Message to Father Christmas

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Message to Father Christmas

Patrick Hay 3474
Is a depth sounder necessary in a cruising dinghy?

To be honest the answer is that it’s probably not, because in a lightweight shoal draught boat you’re usually not that concerned with depth until you can either see the bottom or feel it with a long stick (or your centreboard).  But that would be to ignore the facts that a) we all like a gadget, b) we already tend to carry a lot of other gear that is only very occasionally useful, and c) some of us are old-school navigators, who use charts rather than (or as well as) chartplotters, and do sometimes like to use soundings to confirm an estimated position or a visual fix.

Well, anyway, I probably wouldn’t buy one of these, but if Father Christmas is lurking on this forum somewhere, I would not mind if one turned up in my stocking.

"Salvo" -  1963 Tricorn dinghy designed for coastal cruising
Conchil Le Temple
France
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Re: Message to Father Christmas

Alastair Law 2624
On 21 Nov 2018 at 6:00, Patrick Hay 3474 [via DCA Forum] wrote:

>
>
> Is a depth sounder necessary in a cruising dinghy?

Well, of course, the answer is "No".

However. when I first launched my boat, 15 years ago, I fitted a
cheap no-name American sounder that I got at a boat jumble. I found
it's output quite interesting, but the time it came in really useful
was in shallow water, less than 1m. Not having a centre board the 1m
alarm setting was especially valuable. It would (fairly) reliably
give readings down to 0.4m.

When this device started to play up a few years ago I replaced it
with a Hawkeye device. This was a disaster. Whenever it had a problem
(too deep, too shallow, bottom too soft etc.) the display simply
switched off so you had no idea what was going on. (The previous
device, if it lost it's signal, would flash the last known good
reading.) Below 1m it saw as a problem!

I have now fitted a Nasa Target 2 sounder which, while not as good as
the original device is much better than the more expensive Hawkeye.
It does sometimes give spurious shallow water readings but I am
generally satisfied with it.

--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>


--
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.

Alastair Law
Yeovil, England.
<http://www.little.jim.freeuk.com>
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Re: Message to Father Christmas

Patrick Hay 3474
Alastair Law 2624 wrote
When this device started to play up a few years ago I replaced it
with a Hawkeye device. This was a disaster. Whenever it had a problem
(too deep, too shallow, bottom too soft etc.) the display simply
switched off so you had no idea what was going on. (The previous
device, if it lost it's signal, would flash the last known good
reading.) Below 1m it saw as a problem!
Oh!  So it’s probably a good thing that Santa Claus is not following this forum!  But just in case he is - I’ve changed my mind.  Maybe some nice binoculars instead?
"Salvo" -  1963 Tricorn dinghy designed for coastal cruising
Conchil Le Temple
France
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Re: Message to Father Christmas

Patrick Hay 3474
I have just noticed the link I inserted in the original post is not working.  Just in case anyone wanted to know, the product I was hinting I might appreciate as a stocking filler was a HawkEye DepthTrax 1H Portable Depthfinder.

Since Alastair has given this product a bad review in his reply, I won't now be hoping to receive one for Christmas.
"Salvo" -  1963 Tricorn dinghy designed for coastal cruising
Conchil Le Temple
France
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Re: Message to Father Christmas

Michael Wilkinson 3461
I have a "fish finder" type portable depth finder which I used to use on my inflatable when I was a diver.  It was fairly useful for finding isolated rocks or wrecks.  As a way of finding out if the water was too shallow for the boat, it was of limited value because the only place to fit it was the transom.  By the time the echo finder noticed a shallow rock, the bow may well have already hit it.

I'm not at all convinced I'd find it useful on a small sailing dinghy.  It'd be one more distraction when you need to concentrate most.

Also, it may possibly be inaccurate when the boat is heeling.
Cornish Cormorant S/N 27.  Living between Grantham and Newark.  Member of Wanlip SC, Leics.