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· Chastened
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I'll be doing a DelMarVa circumnavigation in August.

My plans for communications are:
VHF with DSC, tied to GPS.
SPOT tracker with SAR service.
Cell phone when close enough to shore.

This link: Rescue 21 Distress System Coverage

...was recently provided to me. It states (and shows with a map) that USCG VHF range, is engineered to project at least 30 miles offshore, and often goes much further than that.

These projections factor in a boat's VHF antenna only 2 meters off the water, not even masthead mounted antenna.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from an EPIRB, just trying to provide some useful information. Do whatever makes you comfortable.

I'm not going with a liferaft either.
I will have good jacklines, harnesses, etc.

Something oft overlooked is a securing mechanism and tethers for your hatchboards. If a hatchboard washes overboard, you now have a huge hole in your boat.

Being a "coastal cruiser" does seem to simplify things a bit, vs. being a "blue water cruiser".
 

· Chastened
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I am often very ambitious then reality begins to set in :)

I appreciate all the comments, I anticipate needing to run the engine about 2-4 hours a day if my usage is similar to what I have been recording over the past few weeks with the new refer installed, what I haven't considered (and cant) is how much power the auto pilot and plotter will use 24 hrs a day.

The radar works fine, and I'm pretty good at using it but by no means an expert.
The auto pilot and plotter aren't the big draw, it's your radar. Since you have a radar, you are required to operate it and maintain a watch on it.

I can see having one in Maine, where there's lots of fog, but on the Chesapeake, I'd ditch that thing and install AIS to avoid the legal burden of being required to man a radar watch.
 

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For sure, atmospheric conditions can affect VHF propagation as well as HF. Sometimes "ducting" can cause VHF signals to go far over the horizon, and skip over their intended target.

"It depends". :)
 

· Chastened
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Hearing about your trip is inspirational. I've long been planning to cruise north.
I can probably take as much as a month off from work with no fuss from the boss. If you can do it in two weeks, that should give me plenty of time.
 
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