Monday, May 10, 2010

It's cheap and it works... SPOT

A lot of people don't get the fact that there really is some good gear available to us that does not cost an arm and a leg. The home truth is that more often than not the cost of something has zip to do with its functionality.

For instance, over the years we have had ZERO problems with kludgey NASA Marine bits of gear we have owned (known far and wide as the cheapest of the cheap) and NOTHING but PROBLEMS with our Raymarine/Autohelm gear and awful customer service when it fails (and my friends so far they ALWAYS fail). So in our experience the true test of good gear is that if it works it's good and if it does not it's crap... Price is simply not a factor that carries any weight when you are further out than you'd care to swim home.

Which brings us to SPOT... Something of a favorite on the various forums to put down and dismiss as a "toy" or "dangerous" and "not nearly as good as a $1000 EPIRB"... Most of the people making said comments don't have a SPOT, have not used a SPOT and some of them have never even seen a SPOT... Am I making a point?

When we bought our SPOT it was with some serious reservations as we have not had the best run of luck with the parent company GlobalStar whose Sat Phone we have been using for years (the phone could have worked a whole lot better than it did but it did work... and just for the record we still have a GlobalStar with a lot of spares for sale if anyone is interested) so we bought our SPOT with the understanding that there was a strong possibility that it might not work as advertised... Luckily, the unit we bought worked very well and so far all of the people we have run into with SPOTs or who write us here at Boat Bits central seem to find the SPOT works just fine and dandy in spite of the fact that it does not cost an arm and a leg! Which, when all is said and done, is no bad thing...

On the other hand the SPOT does not have full world coverage but for most folks the coverage is ample and if you are going further you simply have to make allowances. The point is the SPOT is not an end all or replacement for an EPIRB but a way of keeping people in the know of where you are and it is important to school those on your contact list not to over react if you are out of range, forget to send or your batteries go down...You know the drill.

A friend is sailing up to NY from here and he left yesterday... Because he has a SPOT  I can keep track of where he is and what's up. Better yet, his wife and kids up in NY can keep track of him as well... Again, no bad thing!

It works...

Of course, for those who just can't take gear seriously unless it costs a truckload of money, I'll happily sell them my old Raymarine gear for an elevated silly price (as I can't seem to even give the crap away at swap meets) or maybe I can interest them in some Harken not-so-goodness and if either of those interest you, I still have that tower in Paris...