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Recommended Instruments for Close Coastal Cruising (Day Sailing)

May 19, 2016
112
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Hello,

I was wondering what sensors/instruments would be most recommended for coastal day sailing. I just stepped up to a Catalina 30 and I am placing the boat at a marina along the Jersey Shore, I plan on cruising along the coast, maybe traveling across the Delaware Bay and into the Chesapeake via the C&D Canal.

Currently, our boat has one digital display for a Raymarine Autopilot (ST6000?), and it has a Windex on the top of the mast. I have a new depth-finder/fish-finder/GPS-Chart device that I plan to install and use it via an in-hull install versus thru-hull.

I am generally a novice sailor. I don’t race, and I am not interested in racing. I just enjoy being on the water and sailing in peace and quiet. If the boat is moving in the general direction I want to go, I am happy. Our first boat was a Catalina 22 that lacked electricity, but we used it to great joy for five years. It was in a very tight river outside Philadelphia that provides a poor sailing environment. Last summer we stepped up to a Catalina 30, which was a bit overwhelming at first, due to its size, many different components, and mechanisms, a diesel motor, electricity, etc. This next summer, with the larger boat, I am looking to go into the ocean for more wind greater distance runs. I don’t want to go overboard installing expensive instruments that I don’t need or would not use. Also, in a weird way I don’t want to become dependent on electronics. However, I do want to know the things I should have. At this time, the Depth is of most interest to me.

Thanks,
Snoopy.
[mm1]
 
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Dec 28, 2015
1,322
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Chart plotter. Either iPad or a stand alone. I had a IPad already so I went with it and have been very happy for the past couple years. A wind speed indicator would be nice.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,693
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@snoopy_ I would suggest adding a wind meter at the masthead, and download the Navionics Boating App on your phone or tablet.
There are wireless wind instruments that will simplify installation.
Another thought about installing your fish/depth sounder: if your hull is solid glass (no coring) you can stick the transducer down to the inside of the hull with a big glob of silicone sealant, and it will work just fine shooting through the hull. Just make sure there are no trapped bubbles in the silicone. Wait for warm weather so the silicone will set up.
 
May 19, 2016
112
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
@snoopy_ I would suggest adding a wind meter at the masthead, and download the Navionics Boating App on your phone or tablet.
There are wireless wind instruments that will simplify installation.
Another thought about installing your fish/depth sounder: if your hull is solid glass (no coring) you can stick the transducer down to the inside of the hull with a big glob of silicone sealant, and it will work just fine shooting through the hull. Just make sure there are no trapped bubbles in the silicone.
My intention is to shoot through the hull as stated. I heard many methods, such as toilet wax. Not sure which method I will use, but before buying more expensive equipment I wanted to get an idea of what I would need, use, etc.

Thanks,
Snoopy
 
May 19, 2016
112
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Chart plotter. Either iPad or a stand alone. I had a IPad already so I went with it and have been very happy for the past couple years. A wind speed indicator would be nice.
I have used Navionics, which I like. I thought about buying a Samsung Galaxy tablet with an internet GPS for Navionics; though I read some people complain the screens on tablets are not bright enough for daylight use. I then thought the fishfinder/Chartplotter would be plenty bright. I have an older iPad Air, but it does not have GPS. However, the boat came with a miniature Bluetooth GPS receiver (Dual xgps150A XGPS150A - Universal GPS Receiver — Dual GPS Solutions), which I was thinking would be a backup device. I also thought of buying a Garmin handheld as a backup, which also has as an MOB button.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,693
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
AIS sounded interesting, especially because I am close to a TSZ. However, is the receiver enough or do you need a transceiver?
The AIS should be connected to your Chartplotter. If you get one with Wifi you can connect it to your Navionics app, and it will also supply yet the GPS info to the app, even if your tablet doesn’t have a GPS. The value of a transceiver (vs receiver) is that the ships can also see you. Shop for AIS B+ also called SODTMA. It transmit’s your info more frequently, and with a stronger signal. Here’s a write up Explanation of the new Class B "SOTDMA" technology - Digital Yacht
 
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May 17, 2004
3,371
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
For much of the Jersey shore area like Barnegat Bay, or even the ocean near the coast, I think you’d be fine with just the depth finder / GPS that you have. Depending on the sophistication of the GPS you can use Navionics for a little help in tricky sections like inlets. Delaware Bay and the C&D have much more shipping traffic, so at least an AIS receiver might be worthwhile there. Does the GPS have any kind of NMEA networking to interface to an AIS receiver?
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,525
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
Chart booklet(s) w/protective cover of your cruising area(s), a good pair of friction-head dividers, pair of 7x50 binoculars w/compass, and a back-up depth “sounder” (e.g., lead line). BTW. We have three hand-held VHFs aboard.
 
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Jun 14, 2010
1,693
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
@snoopy_ even though I suggested AIS transceiver, above, I‘d rank it lower on the list of priorities than other things mentioned, and below radar (which hasn’t yet been mentioned). However, even if you just get a receiver it’s better than not having the info.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,693
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
Chart booklet(s) w/protective cover
I finally decided I don’t need the backup after many many years of carrying those beneath the settee cushions. They’ve been relegated to the recycling bin. Just like the US Navy, I no longer carry paper charts. They decided that back in 2005 to go all-electronic. I must be a luddite, because I decided that in 2020 even though I’ve been using only electronic charts since 2001.
Edit: It’s ironic that navigating using paper charts is such a major portion of the USCG Captain training. It’s good to know how to use them, however.
 
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Jul 27, 2011
4,525
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
@snoopy_ even though I suggested AIS transceiver, above, I‘d rank it lower on the list of priorities than other things mentioned, and below radar (which hasn’t yet been mentioned). However, even if you just get a receiver it’s better than not having the info.
Ever had to use your wooden (thru-hull) plugs; your life raft?, your EPIRB?, or et cetera! Your lead line, if you have one? In any event, it’s a matter of how one goes about his/her piloting. I always have the chart out on the nav table, even when sailing around locally, and even when principally using the plotter or the iPad. I don’t have one of those big screen plotters (only a Garmin 76 hand-held), so I use Navionics on the iPad w/GPS capability quite a bit now for the larger screen, and for real-time navigation data. Yes, it’s very convenient, especially at night; and I do like it.:) But it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t leave home w/o me paper charts.

On me most recent charter in September in the San Juans, the boat was well stocked with chart booklets which the Company put aboard. These were in addition to the large Garmin (w/AIS) chart plotter at the binnacle. The Company also gave us “special” charts marked w/red the areas where the yacht should not venture. BTW. I read recently that Naval officers were back to, or will be back to, learning celestial navigation in preparation for some kind of disruption of satellite navigation, should it occur. Maybe that’s why we need a space force:doh:, protect our satellites?

It’s true that the OP asked for recommendations for “instruments.” Charts might not be considered instruments, but are still relevant to the central question of coastal cruising. However, they wouldn’t be much use not knowing how to plot a position. Moreover, if lacking GPS, not knowing how to use one for coastal piloting. So, under the cushion would be about as helpful as out on the nav table:huh:.
 
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