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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #31  
Old 10-28-2006
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FrankLander: I know this is off topic, but I really would like to know how you like your Ericson 30+. It has the fractional rig, right? Please let me know. Anyone else with a 30+?
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  #32  
Old 10-29-2006
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Yes, I have an Ericson 30+, and it does have a fractional rig. I really like this boat--feels solid, quality is good, looks appealing both inside and out, and she sails really well. There are many things that I like about this boat (too many to list), but the two things I don't like are 1) it is a bit limited in easily accessible storage space; 2) the v-berth is placed a bit high in the boat, making it a bit tricky to get into and out of it. Both of those are relatively minor, given the boat's many excellent qualities.
Let me know if you have specific questions. There is also an excellent Ericson owners website with very knowledgeable owners; a search for Ericson 30+ on that site will also give you lots of information.
Frank.
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  #33  
Old 10-29-2006
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Yes

The Davis works well and can be had for under $100. Money well spent, especially for those days the fog or heavy rain catches you still out on the saltchuck. Most radars will pick you up without a reflector but as one of the previous posts indicated you will be quite a bit easier to see with one, especially if you are in a bit of rain or sea clutter.

Been out there under sail and in destroyers. Wouldn't leave home without one.

John
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  #34  
Old 02-20-2007
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You definitely should have one, you are sailing in very busy shipping lanes. Most of the radar systems in use by commercial shipping have range alarms, that go off whenever they sense something within a specificed radius. So while it may not seem that anyone is watching them, they are being monitored. And actually, if you are really broke, the tin foil hat is not far off the mark. You can make a shape like the ones that you see on the backstays or spreaders of boats out of board or stiff plastic or something, and cover it with tinfoil and it will work. Two or three layers of tinfoil will be better, and there shouldn't be any space in between them. The radar reflectors work by enhancing the "bounce" that the radar waves go through when they hit something. Two things make this happen, the density of the metal (hence the reason for using layers of foil) and the shape which basically forms pockets that aim returned waves up and down. You can also put three baking pans together and get a decent reflector. At the very least, a flat square of metal somewhere up high will make a big difference. (the denser the better).
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  #35  
Old 02-20-2007
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
While I agree with the thrust of your post I would mention that nobody uses range alarms on merchant ships. They are just a nuisance designed by engineers who've never stood a bridge watch. Regardless, a proper watch-keeper will have no need for such an item as he is watching visually and with radar in such a fashion as to make such devices unnecessary. If one were to wish to use one on one's sail-boat while anchored I would think that would be an appropriate use. The use of radar reflectors is possibly the best thing that the sailor can do to prevent themselves from becoming a rather low mounted figurehead on a much larger vessel.
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  #36  
Old 02-20-2007
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Hmmm - nuisance ??? I can't tell you how reassuring that is But you are probably right. Anyway, if I were sailing an Ericson 30 (or any boat) in that area, the things I'd be most worried about are the other, larger pleasure craft skippered by an elderly gentleman who had too much wine with dinner. A lot of them have radar, and I'm hoping they don't have their range alrams turned off...
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  #37  
Old 02-20-2007
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Sailormann...
larger pleasure craft skippered by an elderly gentleman who had too much wine
...your post is very true. One of the biggest problems and dangers there is today is from what I would call "waypoint" cruising...where a series of waypoints is entered in well trafficked spots from widely purchased cruising guides. Thus everyone transiting from Waypoint A to Waypoint B has entered the same coordinates and is travelling on autopilot on the exact same course governed by a GPS that is accurate to within 30 feet or so. Interesting things can thus happen when a sailboat is being overtaken by a powerboat or is on the same reciprocal course and not keeping an ever vigilant watch.
What I do with my waypoints (aside from NEVER using them to steer my autopilot) is to enter them .1 or .2 degrees off to seaward so that i am never on a common course with those that merely enter them from the chart books. (Yes I do check for a clear seaway to the new waypoint!)
At the very least, it prevents me from being "waked" by those big power boats.
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  #38  
Old 02-20-2007
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Luneberg Tri-Lens Reflector

In reading through this thread, I see that it has now been running for more than seven months. Over that time it has received opinions ranging from radar reflectors being useless to their being essential equipment. I see them as essential equipment, and so does Transport Canada:

"Vessels less than 20 m (65’7”) in length or that are constructed primarily of non-metallic materials must have radar reflectors, unless they are not essential to the safety of the vessel, or the small size of the vessel or its operation away from radar navigation makes compliance impractical. If properly positioned, they help larger, less manoeuvrable vessels detect your presence on their radar screens. They should be located above all superstructures and at least 4 m (13”1’) above the water (if possible)."

But selecting just any reflector is not as safe as you might think. Radar systems typically require a minimum of three consecutive "hits" or blips on a ship's radar before it can be acquired as a target. This puts a premium not only on the strength of the return, but also on consistent coverage to maintain a high Radar Cross Section (RCS).

The commonly used three intersecting disk style of reflector has many blind arcs and a rather low return rate. Their manufactures usually refer to RCS in terms of Peak RCS. What they don't tell you is this Peak RCS is rarely obtainable and that it doesn't happen when your boat is pitching or heeling. Neither do they mention angular coverage, which is most important when evaluating a radar reflector. This type of radar reflector's angular coverage is just 35 degrees wide.

In any sea state that offers a radar some sea return, your sailboat's intermittent and weak return signal is either lost in the sea clutter, or ignored as a false echo.

On my last boat I installed a 305mm Rozendal Tri-Lens Luneberg reflector with 330 degrees of coverage that was little impaired by heel or pitch. Everyone that I asked said that my boat painted like a large ship on their X-band radars. For my new boat I have specified the 405mm model, since its larger size shows-up on both X-band and S-band radars much better. I want to be easily seen.

Last edited by Sequitur; 02-21-2007 at 03:52 AM.
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  #39  
Old 02-21-2007
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You are the captain and are responsible for the safety of the vessel and everyone on board. If it were me, I would want to be as visible to larger vessels as I could possibly be, fog or no fog. Put up the radar reflector.

A collision at sea can ruin your whole day.
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  #40  
Old 02-21-2007
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Sequitur-

Are you going to permanently mount it or only hoist it on a flag pennant when needed?

Dave
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