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Old 30-12-2007, 10:28   #16
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You folks arguing about the need for radar are forgetting, this is not a flat earth. And in many places, like FLORIDA, fog is extremely rare. In Maine and SF it is common.

For many of us, sailing in fog is a rare event and radar is totally unneeded, even in fog we can use GPS and other navigation tools for the short time that the fog is around. We also manage to sail at night in the dark, without radar.

Now, if I was running a ferry boat and had to run a tight course on schedule all year including the rare foggy day....I'd call radar necessary. But in many places, for many sailors? It is just an expensive waste of money and battery power, and excess weight aloft.
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Old 30-12-2007, 10:30   #17
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found this:

Consumers Marine - RayTech RNS V6.0 Software Package
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Old 30-12-2007, 10:41   #18
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
You folks arguing about the need for radar are forgetting, this is not a flat earth. And in many places, like FLORIDA, fog is extremely rare. In Maine and SF it is common.

For many of us, sailing in fog is a rare event and radar is totally unneeded, even in fog we can use GPS and other navigation tools for the short time that the fog is around. We also manage to sail at night in the dark, without radar.

Now, if I was running a ferry boat and had to run a tight course on schedule all year including the rare foggy day....I'd call radar necessary. But in many places, for many sailors? It is just an expensive waste of money and battery power, and excess weight aloft.
I always run my radar at night, even on the clearest moonlit nights. It has helped me pick out unlit sailboats, kayakers, logs and other debris in the water that I may not have seen without radar. It would be irresponsible of me not to use a tool that I already have at my disposal, for the greater safety of everyone on board. There is also a big difference in damage potential between a sailboat going 6 knots and a powerboat going 19 knots when hitting something solid.

Certainly I can see small sailboats not needing, or even having the ability to have radar onboard. Any larger sailboat that runs at night really should have radar in order to be safer. You dont need to run it all the time, just have it on standby in case the need for it arises. I guess it depends on your tolerance for risk. Personally, I like to minimize risk. Thats just my opinion.
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Old 30-12-2007, 10:44   #19
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"It has helped me pick out unlit sailboats, logs and other crap in the water that I would not have seen. "
David, that's much better resolution--or operator training, I suspect--than the average recreational sailor. And again, deadheads in the water are commonplace in some areas, and rare as hens' teeth in others. Is what you have on a research vessel anything like what would be on the typical (under 36') sailboat?
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Old 30-12-2007, 11:03   #20
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"It has helped me pick out unlit sailboats, logs and other crap in the water that I would not have seen. "
David, that's much better resolution--or operator training, I suspect--than the average recreational sailor. And again, deadheads in the water are commonplace in some areas, and rare as hens' teeth in others. Is what you have on a research vessel anything like what would be on the typical (under 36') sailboat?
To answer your question. Its an open array, 4kW, 48 mile Furuno radar versus a dome radar which you would find on your typical sailboat of that size. I do have a radar endorsement on my license. The point though is, you don't need a fancy radar to pick things out of the water. Most of it as to do with setting the gain and the sea clutter correctly for the conditions (tuning the radar). The instructions on how to use a radar comes with the radar. Anyone can learn this and it is relatively easy to do.
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Old 30-12-2007, 11:19   #21
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You will also need additional interface hardware, radar, fishfinder, gps, and wind instruments. All of this stuff is just the beginning and will cost you a bunch of boat bucks to get it installed. But what you want to do can be done. However, it is usually done on large power boats. Also, if you haven't yet, you might want to check out the Raymarine Marine Electronics - Welcome site.

(Again, I have no relationship of any kind to raymarine.)
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Old 30-12-2007, 11:23   #22
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If you do go with a proprietary system for interfacing your navigation instruments, I would choose Raymarine over Furuno. I have used both and Raymarine is more advanced and perhaps a little more intuitive. I think though that your options are more limited using a proprietary interface system than in using a PC based system. Most pleasure boaters seem to prefer the proprietary systems probably because this is what all the marine electronics stores are pushing. Not many sales people at these stores know about the PC based systems because they can make much more money off of selling proprietary screens than in selling VGA monitors and computers. BTW, there are water resistant VGA monitors. (nothing is waterproof except for perhaps a bathyscaphe) It does take a little more technical know how to get a PC based system up and running. The Seatalk and NavNet systems are tied together using ethernet cables and don't really take any technical expertise to get them to work. You have to decide what you want....easier for a higher cost or cheaper, harder to set up but with more flexibility?

I have become somewhat of a computer geek myself and do things on the water outside of your typical yachtie things...so I personally prefer the PC based nav system. But if you want simplicity and don't mind the higher costs then go with the proprietary systems.
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Old 30-12-2007, 12:04   #23
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Using a Panasonic Toughbook laptop with nav software installed in certainly something I would consider. My boats previous owner had set up the boat for computer nav and used his laptop for chart plotting, autopilot and GPS interface, etc. He took his laptop with him so I had to jump connections at the serial port plug to interface my auto-p, gps, and radar. As I was able to do just that, should a laptop decide to take a vacation, it was terribly easy to simply go back to non-computer control. As a side note, the Panasonic Toughbooks may not be the most advanced laptops around but I can vouch for the fact that they can take a bunch of water over them and continue to function fine. I use one at work. It has been dropped, rained on continuously, etc, etc... No problems. (No- I don't work for Panasonic)
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Old 30-12-2007, 12:23   #24
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David M.
I use radar the same way you do. Last week I was on a boat which also had FLIR and what we saw on the water, at night, was a revelation - lots and lots of floating debris, some big (a tree - large section of a wood dock). I also lean toward safety, up to the point where it can ruin the joy of sailing. Bays and coastal seem to be the worst, but twice I've spotted unlighted sailboats at night, well off-shore, crew no where to be seen and I would have hit them if it hadn't been for radar. It seems there are an awfu lot of boats in use now-population has tripled since I was born so I suppose that makes sense. Lots to avoid.
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Old 30-12-2007, 13:10   #25
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"Seatalk and NavNet"...sound like the places to start for building a system... other places to start?
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Old 30-12-2007, 14:21   #26
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I happened across a version of C-Map Norway a couple years ago, Its a commerical version and has the ability to accept many if not all functions of the boats operations..
I made a call to C-Map awhile back to find out if I could tye this system into My C-Map system (Raymarine SL70-CRC) that uses the chips..
They got pretty excited when I mentioned I had the commerical version..
I guess its not avalable to the general public..
By the way, it runs on Windows XP.........
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Old 30-12-2007, 17:07   #27
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On warships, nothing is controlled by standard desktops / laptops. The computers they use are as old as time, and can survive being thrown off low flying planes into sand traps; no joke. You can actually repair these computers with a soldering gun. They are also huge, and you "program" them by messing aroung with bit switches on the front.

So just as a heads up, for as much money as the US Navy has, laptops are used for documents, repair inventory, and writing home. And during battle stations (general quarters), on a submarine anyway, there are people tracking the contacts with grease pens and doing math calculations by hand.

I've been working professionally in software for over ten years; I would never trust my life or my vessel to software.
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Old 30-12-2007, 17:21   #28
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We also run a laptop for routing and navigation and have had no problems with this system. The feed for GPS data is from the chart plotter so it is backed up in essence. We dump all other data into a multiplex and then bring it to the laptop if we want the data displayed. The connection is only a USB so they can stand alone by just unplugging the cable.

We do not tie the radar or autopilot into the laptop, they remain stand alone. I don't think we'll tie those together but maybe someday we'll change our mind.

Our radar is open array and although fog is sometimes an issue the best use for us is tracking the many fronts that seem to roll through the Great Lakes. It is nice to be able to look at 72 miles and see what is developing and plan accordingly.

Nothing wrong with experimenting, if you don't like it you can change it.
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Old 30-12-2007, 19:31   #29
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Amen to Rebel Heart. Destroyers and Cruisers are (or were in '91) the same way.
Maybe we're old school - old Navy.
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Old 24-02-2008, 23:03   #30
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I had no idea there are such varied opinions between the two different types of electronic navigation: Proprietary or PC based.

I realize now after three years how lucky I was to be able to afford a "proprietary" system. PC based navigation is much cheaper what with free government charts, cheap laptops and low priced PC software to integrate the charts, AIS, depth sounder, autopilot and etc.

I started with a used $200 handheld Magellan using SD cards to load maps back in 2005. In 2006 I bought a Garmin 182C which used the "infamous" Garmin proprietary cards for charts. It cost $600 and gave me the confidence to go further afield in my boating. Now in 2008 I am installing another proprietary Garmin 4212 with a 12" screen.

It is all too "easy" to spend $2000 and let Garmin do the work of waterproofing the interface, setting up NMEA 183/2000 interfaces, User interface and menus, seamless charts and etc.

A similar PC based system would cost less than $1000 but would not be waterproof or bright enough for use in full daylight. Not to mention the manhours involved in setting up the charts, software and figuring out the interfacing to other external hardware. I work as a software test engineer at various software companies. I know how vulnerable a PC is to software bugs, physical and electrical shocks. The user interface on a PC for marine use is a challenge to say the least.

Again, I say, I am lucky to afford the luxury of a proprietary system or not knowledgeable (read lazy or stupid) enough to try to figure out a PC based system.
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