Guide for night sailing in a solar-powered boat
The possibility of going out in the evening brings an extraordinary dimension to solar yachting. What a pleasure it is to glide silently while barely hearing the lapping of the waves. It's a bit like hovering on the waves with family and friends. With a bit of luck you may even see a fireworks display.
The seaZen Academy offers a complete set of solar navigation guides. Progress at your own pace, safely and without a permit. This guide is from Beaulieu's Boat Club Level 4.
By night the coast shines bright, © seaZen 2019
Don't forget to turn on the position lamps. This is mandatory. For your information and comfort, the sunroof is also equipped with light spots.
We also recommend that you bring your own flashlights. If you see a motorboat dangerously crossing your path at high speed, move away and signal your presence with your torches.
Observe the port entrance during the day. Lights at night will help you find your way around. The green beacon should remain to your right as you enter the harbour. Be careful not to get the wrong green light, there are several. The one in the harbour oscillates by 3 flashes grouped together over a period of 12 seconds.
Dangers at night
Encountering an outboard at night is potentially more dangerous. The skippers are sometimes less vigilant and you won't be able to tell.
Maximum caution must be exercised. You should only sail in places that you have spotted perfectly by day.
Every time you pass a harbour, every time you pass a channel, you are on a course of a boat that can either enter or leave. In some cases boats exceed the speed limits. By sailing exclusively in the area between the David Niven anchorage and the harbour, you greatly reduce the risk of traffic collision.
Management of solar autonomy at night
From 7pm onwards, the light is no longer sufficient to power the boat. If the boat has been used until 6pm by a previous crew, you will not get a 100% charge. Fortunately, night sailing has nothing to do with day sailing. For the safety reasons mentioned above we will not sail far. Moreover, night sailing lends itself to gliding in almost absolute silence. In these conditions you will consume very little and it is still possible to bring the boat back to port with its batteries charged.
At night, we can no longer provide the same level of assistance at sea. Do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions, but we do not provide a permamence and it is not certain that we can pick up the phone. Before you leave, think about distress situations and what you would do if a problem were to arise. Think like you own the boat!
If you are a witness to or victim of a problem at sea, the CROSS MED by phone 196, is there to coordinate assistance as a last resort.
Night Port manoeuvre
As an extra precaution when leaving the boat, once moored, remember to keep it as far away from the dock as possible to discourage any untimely visits..