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post #1 of 8 Old 11-13-2018 Thread Starter
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Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

Our new Jeanneau 39i came pretty well equipped, but one of the things it does not have is radar. I have never really though of that as an important option. Recently, though, it has come up in conversation with a couple of fellow boaters who insist it is a must have if we intend to venture further north beyond Desolation Sound. I am sure that once we retire we will be going that way.

So now its go me thinking that perhaps I should make that upgrade. It would be an easy upgrade because my Raymarine instrument package is new enough that I can still buy a compatible raydome. If I waited a few years it may end up requiring that I buy a whole new system because my instruments are no longer supported.

So, is radar worthwhile, or is it something you rarely use?

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post #2 of 8 Old 11-13-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

I wouldn't be in the sound with out radar and AIS. been in pea soup where we could barely see the front of the boat. with ais we could see the ferries and freighters and their direction and speed. With radar both the big ships, rocks and little fishing boats. The new(ish) digital radar is great on a sailboat for its close up discrimination. Can see buoys and kyakers etc.

I also find radar useful when anchoring. overlaying on the chart plotter can tell how far away we are from other boats and rocks.

Unless you only day sail on nice days....don't leave home without it!

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-13-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

If it is an easy upgrade, do it. The radar is a great piece of safety equipment.

I am based in Shilshole and have not been out in fog too often, however this year, with the forest fires, the smoke was just as bad as fog. All I had was AIS on my phone and boy was I glad for at least that. If you can get radar and AIS I say go for it. It will make your cruising much less stressful, especially with the wife on board.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-14-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

ShockT,

I think it depends upon how, where, and how often and when you use your boat...

If you go out for a few weekends each summer, you can probably justify not having RADAR in your area- with the caveat that you select good weather conditions and stay put if RADAR is nenecessary for safety... [e.g., limited visibility; foggy or night passage...]

We are full time liveaboard cruisers a little bit further N of you. Our boat didn't have RADAR when we bought it in 2014, and we considered that a blessing. We were able to choose the system that best suited our needs. [4G]

Our choice is to have the RADAR on any time we are transiting, and sometimes at anchor.

Even on a clear day because overlaying RADAR on the chart demonstrates chart/position accuracy. It also keeps our RADAR skills honed so we can trust it [and ourselves] when visibility is low.

Besides other vessels [large and small], our 4G also spots most ice bergs, crab and shrimp floats, most logs, exposed rocks, shorelines, float planes taking off and landing... [from about 300ft elevation...], bird flocks, storm squalls, navigation markers [buoys, daymarks] etc.

It is also great for determining CPA, etc. of other vessels in any conditions— especially for other vessels not broadcasting their position via AIS... [and unfortunately we see many vessels that are not broadcasting AIS; from small recreational boats (AIS not expected anyway...) to tugs towing barges, and commercial fishing boats to name a few...]

We also use RADAR in some circumstances [e.g., inclement Wx or the occasional high traffic area— a relative expression...] when anchored as another safeguard against a lee shore, other vessels, ice bergs, etc. The new technology uses so little power [compared to CRT/Magnetron days...] that it is a no brainer to use it in this way.

Best wishes sorting out what suits your needs. This decision is a conundrum partly because technology keeps getting better and cheaper. But what is it worth if it helps you avoid one catastrophy?

Cheers! Bill


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Last edited by wrwakefield; 11-14-2018 at 02:35 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-15-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

All the time.

If visibility is low, it's essential. If it's not essential, (meaning unlimited visibility) it's on so I can look and see what it's picking up to practice reading it. Being able to read it well takes that practice, and clear weather is clearly the best time to do that practice.

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post #6 of 8 Old 11-16-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

I've been caught in pea soup fog after setting out in blazing sun in the San Juans/Gulf Islands too many times to count. One near-miss with a tug/barge early on was one too many. I won't own a cruising boat without radar in this area.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-17-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

All good comments! I have rarely been caught in fog during the summer, however I suspect it will become more likely as we do more late and early season cruising.

I guess that will be one more thing for the boat show shopping list! We want an outboard davit anyway, so perhaps a radar mast with a davit will be the way to go.

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post #8 of 8 Old 11-20-2018
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Re: Pacific Northwest sailors: How often do you use radar?

I have had a RADAR on my boat since I bought it 5 years ago.
I sail the SGI, San Juanís, Juan De Fuca, Straights of Georgia up to Desolation Sound.
I have never used the RADAR.

Itís nice to have I know how it works but find I donít need it.
If you want one get one. Mine might be more useful if I could see it from the cockpit. Itís down on the chart table.

The **** Hawks like to sit on the scanner and crap on the deck.
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