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NZ shipping lanes/radar reflector/ais


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IT's call of never rely on one set of information is probably key to being safe. I will add to this that radio contact is an another option if you are genuinely concerned that another vessel has not seen you and plan your evasive action. If you can't raise them on the radio, assume no one is on watch. If you can, they probably already know you are there and you can resume normal duties unless it is agreed between you that you need to change course.

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Thank you rigger for taking the time to give such a detailed response. And thank you to the others that have given feedback.. It is very interesting to hear all the different view points.

 

As I am sailing solo I feel I have the responsibility to other sea users to take more precautions than a vessel with 2 or more crew. After seeing how AIS works I feel it is more of a need than a want in my circumstance. If I had other crew I would say it would be more of a want.

 

It was certainly a steep learning curve and very confusing when I first looked up AIS systems.. Man there are a lot of ways of setting it up and big variances in price! By the time I sell my near new VHF, the actual outlay is fairly small for a useful bit of kit that will hopefully add a little more piece of mind to a voyage.

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Well in the 40 years I have been steering a yacht can't say I have ever mown down any fishermen but never say never. :)

 

Spend enough time in the ocean and you get to appreciate the technological advances that improve things out of sight.some people still swear that GPS is not good and we should spend our time taking sun shots and plotting charts. My argument is that if Captain Cook had gps he would have definitely used it. In his day and accurate clock was white man's magic.

From your posts not only have you got flash instruments you've also made up some new problems to justify having them.

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a few other things you could consider for solo night sailing

 

- a really bright, focussed beam led spot light to point directly at a vessel that appears to be on a collision course and has not seen you............also good for identifying moorings, channel markets, things that go bump in the night etc     have this just inside the cabin so you can get to it quick

 

- a white flare right next to it......white flares are for collision avoidance..........hardly worth buying one when there are so many expired ones sitting in garages, ask around, swap for an expired beer......have some ready cable ties to zip it to a lifeline or bow pulpit...as a solo sailor you can't steer safely while waving 1 around the cockpit

 

- a 2 ltr soda bottle carefully stuffed with scrunched up alloy foil in an aft locker...........costs nothing, could even act as emergency floatation?, should act as some sort of radar reflector if tied to a halyard for night sailing

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While motoring, 1/2 way back from Noumea a ship on direct collision altered course by a few  mile went past and then moved back onto its rhumbline.....  watched all that on Radar...  sometimes they see you, was a super clear night dead flat seas...

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I've found, especially in crappy weather, that Ais and radar see vessels before crew on watch, probably 9 x out of 10.

Once you have encountered a few 100 ships, you'll wonder why you were so worried.

Solo, at night, offshore, when I need to sleep, I have a 4 nm guard zone, and really loud alarms on both radar and Ais. Works great, but it's not a $100 system - approx $5k

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 Harbour racing they piss the pilots off by cutting them off, yet at sea........

 

Gotta say in Tauranga the folks racing have not caused me any issues for a longtime - they are keeping well clear - it is appreciated!

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depending where you are

 

you should be able to connect it to a small 12v transformer

 

put a metre of single core, unshielded wire into the middle of the antenna socket 

 

and compare boats on ais

 

with what an ais program shows on your computer

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Gonna get me an AIS someday. I view it as another tool to help with situational awareness and decision making. It won't solve the most frequent problem that I have had over the years though - near misses with small fizz boats and launches fishing and obscured by the genoa. The best instrument for that is a kitchen timer to remind me to do a 360 visual scan of the horizon every 15min or so.

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What Rigger said plus...fishing vessels are far less predictable than most transport shipping.

A lot dont carry AIS transmitters. 

A reasonable radar and a SOLID knowledge of how to use it , such as setting up guard zones is probably a better safety net than an AIS receiver. AIS can provide a false sense of what is really out there.

20 mins seems to be a reasonable time for spotting big ship lights...but in a big swell, smaller vessels can pop up way quicker.

Dont forget to look behind !!

Standard horizon makes a very good DSC radio that has built in AIS reception for about the same price as a normal DSC VHF radio.

If in doubt or confused about a vessels track or speed, politely call them up on VHF and fist ask them if they can see you.(Sometimes this can take a little time because the OOW may have poor to non existent English and may have to get someone else to the radio)

Even if you are sailing make friends by not forcing a large vessel to alter course, (though most often they have already seen you and adjusted their course first) ...

Remember that on a chart plotter with an AIS overlay your zoom level can easily make it look like you are going to pass close to another vessel so zoom in and check for real using your chart plotters ruler tools to find out really just how close.

If you (NZ and other visitors) travel the east coast of Australia for the first time ...be very aware that there can be ridiculous amounts of shipping especially near some of the bulk coal loading facilities..(these vessels at anchor can show up to 6 knots on AIS at the turn of the tide....but they are not under way).

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IB, if you have AIS, as per your post above, there is no need to use your plotters ruler to measure CPA ( closest point of approach) - the ais does that for you, providing real time info ( within 30 odd seconds, depending on AIS class) . Simply look at the ais detail for the vessel concerned under CPA.

Some systems display it on the screen, or can be configured to do so, and also indicate wether the vessel will pass ahead or astern. Both the Vesper units and open cpn do this extremely well, so others or not so clear.

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