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Old 17-09-2009, 10:25   #16
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I have a Garmin 4210 gps with Garmin radar. Not the cheapest but well worth the money. What you might want to do (at least its what I did) is go to the boat show and check out all the various models in the flesh. Nothing beats actually seeing how they work.
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Old 17-09-2009, 11:06   #17
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I would go with an all-Garmin set up as well. IMHO Garmins are more user friendly than some of the others.
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Old 17-09-2009, 12:02   #18
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Hello all,

You have all thoroughly convinced me that radar is worth the price and now I am looking for the best option. I know it's a bit late, but if you're still following this thread I have another question.

Since I need to buy a GPS chartplotter as well, can I save money and/or possibly get a better setup that uses a chartplotter that is also radar compatible? I know some of the higher end garmin chartplotters are compatible with garmin radar.

So.... if you can help me I'm deciding between these two arrangements.

1) Foruno Radar (the cheapest setup is around $1,300), plus a separate chartplotter (something in the $400-$500 dollar range, hopefully)

2) Garmin GPSMAP Chartplotter (maybe GPSMAP 3010C or GPSMAP 3006c?) and Garmin Radome? This would be about $1,000 for the plotter and $800 for the radome by my estimation This seems to be a little more expensive since only the more expensive plotters incorporate radar, but it might be worth the difference.

Does anyone have a specific model in mind that might serve my purposes? Are there other components I will need that I'm not taking into consideration? Does anyone have an opinion on these two alternatives, or can you suggest another arrangement altogether?

Any help is much appreciated,
Jack
The least expensive and feature packed deal in radar is a Garmin 3205 and a GMR 18 dome. You can get into both the dome and plotter for about $1400-1500.00 if you shop carefully.

I would NOT advise you to venture beyond MDI without radar. Even West of Schoodic I would still not advise it. Idiots with Sea Ray's and plotters think they are invincible in the fog and often cruise at 25-30 knots with NO radar. Ten years ago this was not the case and it was far safer in the fog than it is now, thanks to plotters and MOrons.

If you get radar be sure you practice and know how to use it other wise it does you no good and will become merely a nice decoration for your mast...
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Old 18-09-2009, 04:20   #19
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I have the combo Garmin 4208: Gives you versitility as to how you view the plotter and/or radar on the screen, ie together or split screen or separately, etc. I like it very much but would say that the most important part of the unit is:

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!

Getting to know how the unit no matter which one you buy, and how to adjust it in different contintions, and different angles of heel, etc, is just plain huge. I was just amazed at how different angles, sized objects, and pots (yes they ARE often visible, but the practice allows you to know when and which) appear on the screen.

Good luck and have fun!

Steven
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Old 18-09-2009, 04:38   #20
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if you are not experienced in the use of a radar, the learning process can be significantly eased by having an AIS display alongside the radar. This will enable you to see where a contact should be and what it is actually doing, you can then look at the radar and identify that contact, and observe its movement.



Personally prefer having a radar that has a north up display, but that mandates a decent electronic compass, and is also primarily due to own experience.
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Old 18-09-2009, 06:22   #21
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if you are not experienced in the use of a radar, the learning process can be significantly eased by having an AIS display alongside the radar. This will enable you to see where a contact should be and what it is actually doing, you can then look at the radar and identify that contact, and observe its movement.



Personally prefer having a radar that has a north up display, but that mandates a decent electronic compass, and is also primarily due to own experience.
AIS won't help much on the remote coast of Maine. Only in and out of Pen Bay and Casco Bay will you pick up AIS data from ships. Most of Maine is small commercial fisherman who do not have AIS transponders and pleasure boaters who also do not have AIS. The vast majority of boats on the Maine coast, perhaps well over 90% at this point in time, do not have AIS transponders..

The best way to learn radar is to get a good radar book and then practice or to take a class..
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Old 18-09-2009, 06:30   #22
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I have the combo Garmin 4208: Gives you versitility as to how you view the plotter and/or radar on the screen, ie together or split screen or separately, etc. I like it very much but would say that the most important part of the unit is:

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!

Getting to know how the unit no matter which one you buy, and how to adjust it in different contintions, and different angles of heel, etc, is just plain huge. I was just amazed at how different angles, sized objects, and pots (yes they ARE often visible, but the practice allows you to know when and which) appear on the screen.

Good luck and have fun!

Steven
Wow, your radar sees lobster pots? That's pretty impressive, although you must have lots of blips to sort through.
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Old 18-09-2009, 07:17   #23
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If money is tight. I'd get a better chartplotter and hold off on radar. For cruising Maine in fog, in declining order of importance to the sailor:

1. Chartplotter

2. A knife on a pole to cut fouled lobster pot lines (always do your best to re-tie after cutting)

3. Loud horn to warn away other sailboats (powerboats can't hear over the engines)

4. Radar reflectors (more than one)

5. Tide tables with currents (Eldridge)

6. A schedule that permits waiting out morning or the occasional all day fog

7.Radar

It's not that radar isn't important, but most people get in trouble by hitting things that radar can't see (e.g. rocks). There are many, many more rocks than lobster boats and rocks don't get out of your way.

I find Maine safer in fog than Massachusetts or RI because there are fewer boats and very few amateurs in fast powerboats like Sea Rays.I've never had a lobsterman almost hit me - although some clearly enjoy scaring the sailors a bit by passing close with a big wake). These guys are pros. Hitting a sailboat isn't going to feed their family.

The ferries in Pennobscot Bay and especially the Nova Scotia Cat are scary, but they stick to known routes that are on the charts and are easy to hear coming. They also have people much more experienced than you constantly monitoring a much better radar than you can afford. That's where the radar reflectors come in. Radar reflectors are not nearly as good as you'd expect. Many also become ineffective if the boat is healed. Put up several - they're cheap. If you are substantially healed, adjust one to vertical. An inexpensive AIS receiver would help with these.

Get a chartplotter that's easy to use and mount it where you can see and operate it while at the helm. Don't worry about bells and whistles like 3D or video feeds . Get one that is at least 6" so you can see enough chart at one time. Bigger is much better.

I have a Garmin too. The radar is great (all of the new small radars are much better than even a few years ago) but I also prefer their chartplotter user interface. I would suggest playing with the different chartplotters at a boat show and find which one seems easiest to you. If you get a chartplotter that accepts radar then you can always add radar later. Don't forget the cost of the radar installation. The average boat owner can install a chartplotter but radar installation on either a mast or a pole is much harder and requires a surprisingly expensive mount.

Carl
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Old 18-09-2009, 07:38   #24
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Your experience may vary, but I wouldn't bet my life on a radar reflector. Or even several.
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Old 18-09-2009, 09:56   #25
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If there's enough money, I'm in favor of of it all. But if trade-offs are necessary, then I think a novice radar user is better off "betting their life" in a coastal Maine fog by concentrating on the chartplotter to avoid rocks while cheaply making themselves as visible as possible to someone who uses their radar everyday -- and usually has a much bigger array than 18".

Farther south I worry about larger commercial fishing boats who sometimes have tired crews and don't keep a careful watch but Maine has very few of these. You just don't hear about many lobster boat collisions while pleasure boats go up on rocks along the coast of Maine just about every week. Even if a 40' lobster boat did somehow hit a pleasure boat, it's unlikely to kill anyone.

I certainly agree that radar reflectors aren't wonderful but hung properly they are substantially better than nothing. I've installed an active radar transponder with great results but they're expensive.


Carl
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Old 18-09-2009, 10:43   #26
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If you don't want to pop for a radar I agree a transponder is a much better bet than a passive reflector. Still, it's much better to be able to actively manage traffic. I'm not sure about the necessity of a plotter. A paper chart and a GPS is more than enough to stay off the rocks. I'd put a chartplotter in the "nice to have" category.
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Old 18-09-2009, 11:19   #27
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Let me add another element to the mix.....

While we're at it I might as well tell you guys everything....

My P 26 was very well equipped when I bought it last year, but I doubt the previous owner did much offshore sailing. I've been out to Block Island and back to NYC, but this Maine trip will be the biggest thing I've attempted.

After just finishing Adlard Coles' Heavy Weather Sailing for a second time, there are some other objects I am thinking about getting for this voyage. I will be hugging the coast for much of the time, but I plan on making the straight 130 mile trip from Provincetown, MA to Matinicus Island, ME. That will put me about 70 miles from the nearest land at some points.

I am in no hurry whatsoever. I will wait for a good weather forecast before I leave Provincetown. I know that water sailing">blue water sailing constitutes a totally different approach to equipping a sailboat, but I am a schoolteacher and my budget is very limited, to put it lightly. I'll be buying most of this stuff on credit. Please don't restate the "how can you put a price on the safety of your crew" argument. Obviously I want to be safe, but I need to be practical as well.

I already have an EPIRB, flares and all other standard safety equipment, a wetsuit and a drysuit, and (so far) a very reliable motor.


So here's what I'm considering buying....

Sea anchor ($300)
300' Anchor Rode ($180)
Anchor Swivel (Storm surge anchor system?) ($250)

Comments: That book scared me! It seems like a sea anchor is wise if I'm going to be offshore. I will be able to monitor the weather and seek refuge if a storm is coming, but there are so many examples of people being overly reliant on inaccurate forecasts.

35 lb. Galvanized Plow or Bruce Anchor ($75-150)
100' chain ($200)
100' rode ($40)
Mooring Pendant and Shackles ($30)

Comments: My final destination is a cabin that my family owns in the Grand Manan Channel, at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. I'll be leaving the boat there for at least a week. The tidal swing is 30 feet and the cove is well protected but not hurricane-proof. (See my other thread: How big is big enough to anchor in the Bay of Fundy)

Garmin Radar and Plotter ($1500)
Comments: Most people seem to think this is essential, and I tend to agree. Especially when you consider the 24-48 hour passage through Boston's shipping lanes.

Extra Handheld VHF ($100)

Life raft ($1000-$1500)

Comments: This is the one thing I really would rather not buy, but the nightmare scenarios keep popping up in my head. The water up there is very very cold, and if we hit a rock, whale or ship and my boat sank I don't think we would last more than 20 minutes in that water (except for the lucky/guilt-ridden person that gets to put on the drysuit). Obviously many people cruise offshore without life rafts while many others wouldn't be caught 5 miles out without one. Is this a necessity to have a clear conscience while I'm out at sea? Please remember, I'm quickly running out of cash and stowage space!

So, there it is. Maybe you can help me keep my priorities straight.

Thanks again!

Jack
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Old 18-09-2009, 13:15   #28
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Don't get too wound up. I think it's okay to can the sea anchor and associated stuff. If you don't have a good anchor you'll need one. Maine is mostly rocks and gravel, so I don't think a bruce would be a good choice. Get a plow first then get a fisherman (Luke)- actually a Luke may even be better for this trip. A chain rode is a good idea. If you get a dink you would be better served than a life raft IMO. Waiting for the weather should allay most of your apprehension.

Heavy Weather Sailing is a fun read, but remember they're exceptional stories, not just another fine (Force9)day on the ocean
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Old 18-09-2009, 13:39   #29
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Sea anchor 300' Anchor Rode Anchor Swivel (Storm surge anchor system?)

35 lb. Galvanized Plow or Bruce Anchor 100' chain
100' rode Mooring Pendant and Shackles

Garmin Radar and Plotter

Extra Handheld VHF

Life raft
Jack,

Take a few deep breaths. You are getting to excited. This is a simple coastal trip. The only thing on your list you 'need' is a good anchor and rode.

All you need to do is listen to the weather carefully, and take your time and you will be perfectly fine.

You are going to be too close to shore to want to use a sea anchor. You are going to be within VHF range of the USCG and lots of boats and don't need a life raft. A plotter is nice but you can get a much cheaper one if you want. The radar is nice but if you listen carefully (and keep a good position fix) you will be fine without. We find the handhelds are always low battery when we need them and have disapointing range, so we basically have given up on them and use the big unit, with a remote mic instead.

We went round the world on our 37'er without sea anchor (or drogue), plotter (did not exist back then), life raft or handheld. We did have a radar and it was real useful back before gps plotters and dead accurate charts, but less necessary now.

You are getting sucked in to buying **** you don't need. Just go sailing, keep a good watch, always have a back-up plan, and carry a big anchor.

Enjoy it out there. It is marvelous. You are simulatiously fully free and fully responsible.
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Old 18-09-2009, 13:50   #30
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If you have a laptop. You can save money on the plotter. I too was caught in pea soup. My wife had fought to not spend the money on radar. We did a little math, and ducked behind Treasure Island. She was all for radar after that. The sound of the fog horn of a ship closing in on you is not a warm comfy feeling.....i2f
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