New Satellite Communications Systems

For nearly 20 years billionaires have been promising that worldwide, fast, always on, and reasonably priced internet, that we could use anywhere on our boats, was just around the corner, but now Matt makes a convincing case that we really will see this soon, and why things are different and better this time. Most important of all, he explains what we need to do to get ready.

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Iridium Update 2017

John takes a look at the latest news on Iridium satellite phones and GO!, some real world reports from users, and finishes with some solid purchase and usage recommendations.

Arctic Gear Test—Radar

A reliable radar is the most important piece of electronic gear on a boat sailing in northern waters. In this chapter we discuss how our Furuno 1832 radar performed during our 10,000-mile Arctic voyage.

AIS Revisited

AIS ooutput on chart plotter
AIS ooutput on chart plotter
Sometimes you need all the help you can get!

I’ve written before on the potential benefits of AIS for small craft, and having used it far more since then, it’s time for an update. After being initially impressed with it, and the capabilities it offers beyond radar, has it lived up to that first impression? A good test was when we recently crossed to Morocco west of the Straits of Gibraltar, a remarkably busy stretch of water, which is where AIS should (and indeed, did) come into its own.

Broadband Radar, A New Way Of Seeing?

Fog bank, Islas Cies 1 036 Two Moons 6 45

Sailing down the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal is generally pretty easy going– reliable northerlies make for steady downwind progress. The only concerns are the swell (which can close some ports), and the fog, which can be a real pain. Along the northern part of this coast, on most days we could see a bank of fog out to sea, and far too often it drifted in and covered the coast with an almost impenetrable blanket (sometimes for days), making onward progress unpleasant, to say the least.

Bohlken Westerland Barograph

In these days of readily available weather forecasts and satellite- or HF radio-delivered GRIB files, it could perhaps be argued that the barometer has been supplanted as a weather forecasting device. However, in our opinion, that supposition would be a serious mistake.

Q&A: Radar Scanner Position

Question: What is your preference regarding the best place to mount a radar antenna? As far as we can tell from the pictures of Morgan’s Cloud you have mounted yours on a pole aft. Our previous experience with radars tells us that the antenna should be as high and free as possible. Wouldn’t a radar antenna mounted on the mast just above the first spreaders give better range and a more detailed radar picture than if it were mounted lower? It also appears from the pictures that your antenna isn’t mounted in a way that makes it able to tilt so that it can compensate for heel of the boat when sailing.