Laser range finders - SailNet Community
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Laser range finders

I remember years ago watching Americas Cup racing and marvelling at the technology they were using. They used laser range finders that were the size of a loaf of bread to measure distance to their competitors.

These days the market is full of inexpensive, compact units designed for golfing and hunting. I'm thinking something like that would be handy to have on board. I have never been very good at estimating distances and I think it would be handy to have for anchoring, and perhaps even as a tactical tool for racing. I already have a nice pair of binoculars with a compass, so a compact monocle type would be what I would get. A built in compass would be a bonus.

Does anyone carry a rangefinder on board, and if so, what make and model do you have and what are your thoughts on it?

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Re: Laser range finders

Inexpensive LaserWorks
Smaller than your hand.
Measure to other boats and shore
Would buy again
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Re: Laser range finders

It would need to have a pretty significant range to be worthwhile, IMHO. At least 2nms. And I would have thought that would be expensive military grade stuff.

I would love one.

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Re: Laser range finders

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
It would need to have a pretty significant range to be worthwhile, IMHO. At least 2nms. And I would have thought that would be expensive military grade stuff.



I would love one.
Yeah 2nm would be pretty tough to use. How do you keep a laser on target over that distance? For that kind of range Radar is what you need. I was thinking more like 500m or less. Anything further away is of no concern to me!

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Re: Laser range finders

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Yeah 2nm would be pretty tough to use. How do you keep a laser on target over that distance? For that kind of range Radar is what you need. I was thinking more like 500m or less. Anything further away is of no concern to me!

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I'm more than content using the range rings on my chartplotter to give me range to fixed objects or shore and my MkI Mod 1 eyeball for anything else.

Having recently taken a long range shooting course I can tell you that a LRF that will reliably range to 1000 yards or beyond is not inexpensive by my standards, and I'd be reluctant to take one on a boat.

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Re: Laser range finders

What cartridge are you shooting, and what range
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Re: Laser range finders

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
Yeah 2nm would be pretty tough to use. How do you keep a laser on target over that distance? For that kind of range Radar is what you need. I was thinking more like 500m or less. Anything further away is of no concern to me!

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Can you hold it still for the 24.72 microseconds it need to travel from the rangefinder to the target 2 nmi away and back, I think so. Holding it on a target is not hard if you can see it you can lase it with a range finder.


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Re: Laser range finders

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Can you hold it still for the 24.72 microseconds it need to travel from the rangefinder to the target 2 nmi away and back, I think so. Holding it on a target is not hard if you can see it you can lase it with a range finder.
Perhaps, but I don't see the value in that kind of range for my purposes anyway. I was thinking in terms of using it to measure distance to boats and to shore in an anchorage, and possibly using it to measure progress against nearby boats on the race course.

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Re: Laser range finders

These days it seems as if a plotter can provide ranges to charted "things" but not to boats. Radar and AIS can do some of that... Other boats in an achorage? If you can quesstimate that distance.. you shouldn't be operating a boat.

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Re: Laser range finders

Somewhere I have a piloting book that explains how to use an inexpensive sextant to find distance off a distant mark. I sold my old Davis sextant many years ago, but I recall that the author was using it on its 'side' to measure angles for different marks or other distinct features. Or at least that is what I dimly recall reading. The book was by John Budlong, or some such name.

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