Just another Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Fog is not fun, ever... It's always an anxiety producer for sure.
A couple of winters back we were going to a nearby town for the weekend and ran into a fog bank off Bowen Island. (Fog is relatively rare in these parts) We still had a light breeze, so were able to sail which greatly enhances your ability to hear other traffic out there. Once the wind died we motored, and then couldn't hear nearly so well of course.
We were sailing (no radar) in close to shore to avoid a ferry traffic lane, deep water, and closing the beach till we could see it and then taking an offshore tack, monitoring our position on a GPS plotter. After a while we could hear a diesel running at a steady, heavy load, no water noises and a really constant bearing, or so it seemed. We sailed within hearing of this sound for some time, and I began to convince myself that it was a generator running ashore.
The wind died and we fired up and slowly progressed towards our destination when my (nervous) wife pointed out a "beach" to port. As heading and position meant that there was 20+ miles of open water to port, this was disconcerting... turned out to be a log boom moving at about 1 knot, the steady engine we heard was the tug, of course. (I know - I know, if you hear hooves think horses not zebras)
We were very fortunate to have come upon the tow rather than the towline, as visibilty was so poor that we'd likely have struck the tow line without having seen the tug or the boom. At that point we turned around, and popped out of the fog less than a mile back on our track, and chose another destination for the night. I should mention that we had hoisted the radar reflector, and the tug SHOULD have been aware of our presence... if so they made no attempts to indicate that, no signals were made, no radio contact attempted either.
We have since added radar, and have had a couple of heavy fog experiences since, and must say the addition of radar, in combination with the plotter, makes this a lot more comfortable.
One more point: We have mounted the radar screen at the helm, seems to make much more sense than to have to pop below for a look. Radar cable length therefore dictated a stern post mount rather than mast mount.
Last edited by Faster; 12-19-2007 at 02:34 PM.