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-   -   Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/why-is-there-no-vhf-mike-near-helm-of-charter-sailboat-188369.html)

Nani Kai 27-07-2017 12:08

Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
My wife and I just returned from another week of chartering a sailboat in the Caribbean, this time on a 41' Beneteau monohull. While approaching a large unfamiliar bay, I wanted to communicate with the captain of a passing, local vessel about details of the anchorage. As a licensed 100T power boat captain, I am used to having the VHF mike right at the helm. In this case I had to send a crew member down below to the nav station amidships in the salon. I tried to relay my questions by shouting to the crew member who communicated with the other vessel and then shouted back at me. What a FUBAR that turned out to be. My choices were to turn the helm over to another crew in a shallow anchorage with minimal nav aids and go below myself or skip the comms, rely on charts and instruments and forgo the local knowledge and advice. Which is what I did. I have chartered Cats and monohulls from different charter companies multiple times and it's always the same. The VHF comms are inside the salon with no ability to transmit or receive from the helm. At the least this is inconvenient and at the worst downright unsafe as there are many occasions when communication with another vessel can be critical to both vessels safety. How do other captains handle this?

S/V Illusion 27-07-2017 12:19

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Always bring a handheld. Trusting anything a charter boat has is never a good idea.

Mycroft 27-07-2017 12:21

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Always take your own handheld DSC/GPS VHF radio with you on charters. That way you always have immediate commas in the cockpit of any boat you're chartering.

The reason for no remote mic is likely $$$. It costs bucks (or time) to route a remote mike and install it properly.

Kenomac 27-07-2017 12:29

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by S/V Illusion (Post 2442880)
Always bring a handheld. Trusting anything a charter boat has is never a good idea.

Always bring a handheld. :thumb:

Auspicious 27-07-2017 13:43

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nani Kai (Post 2442873)
In this case I had to send a crew member down below to the nav station amidships in the salon. I tried to relay my questions by shouting to the crew member who communicated with the other vessel and then shouted back at me. What a FUBAR that turned out to be.

At the risk of digression, your experience is illustrative of the procedural issues that likely contributed to the collision of the Fitzgerald and the Crystal.

Sailmonkey 27-07-2017 14:53

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Again, Bring a handheld.

On our boat we've got a handheld as well as a remote station mic at the helm.

denverd0n 28-07-2017 06:03

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Every charter boat that I've ever been on, had a handheld available.

DeepCut 28-07-2017 06:25

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Modern yachts often have a wireless (remote) handheld, but due to likely loss/damage, charter companies do not put them on board except with owner.

Agree with Handheld being your best choice.

I too would prefer a hardwired mike beat helm.

John_Trusty 28-07-2017 06:31

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
I fully agree with @Nani_Kai's point -- it's not a question about equipment on charter boats or what you should bring, but a question of design ergonomics. I understand that historically, "valuable" and "fragile" VHF radios were mounted below decks, and there's no easy way to retrofit other than a handheld in the cup holder or a remote mike. But, if you were designing a boat from scratch, would you put the most common communications tool 15 feet and a flight of stairs from the helm station? OP is right to be frustrated. On catamarans and all motor yachts that I've seen, the VHF is accessible from the helm station. Certainly monohull builders could figure out a way to mount a VHF, or at least a remote mike, so it is readily accessible at the helm.

CaptTom 28-07-2017 06:43

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
I think the question was why not mount the VHF at the helm?

[as John pointed out while I was typing the below!]

My own experience is that this is a fundamental difference between the sailing and power traditions. It seems sailboats always have the VHF, and usually the majority of other electronics, down below at the nav station. Power boats (except maybe those rigged by a former sailor) have little or no electronic gear below, and all of it at the helm. They are far less likely to even HAVE a nav station.

Maybe it's just a different mindset. Going for longer periods at a slower pace just naturally causes the navigation task to separate from the task of manning the helm.

Nani Kai 28-07-2017 07:56

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Thanks for all the sympathetic replies. Yeah guess it's time to buy a handheld and add it to my "useful stuff not supplied by the charter company" bag. That bag gets bigger and bigger. Just seems like it's a no brainer and should be included in sailboat design as John_Trusty notes. I've chartered Cats with Sunsail, and monohulls with Moorings and Dream Yacht Charters and haven't seen hide no hair of a handheld VHF. Next time we charter I'll make it a point to ask for one.

John_Trusty 28-07-2017 08:00

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Unless there was a designated place for a VHF radio designed into the cockpit area, I would not just mount one in the cockpit of existing monohulls. They are too exposed to water, striking, magnetic interference, and theft with the current cockpit design. What should be done is design a convenient flush mount (away from the binnacle compass, please). Alternatively, equip the boat with a standard remote mike, which is the solution that most of us do as retrofit. A designed solution does not seem to be beyond the capability of power and cat designers.

hellosailor 28-07-2017 08:10

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Why mount a radio at the helm?
The helmsman is busy full time steering the boat, and probably keeping an eye on the sail trim too.
The helmsman is rarely if ever alone on the boat, because any long distance solo sail, or even popping below for a head break, would be an illegal failure to keep watch while under way.
So there's always someone to send down to the radio. Which is going to be much more reliable when it is kept in the shelter of the cabin, as opposed to a wet cockpit.
Sailors deal with this, it is normal. and fixed radio installations are never really reliable, so most of us have at least one handheld on board, and that is often kept in the cockpit anyway.
Radios are normally optional equipment on pleasurecraft, simply having one installed and operating is a step above what is required.

1Sunseeker 28-07-2017 10:25

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
Why no VHF at the helm? Simple, $$$

roland stockham 28-07-2017 11:58

Re: Why is there no VHF mike near helm of charter sailboat
 
On a charter or delivery my min is to bring my own H/H radio, laptop with charts and GPS with a decent screen and PLB. You can never rely on what may be on board to work in an emergency!


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