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Old 04-11-2012, 08:47   #16
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Most high end VHF radios have built in fog horns now a days.

We have a ICOM M-504, which has a fog horn with five different sounds and pre programed for the different sound signals for sailing, motoring, towing, etc. I sounds through the hailer horn.

We also usedthe fog horn on several "no moon" night passages when we were around the Panaga fishing fleets off of Mexico and Central America. It got their attention!

As a back up, I installed a electric 130 decibel twin trumpet air horn under the radar. I think it represents my alter ego power boat driving days. The only problem I have with the horn is that when I sound it people look around for a powerboat :-)
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:48   #17
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Wasn't saying he should have heard us, sorry if it came across that way. Just informing of what we were doing. Not much you can do to stay safe from idiots going fast in ultra low visibility conditions.
It's ok...the onus was on him to reduce speed in unsafe conditions. I think 2 min is the proscribed sounding interval for a fog signal...assuming everyone is also traveling at a prudent speed. 30kts? Not unless he has thermal imaging or high resolution radar...

Not sure what would become of such a boat running into 14 metres of steel, but I'm confident it would end with me fishing him out of the water/rigging. Now if he ran over my current project, 6m of lapstrake ply...different story.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:54   #18
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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2.4km in three minutes....(sry, thoroughly metricised here...and I used 1600m per mile, not 1800). Does the foghorn carry 2.4km, over his engine noise?

Fog is another reason I'm going for tan sails. Also doesn't sear your retinas staring at them all day. That, and the ultraloud foghorn, plus a cheap pre-owned radar, and diligent watchkeeping, and prudent routing, and I'll be satisfied I've done what I can. I'd prefer a CIWS as well, but they seem to be out of stock at the moment. Hmmm, DIY might come up with something for that, too.
Surprisingly, white is one of the more visible colors in fog, and red is one of the least visible under any conditions.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:02   #19
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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That, and the ultraloud foghorn, plus a cheap pre-owned radar, and diligent watchkeeping, and prudent routing, and I'll be satisfied I've done what I can. I'd prefer a CIWS as well, but they seem to be out of stock at the moment. Hmmm, DIY might come up with something for that, too.
With basic ais receivers costing less than a good sailing jacket it's hard to think of a reason not to have one onboard, the radar will suck up power, ais just sits in the corner dishing out lots accurate useful info on 0.1A.

Very satisfying
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:09   #20
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

I believe AIS and radar are complementary. Radar is there to show you the non-AIS objects, plus distance to shore, and perhaps if you are a very good tuner, the presence of adrift objects in your path, including fishing buoys and small dories, etc. Yes, even kayakers.

It's great for steering between rain bands, as well.

AIS's best quality is that in transceiver form it shows YOU to THEM, "them" being the hard-to-turn freighters and tankers for whom your destruction, if even noted, is a bow blemish to be buffed out.

The two technologies both reinforce each other and make up for each other's shortcomings, in my view.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:16   #21
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

The problem I see with AIS is that not every boat has one, and it has to be turned on to work. Still, if it's that cheap, I'd get one, but not rely on it much.

A radar will give me a chance at seeing whatever is out there, unless it is stealthed in which case I hope it is at least trying to avoid running over me/shooting me. But even with radar, I'd still be more comfortable staying in places where boats of a size/speed to hurt me aren't likely to go. Easier in the 6m open boat with 30cm draft than the 14m steel cruiser with 1.5m draft. Hmmm, a cat is starting to look appealing again. No! Must resist! Don't give in to the dark side!!
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:18   #22
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Where the OP was there are some big boats coming to Tampa Bay. But really it is the one he describes that is the most fearful (to me). These private fisherman can't hear their VHF at speed even if it is on, much less a bell or horn.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:24   #23
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

I love Radar... it's like seeing in the dark! I've entered unknown harbors at night, entered a hidden harbor to leeward in a gale surfing down 12' seas toward the beach, seen thunderstorms to avoid 50 miles away, seen waterspouts in the gulfstream to avoid, etc...
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:25   #24
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Although required in the COLREG's, bells are worthless. Whistles (not called horns on boats unless there is a brass band on board or a bull somewhere) are far more effective. But yes, in smaller craft a whistle might be drowned out by engine noise.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:26   #25
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

30kts in fog is criminally stupid. AIS would be good for him to have so everyone else can avoid him, or at least know where to look for salvage.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:05   #26
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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The problem I see with AIS is that not every boat has one, and it has to be turned on to work. Still, if it's that cheap, I'd get one, but not rely on it much.
As per a previous post, the boats that don't have one or aren't transmitting are the ones which you would pay much attention to their speed/course anyway, fishing boats, fellow cruisers, all unpredictable but pretty easy to miss. The big boys who you really do want to worry about will be transmitting.

Sail around the north sea /channel with at least a receiver for a few weeks then come back and tell us you didn't quickly start to rely on it much more than you thought you would

Bet you a bottle you'll be back on here "man, this little box is great!!"
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:02   #27
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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News update. 10 miles west of Pasadena A small 18-20 ft center console almost t boned us he was going at least 30 mph he veered off at the last second narrowly missing us but caught our fishing line that 50' behind our boat. He peeled off at least 200 yds of powerpro braid and I hope the a$$hole looses his lower unit and does not have Seatow etc. None of the above would have really helped us. And yes we have been sounding a warning signal every 3-5 minutes. Unbelievable

Check Rule 35 on that 3-5 minute thing...

Although your subsequent point about them not being able to hear anyway is well taken.

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Old 04-11-2012, 11:39   #28
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Were 4 miles south of Egmont channel. Have carnival Cruise ship and a very large Freighter in close proximity on the marine traffic tracker on our android. We have fog so severe visibility is 50' at best. It was a clear night until 4 am. Wishing we had the aids in the title ......
Considering that the shipping lanes to Tampa Bay (for larger ships) are pretty clearly defined, in the same circumstances I would move inshore enough to be reasonably certainly out of harms way. It would have also been wise to issue a Securite call one 16 to report your position, course and speed to alert others to your presence. An "All Ships" call on 70 (DSC) for the same purpose would also have gotten all the commercial ships' attention (and, reported your position if your GPS was interfaced with the VHF). Under no circumstances would I have by-passed the southeast channel to enter the Bay via the northeast channel. Absent radar, in fog one's ears are about as important a "detector" as not and I would (and have) powered back to reduce noise so a watch on the bow has a better chance of hearing on-comming traffic. In fog, relatively low frequency airhorns really do seem to carry for a remarkable distance due to refraction. In Fog, a sail boat (under sail) is required to make one short and one long blast every two minutes. A power boat (including powering sail boats) is required to make one long blast avery two minutes. At the least, doing so will give an on-comming boat a clue that there is another boat in the vicinity.

N'any case, while radar is not often needed along the west coast of Florida in an absolute sense, having used one for 10+ years now, I wouldn't be without it, particularly considering how inexpensive a number of the stand alone sets seem to be.

FWIW...
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:05   #29
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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I'd prefer a CIWS as well, but they seem to be out of stock at the moment.
Check with the Royal Navy, they're ditching their Watchkeeper 30mm now only the HMS Ocean class helicopter cruisers have them, all the destroyers have been retired. Last I heard they had 9 units up on tender
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:32   #30
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Having read up about the appraoches to Tampa I too would have not foregone the SW approach. Namely, the NW appraoch is the preferred channel for large vessels; and the SW channel would had been shorter for the OP.

I would love to hear the reasoning from the OP.

As for entering a fog at night without radar (and into the approaches) I wonder what was the watch doing? Watching deteriorating conditions unfold without taking action...I dearly would like to hear the reasoning.

My apologies for seeming to come down on the crew but I hardly can fathom the reasoning other than severe inexperience, ie, ignorance. Ignorance is not the same as stupidity so I am seriously, honestly in wait of reply from the OP.

I have been in many a fog. Yes, sometimes without radar. My reasoning, or rationalization, was I was quite offshore and outside of the common routes. Otherwise, I have been in a fog inside of ship lanes and near shore. My decisions then were to turn outbound from the fog and/or ride at anchor until visibilty increased to at least 5 miles. This resulted in delay but preserved safety. Sometimes it's a bitch but safety of crew and vessel should always prevail over all things.
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