Join Date: Dec 2006
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I suppose the definition of clutter is relative and personal, and is affected by how you use your boat. Cruisers tend to have a lot of stuff hung off the back of their boats – antennas, MOB poles, ‘horseshoes’, BBQs, extra anchors, outboard motors, SCUBA bottles, wind generators, fishing gear, ladders, wind steering stuff solar panels. The radome is one of the things that works well up the mast and off the stern, so why not get it out of the way? The radiation hazard is a good point – are you always going to remember to turn it off before going up on deck and/or are your crew and possibly inebriated guests always going to mention to you that they are going to run up forward? You are responsible for their safety, and it would, to me, be sort of a nuisance to have to worry about melting somebody’s fillings.
Climbing the mast, safely and with proper gear, should not be a big deal to a sailor. Not to say there isn’t some stress or risk in it, but it is important to go up there with some regularity to check things out, and to be comfortable doing so. The odds of the radome breaking are slim. Most of these things are using tried and true and debugged technology. It would be a bummer to have it fail offshore and to have to climb the mast in snotty conditions, but it might not be so much fun trying to get it off of the stern pole, either, if conditions were bad and you are working around wind generators, solar panels, archs, antennas, davits, dingys flopping around, biminis, etc. Bad luck, Omatako. My Furuno back lighting display failed on my 3 y/o old out of warranty unit, I carried it home from Mexico, shipped it to them, they fixed it for free and shipped it back to me for free. I love ‘em!
Your use of the boat will dictate whether having the radome up high to see squalls or freighters or cruise ships approaching from far away is more important than seeing something in a rip-rap channel. For my cruising type of sailing, I’d rather see land or freighters or squalls further away, especially if I am flipping it in and out of standby with some miles in between looks. Freighters and navy gun boats and cruise ships moving at 30+ knots come up on you pretty fast, and if you see fishing boats and you suspect they have nets out you can make a better easier angle to miss the nets from further away. Mine is up the mast and my display is in my cockpit, under the dodger, starboard of the companionway hatch. Works fine for viewing from behind the wheel. I’ve never noticed whether my headsail comes close to the radome, but never had any issues.
And, frankly, my own personal bias is that it just looks better, more seamanshiplike, up there on the mast.
Faster, which P40 do you know in Mexico?