If you're an old salt
who's sailed for decades on a boat with canvas sails
, then you don't need one. In fact, nobody needs one. However, many of us find them really useful.
We have a bimini
and solar panels
that get in the way of looking at the top of the mast
, and my neck gets sore.
We have a cockpit
enclosure in the winter which makes life happier, but I lose situational awareness without the electronic aid. Same would go for a pilothouse.
When we're motoring in light winds, I can put it onto true wind and see what's going on out there. 4 knots looks similar on the water
to 6 knots, but the former won't really move our boat and the latter will. I can also judge how gusty it is so when I shut down and raise sails
I know whether the boat will keep moving.
The only reason that I know what 35 knots really feels like is that I was on a boat with an anemometer that said 35 knots on it once. A year later I was offshore
in a gale at night and it seemed really big. Could have been more like 40-45, but I don't really know, so I didn't learn as much as I could from that in terms of comparing a weather forecast
to what it will feel like on the boat.
Last time I was at anchor
, we were slowly dragging around at night and I was able to just get us to stick by putting all the rode
out. It was dark and cold, but I could monitor
the wind strength from the heated salon
because of the wireless tacktick wind instrument head
. Really helped my peace of mind (gps on laptop