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Looking for Bridge Doppler

Last week we reported on Laurie Chaikin’s successful trip under a 70-ft bridge on her Leopard 45 Charleette II, which sports a 71-ft mast. First Mate Ron Taillon wonders if there’s a way to confirm the clearance before you get to the point of no return.

Five feet of clearance can make your heart go thumpity-thump.

© Laurie Chaikin

"That was a hair raising experience," Ron says of the trip under the Hwy 37 bridge on the Petaluma River. "We measured the exact mast height above the water, then calculated low tide at the first bridge, checked predicted winds, etc. We figured we had a 5-ft margin, but it was still unnerving to slowly motor under the bridges and cable. There must be some type of doppler device to get a quick reading from the deck so you can have confidence in trusting the chart’s readings. Does anyone know of a device like this?"

We’ll leave it to our readers — does anything like that exist and is it feasible on a regular cruising boat? Send your thoughts — and photos, if appropriate — to LaDonna.

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