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Old 06-02-2015, 03:49   #1
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Gulf stream routing and SSB

Hi,
I have a SSB radio that I use daily when offshore to download weather Grib files for free. Does anyone know if there exists any data source that can be accessed from offshore in a similar manner via SSB to download updated charts of the Gulf stream and its eddies ?

Ideally it would have to be in a format that can be overlaid on electronic charts to allow routing decisions.

Does anyone know if NOAA offers anything like that in their ftpmail service ?


Thanks a lot.
Cheers,
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:39   #2
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

OPC (Ocean Prediction Center) produces Gulf Stream related products. Their products are available online, but don't know whether they are available via FTPmail.

http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/Gul..._compare.shtml
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:48   #3
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Why not subscribe to Chris Parker and get real up to date with some suggestions when off shore.
We used him for 6 years before we headed across the Atlantic and he routed us across via winlink email.

He is very inexpensive for the service you get.

If not Chris get a sat phone and pay more in a month or a few months than you would pay Chris for a year.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:01   #4
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Airmail does retrieve the RTOFS model for ocean currents in GRIB format and displays it in the FaxViewer. However; I don't find it all that useful. Since the Gulf Stream and eddies change very slowly there is not that much value (IMO) for an underway update via SSB. Getting a good analysis off the Internet a day or so before departure from the east coast should be valid for the entire transit of the GS and its eddies.
In the past I used Jenifer Clarks analysis which she provided in a JPG format that I could import into Fugawi or SeaClear to assist in route planning. Unfortunately OpenCPN does not do a very good job of importing charts from JPG files (unless that has changed recently), but SeaClear does do a decent job and provides all I need for route planning the GS.

John

Edited to Add: Looking at the link provided by BelizeSailor, the RTOFS chart could be imported into Fugawi or SeaClear as a PNG file and provide a good routing guide. I don't have either product on this computer so I can't test that process on this chart.
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:51   #5
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
Why not subscribe to Chris Parker and get real up to date with some suggestions when off shore.
We used him for 6 years before we headed across the Atlantic and he routed us across via winlink email.

He is very inexpensive for the service you get.

If not Chris get a sat phone and pay more in a month or a few months than you would pay Chris for a year.
Thank you Chuckr for your kind suggestion. It's good to know that this service exists, however, sailing is a subjective activity, I personally get pleasure and reward when I feel I can get by, by myself by making my own decisions and using the equipment I have onboard. I wouldn't like to have a pilot onboard in person or via radio or satellite connection. I did not cross the Atlantic in the ARC because that would have spoilt my own crossing. The beauty of sailing is in the freedom each one of us has to choose the way to go. Cheers.
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:10   #6
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
OPC (Ocean Prediction Center) produces Gulf Stream related products. Their products are available online, but don't know whether they are available via FTPmail.

Gulf Stream Tools
Thank you Belizesailor, I am experimenting with noaa rtofs products. They can be obtained by requesting the corresponding Grib files from saildocs with this string:
send rtofs-gs:25n,48n,083w,052w|0.05,0.06|0,24,48|current

when I sent the request via the Internet I received back the requested file. However when I sent exactly the same request via AirMail I got no reply at all.
I need to understand why.

I have easily visualized the received grib file with both Maxsea and ViewFax however there is an important difference: ViewFax shows arrows pointing in the direction of the stream, each arrow has its own speed. MaxSea shows the current nicely overlaid on the chart but colour bands are used to show the different speeds. As there are no arrows, the direction of the current at any specific point is unfortunately unknown.
Cheers,
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Old 08-02-2015, 08:46   #7
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

I forgot when I entered my post that OpenCPN does display the RTOFs GRIBs. I just made a quick test and it is a useful display. So maybe I don't miss the JPG import feature afterall.

John

Edited to Add: When I was downloading the RTOFS GRIBs to test OpenCPN I hit the same problem as you with no response from an Airmail request to Saildocs. It appears to be related to the grid density in the request. When I requested a grid of 0.05 Lat, as in your example, I did not get a response. If I increased the grid to 0.10 Lat I got a response. This could be a bug in Saildocs or Airmail.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:09   #8
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alby1714 View Post
Thank you Chuckr for your kind suggestion. It's good to know that this service exists, however, sailing is a subjective activity, I personally get pleasure and reward when I feel I can get by, by myself by making my own decisions and using the equipment I have onboard. I wouldn't like to have a pilot onboard in person or via radio or satellite connection. I did not cross the Atlantic in the ARC because that would have spoilt my own crossing. The beauty of sailing is in the freedom each one of us has to choose the way to go. Cheers.
We do our thing also and have done so for 8 years. When we crossed eastbound we did not go with the ARC for several reasons. We used grib files as we have done for 8 years with a 2nd look from Chris that provided a broader geographical perspective than we could get via winlink in reasonable time.

Having met Chris and talked weather with him, he made a most valid point: you need to do your own weather also, not just listen to me.

If you are so adament about making your own decisions why use clark or anybody else for that matter.

We make our own decisions and we do not rely on anyone making them for us but when we are a bit blind, such as where the gulf stream is and the eddies and which way they are headed, and yes we have crossed the stream multiple times, we rely on real time data that is not available via ssb and we do not have a sat phone.

want the data to make your own decisions, get a sat phone.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:57   #9
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alby1714 View Post
Thank you Belizesailor, I am experimenting with noaa rtofs products. They can be obtained by requesting the corresponding Grib files from saildocs with this string:
[SIZE=2]send rtofs-gs:25n,48n,083w,052w|0.05,0.06|0,24,48|current

...
Thanks for doing the extra research. :thumbup:

Like others, I use FUGAWI to create overlays...one of the very few things I still power up my old laptop up for after switching to a tablet.

We do mostly coastal cruising so I do weather mostly ahead of time.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:03   #10
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
...

Having met Chris and talked weather with him, he made a most valid point: you need to do your own weather also, not just listen to me.

If you are so adament about making your own decisions why use clark or anybody else for that matter.

...
Its prudent I think to use all resoureces at your disposal. I do my own weather, but have also gotten input from the pros on occassion.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:36   #11
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Alby.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:04   #12
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Re: Gulf stream routing and SSB

Thank you GordMay for your welcoming greetings. Several times I had already visited and read with interest some of the ongoing threads on CF even though I was not a member. I have now decided to be a bit more proactive and look forward to interact further with the CF community.
Cheers,
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