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best headsets?

Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
Looking for what's best out there for anchoring or docking etc so i don't have to shout at the wife at the helm. Our dodger is big and usually closed up, and 46 ft is decent sized. Shouting back and forth is a PITA. I see people using headsets, just curious what is recommended by the forum.
thanks,
Joe
 
Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
Jan 11, 2014
5,784
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
We have a pair of Sena headsets and purchased them on the recommendation of others. Apparently they work well, once you figure out how to get them to pair. I was able to get one headset to pair with my iPhone, but not to pair with the other headset. Of course, I haven't tried again after the first frustrating experience. It remains on the To-do list.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,811
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
We don't require them on a 30 footer, but I would not want to have to mess with "pairing" before a serious maneuver. I'd want a dedicated set.

technology is great, if and when it works.
 
Jan 11, 2014
5,784
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
We don't require them on a 30 footer, but I would not want to have to mess with "pairing" before a serious maneuver. I'd want a dedicated set.

technology is great, if and when it works.
Once paired, allegedly the headsets easily pair in subsequent pairings, it is just the first pairing that is a PITA. Ideally the headsets are paired and worn well before they are needed. Sound quality is important, which is where bluetooth headset excel.
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,620
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Never felt the need. My last boat was a cruising cat, not the boat in the avitar.

Anchoring. That's a simple task for a singlehander, so there should be very litle to talk about. Have a plan and a few hand signal should do (right, left, faster, slower, neutral, back down slow, power set, engine off). No talking. I've done this countless times without words.

Docking. I cruised for many years with my small daughter. We made a plan, she took the lines ashore, and I drove. Taking lines ashore requires some agility, knowing how much slack I'll need, and knowing how to tie a few hitches, but no strength. Friction does all the work. The only trouble was when an adult tried to "help" by taking the lines from my daughter. She was really tiny in the beginning, but she knew her jobs and did them well.

In fact, hand signals seemed better, because you can't mess up right and left, forward or back, and so forth. Less ambiguous. They always work. Crane operators still use them, sometimes supplemented with radios if line of sight is a problem. Would you rather a policman dirrected trafic with his hands or with a bull horn? Obviously, the bull horn method would end in a crash, because there is too much to explain for words. Hand signals can be better.

But that's not sayin' they couldn't help. Different styles, different boats, different situations. I can see it. I would definitely go with something simple and dedicated.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,352
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
We have the Sena sph10 and they work quite well. @dlochner is right that setup can be a bit challenging. (The instructions are cryptic.) According to a few Amazon reviews the company support is not great. I have no experience with their support.
I considered Eartec, and the deciding factor in favor of Sena is that the headset goes around the back of your head, whereas the Eartec goes over the top of your head. I always wear a hat for sun (or rain) protection, and we both can wear hats with the Sena units.
They work very well and reliably, and recharge battery life is excellent (so far) and wind noise is reduced effectively. I would give it 4 stars on a 5-point scale.
We used hand signals (and occasional yelling) for 20+ years, and it's great to be able to have nuanced and detailed communications between bow and helm. We also use them when launching the dinghy from our nets - my wife uses the electric winch to lift it while I can use two hands to maneuver the dinghy into and out of the water (sometimes in strong wind).
 
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Nov 21, 2007
341
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Tacoma, WA
We use the Sea SPH10 as well. One of the best boat purchases ever. No yelling, no glaring, no confusion (other than my own...), just a continuous running conversation. They pair easily, but not immediately, once you get the tones for "intercom pairing" press the button ("jog dial") once and it will pair (be patient). Pressing the button multiple times in an attempt to force it to pair more quickly is exactly the behavior that we're trying to resolve. I had one headset with a bad battery after the first winter, and Sena replaced it under warranty immediately. The SPH10 is the second set that we purchased, the first was a cheaper Sena product with a shorter range, we had problems with noise when we were at opposite ends of the boat. This model has worked just fine for about five years.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,352
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
We use the Sea SPH10 as well. One of the best boat purchases ever. No yelling, no glaring, no confusion (other than my own...), just a continuous running conversation. They pair easily, but not immediately, once you get the tones for "intercom pairing" press the button ("jog dial") once and it will pair (be patient). Pressing the button multiple times in an attempt to force it to pair more quickly is exactly the behavior that we're trying to resolve. I had one headset with a bad battery after the first winter, and Sena replaced it under warranty immediately. The SPH10 is the second set that we purchased, the first was a cheaper Sena product with a shorter range, we had problems with noise when we were at opposite ends of the boat. This model has worked just fine for about five years.
Nice to hear you had a good customer service experience. :thumbup:
 
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capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
3,846
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
I'm sorry, but what exactly would you need to be shouting back and forth while docking or anchoring?
We use simple hand signals that are easy to understand and never say a word.
Before we begin docking we discuss the operation in the cockpit and follow that plan as we go in. If I abort, i do so and if changes are needed we discuss it again, in the cockpit. As a spring is the always first line to go to the dock, I can usually see how close the beam is to the dock.However I can't often see the bow so under ten feet my wife will hold up the number of fingers we are away from the dock. It is my job to get the boat alongside the dock.She never jumps, but steps off. If I'm not close enough for that, she waves me off and we do it again. I repeat, she never jumps, but steps off.
For anchoring, I hold up the depth in 10 feet per finger. A thumb's down and the anchor drops. She knows the scope as she knows the depth, then adds the snub line and we're done. With the Rocna we only back down when Med mooring or there's no wind at all.
When weighing anchor she notifies me that it is up with a thumb's up. As we usually use the catenary to move the boat to the anchor, I rarely power up on it, but if I do, then she uses a straight arm to point toward the anchor. Taking a mooring she points to the ball with the boat hook and when she leans over to grab it I stop the boat. Releasing the mooring, when it's clear to move she gives me a wave.
Perhaps you can try something similar and save yourselves some money or a problem if the headsets fail one day.
 
Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
OK, well thank your for sharing your expertise Jon and Capta, I'm very impressed. I take it that you have superman powers and you can see through the mast, and the inflatable 6 man life raft on your boat to see the signals. Again, I'm very impressed!
My wife mans the helm doesn't have the ability to see through the mast or the raft, while I'm up front doing what you make your women (or husbands) do. Personally, I'd rather her do the easy stuff and I'll man the anchor, dirty mooring lines, and handle the boat once in the dock.

I've been sailing plenty and can do this myself, but having is simple conversation as if she's standing next to her seems like a great alternative, to which I'm asking others that do the same their opinion on brands.

Just to furthermore point out how lame you both are, why don't you not respond to someone's question if you don't have an answer other than trying to make a smug point of how cool you are to not do something.
That is not constructive, it's just dicky, and you both showed us all that very well.
 
Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
Thanks for the response Capt Larry and SoSound. I'm taking notes the suggestions and will research as well. :)
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,352
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
I'm sorry, but what exactly would you need to be shouting back and forth while docking or anchoring?
We use simple hand signals that are easy to understand and never say a word.
OK - THIS WEEKEND (sorry for shouting). This weekend we were anchoring in a crowded anchorage, in about 8 feet of water, in about 20k of wind, and as the anchor went out it stopped! :huh: It wouldn't go up or down, and I don't have a chain counter so from the helm I didn't know whether I had out 5 feet or 15 feet of chain, whether it was on the bottom. I knew by the way the boat was handling/drifting that I had substantial chain out and was likely touching bottom but the anchor was not set o_O. My wife was on the bow (with our headsets on) and we could discuss what she was seeing. Due to the strong winds and close nearby boats I couldn't leave the helm, but I could ask her questions:
What's the hand signal for; "Can you see any movement or hear clicking when I press the windlass switch?"
What's the hand signal for; "Use the bow switches and tell me if it can come up or down?
What's the hand signal for; "I'm going to reverse, so tell me if you can judge by the chain angle if the anchor is on the bottom." etc.
What's the hand signal for; "I'm getting out our secondary anchor in case..."
I headed slowly for deeper water while hoping we didn't snag anything (such as a mooring chain or debris). I was able to discuss the plan with her and calm her down (she was very anxious about the situation). I found an empty mooring in about 25 feet of depth and we tied up while I sorted out the windlass problem.
 
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Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
Excellent explanation Capt Larry! Seems like a no brainer to make things easier.
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
3,846
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
The only time that sort of thing happened to us was New Year's Eve in Clifton Harbor, Union Island in Christmas winds. The chain got hung up in the spurling pipe. Talk about a very crowded anchorage! Without a single word she communicated there was a problem and came aft to tell me we had 60' of chain out in 40' of water, then went below to unfoul the chain. Our chain is well marked, so there is never a question how much is out.
As far as "making" my wife do the anchoring, we have a $4000.00 windlass that makes anchor handling just as easy as driving the boat, if not easier, and she likes doing the anchor. Dirty mooring lines? Gee, that's what are gloves for aren't they?
I couldn't imagine anyone driving a boat of any kind through a crowded anchorage if they can't even see someone on the foredeck. We have a liferaft between the dodger and the mast and at times sail with an 11.6' Zodiac on the foredeck, with the motor on it. No one on the boat has any problem seeing forward at any time from the helm because they can simply step to port or starboard a foot or so and see all the way up either side of the boat and forward. I hold my right hand well off the center line when making signals to the foredeck as my wife has requested.
We anchor at least once a day and sometimes as many as three times. We do between 12 and 20 charters a season (pre C-19) and have never felt the need to "talk" when anchoring, mooring or docking. Things go wrong now and then, but the 30 or 40 feet from the bow to the cockpit takes but a few seconds to walk, so verbal communication is easily accomplished without shouting or miscommunication.
As for my wife being forced to do anything, she has gone from a professional equestrian who had never been on a sailing boat, to a hundred ton master, able to do refrigeration, pump, electrical, plumbing repairs and installation, expert varnish work and most engine repairs, never mind the fun stuff like going aloft and sailing. She is not the "Admiral" (that's fine for those who are) who doesn't want the challenging jobs, but wants (needs) to be a captain able to operate and repair, or at least understand every system aboard any vessel she is hired to operate after I am gone.
I put in my 2 cent's worth because I sincerely believe those who rely on things like headsets will have no fallback method of communication when they fail. Just as chartplotters, AIS, radars, etc are wonderful aids to navigation, those who haven't learned to operate their vessels without any of it will be in a world of hurt one day if those things fail. I've had it happen on a million dollar yacht on a voyage from Lauderdale to the Great Lakes, so I know it can happen to any of us.
 
Jun 28, 2020
10
Hunter 466 Long Beach
Good for you Capta...again, super impressed and proud of you and all your amazing accomplishments and skills (insert golf clap).
I'm so glad you had a chance to get on your soapbox and enlighten us all on your awesomeness. I just didn't realize this was FaceBook.

Now, back to the forum...
Hello there...I'm not Christopher Columbus sailing the 7 seas, and for now just sail to local islands for overnight hooks or moorings, and day sails because it's awesome an enjoyable. I think it would be great to have a headset to communicate easily with the wife who's at the helm. Not sure about you, but sometimes it's hard to communicate perfectly verbally or with hand signals, and just sometimes when things get tense a calming voice could be helpful instead of any miscommunications. I'm certainly not perfect, so I think having a perfect voice in my ear hearing everything clearly back and forth is great idea. I've seen people do it twice...in person! I swear, and it was pretty cool! The one dock neighbor said it was a Marriage Saver for him. Not sure that applies, but it couldn't hurt.
I never asked the brand, or likely forget I suppose, but people move on. The other day i saw from a distance a couple using them and figured I'd get on the friendly forum and ask if anyone else that thinks it's cool and could offer some suggestions on what's being used.

May I ask, if you don't have a clue what is being used and what's good, please don't answer. I'm looking for ideas on headsets, not some blowhard's opinion of how lame they are, and you're not a real sailor if you use them, while puffing their chest and yanking their chain.
Those people can ignore my simple question, try not to get too bothered by it, and go have a "sword fight" with your other ego warriors.