CQRs, radar reflectors etc

Duffer

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After YM's detailed article on radar reflectors in June 2005 I said to SWMBO "we really must get another radar reflector". 3 days later she proudly presented me with another 4" tube reflector!!! However even though rubbished in this and the latest MAIB report, the odd thing is that it seems to work perfectly well on our 35' AWB. On cross-channel trips in the last couple of years, ships have altered course for us at about 5nm range to pass 1nm ahead or behind us without any dramas. In most cases they alter before we have even got a clear visual as to whether we need to take avoiding action so we must be giving a good enough signal for their ARPA to work. We also try to help by keeping a steady course and speed and making any alterations obvious.

As for CQRs we have used them for years and always reverse after anchoring to check it is holding and dug in. In the last 6 years in the South West I have only had to relay it once (probably my fault in tricky conditions) and we have never dragged.

It may be that other reflectors and anchors are better but my question is what other piece of kit has been (or do you expect to be) comprehensively rubbished but which in practice you find to be perfectly good?
 
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[ QUOTE ]
After YM's detailed article on radar reflectors in June 2005 I said to SWMBO "we really must get another radar reflector". 3 days later she proudly presented me with another 4" tube reflector!!! However even though rubbished in this and the latest MAIB report, the odd thing is that it seems to work perfectly well on our 35' AWB. On cross-channel trips in the last couple of years, ships have altered course for us at about 5nm range to pass 1nm ahead or behind us without any dramas. In most cases they alter before we have even got a clear visual as to whether we need to take avoiding action so we must be giving a good enough signal for their ARPA to work. We also try to help by keeping a steady course and speed and making any alterations obvious.

As for CQRs we have used them for years and always reverse after anchoring to check it is holding and dug in. In the last 6 years in the South West I have only had to relay it once (probably my fault in tricky conditions) and we have never dragged.

It may be that other reflectors and anchors are better but my question is what other piece of kit has been (or do you expect to be) comprehensively rubbished but which in practice you find to be perfectly good?

[/ QUOTE ]

Isn't one of the biggest factors how it's used and presented - not actually the design ? Like most - you can walk around marinas and see some daft installations ...

As to CQR - few days ago is first time in many years I've seen my trusty Holdfast Plough (CQR copy) not hold ... but I forgave it ... as it was in my private canal and I dropped it from the dinghy about 10m away from boat...... in approx. 1m of water. I wanted to use it to hold stern of from the pontoon ... stern meddi moor ... but of course when I started to take in excess chain - the angle and rode was insufficient. (Grossly unfair on the anchor !)
 

Davy_S

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Regarding anchoring and types of anchor used, I think it is more to do with the technique used.
I watched a single handed German yacht attempt a med style mooring. He reversed in stern first and dropped his hook (plough type) one and a half boat lengths from the quayside, the depth is 10 meters. He tied on his sternlines, ran back to the bow and winched his anchor chain in, Result? you guessed! He has a think about this, gets in his rubber duck and rows out with his anchor, drops it in the same place with the same result. He then motors out with the yacht and amazingly does the same trick, reverses back ties on and drags again!
How did he expect an anchor to hold in 10 meters 15 meters from the quayside? the chain was nearly vertical. It was only when a flottilla leader came along in a rib and had a word, then took his anchor chain and warp about 50 meters off did he manage to hold. The yachtsman obviously knew how to sail but was clueless about how to anchor. I wonder how many people blame the anchor when really it is their fault.
 
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Read my post .... I reckon to have a good idea how to anchor !! and did same as the Meddi guy .... I had excuse though - the width of my canal is not enough to have sufficient rode !!

It is interesting to note that I have now driven a metal post into the bank-side and have a chain shackled to it ... going out along canal bottom rising to a buoy. The buoy is then via 3 strand strop to bow of boat. The chain has about 2x the total distance in length post to boat ... and rarely lifts of the bottom even in moderate winds. The chain is not as heavy as the anchor chain I have ... in fact is open oval link from garden centre - about 1.5" long links !! its doubled to give a bit more weight. Being Fresh water - its lasts fine ...
 

zefender

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[ QUOTE ]
I wonder how many people blame the anchor when really it is their fault.

[/ QUOTE ]

Oh, all the time. I also blame any crew that happen to be involved, dodgy holding ground, sudden change in depth etc.

On much maligned but generally OK stuff, I'd add most AWBs, Volvo Penta, notebook PCs and stinkies.
 

Sans Bateau

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Forget about the anchor, there has already been loads written here on the subject.

The radar reflector though, throw is away, those ships would NOT have been picking up a reflection from that fraudulent bit of kit you have, sorry but they do not work.

Two years ago I was crossing the channel, motor sailing, in company with our Dutch friends. He had one of these toys on his shrouds. As the conditions were particularly benign, I spent some time down below studying the radar, matching the visual with what was on my radar screen, judging distances etc.

This in itself was a good exercise as I was able to compare the size of the image on the screen with the vessel that was creating the reflection. There were other yachts doing the same crossing and using binos it was possible to see the ones with the 'Blipper' type reflector (looks like a fender up the mast!), these provide a good reflection. The reflection though from our poor Dutch friend was no better than from a yacht that, as far as I could see did not have a reflector at all!

So unscientific it might have been but the evidence was quite compelling.

Buy a proper reflector.
 
G

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I've always wondered ... if you took a few tennis ball holders ... scrumpled up tin foil and stuffed intoi the tubes ... join a few together to make a reasonable length - would that be as good as the tube jobs over the counter ?

"Now here's one I made earlier !!" /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

Koeketiene

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I'm not questioning your skills or your equipment /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif , but how good are they?

I've got 2 tubes aloft. When a fellow forumite tracked me during the last SB trip to Ostend he "lost" me after about 2NM.
When I recently asked a passing warship to track us, they had no probs tracking us 10NM plus.

Your biggest worry is not being seen by other yachts, but by commercial trafffic; and they tend to have better equipment and should be better trained too.
 

Koeketiene

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[ QUOTE ]
Yachting Monthly /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif

[/ QUOTE ]

/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Sorry - red wine all over the monitor moment.

How is GM IV BTW?
I feel a load of Curry (sic) Sark articles coming.
 

Sans Bateau

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[ QUOTE ]
I've got 2 tubes aloft. When a fellow forumite tracked me during the last SB trip to Ostend he "lost" me after about 2NM.
When I recently asked a passing warship to track us, they had no probs tracking us 10NM plus.

[/ QUOTE ]

mmm, thats reasuring, warships have good radar then, I wonder though if you would have been any less vissible without the reflector.

Trouble is Wil, its not just the warships that you want to see you, its all the others!
 

Robin

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I will echo (pun intended) Galadriel's comments re the Mobri reflectors as well as endorse our Firdell Blipper. We frequently have seen very poor returns from French yachts with the Mobris whilst Brit boats with Blippers or similar or the octahedral ones usually have consistent returns from about 4mls on our radar. Of course we CAN see boats without reflectors and CAN pick them up more than 4mls away but the echo isn't consistent and is easily missed or put down initially as a false return from a wave. Often French boats have Mobris laid flat along the spreaders or have really tiddly octahedrals mounted point up, a real waste of time, windage and money.
 

Duffer

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I wasn't rubbishing YM - the reports on reflectors and anchors were thorough and have certainly caused a lively debate. But the reports were done in necessarily artificial "test" conditions and don't necessarily correspond to real world experience. My CQR with heavy chain and a minimum of 3x HW depth has been very reliable... And as I say we seem to be giving a good echo for commercial shipping - yes a Sea Me active reflector would give a better echo for £500 + fitting but how do you know if it suddenly stops working? You should therefore have a good passive reflector as well - in which case is the Sea Me worth it?

We have a C-screen with mast-mounted 2kw 18" Raydome (as do many others) with MARPA and we find we pick up all commercial shipping at a range of 6-9 miles. Small craft such as other yachts etc are harder to spot and we pick up most between say 2-5 miles (depending on size and I guess their reflector). Very small fishing craft (open or with a small cuddy etc) we only pick up at less than 2 miles and then (it seems to me) only if they have some form of reflector. We also find that having the jib out in front of the Raydome gives a "shadow" i.e reduces the echoes behind it - so we roll it up in really poor vis. My point is that all small craft venturing out of sheltered estuaries onto the High Seas should have a reflector of some sort - it can only help (and in my experience does). Some of the recent comment is that the cheap ones are useless so there is no point them bothering.

Maybe YM should do a test with standard kit like mine on standard settings out on the water and find out what boats give an echo and what don't and whether this really is down to the reflector. There seems to be a national shortage of SWMBOs who like sailing (despite Dame Ellen etc) - I'm not surprised when they read articles about how they are likely to come to a grisly end because their anchor is useless and so is their reflector and when did they last check the keel bolts?
 

Duffer

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Macgregor power sailors - yes I agree. Within their limitations (i.e fairly sheltered waters) they offer a lot of fun being easily trailerable and relatively cheap. I saw someone having a great time tacking up the Dart in one.
 

Sans Bateau

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[ QUOTE ]
Maybe YM should do a test with standard kit like mine on standard settings out on the water and find out what boats give an echo and what don't and whether this really is down to the reflector

[/ QUOTE ]

So you didnt read my post. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 
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