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Old 23-04-2012, 19:12   #1
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Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

I have a 2001 Beneteau 40 CC that is about to come out of charter in the BVI. I am going to cruise the carribbean for 2-3 seasons before crossing the atlantic to Europe in 2014/5. Aurora has been well maintained by BVI yacht charters but of course she lacks any advanced comms, nav or radar.

I can either do a complete electronics refit now for about $20K or wait and do it bebore crossing the atlantic. I could just add a basic chart plotter and replace the VHF now.

Being a Kiwi I aren't that famailiar with the Carribbean conditions. Crusing between the Islands and the ABC's and up the western side strikes me as perhaps not needing radar??

What advice do some of you Carribbean vets have for me?

Cheers
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Old 23-04-2012, 20:06   #2
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Good compass, fathometer, paper charts, good binoculars, good VHF radio, basic GPS. These are the essentials. You don't need radar here, nor do you really need a chartplotter if you have paper charts and a basic GPS. Later on, for the TransAtlantic, I'd add SSB, radar and, maybe, AIS. Bill
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Old 24-04-2012, 00:21   #3
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Thanks Bill. That was what I suspected. Little point having the full kit onboard if it is not needed as its money wasted on gear thats only going to deteriorate. Cheers Colin
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Old 24-04-2012, 03:45   #4
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Colin.
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Old 24-04-2012, 04:35   #5
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

As much as I value Btrayfors - I have to disagree with respect- -If you can afford the radar get it now, it only takes needing it once to save your boat & maybe your life- I’ve found radar one of the most valuable tools I have onboard, if you traveling at night,rain or in a fog- More than once has radar saved my ass coming in a port at night with a storm blowing and seas 15’ feet, rocks 30 feet on each side of me –Also mine overlays the chart (Raymarine e-120) with platinum charts-and when seeing a target ,lets say a ship, you can lock onto it and get its speed, direction and distance this has been a big help in busy areas where there is lots of back light and your unable to make out the lights on the ship due to the lights on the shore blending in-I’m underway an average of 160 days a year as Professional Charter captain - lots of times I’ve been caught out at night when I thought I’d be in port already, due to weather- Until I got this radar (6 years ago) I did not think I needed it, now that I have it WOW I would not be without it anywhere- and now they have went digital, it’s unlikely there will not be any real improvements in the next few years, this also gives you time to learn how to use it for when you really need it- better to be safe than sorry, and having the best now may save you a lot of money and your ass
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Old 24-04-2012, 04:35   #6
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Ditto what Bill wrote.

If you have a hand held GPS and buy three cruising guides, you won't even need a set of paper charts. Scott for the Virgin Islands, and Doyle's for the Leewards and Windwards all have great sketch charts of the approaches and anchorages, as well as very good sailing instructions, GPS waypoints, and plenty of info on clearance requirements, provisioning sources, things to do on shore, etc. If you want to listen to weather forecasts/discussions, a SSB receiver would do the trick.
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Old 24-04-2012, 05:00   #7
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Double ditto, we just used the guides and never opened the charts at all. Vhf, depth and speed were the sum total of our electronics. Worked fine for two years in the eastern Caribbean.
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Old 24-04-2012, 07:52   #8
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

I would stick to the basics: GPS (with a chart if your heart pleases) and a depthsounder. Some sort of radio to listen to the news and wx. That's it.

We used NV paper charts and we loved them - you can buy then s/h while you are there. Do not waste your money on the Imray's stuff. Doyle's cruising guides prove useful too.

If you like reading on places then there are Street's guides and Doyle has a nature guide both sources very interesting: Street for history and culture, Doyle for nature.

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Old 24-04-2012, 08:49   #9
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Another ditto on simplicity. I haven't cruised further south than St. Barts, but from there north did not need anything more than GPS/chart/guide book.

The time you buy yourself you can shop for the best deal you can get on electronics.
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Old 24-04-2012, 09:00   #10
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

There is no one right answer here. If you're not making overnight passages then it is hard to argue that you really must have radar and the latest electronics. Of course you can do perfectly well with paper charts, and handheld (or wrist -- as I used to use) GPS, a hand-bearing compass, and your own skills.

If I were you, however, and if I could afford it, I would go ahead and install now what you think you will need later. Why? So that by the time you leave on your big trip, all the systems are well broken in and shaken down, and you can operate them with your hands tied behind your back -- like second nature.

I think radar, AIS, and a good networked chart plotter are really, really good to have, even for day hops around the Caribbean. Not "must have", but nevertheless really useful.

I have just been through a long study of what's available and I like the Simrad digital radar (4G), NSE plotters, and Simrad autopilot. Couldn't go wrong with such a system. If you install yourself, you could probably do it for $12k -- $15k max.
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Old 24-04-2012, 10:18   #11
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Don't forget auto pilot for Atlantic crossing.
Best to get it now and not just before you leave. You might just have problems with new unit and best to be able to learn to fix while still close to land. It will be a LONG trip across the Atlantic without an auto pilot.
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Old 24-04-2012, 11:02   #12
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Add radar and AIS, both are very useful at all times

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Old 24-04-2012, 11:46   #13
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Wouldn't it be way cheaper to get it in Florida now rather than Australia later?
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Old 24-04-2012, 11:50   #14
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

GPS and Depth sounder should do it. Radar was very nice looking for thunder squalls at times , but mostly crossing the Mona passage (DR to PR etc)
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Old 24-04-2012, 12:06   #15
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Re: Extent of Electronics for Carribbean

Dominican Republic Cruising Guide » A THINKING MAN’S GUIDE TO VOYAGES SOUTH~the many facets of Caribbean Cruising

Free Cruising Guides

I would read over these if you haven't already.
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