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Old 05-11-2012, 06:37   #31
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

using that sw channel at tampa bay--even radar and ais will not help with the massive numbers of crab pots we happened on right there in the channel.
i prefer the northern channel--no crab pots. and the crazy clowns in the power boats going out t o check their crab pots.
large commercial vessels are much easier to see than small recreational types.
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:38   #32
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this moment

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
Yep. I like having AIS, but for every AIS-equipped vessel I can "see" on the screen, there are usually somewhere between 5-50 non-equipped boats in sight.

My opinion: Radar reflector first, actual radar next, AIS if the budget still cooperates.

-Chris
My wife and I delayed the start of a trip across SF Bay because of fog. After a couple of hours (and losing some of the current we had wanted to catch) we left our slip as visibility looked fine. Unfortunately, fog in the middle of the Bay was still thick so we started to use our horn signal and carefully watched the chart plotter with both radar and AIS. I saw an AIS target - ferry boat - heading in our direction so I hailed him on VHF 13 to say I'd seen him on AIS. It was really nice to know the vessel name and he replied right away. He said that he had just spotted us through the fog (and we saw him at that moment as well). He ended by saying "Love that AIS".

Nothing is the perfect tool - radar, AIS, signals, and a careful watch are all tools to use when the need arises.

Robert
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:01   #33
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
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.
My experience in the SW approach is that the sand shifts faster than the CG can move markers around.

Sometimes if one is off that coast and fog begins to form it forms all over and around you. No place to head really. It is everywhere. I would however try for the 30ft line or thereabouts.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:08   #34
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
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.
You to them, that's important.

My cynical self says that their LAWYERS don't want to see that they hit a a boat with a transponder bleating out its position.

Their lawyers probably have more influence on them than we do.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:18   #35
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Could you have found shallow water and anchored? I've only been in heavy fog a few times and I absolutely hated it. Fortunately, on the Texas coast, shallow water is just off the channels. I tuned 90 found 10' and anchored well out of the channel as the big ships continued up/down the channel...
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:06   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard5
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.
I should have clarified that we were heading from south to north crossing the channel only. I did say we had seen the ships on our ship tracker large ships which were the only ones we can do anything about. As therapy and others have said the fog forms very rapidly offshore and we found ourselves envelope in it by early morning we were already well offshore at that point completing our final leg of a 700 mile trip. We were going extremely slow and had crew on watch. Unfortunately there's nowhere to hide when this situation occurs. You as much at risk at anchor in no visibility as you are making slow way forward. Not sure what type of fog your use to but there was no sitting in waiting outside of this fog. Next time we will make calls on dsc channel 70 and alert vessels capable of our situation. While radar would have been great to see boats anchored. It would not prevent a small boat going fast from hitting us whether we were anchored or not. We're there things we could have done better yes. Are there several things we did do correct , yes . My hope is that others have the same take away and learning from the situation as we did.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:28   #37
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
using that sw channel at tampa bay--even radar and ais will not help with the massive numbers of crab pots we happened on right there in the channel.
i prefer the northern channel--no crab pots. and the crazy clowns in the power boats going out t o check their crab pots.
large commercial vessels are much easier to see than small recreational types.
Having been on both sides I will say time is money. Those "crazy clowns" aren't slowing down merely because of a fog in waters they ply every gosh darn day. And God help those hapless rag boats which twaddle across the path...I say this having been in favor of sail propulsion since the days of my early youth.

If they be on the look out for pots you bet your bottom dollar they will notice a sailboat. Then again, if something should happen, that's what insurance is for. I'm not saying yea or nay but such is the commercial perspective of unilluminated, no radar signature transient vessels. To the crabbers, such vessels are unmarked obstacles. Whistles are of vastly limited use. Over the sound of the engine and perhaps the VHF and perhaps the local music, a whistle will not be heard. Even then, the crew is in the cubby fixin' another coffee.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:42   #38
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Radar + AIS + CIWS = Peace of mind.

Btw, if you snag a crab pot with your prop, are you allowed to help yourself to the inmates of the pot as a consolation prize?

Back in the good ol' days in Moreton Bay one was wise to steer a wide safety margin around crab pots around the Bay Islands (Russel, McLeay, Lamb, etc). Sometimes sudden waterspouts about 6' high would appear off the seaward bow, if one were going too close....
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:47   #39
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Surprisingly, white is one of the more visible colors in fog, and red is one of the least visible under any conditions.
Huh? The combination of white sails, white superstructure, and white hull is stealthy like a ghost in fog. The darker promontory to the right of the boat is more visible yet at least twice distant. (Gee, and that RYC sailor wasn't even displaying running lights.)

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Old 05-11-2012, 10:51   #40
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

Back in my Santana 22 days, when the only nav instruments I had onboard were a compass, a knotlog and a watch, I once anchored 100 yards from the entrance to Stillwater Cove because I couldn't find it. I kept sounding my whistle every two minutes until the harbormaster came out in his launch to lead me in. That's when I bought my first GPS.

I bought my first radar after having spent the night off the Big Sur coast in fog so dense I couldn't see my bow pulpit. Those are the times you make holy vows to become better equipped. Thank goodness so many of us survive them. Not everyone is that fortunate.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:51   #41
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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I should have clarified that we were heading from south to north crossing the channel only. I did say we had seen the ships on our ship tracker large ships which were the only ones we can do anything about. As therapy and others have said the fog forms very rapidly offshore and we found ourselves envelope in it by early morning we were already well offshore at that point completing our final leg of a 700 mile trip. We were going extremely slow and had crew on watch. Unfortunately there's nowhere to hide when this situation occurs. You as much at risk at anchor in no visibility as you are making slow way forward. Not sure what type of fog your use to but there was no sitting in waiting outside of this fog. Next time we will make calls on dsc channel 70 and alert vessels capable of our situation. While radar would have been great to see boats anchored. It would not prevent a small boat going fast from hitting us whether we were anchored or not. We're there things we could have done better yes. Are there several things we did do correct , yes . My hope is that others have the same take away and learning from the situation as we did.
Thank you for your response. I am confused by what you mean by being "far offshore". I imagined you were transiting the approach into Tampa. Were you outside the 100 fathom curve (merely as point of reference), how far is far off shore?

You chose to continue into a fog at night across marked channels. I am not to 2nd guess your decision although I do have further questions. Slowing the boat speed was good. Did you illuminate the boat while preserving your night adapted vision? The sun rises in the east, you were to the west, was the traffic inbound or outbound? Would that had made a difference? Did you consider changing course? In that area, (no rocky coast or wash rocks) it might have been prudent to change course to the east to avoid traffic. Your thoughts? Was is a good idea to stop sailing and start motoring?

I should clarify, when I mentioned anchoring I had in mind running into shallow water to anchor. Inside of 10 fathoms or thereabouts. As you were in transit and "far offshore" this would prolly not be a viable solution for you.

I have been in advection, steam, and ice fog. None of these form without prior indications. That is, noting the conditions, the formation of fog should not be a surprise.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:54   #42
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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Btw, if you snag a crab pot with your prop, are you allowed to help yourself to the inmates of the pot as a consolation prize?
That's covered in Leviticus 19:11
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:00   #43
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

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I have been in advection, steam, and ice fog. None of these form without prior indications. That is, noting the conditions, the formation of fog should not be a surprise.
Maybe not for daysailors in lower latitudes. For some of us, getting caught in fog is a way of life.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:01   #44
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this moment

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In this day you just can't go without, especially in the approaches to major harbors.
Yes you can.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:01   #45
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Re: Never really wanted Radar or AIS until this Moment

FYI: the range and bearing to an audible bell or whistle while in a fog can be confusing. As fog is of varying degrees of "thickness" of both vertical and horizontal, and constantly changing, the signal is refracted and deflected by the varying density. It can be confusing to the ear where away is the signal. All that one can say with any certainty is it is out there somewhere. Keep a sharp watch whilst in a fog.

Too, the quality of the signal can be attenuated by landforms. As most bells are within coastal reaches this is especially important. The sound may reverberate off headlands and be muffled by inland bays and coves, or vice versa. San Francisco Bay is famous for this. So is the rocky islands of Acadia (Maine, USA).
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