To the editor: In my early cruising years (late 70s) we used a small light in a saltshaker hung up in the rig as an anchor light. It was barely enough light to find your way back to the boat from an evening in town. To this day it amazes me that I never got run into by another vessel. Today with the advancement of LEDs we have noticed many boats out cruising with garden lights stuck on the stern or extremely weak anchor lights. These battery-operated garden lights sometimes go dim at about 3 to 4 a.m., leaving the boat totally in the dark. Ten years ago, when I saw the early LED masthead light replacements I jumped at the chance to buy one — at the cost of $200! The prices have come down so much that it is inexcusable for anyone not to have a super bright anchor light.
We are in La Paz, Mexico, where we have come from spending our 4th summer in the northern Sea of Cortez. We counted 20-plus boats here in La Paz at anchor with very dim anchor lights or none at all. Being rammed in the middle of the night in a foreign port opens up huge issues.
For the past eight months we have been using Bebi Electronics Owl LED anchor lights on the boat. These are the brightest, lowest drain (.09 amp), light sensing, minimum two-mile visibility and the most reasonably priced anchor lights on the market ($36 to $41, 10 percent discount for Seven Seas Cruising Association members). Made in Fiji, they come with a lifetime guarantee (www.bebi-electronics.com). We are converting all our non-LED lights to Bebi LEDs. We are currently installing an Owl light on the bow and have one on the stern arch.
Chuck Houlihan and Linda Edeiken are 25-year SSCA members and sail aboard their Allied 39, Jacaranda.