23 October 2018
The back steps on the new Time Bandit have these trendy blue lights we see on all the fancy boats. They're pretty, but on the naff side of cool so, like the previous owner we may also be too embarrassed to ever use them. They can also be confusing.
Back when we were working class, that as opposed to non-working, retired class, we used to dog off work on winter Wednesday nights to attend our RYA, idjits guide to cruising classes. I'm not entirely sure why we did this given we'd been sailing for eons before most of the learned instructors had ever had their first puke to windward, but I guess we fell for the marketing. Or more likely, an excuse to leave work early, have a nice meal out, then two hours of banter in a warm class room with like minded folk.
Our evening classes would invariably start with our cruising guru holding up cards showing, for example, a small Christmas tree of red, green and white lights and asking whether this particular tug had any idea what it was towing or where indeed it was going. It took a lot of study, review and testing to get this down pat so, come the day Mr Pedantic RYA Examiner stepped aboard we could trot out, "Oh. That's a powered vessel, more than fifty metres, shooting nets to starboard, while not under command and safe to pass on a Tuesday. We put a lot of work into that stuff, only to find it largely ignored by pretty much everyone on the high seas.
The Japanese and Chinese fishing boats switch off everything - lights, AIS, radar and probably even their Micheal Buble karaoke tape to conceal their position from their fellow fishermen and no doubt the authorities of which ever country's seas their are illegally pillaging. The first you will see of these guys on a dark night is the rust streaks of their mangy fishing boats and a shiny row of teeth. Then there's the cruise ships. If you can pick out a red or a green from the stem to stern casino and disco lights then your career as a Specsavers ophthalmic specialist is assured.
As for local fishing boats. They're either a blaze of pure white or pitch black with a flickering lighter being wafted around anxiously to save them from a GRP imposed drowning.
Nonetheless we are still pretty good with our lights, until tonight, when a red and a white over two blue headlights appears, thrashing into the blackness of the anchorage upwards of fifteen knots. The cops? An offshore ambulance? A fire boat? Nope. Just some dumb, wazzed up sport fishermen heading home for the night no doubt as full of beer as they are fish
Really reassuring to know we've got our puny masthead light on. Twenty metres above their line of sight.
I think I'll switch on my blue lights