ......

Go slowly - what is a gentle cruise at 20knts in daylight is a million times faster/more dangerous at niight....

Some calm, still moonlight nights make things much much simpler and less stressful - some good days recently !
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Old 14 February 2011, 07:47   #9
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All the above. For a red light I use one of the LED lamps that can be used for sports/running that can be put on your forehead, get one that has a red function.
Take it easy, things can go wrong very quickly at night.
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Old 14 February 2011, 11:51   #10
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Topical introduction

Our last relatively long night run was last September from Millport to Tarbert in Kintyre. It gets "quite" dark once you get round Garroch Head.
The introduction to the video is quite topical..........
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Old 14 February 2011, 11:52   #11
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Only thing I'd add to the above is a horn (in case of fog) and a compass (in case of GPS failure). A radar reflector may not be a bad idea either, if you don't already have one. Commercial vessels don't slow down in the dark.
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Old 14 February 2011, 12:40   #12
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Vandad , given the intended cruising location and the present risks associated with state of security alert , I would certainly consider contacting the Harbourmasters and possibly even the River Police in advance and tell 'em who you are and what you are doing . Might save you a few hours tied up alongside one them while they " check you out " .
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Old 14 February 2011, 13:12   #13
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hi vandad
maybe worth going somewhere in daylight and coming back at night as you will be able to follow your plotter route back to your point of entry, knowing you are not going to run into any obstructions. ie, permenant ones. would avoid central london at night on the river at night because there are so many light and it can get confusing.we i go out at night in weymouth, by coming back following the plotter at night, i find it easier to avoid bouys and pot markers.
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Old 14 February 2011, 18:56   #14
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Quote:
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Vandad , given the intended cruising location and the present risks associated with state of security alert , I would certainly consider contacting the Harbourmasters and possibly even the River Police in advance and tell 'em who you are and what you are doing . Might save you a few hours tied up alongside one them while they " check you out " .
Cheers! this is a good point and although I call London VTS before leaving my mooring but sometimes forget!
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Old 14 February 2011, 18:58   #15
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Red head lamps are very useful.
sorry if I sound a bit dull but Why red light?
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Old 14 February 2011, 19:13   #16
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.... Even at that, I found the plotter very bright, if I was doing that often, I'd look into a photography filter to reduce the light even more.
What Mr Willk says. I have tinted perspex screens which attach by stick on velcro at the corners. I also have a dimmer in circuit for the instrument lights so as not to do without them. It's surprising how much you can see after 20mins if nothing is dazzling you. Other vessel lights very easily mingle with shore lights, take care with them.
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Old 15 February 2011, 01:49   #17
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Why red light?
Red light does not damage your night vision nearly so much.

A red glow stick clipped to your jacket does wonders, just the right sort of dim glow.
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Old 15 February 2011, 03:41   #18
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I also have a dimmer in circuit for the instrument lights so as not to do without them.
Ooooh, nice idea! Is that a simple DIY mod on the lighting circuit? Any pitfalls to avoid?
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Old 15 February 2011, 06:18   #19
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Is that a simple DIY mod on the lighting circuit? Any pitfalls to avoid?
Piece of pi$$ - you may want to fit the dimmer switch inside the console though, to give it some protection from the elements, unless of course, you have a cabin.

Oh and make sure it's wired so that the nav lights don't also get dimmed
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Old 15 February 2011, 06:26   #20
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Ooooh, nice idea! Is that a simple DIY mod on the lighting circuit? Any pitfalls to avoid?
Yeh a wee adjustable voltage regulator circuit. I'm away from home atm and reading this on my phone, remind me at the end of the week and I'll post a pic of the circuit. A dead simple thing to make.
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