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post #30 of Old 10-28-2006
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Originally Posted by BarryL

I am going to take an opposite point. I don't think you need a radar reflector, and here's why:

-If you sail during the day and watch out for big boats (and stay out of their way) how will a reflector help?

-As already written by a number of people, most of the big boats won't (or can't) move even if they do see you.

I sail on the Long Island Sound, near Port Jefferson. There are frequent ferries between Port Jeff and Bridgeport, CT. I see some big barges, and other large traffic. The sound is wide (100 miles) but not that far accross (less than 15 miles where I am). The ferries travel at about 15 kts and they won't change course for anyone. It's easy to see a ferry, and also real easy to stay out of the way.

Regardless of wether the ferry sees me or now, *I* have to stay out of the way.

I would say your approach is a bit foolish. At night, in the rain or fog, RADAR is often the first indicator of your boat to a large ship. If a large ship has sufficient advance warning, they will often make a course correction to avoid a small sailboat, provided the sailboat is either stationary or moving in a predictable manner.

In the fog or rain, keeping a watch for ships is often not realistic, as the visibility is too limited to have sufficient warning of their approach in time to make a difference. A large freighter, moving at 15 knots can go from the visible horizon to you in a matter of four or five minutes, especially if you are on reciprocal bearings heading for each other.

Your approach may work on a sunny day, where visibility isn't a problem...but most of us sail in conditions other than just sunny days.


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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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