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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Plymouth
    Posts
    8,619

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

    Quote Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
    ....

    For those of you who do this trip regularly, what’s the opinion re having AIS on a channel crossing? Thinking of either just a receiver or transceiver type. Nice to have, or mad not to have? I understand how it works, and it’s limitations (not everyone has it).
    I think it comes somewhere between Nice to Have and Mad no to Have but a lot nearer to the latter.

    Apart from the crossing, there is a lot of poor viz in north west Brittany and staying in port every time fog patches were mentioned would potentially lose a lot of days. It's very difficult to figure out how a little fog at the start of the day will pan out, and even more tricky to be sure you will not be caught out as a bright morning unfolds.
    Inshore you may not be tackling so much large shipping but there will often be fast ferries, fishing boats, and large pleasure yachts coming at you on a reciprocal course. If you are racing of course you take it as it comes, after a few "do's" in the 'Four, I was an early adopter and am a big fan.

    I had a Nasa "Radar" for a number of years and it is a grand bit of kit, the only drawback is that it is a bit of dead end, you can't feed output to a plotter or upgrade in any way. It must have been around for about 15 years now, largely unchanged, pity they never built on their headstart. The good news is that they seem to sell well secondhand, if your mate bought one for £220 he should sell easily at the end of the trip; my guess is that he would want to keep it.
    I would go for a transponder, though its easy to spend other folks money.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chichester Harbour
    Posts
    406

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

    I chose a dual band RTE instead of AIS. Cruising area being the Solent and English Channel.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    West Sussex / Hants
    Posts
    28,804

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Channel Sailor View Post
    I chose a dual band RTE instead of AIS. Cruising area being the Solent and English Channel.
    OK, what do you mean by RTE please, radar target enhancer ?
    Anderson 22 Owners Association - For info please ask here or PM me.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Home: North West, Boat: The Clyde
    Posts
    3,649

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Minn View Post
    .............. A point to note - radar is a thirsty beast. AIS is not.
    Don’t mean to be argumentative but the modern generation of “digital” radar isn’t power hungry at all. Another benefit is that it works immediately upon turning it on as there is no “warm-up” period.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Farnham, Surrey
    Posts
    21,413

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

    Quote Originally Posted by mm42 View Post
    I work on a ship, often in the channel.

    We like AIS targets popping up on our screens, but still rely on radar, so if you’re giving a decent return we’ll see you and plan accordingly.

    Just be aware not all the vessels in the channel have watchkeepers as switched on as ours, and be cautious of big traffic, and in particular their speed, some of the big commercials really romp on. Stick to the colregs, it’s what we’re expecting (none of this mad might is right nonsense) but be ready to react if you come to the conclusion you’ve not been spotted.
    A post that ought to be repeated every time a col regs discussion starts and people start making their silly comments about ‘I just keep out of the way it everything’.
    Semper aliud

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Scarborough
    Posts
    635

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

    Quote Originally Posted by davidjackson View Post
    Don’t mean to be argumentative but the modern generation of “digital” radar isn’t power hungry at all. Another benefit is that it works immediately upon turning it on as there is no “warm-up” period.
    That's right, and also Echomax type RTE devices ( amazing there is only one maker so far) use a tiny bit of electricity as well.
    The new type of radar doesn't see Racons though, and, I think, not RTE's either. Apart from that, for yachting in fog, it's clearly better for seeing ships, rocks, even marina pontoons.
    "Now shall the gentleman haul and draw with the mariner"
    John Hawkins

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Farnham, Surrey
    Posts
    21,413

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

    I crossed the channels (and sailed the N and S Brittany waters) for years without radar, AIS Decca or GPS. Navigation was by Log , echo sounder and compass. The hand bearing compass was almost permanently round my neck.

    Downsides: fog was horrible. You tried to avoid it but sometimes got caught out. Collision avoidance in fog was a lot of listening carefully and heading for shallow water (tricky in the rocks of Brittany). Navigation meant a lot of relying on the echo sounder and charts. (I spent a lot of time correcting them!)

    Upside: we never got run down. You learned that ships really do give way to sail. You learn that their bearing changes very little at first but on the whole they’re not ‘out to get you’ (there’s a lot of paperwork to do and tickets on the line...)

    Would I go out and buy AIS if I was the OP? Only if I could really afford it. If I couldn’t afford it I’d save up for a Class B transponder anyway. I’d also save up for Radar and a course on how to operate it. We’ve got both now, but if they both broke it wouldn’t stop me sailing.

    PS. The class B did break this summer. Water got into the GPS antenna and the legal requirements are for separate GPS systems to calculate your vessels course and speed so Class B stopped functioning and the system reverted to receive only.
    Last edited by john_morris_uk; 04-10-19 at 07:01.
    Semper aliud

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    2,159

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

    For me it’s essential!
    And to have displayed on cockpit chart plotter.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,550

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

    Quote Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
    Coming at this as someone who cruises in Scotland west coast where amounts of shipping etc are relatively small. Thinking of trip to south Brittany next year in company with some others and very aware of much busier shipping lanes in parts of the Irish Sea, Bristol Channel and English Channel areas.

    For those of you who do this trip regularly, what’s the opinion re having AIS on a channel crossing? Thinking of either just a receiver or transceiver type. Nice to have, or mad not to have?

    Panels thoughts?

    My answer is YES! An AIS Transceiver is a great idea, both for the owner and his crew. (BTW I'm Irish and know these waters well)

    Helps be seen and unlike primitive yotty ARPA systems it is great for collision risk monitoring. Just back up with an RTE or decent radar reflector.

    At £600 odd, I personally can't see why this is even a discussion point for most contemplating such a trip.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Me Edinburgh, boat JWD
    Posts
    5,150

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

    [pedant] An AIS device that receives and transmits is NOT a "transponder" - you ignorant lot![/pedant]

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