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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-21-2009
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Smile Radar Necessity

Hello "Great Lakes" Sailors,

I am trying to decide whether having radar on my sailboat will really be necessary considering the area that I sail in. I currently sail Lake Huron on the weekends and Georgian Bay and the North Channel for holidays in July. To this point I have not seen a necessity to have radar as boat traffic is minimal and we monitor the weather channel/mafor etc very closely and only travel when there is good weather window. I will be retiring next year and the plan is to sail Georgian Bay and all areas of the North Channel for 5-6 weeks. At some point we may head south through Lake St. Clair into Lake Erie. Other cruisers I have talked with who have radar tell me it is great for rain squalls but they still can avoid them other than get ready for them. I figure it will cost me $5000 CAD by the time I buy a radome, multifunction display, stern pole mount and installion.

I am really sitting on the fence post with this decision and would appreciate and thoughts or words of wisdom from fellow sailors who have radar and sail this area.

Paul

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Old 09-21-2009
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My two cents

if you sail in an area that has a lot of fog, weather, and/or at night and there is a lot of commercial traffic also in the area, then itmaybe worthwhile. If you're mostly a fair weather sailor, sail in areas where there is not a lot of commercial traffic and don't sail at night or in heavy fog, then I wouldn't bother.

I have radar on my boat. The only reason I have it is that it came with it. I have only turned it on once, to see if it worked during the survey.

Just because you have radar, doesn't mean anything. You have to know how to intrepret the screen image. It's not like looking at a TV screen where everything is clear as a whistle as to what it is.

DrB
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Old 09-21-2009
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Paul

1 - you can put radar on for a lot less than $5k - I did it for less than $1500

2 - what DrB says is excellent advice - radar is not a magic amulet that keeps away the dragons. You need to use it, need to know how to interpret what you see and you have to realize that it is only one tool in your safe navigation tool box.

Both of my friends with C&C 30s have radar, because where we sail - it is a very valuable tool. (yes - I know yours is a CS, not a C&C - but they are both from the same era.)

Cheers

Rik
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Old 09-21-2009
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i think radar is a great navigation tool . invaluable when sailing at night or in fog, keeping distance off an object, etc. i don't have it as yet, but wished i did the other day. pea soup fog. motoring in the duluth =superior harbor with plenty of traffic . had the autopilot on to hold a compass course while i stood up to look ahead to try to see ahead. could not see the buoys until i was close. 2 hours one way & 2 hours back.
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Old 09-21-2009
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A series of unfortunate events

After having our radar die in the Manitou Passage (of course the fog had rolled in) and having the first notice of shipping traffic being sighting the bow of a 350' laker aimed at our midships about 100' off, I have to rate radar as being a necessity for anything besides daysailing on the Lakes.

We gassed it and they passed astern, but appitites were supressed for several hours.

No response on VHF ,FWIW.
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Old 09-21-2009
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Agree with DrB that you could likely better spend the money on something else given your sailing area and habits. Get a new sail, or a heater, or something that will enhance most days you sail, not just the rare time you might get caught in some fog.

We do have radar, got a steal of a deal and we were planning a trip up the West Coast known for foggy conditions. Needed it that trip, almost daily, and a couple of times since. Nice to have when you need it, but could we get by without?.... most times, yes.
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Old 09-21-2009
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Down side of radar installation

If you install radar on your vessel you are obliged to use it to avoid collisions (Rule 7b of COLREGS):

Rule 7
Risk of Collision
(a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.
(b) Proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and radar plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects.

So if you are not committed to using it in any and all circumstances where it might come in handy, don't buy it...
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Old 09-22-2009
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Thanks to everyone for your insight!
When we do sail north (motor sail usually) from southern Lake Huron to the North Channel we will go non stop if the weather window is open, 24 hours. Our night time passage is in Northern Lake Huron 10-20 miles off shore, no commercial traffic, we have never seen any other boat traffic. We have never run into fog and when retired there won't be any time lines to make us push onward. My feeling is I don't really need radar other than the "what if factor" raises it's head when planning on travelling for extended periods of time.

Rik, I would be interested in the setup that you have for less that $1500.

Thanks
Paul
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Old 09-22-2009
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that 1500 radar -very interested

Hi,
I sail primarily around the coast of maine/Canada. Radar is a real help, but I have done it without. In any case, ours is 20+ years old now so interested as well in the cheap option. I have been looking at Rosepoint's solution with a radome and integrated radar/charting (their charting software is great - off topic.

C
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