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Lighting up Christmas!

As Christmas approaches, preparations for theannual Annapolis Parade of Lights are well underway. This annual evening eventin Spa Creek attracts over two dozen boats both power and sail, each with elaborate Christmas themedecorations presented in multicolored lights. Boats circle Spa Creek above andbelow the bridge linking Annapolis to Eastport. The bridge and other areas witha view of the creek are filled with folks who brave the usually cold evening toenjoy the colorful boats.
Many boating clubs enter their best designs to compete for prized titles. Singles on Sailboats (SOS) has entered each year for 15 years, and received prizes in many of those years.

 Lest you think this is a simple undetaking and just means stringling some lights on a boat – here’s a brief look at the preparations required.

First, someone conceives of a novel design (with all the engineering and electrical considerations) and prepares full scale drawings. Frank Florentine, a professonal lighting engineer and SOS member, provides these volunteer services.

All the light strings, tie wraps, wire mesh, extension cords etcare hauled from storage and last year’s designs dismantled. Wire mesh is laid over the new drawings and lightstrings are tied on to outline the designs.
Pictures begin to take shape and come alive aslights are tested.
All the work is done under the direction andwatchful eye of our designer/engineer Frank.
Light strings are checked to besure they’re in working order, and the representation of the design materializes as planned.

When all is completed, it gets hauled to theboat and rigging begins to safely raise the completed designs up the mast andattached wherever else is needed….

 …..starting with hauling it all from the truck out the length of the dock to ‘Carolina Girl’, Christi Tinnes’ 31ft Beneteau that she volunteers for this event each year…

.. and it takes a few hands to sort out the rigging………..

It’s a neattrick to get it all up a 50ft mast in the right orientation and secured forwhen the boat is in motion!

Then all the wiring connections must be made and labled so the various sections of the display find the right settings on the control panel ………

We even hauled a news photographer up the mast in the bosun’s chair to help him get some good pictures!

Here’s a short clip of some of the perparations ….

We think this year’s entry is boundto garner support of the judges!!

SOS boat pix …

Some other boats …………..

Happy Holidays!

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