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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.