Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

21 comments… add one
  • Danny Blake Oct 7, 2014, 9:19 am

    Brilliant John
    Little things like this amuse me too!

  • Zaphod Oct 7, 2014, 9:23 am

    Doesn’t meet the definition of “Masthead Light” as per ColRegs.

  • Ernie Godshalk Oct 7, 2014, 9:33 am

    Zaphod beat me to it…that is a lunar “anchor light”, not a “masthead light”.

  • Gary Green Oct 7, 2014, 9:47 am

    Is that a kitboarding kite just to the left of the moon? If not, what is it?

    • ChrisW Oct 7, 2014, 12:18 pm

      Whip Strut to keep the pennant halyard and pennant away from the mast.

      • John Oct 7, 2014, 2:55 pm


    • Gary Green Oct 10, 2014, 10:01 am

      Hi, I am currently located in a day sail environment and have not seen a “whip strut” and “pennant” on a halyard in my area. I am currently on Lake Michigan. A short search online and looking through West Marine and Defender did not turn anything up for these items. Could someone provide a little more information on these things? Also, sources for the items would be appreciated too. My wife and I are preparing our boat for cruising and are trying to ensure that we don’t miss anything prior to departing.

      • John Oct 10, 2014, 10:43 am

        Hi Garry,

        The strut in question was custom made. Quite simple: A piece of SS tube bent to the required radius and then a mounting plate welded on. The burgee (pennant) halyard passes through the tube. As far as I know there are no production versions of this gadget, but I really wouldn’t worry about it. For a start fewer and fewer people fly a burgee from the top of the mast (including us) and if you do, the traditional “pig stick” should work fine.

        The only reason that we went to all the trouble was that we were having a new mast built anyway and the manufacturer offered to do it relatively inexpensively. The other reason is that we have an aluminium boat, so any tapping, as you can get from a “pig stick” is amplified much more than it would be on a glass boat.

        • Gary Green Oct 10, 2014, 11:15 am

          Very good explanation and explains why I couldn’t find much information. Thanks for the help.

  • Dave DeWolfe Oct 7, 2014, 10:39 am

    I’ve got one too!

  • richard s. (s/v lakota) Oct 7, 2014, 1:53 pm

    excellent post…catches me just as i am about to raise sail from tortola base marina…plan to visit culebra for first stop even though it’s all on the nose coming back to anegada esp as the tradewinds are seemingly locked into a ne track…just have to wait and see i guess…good excuse maybe to linger at culebra…cheers, richard s. (not in tampa bay for a while)

    • John Oct 7, 2014, 2:55 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Enjoy Culebra, one of our favourite Islands.

  • Justin C Oct 7, 2014, 3:58 pm

    Stop this lunacy at once.

    • Chris Oct 8, 2014, 10:17 am

      Can’t imagine Debussy penning Claire de LED

  • Hans Oct 8, 2014, 10:11 am

    Wonderful shot, John, i just miss your disclosure this time. So what’s your commission on this light ? Must be heavenly…

  • Richard Dykiel Oct 8, 2014, 10:29 am

    You missed the “super” ultimate masthead light.. What… were you sleeping?

  • Svein Lamark Oct 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Hi John, your picture is as usual very beautiful. But I do not like masthead anchor lights because I have several times nearly crashed into large sail yachts with only a masthead light on. The high up light can be by mistake taken for a star. The anchor light should show some of the front of the ship to tell other sailors that it is at anchor. Moonshine can help the sailor in a dark night, but I prefer something older from Scotland.

    • John Oct 12, 2014, 7:59 am

      Hi Svein,

      Sorry I missed this in all the comments about the NWP.

      I agree with you on the visibility issue with masthead anchor lights. In fact we got hit by another boat while anchored and I think his may have been a contributing factor.

      After that incident we fitted a second all around white light on the same circuit as the masthead anchor light mounted on top of our radar.

      This both satisfies the colregs (all round white light) and provides a warning at close to eye level.

      I addition, if we are anchored in a high traffic area, we leave the spreader lights on as well. As I understand it, both of these additional lights are acceptable under the colregs because they do not in any way lead to confusion about the status of the anchored vessel.

      • Svein Lamark Oct 12, 2014, 1:07 pm

        Hi John, I do agree that sailing in ice is more serious than this photo. How ever I feel that I have to explain myself a little here. As a fan of your photos John, I thought that you had been able to catch the moon in position as an anchor light, not a star as Bryant might think. I still love your photos even if I might interpreted them wrong sometimes.

  • Bryant Oct 12, 2014, 2:31 am

    Dear Svein
    If you mistake that one for a star you need to go back to your notes on celestial navigation. Either that or lay off the Aged Scottish Barley juice for a few hours.
    John, on a serious note , where can I get me the tricolour version?
    Thanks for the beautiful photo

  • Dan Nov 20, 2014, 3:56 pm

    Is that a LED?

    How many amp hours does it burn? 😉

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