Features April 2008 Issue

Practical Sailor Takes Interphase’s New Forward-Looking Sonar for a Spin

Sea trial finds the SE-200 useful for those heading to out-of-the-way places.

Charts and GPS help sailors stay out of harm’s way. But for navigation in those more remote destinations that may not be well-charted, relatively small and affordable forward-looking sonar is added security. Longtime cruising sailors Andy O’Grady and Ulla Norlander sea-trialed Interphase’s new SE-200 Sonar Engine aboard their 42-foot sailboat Balaena. They used the sounding equipment primarily in Brazil’s muddy rias and shallow rivers. After six months of forward-looking sonar tests, O’Grady and Norlander found that getting the most out of the device had a big learning curve. Sailors need to master the art of reading the sonar, adjusting the equipment, and determining false echoes. Common problems testers had with the sonar included interference and false echoes, the inability to set an alarm area on the radar screen, and a lack of space aboard to install the sonar where it won’t be subject to interference. In spite of the SE-200’s limitations, testers found it to be integral to their navigation. They use it regularly and reported that they’d feel lost without it.

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