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Old 27-02-2014, 07:28   #1
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Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

After following Boatman's Atlantic crossing thread for a while I started wondering what is everyone's top 3, 4 or 5 Navigation / weather websites that they use when planning anything from a crossing to a day trip?

As I would like to eventually move to the ocean and don't currently need any of that info on a lake I would love to hear what you all like to use when out on the ocean. Thanks for any input
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Old 27-02-2014, 07:46   #2
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

For WX, this one is good:

L-36 Weather and Tide

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Old 27-02-2014, 08:47   #3
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

A lot of people say Sailflow is good, but after sailing in Mexico for a month now, I haven't been to get it to load once.

I use Weather 4D, an iPad app, for all of our passage planning. It downloads gribs of whatever parameters you decide. It also has nifty features for linking through satellite phones, although I haven't had any problem finding wifi connections that can handle the grib downloads.
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:00   #4
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

passageweather.com
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Old 27-02-2014, 09:50   #5
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

Sailflow - Pro version. Has been very accurate for me.
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Old 27-02-2014, 10:14   #6
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

Pretty much all the free ones use the same GFS data so it's more about presentation then accuracy, you're looking at the same numbers. I tend to use both grib data and synoptics. But having tried to log forecasts against actual wind speeds once for a week or so I gave up, it's extremely difficult, I suspect thinking your favorite site is more accurate than another one is more wishful thinking than the real world.
This is one is quite handy for double checking if you think your charts might be a bit out of date.. Quicker than wading through countless NTM's
http://www.navionics.com/en/webapp


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Old 27-02-2014, 10:23   #7
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

I enjoy trying to predict using the NOAA source data:
Ocean Prediction Center
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Old 27-02-2014, 12:39   #8
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

Ontherocks,
I'm going to answer your question(s), and hopefully provide you with lots of links to get even more details....and at the bottom, I'm going to post a link to a thread which discusses this entire matter in great detail!! (but first your answers...)


The answer to your question in the thread title "favorite nav/wx websites?" and here in your first paragraph:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
what is everyone's top 3, 4 or 5 Navigation / weather websites that they use when planning anything from a crossing to a day trip?
is MUCH different than the answer to this second question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
I would love to hear what you all like to use when out on the ocean.




So, first the answer to the first question...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
what is everyone's top 3, 4 or 5 Navigation / weather websites that they use when planning anything from a crossing to a day trip?
#1 - National Weather Service Marine Forecasts (with more than enough real forecasts, from humans not just raw computer data....as well as links / access to just about every other marine weather source, public or private, worldwide...as well as e-mail and low-bandwidth access!)
I generally use the current and predicted: surface charts and forecasts; upper air/500mb charts and forecasts; wind/wave charts and forecasts...
All drawn / prepared by experienced marine meteorologists, NOT the raw computer data/models that are sent out as GRIB files...


#2 - Frank Singleton's Weather and Sailing Pages / Franks-Weather | The Weather Window (a wonderful resource!)





#3 - Sailing Weather - Marine Weather Forecasts for Sailors and Adventurers - PassageWeather (a well laid-out site for looking over the GFS model data....and they do have a low-bandwidth version as well)
And, please understand that when viewing sites such as passageweather, etc. that have lots of nice graphics, etc., what conachair wrote is very important to remember!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Pretty much all the free ones use the same GFS data so it's more about presentation then accuracy, you're looking at the same numbers.
Please understand that these are raw computer models, NOT interpreted by any human...and this is what is sent out via a GRIB file....
So, if you're comfortable using raw computer models and interpreting them yourself, these can be nice (and in some far flung / very remote areas, they might be all that you can get....but in the more popular areas and areas with any shipping and/or 1st world nations around, their weather services/met offices employ experienced marine meteorologists to draw up a forecast using many sources and many models, etc. not just the typical one-model GRIB that some sailors look at....just an FYI...)








And, now the answer to your second question...
As most do NOT have internet access at sea, and hence there are NO websites to go to, what we all use when out at sea are usually HF radio broadcasts(wefax, voice of text) from gov't sources such as the US NWS, UK Met Office, Aus Met Office, NZ Met Office, etc...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
I would love to hear what you all like to use when out on the ocean.
#1 - USCG WeFax broadcasts of NWS/NOAA Marine weather charts...which are real world data and forecasts prepared by human beings (who attach their name to each forecast and are graded/evaluated on their accuracy), form the NWS Ocean Prediction Center and NWS Tropical Prediction Center)
These HF radio wefax broadcasts come from multiple USCG stations, multiple times each day, on multiple frequencies, using powerful 4000 watt transmitters, etc. and are sent out to the public/mariners for FREE....(paid for by US tax dollars..)

These are the same charts (prepared by the experience marine meteorologists) that I use as my primary planning weather info (answered above), but are broadcast over HF radio and updated multiple times each day...

Again, most (99.99%) of us do not have internet access at sea, but you (on land) can access these sites here to get the details of what I use when out at sea...
NWS Radiofax
Boston Radiofax Schedule with Links
New Orleans Radiofax Schedule with Links
Pt Reyes Radiofax Schedule with Links
Honolulu Radiofax Schedule with Links
Kodiak Radiofax Schedule with Links

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf




#2 - USCG Voice Weather Broadcasts of NWS/NOAA Offshore and Hi-Seas Weather....broadcast from multiple USCG stations, multiple times a day, on multiple freqs using powerful 4000 watt transmitters, again all for FREE...

See details here: USCG HF Voice



#3 - Public Coast Station WLO (and KLB) Voice weather broadcasts, which are a re-broadcast of the USCG Voice NWS/NOAA offshore and hi-seas forecasts.... FREE of charge....multiple times each day on multiple frequencies using 1000 watt transmitters in Mobile, AL and Seattle, WA....

See details here: HF SSB Radiotelephone, Telex and Email Frequencies and Channels



#4 - UK Met Office WeFax charts, broadcast by GYA, Northwood, England...
AUS Met Office WeFax charts, broadcast by VMC and VMW...

As well as New Zealand Met Office charts, Chilean Met Office charts, South African Met Office chart, German Met Office charts, Russian Met Office charts, Japan Met Office charts, Korean Met office charts, China Met Office charts, etc. etc. etc...

See details here: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/rfax.pdf



#5 - USCG SITOR (text) Weather Broadcasts of NWS/NOAA Hi-Seas Weather....
And, INMARSAT-C "SafetyNet" Hi-Seas text weather broadcasts...

See details here: USCG HF SITOR
INMARSAT-C SafetyNET



#6 - Amateur ("ham") Radio HF Nets and Maritime HF Radio Nets....

See details here: Maritime Mobile Service Network
Welcome to the Pacific seafarer's net | Pacific seafarer's net
The BEST 20-Meter Net Going! | A member of the 14.300 mHz net family.
14300.net
Waterway Net Web Site
AMATEUR "HAM" RADIO

Cruiseheimers Net
doodah




#7 - For "coastal" and "near-offshore" waters, typically out to 200 - 250 miles from land....NAVTEX is GREAT!!!
Although NAVTEX has been heralded for many years in Europe, Asia, etc. many here in the US are coming late to the NAVTEX party (mainly do to the complete coastal coverage of NOAA-VHF Weather Radio broadcast 24/7), NAVTEX is a reliable and inexpensive way to get coastal / near-offshore weather worldwide....stations typically provided weather and have a range of about 250 - 400 miles, so depending on where you are and where you're sailing, NAVTEX can be a great service...
Oh, and like the other services I mention above, it too is FREE!!!

See here for more details: NAVTEX
NAVTEX Maritime Safety Broadcasts
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/gmdss....1-Circ.11.pdf
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/navtarea.jpg



#8 - For purely coastal US sailing....there is NWS/NOAA VHF Weather Radio, and USCG VHF Voice Weather Broadcasts...

See here for details: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MARINE PRODUCTS VIA NOAA WEATHER RADIO
USCG VHF Voice





Ontherocks, please take note that all of the sites and info I detailed above (as well as about 100 times more) is available on the NWS/NOAA Marine Waether Home Page, which is the first site I mentioned and posted a link to...
National Weather Service Marine Forecasts
Have a look around that site, and all the links there, and you'll find almost everything you'll ever need for marine weather...

Further, please take note that NONE of the weather sources used at sea, that I listed above have any fee / payment / subscription requirements....they are all FREE....
And, with the exception of the INMARSAT-C "safetynet" (which of course requires a INMARSAT-C terminal, costing about $2500), all the other sources require no special equipment on-board, NO $2000 modem, etc. NO sat phone, etc...just your standard HF-Marine (SSB) radio....and for receiving wefax charts and text broadcasts, a laptop connected to the radio....
(although there are now many who use their iPad and a wefax App, and just sit the iPad down near the radio's speaker, and viola....they've got nice weather charts on their iPad..)

In full disclosure, I myself use a dedicated WeFax receiver (cost about $2000) as my primary wefax reception, and my HF radio (Icom M-802) and laptop as a back-up...
Have a look...












And finally, here is the link to the thread(s) with lots of further discussion on this topic of "weather info and forecasts while offshore at sea"...
SSCA Forum • View topic - Offshore / Hi-Seas Weather data / forecasts

Obtaining Accurate Offshore/Hi-Seas Weather data/forecasts, while at sea




I hope this helps...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 27-02-2014, 13:04   #9
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Re: Favorite Nav/WX Websites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Please understand that these are raw computer models, NOT interpreted by any human...and this is what is sent out via a GRIB file
Indeed, which was sort of the point, with gribs and the majority of the free Internet weather sites (maybe all?) you're looking at raw data.
Possibly asking where the best weather info comes from isn't an ideal question to ask, it's always probabilities, hope for the best but treat forecasts hopefully accurate probabilities , and have the boat ready for something a bit nastier than was forecasted.

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