Practical Boat Owner

DIY navigation lights upgraded with LEDs

The Down East 45ft boats, built in California in the 1970s, are beamy, heavy displacement ocean cruising boats. Yet they were fitted with navigation lights so puny I wouldn’t even consider fitting them on a dinghy!

The port and starboard lights on Britannia, my own Down East schooner, were the tiny tear-drop style (also called sharks, or bird’s eyes) mounted on the hull below the toe-rail, only 4ft above the waterline. They could easily be temporarily obscured in even a moderate sea.

The stern light was no better, mounted centrally on the transom. Add to

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