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Photoday! A night sailor.


Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
It’s a calm night with little wind in the tranquil harbor. I was just about to go into the vee-berth and open a good book when I saw distant running lights approaching. Not alerted by the typical engine rumble, curiously, I watched the tiny red and green lights through a port.

A thin flashlight beam from onboard the approaching boat briefly back lit its sails. Some one is sailing into Pulpit Harbor in this pitch black night.

The approaching running lights were steady, as they would be on a lightly heeled sailboat . Closer and closer it came. Then I could just hear the boat, the faint gentle sound of it’s bow parting the glassy surface.

The bow lights grew closer and closer, then suddenly a mirage like white hull and sails ghosts close by our stern. The soft sound of the hulls motion through the water is clear now. What a unique sound, sailing in the darkness.

Then the sound falls off as it passes by and except for the small white stern bulb glowing, the boat is out of sight once more. I held my head out of the companionway so my ears could follow the boat deep into the harbor, fading,… fading,… then all went silent again.

I couldn’t get any photos in the darkness, so you’ll have to use your imagination. But here is the same boat, a 1950’s Sparkman and Stevens Loki Yawl, sailing the same route out of the harbor, the next morning.

Loki 1 (1 of 1).jpg

We sailed in an onto an anchor ourselves, but that was broad daylight!
Once again, they pass close by our stern.
Loki 2 (1 of 1).jpg

And on their way. Another boat motor sailing out, slowed down to let them pass.
Loki 3 (1 of 1).jpg

And they are back out on the bay. I like to set - trim and douse sails in the protection of the harbor (the lighter winds inside), sail on and off the anchor/mooring, when conditions are good for it. I think it's easier.

But mostly, I do it for the joy of it. I love watching other people share that joy.
Loki 4 (1 of 1).jpg
Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Loved the description of your experience Tom. Thank you.
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Feb 11, 2017
Don't have any recent night sailing, but we did approach and pick up a mooring at Isles of Shoals after dark, earlier this month. The immediate feeling of being in a new place after a long day's sail (when lucky enough) from home (or near, anyway).
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May 6, 2010
1984 Oday 39 79 Milwaukee
There aren't a lot of pretty boats in our harbor, but this Islander 44 is one of my favorites. Not very many of these made I don't believe.
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Jan 8, 2015
MacGregor 26S, Goman Express 30 Seahorse Kerr Reservoir
Full moon sail.jpg

We went out the other evening to watch the meteor shower, The evening breeze started picking up and we ended up having an unplanned but very enjoyable night sail by moonlight.


Jan 1, 2012
Pearson 10M Fall River, MA
From this past wed. I was not officially racing. But i pretended i was while trying to stay out of tbeir way....



Jan 1, 2012
Pearson 10M Fall River, MA
I actually came from way behind this guy. Passed him. Beat him to the mark...but then turned away stood clear and let him round mark and not interfere.


Oct 25, 2011
Island Packet IP31 Lake St. Louis, Montreal
This picture was taken almost exactly a year ago. It was a magical night, rafted with friends on an absolutely still night.


Dec 29, 2008
Treworgy 65' Custom Steel Pilothouse Staysail Ketch St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Great shot Gene!
Here's our night photo:

Moon Kiss.jpeg
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