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Old 28-04-2012, 16:01   #1
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Radar recommendations for small sailboat

Greetings,

My small boat and I are bound for BC from Hawaii later this year.

I have recently become more concerned re collision avoidance, specifically debris from last year's Japanese Tsunami. (More on that thread here: Collision Avoidance - Tsunami Debris

One obvious safety tool is radar, which I do not have and have not needed to date. Thus, I don't know much about it.

I would appreciate recommendations on low draw, low initial cost radar.

My boat is a ketch, wooden masts, 31 feet. Mounting high on mizzen only optinon.

My power system is 1) 300 amp hour battery pack (house); 2) 200 watts solar. There is not much excess capacity in this system (which was another reason for avoiding radar to date).

I already have AIS, so radar would be used solely for detection of "large, unmanned stuff", like the Japanese trawler that was recently detected off SW Alaska. Obviously it will by very handy in BC fog as well.

Thanks in advance,

RR
Aboard Murre
Manele Harbor, Lanai Hawaii
www.murreandthepacific.wordpress.com
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Old 28-04-2012, 16:57   #2
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

There is not much more to it than getting as much battery capacity and ability to recharge those batteries as you have room and a budget for. The more the better. I know that seems vague but that is really what it boils down to. The more you have the longer you can leave your radar and other systems on. There is no formula for calculating exactly what you need because what one needs another does not need, even if you have the same exact boat.

You may want to get underway for few days to get a better sense of what you feel you need.
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Old 28-04-2012, 17:10   #3
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

Another thing to think about is most of the Junk in the water is mostly low lieing in the water, and the most of it is of organic material, wood ect. There is some metal among the stuff, fuel drums ect, but most if it wont show up to much on radar! makes for another problem!! a good lookout is about the best you can do !!I think I would shorten sail before dark and keep the best watch I could ! But thats me. would sure have radar, but for other reasons then floating junk !! mostly for the coastal approach to the mainland. Just my 2 cents
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Old 28-04-2012, 18:08   #4
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

I used to use a Furuno 1621 LCD (B&W) radar, which worked quite well. You can still buy the next version (Model 1623, <$1500) which is slightly modified from my old one. If the 6" screen seems too small then try the Model 1715 with a 7" screen. Furuno is well known for their radar; you can't go wrong with either of these.

Another, less expensive, option is the JRC product line. JRC (Japan Radio Co.) used to make the LCD radars for Raymarine, and after that relationship ended they came into the recreational market on their own. They offer a lot of bang for the buck: a Model 1500 with 6" B&W LCD is available for $900. However, the 12.5" dia radome is not going to resolve as well as the Furuno 15" and 18" radomes on the 1623 and 1715. They also offer a unit with double the power and a 24" dome for only $1500 (Model 3000) which I would look at closely.

Another player in the low end is Si-Tex. I don't have any experience with them but I'm sure others will chime in.

Any of these radars will do the job of avoiding collision with a ship or finding a harbor in the dark. As others have noted, no radar is likely to do well with the tsunami debris.

My advice is to stick with B&W LCD if power consumption is a concern. The wider the radome the better the resolution of the image, so prefer larger. More transmit power is desirable, particularly for seeing through rain, and doesn't increase consumption by much. However modern receivers do a great job of picking out weak returns so it is less of an issue than it once was. Good luck.

Greg
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Old 03-05-2012, 20:35   #5
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

Very helpful all. Especially like the reco of Foruno. Makes sense: less expensive, easy on the batteries. Thanks again.

RR
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Old 03-05-2012, 20:42   #6
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

For smaller pleasure boats I like what Garmin is producing. Furuno is also excellent for radars although in general more expensive.

Have you figured out what you want to do for battery storage and recharging?
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Old 03-05-2012, 20:46   #7
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

Well, I'll put in a vote for the Lowrance/simrad/B&G 4g radars.

They are not cheap, however they are low power, and I did have a customer tell me he picked out a floating 2x4. I dunno about that, but they are pretty damned impressive as far as power, ease of use and capability.
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Old 04-05-2012, 21:57   #8
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

@bobconnie has the key - low to the water & non-meatlic reflecting surfaces. On the other hand, at night, shotening sail & putting the (guard) alarm ring out to 5 nm is a good idea. How about those towable generators to reload the batteries ? & except for fog during daylight hours, only run it at night.
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Old 04-05-2012, 22:14   #9
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

How about those forward looking fish finders? I know the regular ones can see logs and weeds.... Just a thought
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:03   #10
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

A small radar is a nice thing. I like the Furuno 1623 very much. Uses hardly any juice in the watch mode and it is easy to tune.

More cash in the pocket, try one of the color screen Simrads. I used one and loved it. A bit silly interface but most useful echo representation.

The antenna - the bigger the better but not practical on any small boat.

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Old 05-05-2012, 07:13   #11
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

After 50K miles on several boats, I still don't have a radar on my 48' steel cutter. Don't plan to get one. But I do have a CARD, Collision Avoidance Radar Detector. Any ship out their "painting" your vessel with radar sets off a chirping sound and flashing lights. Then you look at the horizon for lights at night or a ship during the day. As far as coastal nav, a good GPS chartplotter plus human eyes works very well. I'd put those couple thousand dollars for radar into something else. For example, during my 20-year refit, I'm installing a $$ Simrad under the deck A/P, but not a radar.

Just my dos centavos.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:24   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis McGee
After 50K miles on several boats, I still don't have a radar on my 48' steel cutter. Don't plan to get one. But I do have a CARD, Collision Avoidance Radar Detector. Any ship out their "painting" your vessel with radar sets off a chirping sound and flashing lights. Then you look at the horizon for lights at night or a ship during the day. As far as coastal nav, a good GPS chartplotter plus human eyes works very well. I'd put those couple thousand dollars for radar into something else. For example, duringy my 20-year refit, I'm installing a $$ Simrad under the deck A/P, but not a radar.

Just my dos centavos.
Radar is not required, but once you use it a few times to avoid rain and verify that extended jetty it grows on you. The CARD is on my list to get. We have fog in the Great Lakes. First trip out with radar we had serious fog 3 of the 12 days (it goes from clear sky to can't see in two minutes). It is not cheap, but more useful than you think. While my 48 mile set can't see near that far on the water, it can see rain very far away.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:34   #13
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

I think I'd get radar if I sailed in a coastal area with a lot of fog. But since I don't, I put the money elsewhere. A C.A.R.D. is a great bit of gear, highly recommended.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:45   #14
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

I am not sure CARD reacts to both frequencies of marine radar. Does it?

I believe their French substitute does (or so claims my neighbour).

It is sure super nice to have a CARD or a MerVeille but they are no substitute for a radar. Also, I would put something like SeaMe or equivalent Echomax active radar echo above any of the passive units.

BTW Thinking radar I would not think only about the fog. Sailing the S Pacific (in perhaps an odd year?) we had plenty of rain - at times for hours on end.

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Old 28-05-2012, 13:48   #15
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Re: Radar recommendations for small sailboat

Update from original poster:

So here's what happened.

I was all set to buy the Foruno as I passed through Honolulu last month, but in the end what I ordered was the Lowrance 3G broadband. Remembering that the primary use on this passage (Hawaii to Alaska) is the seeing of things smaller than commercial traffic (I have AIS for that) and coastlines (the chartplotter is able), broadband radar seemed to be the most suited. That it requires a MAX of 18 watts was also a plus.

So, all good there.

However, when the packages arrived in Kauai, I found my research had not fully anticipated the size of the radome.

It is 19 inches around, 11 inches high, and it weighs 16 pounds. It's still on the salon table, and I've taken to calling it the wedding cake. What a monstrosity.

Of course, the bracket the sales guy said would fit any mast, even my box construction Sitka spruce masts (he was familiar with my boat) in fact DOES NOT.

So I am having to fashion one out of wood and epoxy. It is plenty big and distributes the weight over a vertical run of 16 inches of mast, but ...

Now I worry about how strong the bracket and mast must be to withstand the torsional stresses of 20 pounds (radome plus bracket) at 15 feet off the deck in a gale of wind. I plan to install just below the mizzen spreaders where the mast is the strongest, most supported. By way of comparison, standard 18 inch radomes are half as high and weigh about 10 pounds.

Part of me is concerned I've swapped one worry (collision) for another (bringing down the rig).

Any examples out there of radar installs on wooden masts? My boat is a 31 foot Mariner; I'll be installing on the mizzen.

Am I over thinking this? Is 20 pounds at 15 feet up not really that big a deal (one would think so to see how radomes are installed on aluminum masts...many of which look flimsy to my uneducated mind).

Thanks again,

RR
Aboard MURRE
Nawiliwili, Kauai
www.murreandthepacific.wordpress.com
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