Onboard Ambience with Prebit’s Thoa Lamp

Prebit’s Thoa lamp is portable, rechargeable and dimmable in a way that most LED lights are not.
Thoa lamps
Thoa lamps (starting at about $750 a piece) come in gold, stainless steel, glossy chrome, copper and fully custom designs. Prebit Lighting

Eberhard Vieg, the CEO of Prebit lighting near Bonn, Germany, is blunt when describing himself and the company’s founder, Michael Woita. “We are really nerds about light,” Vieg says. “Everything on the boat can be high-end materials, but if the lighting is off, it will not appear to be nice. If you change the lighting, it makes a difference.”

Woita learned this lesson after working in the lighting industry and then buying a sailboat, Vieg says: “He found out that lighting was awful on the boat, and he decided to do something.” Woita founded Prebit about 20 years ago. “He created reading lights, and then the company developed and developed and grew.”

Thoa lamps
As portable lights go, the Thoa lamp has some heft to it. The stainless-steel version weighs more than 5 pounds, giving it enough substance to withstand the typical rolling of a yacht at anchor. Weights may vary with other finishes and customizations to the design. Prebit Lighting

Its newest product is the Thoa lamp, which is a portable, rechargeable light that can be positioned anywhere on board. It’s rated IP54, which means it can handle some light spray. Prebit makes the lamp with LED, but in a way that allows it to dim like an incandescent bulb. “If you dim with an incandescent light, it gets red; it gets warmer and warmer, like candlelight,” Vieg says. “Physically, you cannot do this with a single LED. That’s the trick.”

A series of LED colors are used inside the Thoa lamp to mimic the warm fade, with an algorithm making the change seem natural. The Thoa lamp doesn’t just get lighter or darker; it creates mood lighting, including dancing, diamond-type shadows on surfaces when it’s in dimmed mode.

Thoa lamps
There are no cords or plugs on the Thoa lamp to distract from the lighting itself. These lights recharge using an inductive pad, like wireless phone chargers, so there is never anything sticking out or plugging into a wall socket and creating a tripping hazard on board the yacht. Prebit Lighting

The team at Prebit got the idea for the Thoa lamp about three years ago, Vieg says, after a yacht owner told them what kind of mood he wanted on board. “We thought it was too important to keep it just for that, so we made a series with a complete range,” Vieg says.

Each charge lasts about eight hours, and the light recharges on an inductive pad (like a wireless charger for a smartphone). The lights can be dimmed by touching them, similar to a kitchen faucet with a sensor in it, and they can be controlled via an app. A stowable case that holds and simultaneously charges four lights is also available.

Thoa lamps
The team at Prebit designed the Thoa lamp so that looking through the glass, it’s nearly impossible to see the wires. Prebit Lighting

“We’re seeing the owners of big yachts coming in for this,” Vieg says, “and then they’re also buying it for their homes, to use on the terrace.”

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