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  1. #91
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Me in Fleet, the boat at Universal Marina, River Hamble.
    Posts
    621

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomahawk View Post
    You only have to worry about shipping when crossing the various TSS and they are relavively narrow.
    The shipping follows the various TSS (obviously) through the straits of Dover and around Ouissant.
    And it goes from one TSS to the next ... in a straight line. So mark where the various tram lines cross your planned passage and keep your eyes peeled when you are about to cross. ... unless you intend to sail in fog!
    I'm afraid this is simply untrue. A significant number of ships come through the Dover or Casquets TSS and then turn towards the Solent heading for Nab anchorage, Portsmouth or Southampton, or towards Cherbourg etc. There are also ferries crossing the channel to be aware of.
    Andy B.
    Sadler 290 "Mr Blue Sky"

  2. #92
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    1,726

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidjackson View Post
    An RTE is an active device.

  3. #93
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Brighton
    Posts
    5,044

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seajet View Post
    Thanks but I have a swing out display panel visible from the cockpit usually, or from below if cowering in bad weather - so I'm really asking if anyone knows how the ICOM AIS performs, is it worth the £630 ?
    Do you prefer to have a separate display or is it just that your plotter doesn't support AIS? I find a single display much quicker/easier to interpret. I assumed the target market for those dot matrix AIS displays was people without plotters: maybe I'm wrong. Whilst having said that I find AIS really valuable, it's not so "mission critical" that I can't risk it failing because the plotter is broken (and I can always fire up the raspberry pi to bridge NMEA to the phone...)

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    I find it quite interesting that so many people want all the information at the helm or in sight of the helm.
    ..and iirc you have a sealord so nearly identical cockpit to mine.

    AIS aside, my main use of the plotter is to avoid those "hmm...I'll just go down and check the chart" moments where you want to check something you hadn't put into your passage/pilotage notes. If you have plenty of open water and are cowering behind the spray hood, well you can just go down and check the (paper) chart. When you're doing tricky pilotage you want your emergency splashproof chart right in front of you at the helm, so that's where (for me) it makes sense to have it.

    For AIS I like to map between what I can see and what the display tells me which means I want the display outside. Now here I actually have no choice because the plotter is at the helm but that's not a bad place anyway: The "best seat in the house" for all-round visibility on a sealord/oceanlord is behind the wheel. My AP controls are also handily accessible. It's where I normally perch. Yes I see the advantage of under the spray hood in really nasty weather but if it's too nasty to spend 5 mins at the helm looking around I'll probably stay tucked up in cherbourg eating croissants.

  4. #94
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,804

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Yes but one can't turn it on or off when threats appear as one doesn't have a display; granted it's there hopefully working all the time but what I should have said is it doesn't give one a clue what's around.
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  5. #95
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Me in Fleet, the boat at Universal Marina, River Hamble.
    Posts
    621

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    I’m going to change the subject slightly as it appears we have a very different style of sailing to many people on here. Our radar, VHF Chart Plotter etc are all at the chart table. When on passage, we are invariably on autopilot, whether we’re sailing or motoring. We don’t often have the luxury of two people being on watch together and so the on watch person spends most of their time standing and peering over the spray hood (it’s substantial so you can lean on it) or sitting in the shelter of the spray hood looking all round every few minutes but either war with some of the time below making a cup of tea or at the chart table pointing the plotter cursor at ‘targets of interest’. (Invariably finding that their CPA is over a mile and who cares)

    I find it quite interesting that so many people want all the information at the helm or in sight of the helm.

    The only sop to this is that we have a ST60 graphics display which gives us a rolling road or distance to waypoint etc.

    Perhaps I should start another thread.
    Our old boat was like your set up (although no radar), and we sailed for years like that no problem. The new boat however has a chart plotter, with AIS data, in the cockpit, and I wouldn't wish to go back. I particularly like the way you can go from looking at a ship in the distance to looking at it on AIS without needing to go up and down the companion way steps. I feel I have a better overview, and it avoids the risk of making decisions downstairs based only on the plotter.
    Andy B.
    Sadler 290 "Mr Blue Sky"

  6. #96
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Clyde
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Thanks all, some really helpful info here. For the boat in question, all nav kit is at the chart table, but they won’t be short crewed (at least 2 people on watch at any time). They will unlikely deliberately venture out into fog but but the trips are long, fog may well be unexpectedly encountered.

  7. #97
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    38,325

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    I find AIS is most useful in open water, because the ships are going in relatively straight lines and the 'closest approach' calcs are valid.
    In restricted water or just close to the coast, they are generally predictable due to following channels, or you can work out where they are going by considering the chart. They're turning and changing speed, so the CPA calcs are less than useful.
    Also our course and speed will likely change.
    In the extreme case, in the Solent, AIS is very little use for avoiding ships, apart from the very broad brush of knowing there's a W-bound ship in the channel etc. It is fun and informative and educational, for sure.
    So I don't really think the stand alone AIS display is that much of a disadvantage.
    It's nice having everything integrated until it goes wrong, when it all fails together.

  8. #98
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,603

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwik Decision View Post
    Our old boat was like your set up (although no radar), and we sailed for years like that no problem. The new boat however has a chart plotter, with AIS data, in the cockpit, and I wouldn't wish to go back. I particularly like the way you can go from looking at a ship in the distance to looking at it on AIS without needing to go up and down the companion way steps. I feel I have a better overview, and it avoids the risk of making decisions downstairs based only on the plotter.
    Like John we rarely are behind the wheel once we leave harbour and have been autopilot sailors from a 24 footer upwards. So the natural place is the forward end of the cockpit twiddling with sails and the chart table for occasional glances to check the course. A helm mounted display would be a waste for us and actually I feel more exposed behind the wheel compared to being between a very large wheel and the main hatch.

    AIS is on the list and at the same time I might eventually buy a chart plotter but each year there are always higher priorities which costs thousands (eg last winter solar panels and a 12v fridge to complement the engine run one and an EPIRB, then replacing our linear drive mid summer). This year might be ok as it’s only a leaking water tank that needs replacing/rewelding.

  9. #99
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    I have a Matsutec HP-33A. It does everything I ask of it, and cost only £350. The antenna is a quarter-wavelength wire attached to a small fibreglass stick on the taffrail, with the coax ground braid connected to the guard wires by wrapping round the rail. This seems to form a fairly effective antenna, though it needs replacing every couple of years as the poorly waterproofed coax corrodes; I've considered paying many £ for a factory produced antenna, or putting in the time to build a better one, but I find this perfectly adequate. I also tend to buy coax in at least 30m lengths if not more, and can usually get offcuts from a 100m reel, so the cost of replacement is about £3. AIS need not be expensive, but it's certainly valuable in the Channel—while being able to get an electronically calculated CPA and TCPA is nice, being able to see the rate of turn of large ships is even more so. The question "are they altering course" relies less on conjecture...

    In my 24'er I will stand on to large ships in open water (i.e. not a TSS) quite happily, but it also comes in handy when approaching fishing vessels, when one can summon them by name on Ch16. Increasingly this is my default behaviour whenever crossing near a FV at work, because recent experience has been rather confusing, most notably a FV showing as "Fishing" on AIS, with trawling lights. Making 8kn. Called—"We are on passage, we will go astern of you". When they are manoeuvring to haul nets etc, they often seem to appreciate a call, as are about to make a dramatic manoeuvre you might not anticipate...

    The other advantage to my mind is that ships that you might not have seen (I know this never happens, of course, but...) or assessed properly can identify you with far higher probability. The thing at the back of my mind (and many peoples' perhaps) is that, if they do run you down at night or in bad visibility, the fact that you are transmitting AIS (and likely being received by other ships + CG) means that the investigation will be less "He was wearing the wrong glasses" (cf Ouzo) and more "he was seriously negligent".

    Apologies for an excessively verbose post: summary is that I consider them a very useful bit of kit, for really not very much money.

  10. #100
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Scarborough
    Posts
    635

    Default Re: AIS - essential kit these days for channel crossing?

    Good post weustace
    I am very wary, in fact I'm actively hostile to any suggestion that a yacht 'ought to' or 'should' be using AIS, I can just visualise your thought-experiment, the failure of a watchkeeper to monitor AIS being considered relevant to a court decision.
    This would inevitably lead to yachts being accused of contributing to their own demise if they weren't transmitting AIS, which would then be on the slippery slope of insurance companies getting involved etc.
    The MCA actively discourages collision avoidance using VHF although I totally take your point about fishing boats in particular.
    "Now shall the gentleman haul and draw with the mariner"
    John Hawkins

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