What was a simple journey arriving takes on a whole new tone when you are ready to go home. The sun has gone down and the landscape looks very different. What to do.
With such beautiful evenings recently my husband and I have taken to leaving our son with the babysitter more regularly and setting off up our local river for a cruise – usually with a meal at a waterside hostelry in mind.
Of course the going and the coming back; when the light is dim or has gone, are always different journeys which is ultimately part of the charm but they each demand different preparation and skills.
Clearing lines: Like during daylight use these to identify areas of danger or safe water.
Transits: Line up two lights to use as a heading to follow or to identify turn points. These are known as ‘leading lights’.
Have torches ready. I always take a large powerful torch to light up buoys and withies and moored boats. Although the buoys and withies may not be lit they are often marked with retro reflective tape. I have a smaller torch for reading my passage plan. You can cover the torch with a piece of material to dim the glare or just colour the lense in with a red felt tip.
It takes about 15-30 minutes for your night vision to kick in properly. So dim the instrument and equipment lights to preserve your night vision, and use red lights where possible.
For more information on boating at night and further pilotage techniques useful to you if you are in open water then see the RYA Powerboat Handboat: The RYA’s Complete Guide to Powerboating.