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Old 11-11-2012, 14:18   #1
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Drones for Cruisers

The custom Goggle search for this topic comes up "loading", so I freaked out and jumped in my deeply buried bombproof bunker on the far side of Mars.

Drones seem to be in the news an awful lot nowadays, but I haven't noticed any applications for the little guy.

Now, I have no intention of blowing up foreigners, rebels, terrorists, criminals or even multi-hullers.

The idea of a drone as equipment for a cruiser would seem to have great possibilities;

When fogbound, one could launch the eye in the sky to survey the area for vessels, particularly ones that aren't AIS'ing, or traveling so fast and loud they won't hear your foghorn.

When scouting an anchorage, a gap in a reef, tracing a current or want to spot squalls early, you can do it faster and better from the air. How about checking what's around the next reach in a river...or ensuring the beach isn't infested with bronze whalers, or even scarier, white pointers.

Launch would be relatively simple....a catapult rail, even a slingshot for the lightest versions. Retrieval is the problem...catching it in your hand is probably not viable, at least more than once or twice. A net? A hook? Floats for a water landing/boathook retrieval?

Got to be a workable solution for those without suitable flight decks.....
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Old 11-11-2012, 14:23   #2
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

someone else already thought of it.........and they're proud of it.

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Old 11-11-2012, 14:34   #3
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Hmmm, nice machine....but only 25 min flight time? Was hoping on something with a little more endurance/range. Thanks for the link!
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Old 11-11-2012, 14:56   #4
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Pretty expensive electronic toy for the salty air from the ocean.

Here is an alternative I've thought about:

FlyCamOneHD Kite Camera


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Old 11-11-2012, 15:01   #5
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Interesting gadget....now if I can find a mini USB cable long enough, it could act as a tethered crows nest...nearly as good as a drone, and considerably cheaper/simpler/more reliable. Good find!
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:03   #6
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Got any friends on Seal Team Six.?
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:07   #7
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
Interesting gadget....now if I can find a mini USB cable long enough, it could act as a tethered crows nest...nearly as good as a drone, and considerably cheaper/simpler/more reliable. Good find!
Just the idea was my thought...


Just get a nice kite, and a wireless camera. The longer the string, the higher you can fly, depending on wind of course.

Not as good as a UAV, but certainly good enough to get above the fog, unless your within an airport control area.

Not easy to find a high resolution wireless camera though.

On second thought, probably do little in fog, as there is usually little to no wind.

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Old 11-11-2012, 15:23   #8
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Hmmm, good thinking. A mini-blimp then? That would be easier to retrieve, too. Must investigate this further....
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:25   #9
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

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Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
Hmmm, good thinking. A mini-blimp then? That would be easier to retrieve, too. Must investigate this further....
A large weather balloon, maybe. A camera is pretty heavy......The helium would be a problem, though.

But the thread is looking up.

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Old 11-11-2012, 15:34   #10
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

An effective "Drone" for shipboard use is a wireless fishfinder coupled with a RC model boat for sniffing out a safe channel in difficult water. Friends of ours use this arrangement as they visit out of the way areas. The wife sits forward and slowly weaves the model boat back and forth ahead of the yacht as the little Hummingbird wireless fish finder outlines the bottom contours (and fish) ahead of them. It actually works pretty well.

FWIW...
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:38   #11
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

SV Hylyte...that's brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?

<muffled voice from the gallery> "Because you're an idiot!"

What? Quiet up there! Blasted impudent eavesdroppers, they'll give me away....
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Old 11-11-2012, 15:44   #12
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Helium....either the party suppliers, or dive shops...thought about Hydrochloric acid-generated hydrogen gas, but visions of Hindenburg II flaming its way down the rigging put me off.
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Old 11-11-2012, 16:15   #13
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Easy there Micah--you're going all Sheldon Cooper on me
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Old 11-11-2012, 16:16   #14
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

Thanks to micah for asking the question and propellanttech for the kite link.

I had been turning the notion of a kite camera over in my mind for a few years now.

When I went half-shares on a cruising yacht as a teenager, my co-owner brought a kite along on one trip and we used to fly it while sailing occasionally, it was therapeutic somehow and 'got our heads out of the boat'.

But not our eyes, and it occurred to me even back then that it might be a fine thing to rectify that...

One of the hardest situations I know in coastal cruising is surveying a river bar, preparatory to entering it. Places I sail are liberally supplied with these, they are often exposed to significant swell, and the channels sometimes shift so quickly that even local knowledge can be a false friend.

I've tried anchoring off and going swimming with flippers and a sounding pole, and that works very well, but it's not an attractive option if I don't have competent crew, or solo.

Going up the mast is a big help, but doesn't always do wonders for the digestion in a rolly scenario, and it's still not high enough (or feasible to spend enough time up there) to really scope out the situation ...
ideally IME you want to see it through the whole tidal cycle.
This can help reveal the channel position, which can telegraph itself to the surface(albeit subtly) through differences between the size and shape of waves with current, vs waves against current.

This requires a high viewpoint - in extreme cases I've been tempted to swim ashore and climb a headland - but once again it would be a test of character to stay ashore through an entire cycle.

High as a kite sounds good to me, less fun but more dignified.

Having been assisted off a bar grounding once by a rescue vessel, self rescued after mis-identifying the channel through a bar another time, and on other occasions assisted friends and strangers whose entire life's work lay at the mercy of the next onshore gale ... it's not something I take lightly.

I wouldn't usually chance a dodgy entrance in a calm, because that would leave me solely reliant on motor, and I don't enjoy the way sailing yachts handle (or fail to handle) steep following seas in a calm .... so the blimp I think I'll pass on (even though it would be fun setting up a hydrogen plant - perhaps by electrolysis of salt water?)

I think the Hindenberg scenario, while dramatic, is not a serious deterrent... (methinks micah jests).

I have a bit of philosophical problem with the recreational use of helium. Once it's extracted from wherever it's extracted from, it's effectively lost from the planet, for all time. It's a strictly inelastic, finite resource, AFAIK.

If you like, it's effectively an endangered element, as far as we are concerned.
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Old 11-11-2012, 16:24   #15
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Re: Drones for Cruisers

I was interested in getting into RC planes when I was a bit younger. Then I found out that some of these remote control planes can even be made with actual turbine engines. I also read some articles that some Colombian drug runners use RC planes to transport small amounts of "product" to different places around Colombia with these large RC planes.

I would think it would be difficult to find an RC plane that can be launched from a boat, have long duration of flight time and be able to retrieve without getting wet/damaged. Maybe a gas powered helicopter? I'm not sure what kind of flying times those have either.
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