Please select your home edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club LEADERBOARD

The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters

by Aleix Escorsell 15 Dec 2022 17:00 GMT
The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters © Lopolight

We have previously discussed the best navigation lights set up for sailboats under 12 metres. In this article we look at the ideal light configuration for sailing yachts between 12 - 20m (40ft - 65ft) in length, referencing products from the Lopolight LED navigation light range.

Designed to be fitted and forgotten, Lopolight's LED navigation lights are durable, reliable and have very low power consumption, which enables them to last longer than conventional sailing lights. The complete Lopolight navigation light range complies with the Marine Equipment Directive (MED) and proudly carries the type-approval "Wheelmark" which signifies adherence to strict quality standards.

All lights are available in either silver, black or a white finish and come with a range of mounting options.They have a huge collection of individual and combination lights for applications on boats large and small.

The COLREGS for boats from 12-20m

The primary rules for sailing navigation lights are contained in Rules 22, 23, 25 and 30 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). The following is a simplification of the full rules to cover sailing vessels between 12-20m:

  • 22 - Visibility of lights: The minimum range of the steaming light should be 3 miles; all other lights can be 2 miles.
  • 23 - Power driven vessels over 12m must have a forward-facing steaming light plus sidelights and a stern light below the level of the steaming light.
  • 25 - Sailing vessels Underway shall exhibit sidelights (red/green) as either a combined or as separate lights, and a white stern light.
  • 30 - Anchored Vessels under 50m shall exhibit an all-round white light

That is the basic set of regulations for a boat of 12-20m in length.

Lights recommendation

We will detail here the 4-5 lights that are needed for a sailboat that cover sailing, motoring, and anchoring for a sailboat between 12 - 20m.

Combined Tricolor and Anchor Light - Lopolight 2nm Tricolor, Anchor

The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters - photo © Lopolight

The 2nm Tricolor is the only light you need to have active when sailing at night. This light sits at the top of the masthead and features stern, port and starboard lights, visible up to 2nm. When anchoring, the white 360 light, contained in the same unit, can be used.

If your sailboat does not have a motor, this is the only light unit that you will need!

This combined Tricolour and Anchor light unit is available in various versions including a Windex light, or a strobe function on the all-round white light.

Steaming Light - Lopolight 3nm Masthead

The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters - photo © Lopolight

The term 'Masthead' can cause some confusion as this light does not actually need to be situated on the masthead. It is a forward-facing (225-degree Arc) white light required on a sailboat when it is under power - which we prefer to call the steaming light. It is normally mounted on the forward face of the mast at the first or second spreaders and is often combined with a downward facing foredeck light.

The term 'Masthead' reflects the fact that the COLREGS requires this light needs to be situated above the stern and sidelights. However, it is the Tricolour and 360-degree anchor lights which are actually mounted on the masthead.

The COLREGS state that the steaming light, on a vessel between 12m - 20m must have a range of at least 3nm, therefore the Lopolight 3nm Masthead light is a great choice.

Stern Light - Lopolight 2nm stern

The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters - photo © Lopolight

The stern light has an arc of 135 degrees and is used when a sailing vessel is motoring. The Tricolour provides a stern light when sailing but under motor, the stern light needs to be below the steaming light and is usually located on the stern at deck level.

Sidelights - Lopolight 2nm Combined Sidelights

The Best Lopolight Navigation Lights for Sailboats from 12 to 20 Meters - photo © Lopolight

The 2nm Combined sidelights need to be mounted on the centreline of the boat and are often mounted on the pulpit. For boats without a central point to locate a combined sidelight, the Lopolight 2nm Port and 2nm starboard lights are the equivalent alternative solution.

These are often located at deck level but can be at any level as long as they are below the steaming light.

Light combinations

There are three primary different light configurations for a sailing vessel and you use the following light combinations:

  • Under Sail : Tricolour only - which provides side lights and stern light
  • Under Power : Requires Steaming light up on the mast and then stern and sidelights at deck level
  • At Anchor : Requires the single 360-degree white light mounted at the masthead


There are many different possible setups for your navigation lights, but for boats between 12-20m, this is a legal and safe configuration.

If you have any questions about COLREGS or Lopolight products, please feel free to contact us by email at , or click below to see our full range of navigation lights:

See the range

Related Articles

Top Tips on How to Prep Your Boat for Spring
10 jobs that could easily be overlooked but are potentially critical Spring is approaching and we start to think about getting our boats ready for the coming season. Here is my list of ten jobs that could easily be overlooked but are potentially critical for you to enjoy a safe season ahead. Posted on 23 Mar
Fiddle Blocks for a low-profile purchase system
The pros and cons of fiddle blocks and where they can be put to use A fiddle or violin block is a twin-sheave block with a difference. Typically cheaper than a standard double block of equivalent size, its low profile makes it ideal for on-deck purchase systems. Posted on 16 Mar
Slipping Halyards - A Troubleshooting Guide
What to check now, to avoid the nightmare of a slipping clutch It's a breeze-on day, you have rounded the top mark, set the kite... As the pressure reaches the boat you expect to accelerate but instead you hear a zipping noise as the halyard runs through the clutch and the belly of the kite billows out. Posted on 10 Mar
Superswift - the perfect light air spinnaker sheet
An iconic grippy, durable cover with a compact braid Dyneema core The world of modern sailing ropes is bright and bountiful. But from the plethora of brands, colours, materials and styles, Gottifredi Maffioli's Superswift perpetually stands out. Posted on 4 Mar
The perfect ratio of anchor chain to anchor rope look closely at what you need to know It's long been the view of many cruisers that an all-chain anchor rode is superior to a rope rode. However, most racers would disagree, opting for as little chain as possible to save weight and maximise speed. Posted on 26 Feb
Doublehanded Sailing Gear Survey poll the UK fleet to discover the best ingredients With interest in doublehanded racing still on the rise and showing no signs of letting up, we wanted to know what the ingredients are for a doublehanded boat to stay safe and sail fast. To gain some insights we conducted a survey of the UK fleet. Posted on 17 Feb
A Rough Guide to Mainsail Reefing
Advantages and disadvantages of slab, dual line, single line, and hook methods Reducing mainsail area effectively is an essential aspect of de-powering the boat as the wind strength increases. For offshore racing or cruising it is particularly important to be able to do so quickly and safely. We discuss four options. Posted on 10 Feb
A brief guide to rope cover materials
A helpful investigation into yacht ropes by All sailing boats need ropes. But what is required of a rope varies greatly depending on the application. In this article we give a brief overview of some of the fibres most commonly found in modern rope covers. Posted on 3 Feb
Performance Code Zero Furlers
Options from KZ Racefurlers put under the spotlight We are pleased to introduce KZ Racefurlers to the website. Racing sailors will need little introduction, as KZ have been gracing the bows of grand prix race boats for almost 30 years. Posted on 28 Jan
What we can all take from the IMOCAs
A Conversation With Oliver Heer Ocean Racing The IMOCA class has long been at the forefront of technological development in deck gear and rigging systems. Many of the performance products have originated in the French offshore racing classes before filtering down to cruiser/racer communities. Posted on 19 Jan