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Old 04-02-2009, 17:15   #1
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Radar or no radar??

So i was wondering how many of you have a radar and how often do you use it?
And when are the time that you wish that you had a radar?

I am buying a new chartplotter and i was thinking of getting a chartplotter/radar

Cons little more expensive
One more thing that use power radar dome
Pro I got radar
Little less anxiety when night sailing
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Old 04-02-2009, 17:23   #2
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juicy,
I operated large sailing yachts for a number of years an all had radar. My own personal boat was an engineless 22' that I took on some serious crossings. The only thing I wish I had on my powerless boat was radar. It can do so many things for you. Including watching for rain over the hill as you are about to put on your final coat of varnish.

One more thing. I had to get certified on radar for my license. You need to study and learn how to use it. It's not a simple matter of turning it on and watching the blobs. Those blobs could be hundreds of miles away. Or see three vessels wheres there is only one (don't even have to hit the rum for that one). Know the limitations. Also know how to do a "closest point of approuch".
After all that you will find it serves you well.
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Old 04-02-2009, 17:34   #3
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I expect you'll get a lot of feedback on this one because there are no simple answers IMO. Yes I do have radar, and yes I use, at night and when visibility are down. BUT... there's always a but isn't there.

It does chew up power, it's something else to maintain. Mine is on the fritz at the moment with a "scanner inoperative" message. Beyond that, they do take some time and trouble to learn how to read one. Even more time and trouble to use a good majority of the tacked on programming goodies.

Then you have to decide how much power. It is my opinion that in order to punch through even light rain I need the 48 mile or 4 kw unit. It's not that I expect to see 48 miles cause I won't given the height of the antenna but the extra power also provides a bit better resolution. I'd get even a bit better resolution if I had an open array antenna instead of the radome.

See what I mean, be prepared to do some research and then studying if you do get one.

Finally, I know some people that don't want one because of the potential legal liability. You hit someone or something in poor visibility and you were NOT using radar or using it improperly then the issue of liability comes up because you weren't using all your resources.

Having said all that.... I'll get mine fixed and continue to use it.

By the way, in a real squall line don't expect to see much. Even the 4 kw doesn't have that kind of power. It'll show it coming but once into it, fugadabout it.

As I said I expect this might open a can of worms. In the words of the chairman on Iron Chef....."Let the BATTLE begin!"

Rich
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Old 04-02-2009, 17:45   #4
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No I don't have a Radar.

yes I would like one, but I would get a water maker first. A dodger. Better refrigeration. Smart Charger....... wheres that stupid 40ft long list...?
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Old 04-02-2009, 18:09   #5
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HMMMMMM!!!
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Old 04-02-2009, 18:32   #6
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The first 40 years or so of my sailing career, I sailed without, all over hecks half acre, and couldn't understand why, if one had good eyes, ears and an echo sounder one would need one of the things. The last 10 years or so I've sailed with one and now can't imagine not doing so, if for no other reason than being able to track rain squalls, and sail around them, or pick up marks long before my eyes would allow me to see, them under any circumstances, if they were still worth a damn.

FWIW RBEmerson is offering a heck of a deal on a R20X that is a great piece of equipment, depending upon where you're located of course!

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte

PS: We use ours whenever we're off shore; or, whenever near shore, visability will not allow us to see a clear horizon, although in either case we may keep the unit is stand-by and simply make a few sweeps for time to time with an alarm set for a 3-5 mile safety zone, depending upon conditions and traffic.
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Old 04-02-2009, 19:22   #7
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I just learned how to use my radar. I can recommend The RAdar Book by Kevin Monohan. Good thing too. I was socked in by fog three times on my last few trips. Once going into Moro Bay we got hit by a fog so thick that we couldn't see the approach buoy from 1/4 mile away. The fog came in fast too. One minute we were lining up bouys the next we couldn't see the approach. The radar helped us keep a constant distance away from shore. The Second occurence was another bit of fog dropping in on us as we left Catalina Island in sunny conditions we were hit by a fog so thick that we couldn't see more than a boat length or two. The radar kept us from hitting any of the boats that were heading on a reciprocal course from Dana Point. Then when we left Dana Point we again got socked by fog and used it to watch for boats all the way to Mission Bay. I love radar now. You can sail with out it but if you can afford it I woudl get it.
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Old 04-02-2009, 19:24   #8
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I don't have radar yet, but it's on the top of this years add-on list. I've only been caught out in dense fog a few times in 37 years of sailing, and managed to navigate through it. It's Tense. Last years trip to Block Island convinced me that it was time to add another set of eyes, another tool for safety. Radar has many uses.

If I spent time in an area where fog was not as prevalent, I might have different priorities.
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Old 04-02-2009, 19:41   #9
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Quote:
wheres that stupid 40ft long list...?
If you had a radar you could find it. It's dark here right now. If you never had radar it's pretty easy to say why you never missed it. I'm not sure about life rafts either never having needed one.

Radar is great for watching T storms. Like everything you need to use it to know what it can do. It sees farther than you can and works in the darkness or fog. It is a skill you have to learn with practice. It makes little sense out of the box.
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Old 04-02-2009, 19:45   #10
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Here in the Gulf of Maine fog is frequent and the vast majority of cruising boats, including mine, have radar. In Florida and Caribbean fog is much less frequent and radar is less of a necessity, unless you do a lot of night sailing. I find that a 2kW unit with 18" antenna has adequate sensitivity to detect other boats within a few miles radius, which is all I care about.

You do have to learn how to interpret the display and how to select various settings. Modern units have automatic settings for tuning, sensitivity, sea state, and rain rejection, but with some practice you can get better performance by tweaking it manually. The best way to learn how to use it is to keep it on in good visibility and compare what you see around you with what you see on the screen.
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Old 04-02-2009, 19:54   #11
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Fog in Maine? Well I guess a few day in the summer we get some fog.

I always found MARPA to be a great feature cruising off shore at night. It tracks targets and gives firing solutions if you have a canon. Alarms are also great at night.
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Old 04-02-2009, 20:13   #12
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so would i be better off getting a chartplotter/radar (RL70C Plus) or should i get separate units (.............) I understand there will be a price and power difference but what would be more functional?
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Old 04-02-2009, 20:19   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beetlejuice30 View Post
So i was wondering how many of you have a radar and how often do you use it?
And when are the time that you wish that you had a radar?

I am buying a new chartplotter and i was thinking of getting a chartplotter/radar

Cons little more expensive
One more thing that use power radar dome
Pro I got radar
Little less anxiety when night sailing
In Maine it gets used a lot more than the swim ladder!! If I had to guess I'd say we put 75-100 hours per season on the radar some seasons even more.. In Fl it's not as much a necessity as in Maine but is a good tool to have...

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Old 04-02-2009, 20:29   #14
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Originally Posted by beetlejuice30 View Post
so would i be better off getting a chartplotter/radar (RL70C Plus) or should i get separate units (.............) I understand there will be a price and power difference but what would be more functional?
If I had a forced choice between a chartplotter and radar, I would choose radar. The chartplotter will not show other vessels. I do like integrated systems.

Someone once told me that understanding radar is like looking at an X-ray. The radiologist knows from experience what is on the screen. With some practice, you can do radar fixes and follow the shore.

With MARPA and other modern enhancements , radar is superb.

Jack
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Old 04-02-2009, 20:40   #15
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Another vote in favor of radar.
When cruising in areas where charts are notoriously off (Mexico comes to mind), a radar overlay on your chartplotter gives you the "correction" necessary to avoid hitting hard thingies.
Not to mention all the other benefits outlined in previous posts.
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