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Avoiding Vigil Radars and any electronics installed by Prout Catamarans

Our previous Prout Catamaran had a OEM installed British made Vigil radar. Unfortunately, Vigil disappointed us nearly as often as Prout did as the unit never worked properly, except for 1 hour after service calls. Luckily, Vigil had a number of service representatives in the US that we could visit.

Within the first year, we knew Vigil representatives up and down the coast personally as we saw them many times.

What made the Vigil unit particularly scary were the drop-outs, where only ¼ to ½ of the screen would go blank. For example, everything in the sector from 270° to 360° would be blank, while the rest of the screen kept showing targets, etc. We had some close calls when we didn't detect ships in foggy conditions...

Given this and other equipment histories on our previous Prout catamaran, we had as little installed by Prout in England as possible when the time came to order our new Prout. If you still have a functional Vigil radar on board, congratulations. We had no joy with our unit and as best as I can tell, Vigil has ceased operations. I have no idea where one could still even get Vigil repair parts and rather than throwing good money after bad, buying a new radar when the Vigil breaks is probably the better option.

Our Furuno radar was installed in the US by the then distributor Doug Zeisler, along with a replacement water pump. We selected the Furono model 1721 based on the recommendations of Maine lobstermen and we are very happy with our choice. The Furuno radar has been bullet-proof and never required any service. We installed the initial GPS system ourselves and later upgraded to a differential GPS chartplotter which we interfaced with the auto-pilot.

The list of electronics failures is long. It starts with the Prout Catamarans supplied battery monitoring system, which failed from day one. The circuit breakers were sometimes undersized or mislabeled. The electrical diagram was incomplete and replete with wiring information that was either incorrect or not followed. Since we had a similar experience with our previous Snowgoose, we installed the replacement battery monitoring system, powerful battery charging system, etc. ourselves. Never mind the massive upgrades to the electrical system in general.

No wonder Advanced Yachts wouldn't allow Prout Catamarans to install any wiring, electronics, etc. into boats bound for the US market for a while. While AY claims to have ironed out the quality defects, I am loathe to depend on the distributor to police the yard instead of the yard policing itself from the outset. All the claims by Prout Catamarans about ISO compliance seem to shatter as soon as one takes a closer look. Too bad.