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Old 02-16-2012
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Importance of Radar

How much importance do you guys put on radar doing an extended cruise?
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Old 02-17-2012
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Depends, if I was staying in the 1st world, or other reasonably together countries I would much rather have an AIS system than radar.

In my experience radar takes a lot more knowledge to work properly, but when operated correctly can be very useful. That being said except in fog, or rain I rarely turn it on. Sometimes at night, but with all commercial vessels required to have AIS on, and the extra information it gives you, I find radar to be mostly redundant.
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Old 02-17-2012
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I consider it a piece of required safety equipment. Can see squalls and take evasive action at a 20 mile distance. Shorter range, can see shorelines and boats. SOme of the new broadband radars are simply amazing and take a lot of the "reading tea leaves" aspect out of the equipment.
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Old 02-17-2012
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To me it makes all the difference in the fog,& those dark nights. I don't want to hear that bump in the night!....Dale
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Old 02-17-2012
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Is it essential? - NO
Is it nice? - YES

To some extent it depends on where you are cruising. In normal trade wind areas you don't really need it. We use ours to see if there is a better away around a squall. Particularly helpful at night when you can't see the cloud formation. If you are cruising in New England and Atlantic Canada (and similar areas), then it becomes an essential I think.
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Old 02-17-2012
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We crossed the Gulf from Pensacola to Clearwater -- a 48 hr journey, the entire passage in surface fog and light rain. Visibility never exceeded 1/4 mile, and was usually less.

Could we have done this without radar? Of course. Would I have enjoyed doing this without radar? No way in hell.

AIS is great, but please remember that only ships in excess of 100GT (? I think that's the cut-off) are required to have a full-up transponder; smaller vessels often only have a receiver, which won't give either you or them a full picture of what's out there on the water.

(Edit: Just checked Wiki; the actual IMO/SOLAS requirement is for vessels 300GT and above.)

Last edited by PorFin; 02-17-2012 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-17-2012
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It's the second most important instrument on board IMO (depth sounder is #1). AIS is great but it won't help you find an entrance to a channel at night, it won't tell you the 150' fishing boat is on a collision course with you in low visibility, it won't help you pick your way through an unfamiliar rock strewn area at night, etc. I know I'm biased living in the PNW where I use radar a LOT, but there's a good reason why ships carry two radar sets.
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Old 02-17-2012
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Given a forced choice between a chartplotter and radar, I would chose radar.

Last summer I anchored in a fog, in the dark. With radar I just picked a hole among the targets and used the VRM function to measure the distance to those targets.

Radar with MARPA is very nice.

AIS is not a poor man's radar as PorFin demonstrates.
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They turn on AIS , if they have it. I turn on radar..Dale
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Thanks for all the input! I've not had the luxury of radar until now, and will be finishing the installation in the next week or so. I've read quite a bit from other voyagers and the ones that have it are glad to. We're a couple, so having a third hand like radar aboard should be a great help.
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1969 Crealock/Columbia 36 Sloop completely refitted in 2000 and new Yanmar in 2006.
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