We have previously discussed the best navigation lights set up for sailboats under 12 metres here. In this blog we look at the ideal light configuration for sailing yachts between 12 – 20m (40ft – 65ft) in length, referencing products from the Lopolight LED navigation light range.
Designed to be fitted and forgotten, Lopolight’s LED navigation lights are durable, reliable and have very low power consumption, which enables them to last longer than conventional sailing lights. The complete Lopolight navigation light range complies with the Marine Equipment Directive (MED) and proudly carries the type-approval “Wheelmark” which signifies adherence to strict quality standards. All lights are available in either silver, black or a white finish and come with a range of mounting options.
They have a huge collection of individual and combination lights for applications on boats large and small.
The COLREGS for boats from 12-20m
The primary rules for sailing navigation lights are contained in Rules 22, 23, 25 and 30 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). The following is a simplification of the full rules to cover sailing vessels between 12-20m
22 - Visibility of lights: The minimum range of the steaming light should be 3 miles; all other lights can be 2 miles.
23 – Power driven vessels over 12m must have a forward-facing steaming light plus sidelights and a stern light below the level of the steaming light.
25 - Sailing vessels Underway shall exhibit sidelights (red/green) as either a combined or as separate lights, and a white stern light.
30 – Anchored Vessels under 50m shall exhibit an all-round white light
That is the basic set of regulations for a boat of 12-20m in length.
We will detail here the 4-5 lights that are needed for a sailboat that cover sailing, motoring, and anchoring for a sailboat between 12 - 20m.
Combined Tricolor and Anchor Light - Lopolight 2nm Tricolor, Anchor
The 2nm Tricolor is the only light you need to have active when sailing at night. This light sits at the top of the masthead and features stern, port and starboard lights, visible up to 2nm. When anchoring, the white 360 light, contained in the same unit, can be used.
If your sailboat does not have a motor, this is the only light unit that you will need!
This combined Tricolour and Anchor light unit is available in various versions including a Windex light, or a strobe function on the all-round white light.
Steaming Light - Lopolight 3nm Masthead
The term ‘Masthead’ can cause some confusion as this light does not actually need to be situated on the masthead. It is a forward-facing (225-degree Arc) white light required on a sailboat when it is under power – which we prefer to call the steaming light. It is normally mounted on the forward face of the mast at the first or second spreaders and is often combined with a downward facing foredeck light. The term Masthead reflects the fact that the COLREGS requires this light needs to be situated above the stern and sidelights. However, it is the Tricolour and 360-degree anchor lights which are actually mounted on the masthead.
The COLREGS state that the steaming light, on a vessel between 12m – 20m must have a range of at least 3nm, therefore the Lopolight 3nm Masthead light is a great choice.
Stern Light - Lopolight 2nm stern
The stern light has an arc of 135 degrees and is used when a sailing vessel is motoring. The Tricolour provides a stern light when sailing but under motor, the stern light needs to be below the steaming light and is usually located on the stern at deck level.
Sidelights - Lopolight 2nm Combined Sidelights
The 2nm Combined sidelights need to be mounted on the centreline of the boat and are often mounted on the pulpit. For boats without a central point to locate a combined sidelight, the Lopolight 2nm Port and 2nm starboard lights are the equivalent alternative solution. These are often located at deck level but can be at any level as long as they are below the steaming light.
There are x3 primary different light configurations for a sailing vessel and you use the following light combinations:
Tricolour only – which provides side lights and stern light
Requires Steaming light up on the mast and then stern and sidelights at deck level
Requires the single 360-degree white light mounted at the masthead
There are many different possible setups for your navigation lights, but for boats between 12–20m, this is a legal and safe configuration.
If you have any questions about COLREGS or Lopolight products, please feel free to contact us by email at email@example.com, or click the link below to see our full range of navigation lights: