Copyright (c) Marc Dacey/Dark Star Media unless otherwise indicated. Above photo (c) Marc Dacey. Powered by Blogger.

2018-01-22

I can see clearly now: here comes the rain again


Several years of research, opinion-seeking and review prepared me for the moment at the recent Toronto International Boat Show when I turned a somewhat less-travelled part of the vast floorspace and saw a Furuno booth. I had been assured that Furuno "wasn't at the show this year" and Mrs. Alchemy had confirmed that they were not listed in the official show guide.

So even when I saw the modest booth in question and saw the Furuno 1815 4kw radar unit on display, I recognized it right away. I've been lusting after it for over half a year. Thanks to the endorsement of sailors (including John Harries and Andy Schell) whose opinions I respect, I was going to go Furuno; but this very new model has the same reach and the feature set I desire of the twice-the-cost 1835 model. It's just about 4 cm. smaller. Seeing it "live", however, put my mind at rest on that score, as it will be perfect in the pilothouse and will be closer to the eyeline of the helmsperson than, say, at the outside binnacle. Some of my choices of equipment are in fact driven by my disinclination to have much of anything "outside" at the sailing helm, save for a compass or possibly a dimmed-down tablet wirelessly repeating plotter info from below. But that evolving preference is perhaps left for another day.

The people I bought the Furuno from gave me a good deal predicated on the production of U.S. dollars. This was because I quoted the price from Defender Marine, a big U.S. firm with mostly attractive prices. Aside from doing a few deliveries, heavy weather races and trips abroad to take RYA training, probably the most beneficial thing I ever did to advance our cruising plans was to convert a respectable sum of Canadian dollars into U.S. currency, which I keep in a separate account here in Canada and for which I have a "U.S. Dollar VISA" card. I did this during one of the vanishingly rare times when the Canadian dollar was worth more than the U.S. in relative terms (it's worth about 0.80 U.S. at present) and it's come in very handy when I've found a significant difference in price (even taking the dollar difference into account) between buying locally or ordering online.

The problem arises when customs fees (what's NAFTA now?) and shipping enter the picture. Not much of what I tend to need is particularly light; the last item I ordered was a diesel starter motor at about 15 kilos, and shipping (as it was for the SPADE anchor that came last summer) can be a brutal top-up that erodes any price advantage I've secured through foreign currency. But it's better than nowt, as the Yorkshiremen say, and when the Maplesat fellows, whose business is rather farther ranging than just being Furuno dealers, offered a price in U.S. dollars that allowed me to avoid shipping and customs, I went for it. Such are the extingencies of the frugal cruiser.
May I be of service? (c) Scanstrut.com


Rather than list the attributes of the particular unit I've acquired (and which are easily searched, for the technically disposed), I'll focus on those elements once I go "live" in the spring. Running the various cables and connections safely and securely through the mast will be a bit of a job, and the Scanstrut self-levelling mast radome mount looks like it will provide a stable place to loft up the business end of the new radar. Combined with the recently acquired Vesper XB8000 AIS unit I am also installing prior to launch, I do believe we will be able to see and be seen to a far greater and more accurate degree than standing on the foredeck with a bell and horn.

Hydraulically dampened to remain level when the boat is not (which is most of the time on passage). I like hydraulics. (c) Scanstrut.com

Of course, we will keep the bell and the horn.

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