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Valiente 03-08-2007 03:25 PM

Best Cruising Watch
 
I just bought a new handheld VHF, the Standard Horizon HX471S, and I like it pretty well so far. I found out in the manual that it can take a barometer module that will give pressure and tendency, which would allow me to avoid waking the ship on watch. Then I found out this little wafer of electronics was $100.

Phfft. I got a very nice Speedtech LCD barometer for $35, used. It eats 4 AAAs per year and is quite accurate.

But I got to thinking about electronic watches with LCD displays that incorporate barometric and compass displays. As I have a steel boat, I doubt the compass on a watch would work (maybe if I stood on top of the pilothouse, eight feet above the deck?), but I could certainly make use of a recording barometer on my wrist. I've seen some "hiker's watches" that might do, but I wonder about their ability to take a green sea. Hell, I wonder about the skipper's, as well.

The field seems to be dominated by Casio and Suunto. I don't require the sort of lap timing/countdown functions of a "racing" watch, so is there a barometric "cruiser's" watch that anyone can recommend?

cockeyedbob 03-08-2007 03:38 PM

Sorry, can't help. Bob's so slow he wears a wrist calendar.

erps 03-08-2007 04:26 PM

I was looking at a watch built by Casio like you were describing. It had a tide graph, barometer, thermometer, compass, time and was water resistant to 330 meters. After reading up on them I learned that the barometer sensor can fail after a year or two and it was expensive to fix. The watch was really really big too. I decided I was going to wait some more for the technology to mature. I think the model was called Sea Finder?

sailingdog 03-08-2007 05:48 PM

I actually like the Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches... and wear two different ones depending on what I'm doing... they're solar powered... My dress watch is their SailHawk Titanium model...my beater is one of their older titanium chronographs...

No compass, no barometer, no thermometer though..

Giulietta 03-08-2007 06:04 PM

I have a Corum Admirals Cup Chrono Regatta. Gift from dear Giulietta...it has all I need for racing. The bezel moves to give you headings, like a sliding ruler.

It will indicate start tack, wind directions and compass indications to and from bouyes, headings for racing circuit, etc. A real usefull tool for racing tactics.

It gives you compensations and drift from and to destinations. And get vthis....tides....

Really cool....is SS and has rubber bracelet for winter and steel for summer.

Sails with me allmost all the time...a true sailing watch.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p...onoRegatta.jpg

sailingdog 03-08-2007 06:39 PM

Giu—Man, she spoils you complete rotten...and you so don't deserve it..

Valiente—Have you figured out how to tell how much battery life is left in the damn HX471?? I've had one for over a year and still have no idea how you're supposed to tell. UGH. The people I bought the radio from, fairly knowledgable folks.. couldn't figure it out either, and one of them has owned hers for even longer. :p

Valiente 03-08-2007 08:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog
Valiente—Have you figured out how to tell how much battery life is left in the damn HX471?? I've had one for over a year and still have no idea how you're supposed to tell. UGH. The people I bought the radio from, fairly knowledgable folks.. couldn't figure it out either, and one of them has owned hers for even longer. :p

No, I've just had it a day, and it took me a call to the vendor to figure out to remove that white plastic disc in the base to reveal...ta-dah!...the NMEA cord that will attach to my basic Raymarine 420 plotter so I can play with that "last GPS position before Skipper went on deck and fell into the drink" function.

I was able to raise a fair bit of aircraft chatter, though. I can't try transmit because I'm on the hard. I charged the battery fully and will let you know when it tells me it's hungry.

I think the general idea is that it's supposed to live in the charger, which is suppose to be plugged in to a 12 VDC socket aboard. I also have an SH HX260S, which is three times the size and six years old now, but is still going strong. I wanted this for the FRS band, the DSC and GPS functions and the fact that I could wear it without needing a Wichard clip.

Have you tried the strobe? It's pretty cool, actually. I'll still use the HX260S in the cockpit, because it's got a vast power reserve and I can leave it on 16 all day, but my "carry" VHF is going to be this one.

Giu, that's a nice watch, but I'm cruising-oriented and want a decent barometer function, rather than stop/start and other round-the-buoys functions.

I suppose the ideal barographic yachtsman's watch would have the ability to not only record and graph a six, 12 and 24 hour trendline, but would sound an alarm at a preset rate of rise or fall, say for 2 mb/hour. You could get a sense of when to "pre-reef" with a relatively stale weatherfax or GRIB, because you could plot your position vis a vis the advancing trough.

I don't actually see this as being technologically challenging, certainly less so than putting a GPS in a watch, but I don't know if I can get a wristwatch that will "beep" to alert me better than my own weather sense (I can "smell" storms, like a lot of sailors) that wind is imminent.

sailingdog 03-08-2007 08:37 PM

BTW the Sailhawk will do the start tack, wind directions and compass indications to and from bouyes, headings for racing circuit, etc...and was the team watch for the 2002 America's Cup team. :D

The battery life is pretty phenomenal on the HX471. I haven't charged mine since I was last sailing in October, and it's still live... :D I use it once in a while to listen to the weather... will probably have to charge it soon...but it has been months since it was charged and even with occasional use, it is still going strong.

My screwed up hip and knee do the weather forecasting for me just fine... no need for a barometer there...

pmoyer 03-09-2007 01:20 PM

I have a Suunto Mariner, which has a compass and a recording barometer. It also has racing timers, which is handy when I'm crewing on Other Peoples' J/24s. The barometer is very cool and quite accurate. It also gives you little arrows that show the trend in the past 6 hours, so you can see which way the barometer is going without switching to the barometer display. I'm really not very good with weather, so whilst I'm waiting for Spring, I'm recording weather conditions and barometer readings every few hours in a notebook. Maybe I can teach myself to read the weather. Dunno.... Old dog, new tricks, ya know.

I don't really use the compass feature. I have a hockey puck hand bearing compass, and it's noticeably more accurate than my Silva orienteering compass, or the compass in my Garmin GPSMAP 76S. I think that has to do with the more ergonomic way of using it; much easier to shoot bearings. My experience with the compass on the Garmin is that it chews through batteries much faster than leaving the compass off. I guess it (or the watch) would be ok if I were, for example, trying to find my way out from a plane crash, or if there were no other navigational tools available, but I'd much rather use other tools first, in this order: hand bearing compass, ship-mounted compass, Silva hand compass, electronic compass. All of them will have deviation based on magnetic material in the vicinity (like your hull), and should be calibrated to account for it.

Cheers,
Phil

TrueBlue 03-09-2007 01:31 PM

I love my Tag Heuer Automatic . . . gift from wife (which she charged to my credit card).


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