As the days get warmer and the nights shorter we sailors tend to migrate from the cabin to the cockpit after a day’s sailing. For me nothing beats the company of fellow boating enthusiasts whilst enjoying at least a couple of G&T’s and some nibbles (including Aldi’s peanuts’ at ½ the price of KP and just as good). Having said that I have, over the years, also enjoyed quiet evenings in the cockpit catching up on my reading when the temperature has been suitable and there has been sufficient light to see the page! However help is at hand as this spring we have seen a number of new products which I think will make your cockpit time more enjoyable, certainly mine. The first is an excellent flexible LED strip, for either ‘permanent’ fixing to the sprayhood bar using say cable ties or alternatively velcro if you want to just attach when the mood takes you. For mounting under the boom or bimini use self adhesive velcro. Being LED, the current draw on your battery is minimal; there is also the option of a dimmer switch which gives you four levels of illumination.
Davis Instruments fully marinised LED rail lights, two sizes available which come complete with clamp or screw mounted options, are also worth considering. Both are solar powered so once again no worries about battery drain. New also on the market is a rather nifty inflatable solar lantern. Originally developed for remote communities in Africa, this technology is now available for boaters. It features either low or high settings as well as a ‘flashing’ mode! This coming Bank holiday weekend, yes ‘let there be light’ but let there also be no rain nor strong winds to allow us some evening cockpit time.