Master Mariner

By MasterMariner

Varne Bank LV

The Varne Bank is a five and three quarter mile long sand bank in the Dover Straits, lying nine miles southwest of Dover in Kent, England. Lying almost in the middle of the Southwest traffic lane, the Varne Bank is a major concern for both Her Majesty's Coastguard and shipping. Due to that heightened risk, there is still a Trinity House automatic Lightvessel placed on the Varne Bank.
Due to the volume increase in shipping through the world's busiest channel, several proposals have been made to eliminate the Varne Bank through dredging. However, also due to its shallow depth, the Varne Bank is a productive location for fishing, especially for cod and scallops.

The Varne station, which uses a red flashing light, gave a particular problem to the 400 year old service. The usual main light system employed on solar powered lightvessels utilises a 35 watt lamp in a highly efficient rotated lens. It was not possible to convert this arrangement to give a red light as the range available from the 35 watt light source when filtered to red would be limited, so this station remained the only diesel powered lightvessel until a solution was found in the development of LED technology. The Varne is one of two Trinity House major stations exhibiting a red light; the other is the Skokholm lighthouse in West Wales. As well as being more efficient, the new system will save up to 23,000 litres of fuel per vessel per year.

Nevertheless, it looks like a picture from the past and I like that. If you look at the sky in the background you can see that we're in for some nasty weather. It won't take long before we'll see a complete different picture I am afraid.

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