BOSUN'S BAG
Classic Boat|March 2021
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR THE TRADITIONAL BOATER
TOM CUNLIFFE

They’re at it again. Every time I settle in to enjoy a period film or TV drama, all credibility is expunged by what really is the simplest of errors. Cowboy films are a good example. Here comes The Man with No Name to shoot the forces of darkness back to Hell where they belong. I’m hooked into the story up to my neck until I notice a detail that reveals beyond doubt that the director understands nothing. It even happens in Downton Abbey and recently in the much-vaunted Bridgerton currently making a fortune for Netflix. How, I want to know, do these people imagine their characters operated indoors after dark by the light of oil lamps rendered useless by blackened glass chimneys? Of course they didn’t. It isn’t a lifetime ago that I’d a home in the Yorkshire Dales where some of the outlying farms still used Aladdin lamps. In my own world, I’ve had three boats where the main lighting below decks was paraffin-fired and I still use an oil riding light with a noble dioptric lens. Nobody in their right mind, either afloat or up in the hills, would tolerate blackened chimneys for a moment. First, you’re paying good money for the paraffin and if the glass is opaque you might as well pour it down the sink; and secondly, because getting a crystal-clear glass is dead easy.

CABIN LIGHTS

Here’s the secret, step by step. Some riding lights vary in detail, but I’ll deal with them further down the page.

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