Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-09-2014, 04:03   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Amsterdam
Boat: Myra 21 - 1973 - MD2B
Posts: 46
Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Would appreciate your experience regarding need-to-have electronics for cruising the Caribbean. Things like radar and SSB seem nice-to-have items to me for that area. But e.g. WiFi and 3G repeater/booster otoh needed.

THANKS,
V.
__________________

__________________
Vronsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 04:24   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Kenomac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Adriatic Sea
Boat: Oyster 53 Cutter
Posts: 8,516
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

We use radar all the time. I would consider it to be "need to have."
__________________

__________________
Kenomac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 04:42   #3
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

RADAR isnt necessary. The last fog in the Caribbean was in an Alexander Kent novel.

SSB isnt necessary for safety but some people like some of the SSB nets for social interaction making friends of other SSB users, where I meet new friends in the anchorages and bars.

Navigationally the Caribbean is pretty easy. ECN charts are correct, islans are generally steep to with few off shore hazards... In fact if you are 500 meters of any island, except Barbuda, you are safe.

Internet wifi and 3G is pretty bloody hopeless so a wifi antenna could be useful but those $400 ones have a ridiculous price tag. Try and make one yourself from ebay parts while still in the usa.

AIS is handy in any sea, ocean or coastal, archipelago situation. There are a zillion boats floating about.

The Caribbean is very tame, easy cruising. The northern islands are all civilised, with good chandelry, supermarkets, harbours and anchorages.

If you you are unsure about some black box just leave it till you get here and fly it into a duty free port. They are close by because the whole Caribbean is only 450 miles libg... A weekend sail!
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 04:59   #4
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,757
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Like cruising anywhere where you will be sailing long distances from time to time, and/or dealing with shipping:

Must have, in my opinion:
1. VHF radio with DSC
2. chart plotter
3. AIS, both transmit and receive
4. EPIRB and/or PLB

Need to have:
1. Radar

Nice to have:
1. SSB and/or
2. Satphone and/or
3. Satellite text device like Yellow Brick or Delorme


For data comms in port, take your choice. Most useful is local mobile telephone SIM with a data plan, used in a mifi device, data stick, or your phone.

Wifi in ports is very rarely of decent quality and very rarely of much if any use. To receive, use a Ubiquity Bullet or one of the many devices made using it (like the Wirie) for best range, or an external USB wifi device, which you can place in a good location if you use a USB extension cable. But this very rarely makes any sense. I have just completed a four month cruise through nine countries across the whole North Sea and Baltic, and for data comms I used mobile phone data probably 95% of the time, wifi at most 5% of the time (and that using either wifi device built into my laptop or the USB wifi device -- I have a Ubiquiti Bullet but never used it once).
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 05:48   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
skipmac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: 29° 49.16’ N 82° 25.82’ W
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 12,388
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

I am also of the opinion that there are very few that you really need to have but lots of goodies that make cruising easier and safer. I cruised the Caribbean for years with only a VHF and paper charts.

I would look at the budget you have for electronics and buy what you can afford starting with the most useful. Generally agree with Dockhead's list but might move the EPIRB up one step on the list.
__________________
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
skipmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 06:00   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Probably in an anchorage or a boatyard..
Boat: Ebbtide 33' steel cutter
Posts: 3,541
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

A few good fans
Otherwise from memory the only piece of electronics which was used much round the islands was a laptop with OpenCpn and Google earth. GE can be very useful, 3d view to get an idea of the shape of headlands, seeing where the boats tend to anchor and for searching out trekking routes.
AIS is wonderful and should need no recommendation but around the islands it's mostly blank.
__________________
conachair is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 06:18   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
They are close by because the whole Caribbean is only 450 miles libg... A weekend sail!
We must be a very slow boat. Our travels from the Bahamas down to Grenada, across Venezuela, ABC's, Colombia and Panama and up to Honduras and Guatemala took us considerably longer than a weekend.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 06:18   #8
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
Hud3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
Boat: Island Packet 380, now sold
Posts: 8,929
Images: 49
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

If you're talking about the eastern Caribbean (Lesser Antilles), frankly the cruising guides are the most essential aids to navigation you can have on board. They have accurate sketch charts of all the anchorages and sailing directions for inter-island navigation and the approaches. Much more useful than any of the paper charts, and more accurate than the electronic charts (I found a 1,000' error in my C-Map NT chart for Antigua, and lesser errors around some of the other islands).

The best guides are Nancy Scott's for the Virgin Islands, and Chris Doyle's for the Leewards and the Windwards.

If you don't have a chartplotter, a handheld GPS is useful for your headings and arrival time prediction when transiting between islands. Radar is useful, but certainly not essential for entering anchorages after dark, and for tracking ships and squalls on longer passages (e.g. the Anegada Passage).

The weather is very predictable and definitely non-threatening during the cruising season (Nov-May), as the Tradewinds are the dominant feature and the only question is how strongly they're blowing. Strong cold fronts can dip down to the Virgins infrequently, but are not an issue anywhere south of there. If you have a SSB receiver, you can listen to Chris Parker or Eric who broadcasts from Trinidad (I assume he's still on the air) for daily weather conditions, or just stop in at any nearby marina, as they post the weather forecasts on their bulletin boards.

Now the passage to and from the islands is entirely another matter. For offshore passagemaking, I'm in favor of having the whole range of electronics.
__________________
Hud
Hud3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 16:37   #9
Registered User
 
Andy73's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 229
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Like cruising anywhere where you will be sailing long distances from time to time, and/or dealing with shipping:

Must have, in my opinion:
1. VHF radio with DSC
2. chart plotter
3. AIS, both transmit and receive
4. EPIRB and/or PLB

Need to have:
1. Radar
That is a lot of gear to have on your MUST/NEED list.

I can see the value in all of it, but I wouldn't put most of it in a NEED category.

VHF yes, and EPIRB probably

Everything else is a nice (or even very nice) to have convenience.
__________________
Andy73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 17:24   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

I think only a depth instrument is required. Some anchorages are muddy and you will not see the bottom until you touch it.

A GPS is fine as always but not truly a must.

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 18:30   #11
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
We must be a very slow boat. Our travels from the Bahamas down to Grenada, across Venezuela, ABC's, Colombia and Panama and up to Honduras and Guatemala took us considerably longer than a weekend.

Mark
Mark is you look up a geography book the Caribbean does not include the countries of Central America, nor the Bahamas, nor -dare I say - Venezuela.

I think you will find the definition of the Caribbean is neatly wrapped into the 450 nms I previously, and correctly, mentioned

I did leave out Cuba as most of this forums members are excluded from traveling there
And the next country along which is too poor to be worthy of visitation and remains NOAAs aiming mark for Hurricanes.

Therefore the Caribbean extends 420nms from Foxy's in the BVI to Prickly Bay Marina Bar, Grenada... a weekend sail in one direction and a longer, drunken weekend on the return.

__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 19:15   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
jackdale's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Posts: 5,048
Images: 1
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

I just crossed the Caribbean Sea: BVI to Panama.



Radar was my best friend. Using the rain filter allowed me to distinguish squalls from hard targets.

If you are island hopping the only electronic instrument you might want is a depth sounder. But I am partial to lead lines, compasses, plotters and charts.
__________________
ISPA Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor Evaluator
Sail Canada Advanced Cruising Instructor
IYT Yachtmaster Coastal Instructor
ASA 201, 203,204, 205, 206, 214
As I sail, I praise God, and care not. (Luke Foxe)
jackdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2014, 19:27   #13
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,755
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Actually need: none - in my youth we truly used to navigate the eastern Caribbean using (only) restaurant placemat charts and our eyeballs. You can (usually) read water depth by color, you can (usually) see the next island, and if not you can easily DR until you can see it. None of the harbors require VHF check in, although there may be a spot of two where vhf would be handy (bridge into st Martin lagoon?).

Not :"needed" but definitely Handy: depth sounder, VHF, ipad (both as chart plotter and to go ashore for internet), local cell phone (get pay as you go sim chips as you go) along with the cruising guides.
__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2014, 12:52   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Florida- true heading-Sou' by SouEast
Boat: HiStar, Sundeck, 48 feet--
Posts: 38
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

Radar- Chart Plotters-all are balanced by the Captain's sensitivity to RISK-

Just back from four months in the Abacos --and after the Hurricane season--will be going back-

There is no fog in the Bahamas--but after the Squall- gust front-
Arrives… THEN the Torrential Downpour and the visibility can drop to zilch--Making it a strain to get through to the Anchorage-

The Captain and the vessel will experience the following-

Darkness is falling in a Narrow Pass--No Visibility--No Channel Markers......

A glance at the electronics will steady your hand on the helm-but best is the mate on the bow pulpit with the hands-free transceiver--Mine is 'Cruising Solutions'...
__________________
LexLocal
"Done with the Compass-Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden-
Ah, the Sea..." Emily D.
LexLocal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2014, 13:02   #15
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Boat: Custom Van De Stadt 47 Samoa
Posts: 3,755
Re: Need-to-have electronics for Caribbean

^^

By the way . . . Most recreational radar is completely blind in "torrential rain".
__________________

__________________
estarzinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Caribbean, electronics, rib

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How exact do electronics need 12 volts? MarkJ Marine Electronics 23 08-02-2014 21:21
Register EU boat in Aus - what electronics need to change? hoppy Marine Electronics 0 05-01-2014 09:29
Need advice: electronics integration package H3LlIoN Marine Electronics 9 27-12-2012 17:36
Marine Electronics Manufacturers Need Our Help ActiveCaptain Marine Electronics 2 06-03-2010 15:55
Do you have to have insurance? Colorado Dreamer General Sailing Forum 12 19-09-2007 08:38



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:46.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.