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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-27-2002
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Radar How important is it

I am thinking about putting a radar on my 33 footer. I mostly sail on the Columbia river, but we do have heavy barge traffic and at night I can hardly see them. also I am getting ready to do a 5 day off shore trip. Can you set them up to alert you if you get a target within say 1 or 2 miles and how consistent are they. Do you end up with a lot of false alarms. Or should I just save my money. If I was to buy one I am thinking about the jrc 1500 it sells for just over 1k or something along that lines I am not going to be spending 2k or more.
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Old 04-28-2002
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Radar How important is it

Would not sail off shore without it , I just ordered a new Ray Marine to intergrate with my plotter and autohelm 4000
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Old 04-28-2002
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Radar How important is it

The answer depends on where and when you sail.

I''ve only HAD to actually use the radar on my boats on a couple of occasions, and having it then has made me of a mind to always have it.

If you are daysailing in clear conditions only, it''s not really a necessity. If you will be going offshore, sailing at night, or weekending away (meaning you have to get home for work Monday through anything short of a really bad storm), it''s well worth it.

Last summer my wife and I were returning from Oak Bluffs on Martha''s Vineyard, to our home port of East Greenwich, RI. It''s about a nine-hour trip. We left MV at 05:30 in pea soup fog. We didn''t see land again until we got to the Newport Bridge on Narragansett Bay, sometime after 13:00. Visibility got above 100 yards a couple of times along the way. We spent the whole trip with one of us driving, and the other watching the radar and looking ahead through the fog. No close calls, as we picked up everything well in advance.

The only time we were uncomfortable was entering the bay, when every stinkpotter we saw coming out of the bay was going at full throttle. I guess they figured they could see everything on radar, so no need to go slow, right? Fortunately for us, we saw them coming miles away on the scope, so we could stay plenty clear.

Based on that experience and one or two other similar ones when unexpected fog has crept up, I personally wouldn''t head offshore without it.
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Old 04-28-2002
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Radar How important is it

Sailors from the the dark ages, like 1980, when radar was uncommon, survived offshore trips quite nicely without radar, even in fog. It still is possible to duplicate this type of simple, low tech sailing, in relative safety, even today. This is not to say that if you want it, and can afford it, go for it, but to not leave w/o it....I have a problem with that attitude.
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Old 04-29-2002
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Radar How important is it

I don''t doubt that some lives were saved on those offshore trips because of radar!
I wouldn''t go offshore without it.
I wouldn''t sail that river in fog or at night without it either!


Dennis
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Old 05-01-2002
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Radar How important is it

Not an attitude !! Yes one can sai in a fog or any where without any instruments, but why do it ? We onced plowed the field with mules just because it was good then doe not mean we should not evolve. The attitude I have trouble with is the one that says because I walked to school in the snow up hill both ways everyone should.

At the ame time one must be able to read charts an be well versed in basic and advanced seamanship
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Old 05-01-2002
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Radar How important is it

What docsabre said.

Dennis
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Old 05-01-2002
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Radar How important is it

Gotta agree w/ docsabre. It''s not a bad attitude. I''ve got radar on my boat. At some point we''ll probably take the Questus pole & radome down for racing this season to cut weight aft & windage. But it''s going back up before I go offshore.

Of course sailors have gone offshore w/o Radar for years. No one is saying you can''t. But the cost of Radar has gone down dramatically. Furuno has a system for about $1200 on this site. For me, if I bought another boat to go offshore, I''d put it in my budget to get it if it didn''t have it. I''ve got a wife & two kids - it''s not worth the additional risk to me or my family not to spend the money or the time.

It doesn''t mean I don''t believe it''s possible to go offshore w/o it. For me, I just think it''s a risk reduction tool that''s worth the money.

Of course having Radar won''t cover up for lack of navigation, basic seamanship, and common sense. Case in point the morons I mentioned in a prior post on this topic blasting out of Newport at full throttle in < 100 ft. visibility because they have their Radar lit. Those guys are DANGEROUS. All the more reason for me to have every defense possible against their stupidity.
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