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Old 31-05-2006, 04:46   #1
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Instrumentation Article

Sailing Instrumentation Systems ~ by Chuck Husick

"... The simplest sailing information system consists of a few pieces of yarn or nylon stocking tied to stays and attached to a sail. A small piece of wood tied to a length of thread and a watch can provide a measure of the boat's speed through the water. Once past these elgant measurement techniques the sky is the limit. Electronic sensors can measure apparent wind direction, wind speed, and boat speed. All of the data can be presented on any one of a number of cockpit displays. The information can also be delivered to integrated navigation systems such as chart plotters ..."

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Old 31-05-2006, 07:02   #2
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Wind Instruments

We carried and used a spool of red yarn for years as our primary wind instruments, but when we traded up to a bigger boat, we gave in and purchased new STANDARD HORIZON wind instruments. That was the easy part.

Installation required pulling the mast and routing & securing 100 ft of wire from the top of the mast to the cockpit. That was the hard part.

It looks great in the cockpit - but I've never really been impressed with the accuracy, the tri-cup broke off and now the thing has "frozen"... all within two years of installation. They want me to send it back for diagnostics.

Just curious if there's a consensus on the performance & reliability of the new generation of wireless instruments... and if there's any problem with radio interference?


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Old 31-05-2006, 08:20   #3
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Shiva came new from the builder with a B&G Hornet system which has worked for 21 years with virtually no problems. We did have a lighting strike in the area which required a new "board", and one LCD has been replaced. But 21 years including several years of live aboard and offshore passages is a pretty good record of reliability.

Over those those two decades I have seen Signet and Datamarine come and go and who knows what other companies. As convenient as "wireless" is, running a wire once (and I didn't even do it) in20 years is not overly burdensome for an installation.

Position fixers are another matter. I have had a few Lorans... all with their own antennas... SatNav and several GPS again each with a designated antenna install and cable. I am about to add an AIS so yet another antenna cable to pull and antenna to mount.

I suppose in a few years there will be a better GPS system and more antennas, but for now I am OK with the antenna wires. hahaha.

Telltales work fine for sail trim, but they do boo for navigation.

sv Shiva
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Old 31-05-2006, 09:40   #4

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Wireless, per se, won't make any difference. If it is done right it works, if it is done wrong, well, isn't that the sad norm? The wind cups, bearings, etc. can be the same regardless of wireless or not, so you are back to looking for a reputable vendor. B&G, Raytheon...lots of arguably good names and products. But if a large gull lands on your wind cups on a still day, goodbye.

One way you have to worry about a long wire run, the other way there's more electronics (two radios) that can break. Roll your dice.<G>
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