When you are looking for a buoy or a beacon at long range, don’t stay sitting in the cockpit. Your height of eye down there is so low that you won’t see your target until you are far closer than you need have been. First, stand up where you are. If you still can’t discern the mark, go up on the foredeck. If that doesn’t work, hop up onto the gooseneck. If you were sailing a schooner with a fine set of ratlines seized to her shrouds you could even send a boy aloft. Sadly, such luxuries are available to only a few.