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Old 13-06-2016, 14:42   #31
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

I have radar and certainly consider it a "nice to have" but if I had to give up either my radar or AIS transponder, it would be the radar - no question.

Obviously, it's best to have both as I do. But If the OP is unsure of spending $1500 on radar (and probably an equal amount for brackets and installation) I think an AIS transponder is a bigger safety improvement than radar for less than 1/2 the cost.

I'd be interested hearing from anyone who would make the other choice and get rid of the AIS to keep the radar.
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Old 13-06-2016, 14:58   #32
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

The attached picture if from the bridge of a 300ft cruise ship last month in the Sea of Japan a "picture that's worth 1000 words". The chartplotter with AIS is right in front of the deck officer. The radar is off to the side.

Yea, I know - COLREGS doesn't recognize AIS. Tell him that.

The AIS information for a small sailboat would be as easily seen by him as any of the large ships he's worried about. On the radar, a 30ft fiberglass sailboat is just another weak radar return - could be a wave.
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Old 13-06-2016, 15:16   #33
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
The attached picture if from the bridge of a 300ft cruise ship last month in the Sea of Japan a "picture that's worth 1000 words". The chartplotter with AIS is right in front of the deck officer. The radar is off to the side.

Yea, I know - COLREGS doesn't recognize AIS. Tell him that.

The AIS information for a small sailboat would be as easily seen by him as any of the large ships he's worried about. On the radar, a 30ft fiberglass sailboat is just another weak radar return - could be a wave.
Old still. A Clorox bottle better have a good radar reflector.
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Old 13-06-2016, 16:00   #34
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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Sailorboy,

We were in your same predicament four years ago, here's what we did.

Kept the now 14 year old radar as a stand alone device at the cockpit and nav table anf forgot about upgrading the totally useless Furuno chartplotter.

We now use three ipads and an Iphone 6 for all our chartplotting needs fully integrated with a Vesper Vision AIS system. The redundancy is like seven times.

Invest in handheld devices, forget about yesterdays junk. You'd be wasting your money on a chartplotter for full time cruising. All the actual doers out there use ipads or tablets.

It's only on internet forums that people argue about the usefullness of traditional chartplotters vs ipads. In practice, nearly everyone out cruising uses an ipad.

Ken
Hi Ken,

Do you have some kind of chart plotter display in the cockpit? If so is it visible in bright sunlight?
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Old 13-06-2016, 17:25   #35
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

I'm reminded of the US freighter that docked at Yokohama with the standing rigging of a sailboat tangled in its anchor. Even with AIS I don't think I'd cruise at night without radar. Yes, I did it years ago, but this is now, and a Furuno 1715 is $1,500 tops. Aside from all the traffic and unlighted solid objects out there, even boats anchored in the channel with just a masthead light can be missed. I guess I've just plotted too many collision courses to feel comfortable charging ahead where I can't see.
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Old 13-06-2016, 18:04   #36
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
The attached picture if from the bridge of a 300ft cruise ship last month in the Sea of Japan a "picture that's worth 1000 words". The chartplotter with AIS is right in front of the deck officer. The radar is off to the side.

Yea, I know - COLREGS doesn't recognize AIS. Tell him that.

The AIS information for a small sailboat would be as easily seen by him as any of the large ships he's worried about. On the radar, a 30ft fiberglass sailboat is just another weak radar return - could be a wave.
Nice try but you have to read all 1000 words - the seats are behind the radar displays. The AIS info will show on the radar displays and the Ecdis (vice chartplotter) can overlay the radar picture.
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Old 13-06-2016, 23:21   #37
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi Ken,

Do you have some kind of chart plotter display in the cockpit? If so is it visible in bright sunlight?
We use a RAM mount for the ipad at the helm. The spring loaded type. Under the bimini, there's no problem viewing the ipad display.

Out in direct sunlight, the ipad would be difficult to see, but our broken Furuno chart plotter with the C-map charts doesn't work at all. So what good is it in comparison to the multi functional ipads?
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Old 14-06-2016, 09:55   #38
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

We bought our current vessel in 2013, it came with an older Furuno Monachrome (green) display... it powers up and seems to show stuff, but I really do NOT understand what I see on the display. I do not understand how I am supposed to use it.

I would like to. couple years ago in December we sailed ISR (instrument sailing rules) for 4 hours in fog that precluded any dead reckoning reference. missed the channel by 100 yds, ran aground, got moving fog cleared, fog returned in a few seconds and we were stuck again. Tow Boat US to the rescue at full price, over $600. by now motor would not start so towed to dock...

Progressive insurance reimbursed us entire cost.

I wish I had known how to use the radar then. I wish i knew now. How to I learn this skill set to determine if / what I need to upgrade without wasting something that may not be "broke" before I am?
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Old 14-06-2016, 10:36   #39
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

SeaSchool, and probably several others out there, has a course just for radar..
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Old 14-06-2016, 11:16   #40
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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I wish I had known how to use the radar then. I wish i knew now. How to I learn this skill set to determine if / what I need to upgrade without wasting something that may not be "broke" before I am?
run it during the day etc. so that you learn what it is showing you, nothing really harder than than that in my mind
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Old 14-06-2016, 11:30   #41
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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run it during the day etc. so that you learn what it is showing you, nothing really harder than than that in my mind
Excellent way to start. Use it, play with it, twiddle all the knobs and see what happens on the screen.

In short, what you will see are things that reflect the radar signal back to your radar unit. You may know this but just in case, radar dome is a radio transmitter AND receiver. It sends out a signal which bounces off things around you (some things better than others) and comes back to the radar which receives the return signal and turns it into a picture on the screen.

A big steel boat will make a strong return. A wood or even fiberglass boat not so strong. A hill will give a strong return, a flat beach may be invisible to radar. So looking at your screen you will see green splotches where there are boats, land, channel markers, etc. A big boat if the radar is on close range will show up boat shaped. On long range unless it's a big ship most boats will look like a blob or dot. Channel markers and buoys usually have a special, radar reflector that makes them show up like a very bright dot.

You also need to figure out if the radar screen is set to show the picture ahead of you on your course or is set like a chart to show north up.

That should give you a start. So go play with it some.
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Old 14-06-2016, 11:52   #42
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

I crewed on a 41 Tartan from Corpus to Progresso and the AIS and Radar really helped navigate storms and other vessels. There are a lot of nasty pop up thunderstorms here in Florida, radar will help to avoid them. I will have radar and AIS on my new boat when I find her.
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Old 14-06-2016, 14:56   #43
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

The easiest way to learn to use radar is to use it when you don't need it - when you can compare what you see out there with what's on the screen. It also helps you learn to adjust gain, declutter, set up lines of bearing, recognize collision courses, and the like.

What have we got here? Another source of information that contributes to safety and navigation. It overlaps with chartplotters and AIS, but supplies additional information that they do not. How much is that extra information worth to you? How likely are you to be in conditions in which radar information would change the outcome of an incident and the others would not? For me, I won't leave home without it. Your decision may be different.
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Old 14-06-2016, 15:30   #44
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

You know as the OP I'm amazed. I have radar and I'm asking about it's use down South so I must see some value in having it. But I'm amazed at posts like "I would never leave home without it", I mean really
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Old 14-06-2016, 16:17   #45
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Re: Radar for SE USA, the Gulf, and Carribean

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But I'm amazed at posts like "I would never leave home without it", I mean really
No one said that - you misinterpreted what I wrote and assume the same about the others who made similar comments.
I'm amazed that after asking for opinions about the subject, you would choose to deride people who've taken the time to answer your thread.
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