Collisions and groundings have traditionally cost yacht owners millions of pounds in damages. Of course, being able to spot an obstacle before a dangerous situation occurs is what every captain strives for.
Conventional echo sounders only tell you the depth of the water you are currently in. In order to anticipate the true waters, you are about to enter you require forward-looking sonar.
Historical passage planning
Historical passage planning using charts and ‘fish finder’ sonars are unreliable, particularly in areas which are poorly charted. Plus, of course, the owners and charter guests always want to visit an unexplored inlet or bay.
Superyacht captains often find themselves confronted with hazards particularly in these lesser-known areas, such as coral reefs, icebergs, sandbars, submerged debris, and marine life.
Forward-looking sonar isn’t new
No, it isn’t, but what is available varies greatly. FarSounder offers products that provide the three critical readings required for obstacle avoidance, these are depth, range, and bearing. FarSounder claims that none of the competitors are providing the same capabilities found in their equipment, which has up to a 120-degree field of view in real-time out to navigationally significant ranges, updated in less than every 2 seconds.
So, what is new in the world of FarSounder forward-looking sonar?
With the company’s continued growth and focus on research and development, it was time to give the series a name and offer more alternatives. The new name is the Argos series and there are now three models in the series. The latest model the Argos 350 was revealed for the first time at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in late October 2019.
This new sonar option has all the same applications and quality found in its other navigational sonars, however, it has been designed with a smaller and lighter transducer and has a 350-meter range of detection. It is well-suited for mid-sized yachts from 18 – 40+ meters, as well as for commercial and smaller military vessels
The Argos 350: A game-changer for smaller yachts and sailing yachts
Argos – what is in a name? In Greek mythology, Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Ioicos to Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which is a symbol of authority and kingship. According to legend, the Argo contained in her prow a magical piece of timber from the sacred forest of Dodona which could speak and render prophecies and guided the ship to safety. Therefore, the name Argos was used to encapsulate the authority and safety these products bring to the yachting community.
The Argos 350 is a new smaller, lighter version of the original Argos 1000 and Argos 500 product. The user interface of the 3 products are identical and the applications are the same, however, the difference is reflected in the power. The Argos 350 provides you with 350 metres of forward-looking sonar, rather than 500m and 1000m of the Argos 500 and Argos 1000 respectively.
The Argos 500 and Argos 1000 were sometimes deemed to be too large and too expensive for this size of yacht and now FarSounder has the perfect family of products for all size vessels. With reduced size (the Argos 350 is only 8” x 7.9” x 6.4”) the product is not only more suited to smaller vessels, but also to sailing yachts who prefer the smaller equipment as it creates less weight and less drag for racing yachts. The reduction in power and physical size also, of course, means there is also a reduction in price point for this product, at nearly half the price of the Argos 500. The FarSounder team can provide you with the best advice to find the perfect forward-facing sonar for your vessel.
All models allow for an easy, fixed installation. The same as its bigger family members, there are no moving parts to the product that can break and become an issue. With nothing protruding below the hull, the system can be deployed in very shallow water. The Argos 350, however, offers another alternative as well, it can be connected to a hoist in a 10-inch diameter sea chest.
What does the launch of Argos 350 mean to FarSounder?
The launch of the Argos 350 is opening up this great technology to so many other people in the yachting community. It is estimated that there are up to 120,000 yachts in the 18-40m category.
As a business, FarSounder now has a product line with offerings to suit many different sizes of yachts so they can cover a wide range of the market. They are bringing forward-looking sonar to a wide market without compromising on the quality that people expect from a FarSounder product.
As the leader in 3D Forward Looking Sonar technology, FarSounder has kept the yachting community safe from shallows and in-water obstacles since 2005. In introducing the Argos 350 to this new market, these smaller vessels can now enjoy FarSounder’s 3D real-time software and navigate with confidence.
Argos 350: The Technical information
With an operational speed of 18 knots (compared to 20 and 25 knots for the Argos 500 and Argos 1000), this system will give navigators the option to see in front under the water while underway. It will display a 3D image and simultaneously overlay the data on a nautical chart. This information will have a complete update on a single ping.
This new forward-looking sonar has a significant field of view. The system detects hazards out to 350m, down 50m and has a field of view up to 120 degrees wide. This provides an unprecedented situational awareness for captains and crew. They can now know what they could not see – the underwater environment around the ship and in real-time.
The FarSounder Argos systems consist of the same components in all other models. The transducer module, 33m underwater mateable cable, power module, and computer. They all work together to gather and process data and display it on an easy to understand user-interface. The interface features both a 3D view of the data and a chart overlay on S57/S63 or C-MAP charts.
Installation of the Argos 350 is as easy as the others. It has no moving parts, which means easy integration into the hull and easy to maintain. The fixed installation design is suitable for vessels with or without a bulb on both refit and new builds. The 350 can be a fixed installation and in addition, it is designed to fit in a 10-inch diameter sea chest.
FarSounder continues to challenge the boundaries of sonar technology to provide all superyachts with a practical addition to navigation safety.
Find out more about FarSounder and all their products on their newly launched website
Read about Farsounder here in our Superyacht Technology News Winter Blueprint.