Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard lay at anchor in North Cove, Kawau Island
for two days and we shared meals and ideas. Hawk, their 47-foot voyaging home,
is far more complex than Taleisin, but definitely considered simply outfitted
by the standards of many we see today. Evans suggested we share the following
items- gleaned from their latest 30,000 miles of high latitude voyaging -
- Evans has tried every type of connection available and found the
only ones that tend to last in the salty environment of a cruising boat are those
that have plated connectors. His favorite choice is made by Aqua-signal which
have silver-plated connectors. According to Evans, these are available through
out Europe and the USA at major chandleries.
Radar - Evans
and Beth invested in a high powered, top of the line radar unit for their voyaging
to Iceland and northern latitudes. When they encountered heavy fog they learned
they could not trust the returns - the radar did not penetrate the heavy blanket
of moisture to provide a true reading of what lay beyond. Furthermore, Icebergs
gave very poor returns.
This coincides with a lesson we learned when we were crossing the North Atlantic
a few years back. It was just at dusk. We had a heavy rainsquall just south of
us. Skies to the north were completely clear and we saw a ship that appeared to
be on a parallel course about a mile north of us. I called them on our handheld
VHF and asked for a check on our running lights (we use kerosene lamps and I wanted
to confirm they could be seen from the Colreg required distance). The officer
on watch responded almost immediately stating, "I do not have anything on
my radar within 10 nautical miles. Are you sure you are contacting the correct
vessel?" I gave him a bearing to our position. Almost immediately he replied,
"Yes, I see your lights - you are 2.3 miles south south east of us. Guess
that big rain squall behind you obscured your return on our radar." This
worried us a lot as we do have a radar reflector inside our wooden mast. The officer
said he would check our radar return when we were clear of the squall - twenty
minutes later he informed us we showed up big and clear.
These incidents make us doubt the practicality of relying on a radar alarm
rather than a human lookout at sea.