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Old 01-10-2008, 19:11   #16
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If I am in the Carribbean, I'd take the gps chart plotter. This lets me understand what I see and where I am supposed to go. Invaluable at the helm when near islands, running inlets and navigating channels. I believe my eyes give me a much better indication of what I am seeing than radar in these clear, near obstacle circumstances.

If in norther latitudes or crossing oceans, radar. When out in the middle of the ocean, it is nice to be able to turn on the proximity alarm and use the extra notice when near traffic. Great at night, great in poor visibility circumstances. It doesn't help me much when I am trying to understand which is the correct channel?
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:41   #17
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Well, it seems we have arrived at an answer to the original question, Lake, but you have really got my attention. What brings you to ask? I doubt its simple economics, or strictly objective inquiry. I suspect you might have more subtle considerations, such as the appearance of a classic Yawl with a big piece of plastic in the rigging, or justifying a piece of expensive safety equipment in a limited budget set by 'the finance committee'. Spit it out!

I have never sailed on Superior, but I'll bet visibility is an issue far more often than it is here on the Chesapeake Bay. AIS only shows some of the traffic. I'd stay a fair weather sailor until radar became a reality.
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Old 02-10-2008, 12:35   #18
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It is human nature I guess, but many in this thread are making the problem harder than it really is. Consider a limited budget and existing older electronics, I can upgrade either the chart plotter or radar display to put in the cockpit. The remaining older electronics will be put at the chart table.

Instead, the speculations, whys and why nots, and answers to other questions seem to have become central in the thread. I'm not lecturing or complaining, just making an observation.

That said, I'm am asking for informed opinions on this choice from others with more or different experiences. I trying to optimize the solution subject to the constraints involved with budget, crossing the Atlantic, cruising Europe, and returning via the Caribbean. I have a list of other equipment to purchase so I am looking for good informed solutions to stay in budget. Are there some issues I have overlooked? Is there a general consensus on this question? Do I need to provide more information, route, timing, etc.

Many thanks for the opinions rendered so far. Especially helpful are the ones supported with observations and experiences.
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Old 02-10-2008, 13:00   #19
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Your question is akin to asking :
Which is a better choice, an umbrella or a raincoat?

They both give you coverage have their pros and cons but only you can decide what to wear based on your activity and having both are obviously better.

For me Radar is my primary avoidance and costal navigation tool that I monitor day and night to keep measurable safe distances from physical dangers. Mid ocean it has no navigational value, but then again I only care about maintaining course and getting the occasional fix.

If I had to make the choice…it would be Radar over a chart plotter as the plotter doesn’t look thru the dark and stormy night.
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Old 02-10-2008, 13:07   #20
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Some older standalone Radars and Chart plotters are very difficult to see in an open cockpit. This is based on my personal experience with JRC monochrome 1500 mk II radar, Raymarine RL-9 radar, Garmin GPSmap 176 and 172 (same screen as 178) and most handhelds before the GPSmap 76C.

If you have a chartplotter already, get a radar. If you have a non-plotting GPS, keep it as a backup, and get a sunlight readable MFD that can take radar later. It will in all likelihood be able to display AIS, so you should get an AIS receiver. Make sure your display can accept 38400 baud AIS data, and still talk 4800 baud to your DSC VHF and future autopilot. You will need the autopilot when you are ready for the Atlantic.
You should budget for single side band, or rent a SATphone for the trip.
Preparing an older boat for an ocean voyage is inherently more expensive than a newer boat. Budget for surprises.

Yes, we want to know more particulars, for one very important reason. There are no universal best solutions. Anyone who offers a specific answer to a general question is poor advisor at best, and a dangerous one in the worst case.

Few of us have unlimited budgets, so we are n ot hesitant to express opinions based on a given price range. Whats good for the goose can p.o the gander.
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Old 02-10-2008, 14:18   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperior View Post
It is human nature I guess, but many in this thread are making the problem harder than it really is. Consider a limited budget and existing older electronics, I can upgrade either the chart plotter or radar display to put in the cockpit. The remaining older electronics will be put at the chart table.

If this is your position why not upgrade the plotter now, with a Garmin 3205C, which is the least expensive plotter that I know of that will also do radar in the future, and then in a year or two, when budget allows, add the dome...

For the price of many stand alone radar systems you can have a plotter w/radar for not much more than just radar.

Garmin 3205C System (prices are lowest quick Google search +/- denotes you may find a better or worse deal)


Display - 3205C = $959.00+/- (charts/antenna included)
Radome - GMR 18" = $850.00+/-

Currently the least expensive stand alone radar worth buying is the Furuno 1715 and it sells for $1650.00 and up. The Garmin 3205C plotter with the radome will only cost you $159.00 more than a decent standalone Furuno!!!!! The 16 mile 1623 is not even worth buying and spending the $1360.00 for IMHO..

JRC is now non-existent in this country with small stand alone units and any you find will be old stock. Also good luck getting support from JRC. My neighbor, a lobsterman, has been trying to get his JRC fixed since late April!! Keep in mind that JRC makes most of the domes on the market as a vendor to others but thier customer support as "JRC retail" is, and can be, abhorrent!

Furuno really is your only stand alone, inexpensive, radar supplier these days.

My advice is to start with a plotter that can be expanded in the future!

The two worth looking at are the Garmin 3205C, mentioned above and is small enough to mount at the helm, and the Raymarine C-70. The Raymarine however will be more money in the end as everything, including the GPS antenna and charts, are at additional cost. Either way, Garmin or Raymarine, you'll be buying non-US charts for Europe and beyond with any unit.

3205 at helm:
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