Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-09-2019, 17:41   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans?

If all goes well, I'm hoping to sail solo from San Diego to Hawaii next May and then back to San Diego a couple months later.

I'm considering getting Predict Wind but have a couple questions, please...

1) How accurate are PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features using Iridium Go in the middle of the Pacific?

2) To get PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features you have to buy their Standard package at $250 per year or Professional package at $500 per year. (+ $700 for Iridium Go + $60 to $140 per month for Iridium Go data package.) Which would you choose? https://forecast.predictwind.com/reg...change/package

3) Assuming PredictWind is accurate, I sure like the peace of mind available with their Departure Planning and Route Planning, but are there better and cheaper alternatives? This guy uses Weatherfax with a little cheap short wave radio and laptop.
https://youtu.be/l1QyDVgclto

Thanks!
__________________

magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-09-2019, 06:20   #2
Registered User
 
Auspicious's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Boat: HR 40
Posts: 2,498
Send a message via Skype™ to Auspicious
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
If all goes well, I'm hoping to sail solo from San Diego to Hawaii next May and then back to San Diego a couple months later.

I'm considering getting Predict Wind but have a couple questions, please...

1) How accurate are PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features using Iridium Go in the middle of the Pacific?

2) To get PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features you have to buy their Standard package at $250 per year or Professional package at $500 per year. (+ $700 for Iridium Go + $60 to $140 per month for Iridium Go data package.) Which would you choose? https://forecast.predictwind.com/reg...change/package

3) Assuming PredictWind is accurate, I sure like the peace of mind available with their Departure Planning and Route Planning, but are there better and cheaper alternatives? This guy uses Weatherfax with a little cheap short wave radio and laptop.
https://youtu.be/l1QyDVgclto

Thanks!

Good question.



The video is pretty good. HF/SSB/Pactor IV is actually faster by a good bit than satellite communications systems. The backwards hat looks stupid.



Things missing:


Gribs, like PredictWinds, are the direct output of computer models. The model output has deficiencies that are corrected in meteorologist value-added synoptic charts available over weatherfax. Those deficiencies include the expression of deep lows, high highs, trofs, ridges, and fronts. Those, and the wind effects of those weather artifacts, are not in gribs but are in the synoptics.



I personally prefer the Tecsun PL-880 over the Sony. The sideband filters are better and it charges over USB which is convenient on most boats.



The antenna is really important, but you don't need to buy a product. As much single conductor wire up as high as you can get it is important. The connection to the radio is a 1/8" mono - just solder it on to one end.


Google for rfax.pdf and read p4 paragraph 3 carefully to understand the 1.9 kHz offset. See https://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/marine/rfax.pdf .



If you have a modern laptop with a TRRS audio plug you can build a cable easily to avoid the USB adapter. Nothing particularly wrong with USB adapters if you have enough ports for everything you want.
__________________

__________________
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks
Beware cut and paste sailors
Auspicious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-09-2019, 11:55   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Thanks. I'm new at all this weather stuff so I'm going to have to look up a lot of what you said before I can even begin to formulate some questions.

EDIT: In the videos description the guy replaced the Sony and put a link to the Tecsun PL-880.
magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-09-2019, 12:17   #4
Registered User
 
Auspicious's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Boat: HR 40
Posts: 2,498
Send a message via Skype™ to Auspicious
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
Thanks. I'm new at all this weather stuff so I'm going to have to look up a lot of what you said before I can even begin to formulate some questions.

EDIT: In the videos description the guy replaced the Sony and put a link to the Tecsun PL-880.

Holler if I can help.


*grin* the PL-880 is a great little radio.



There are other bits that are really handy - a powered USB hub is big.



This is all very real for me. This is how I run on delivery so what I depend on.
__________________
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks
Beware cut and paste sailors
Auspicious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 09:36   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2014
Boat: Hylas 54
Posts: 154
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

For ocean trips we use predict wind for daily downloads via sat phone but engage a weather service like commanders to give us custom departure and routing opinion.
Hobiehobie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 09:49   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2014
Boat: Outremer 51
Posts: 51
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

I use Predictwind with Iridium Go and my feedback would be as follows:
1. The Predictwind/Iridium Go system is not the cheapest option at all. You have the annual fee to Predictwind. If you are crossing oceans then the professional level is worth the extra as it gives you currents and plans routes based on currents, which can make a big difference. Then you have the installation - I would not recommend the Iridium Go without the external antenna, which costs extra, with the cable and installation (unless you do it yourself). Then you have the monthly fee - $125 for unlimited downloads, then you have the Iridium Go unit as well.
2. The forecast models - you have the US and European model and their own modified versions of each - so 4 models to compare output. In general I have found them to be very good at the big picture and reasonable at more localized details. The route planning is a useful baseline to compare your own thoughts against - once again you get one route for each of the four models. Overall I am very comfortable with the system and the ability to get regular rapid updates is nice. But of course they are just models, so thereís no expert judgement.
3. Although the Iridium Go is not cheap, I also consider it a safety addition to my boat. I can send unlimited SMS and call up to 60 mins per month without extra charge and it has a distress feature that will work anywhere. The reliability with the antenna is excellent, I rarely get drop outs. I can also send emails which can be handy when you need to advise ports of your arrival.

Obviously you can do most of this stuff with a Pactor and SSB and it will be a lot cheaper, but for me the whole package is well worth the money.

I hope this helps.
Hamish
HBrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 09:51   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Seattle, WA
Boat: Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 32
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

This is an important topic. I am going offshore next year and this is where I have arrived after a lot of study. First, I highly recommend Starpathís Marine Weather course if you really want to learn weather. This course will make your head hurt but itís worth it if youíre spending significant time on the water.

Once you know how to use weather data, weather maps and the GRIB files are indispensable. You can get these in a number of ways. With SSB you can use weatherfax. You can also use winlink (Amateur radio license needed) or Sailmail (only ship FCC ID needed) to receive maps via email. Thatís pretty easy an automatic if you get the setup right. With IridiumGO you can simply use saildocs over satellite internet. You can have the Weather maps and GRIBs emailed directly to you four times a day in either case.

Now, PredictWind uses a number of models, currently the US (GFS) and European (ECMWF), additionally, PredictWind has their own modeling available for each (PWG and PWE). PredictWindís app gives you a number of very easy ways to see weather interpretations (charts, tables, maps, etc). In an ideal world, you would use the weather maps and GRIB files to validate your own observations and determine if the weather interpreters are correct for that upcoming forecasts (24hr, 48hr, 72hr). Same with Predictwind, you would use your observations at the time of the forecast to validate their models.

With all this data you can start making go/no-go decisions and routing decisions underway. Predictwinds offshore app has routing features that attempt to help you with this as well.

But what else do you have access to? Weather nets, pilot charts, sailing instructions, and routing services. Even with all the studying, I am planning on using a routing service for the first major passages. Iíll marry my knowledge with the routing service and make my own call.

Our boat had an Icom and pactor and Iíve learned to use it. Iím a believer in redundant systems, so I will have sailmail (about 250 a year) as a radio backup. I will also have iridiumGo and predictwind and use a routing service. This is overkill but within the first year I should be able to whittle this down and see if I need sailmail (part of this will also depend of if the FCC kills off winlink in the US, which seems like it might happen). During passages the icom will be collecting weather faxes. This is a small usage of amps. Iíll primarily use iridium for for email, texts, location tracking, and weather info. Iíll activate sailmail if the iridium fails for some reason.

Hopefully in a year or two Iíll have some real world experience with all of this.
PNWSalmon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 12:32   #8
MJH
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Boat: Tayana Vancouver 42ac
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
If all goes well, I'm hoping to sail solo from San Diego to Hawaii next May and then back to San Diego a couple months later.

I'm considering getting Predict Wind but have a couple questions, please...

1) How accurate are PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features using Iridium Go in the middle of the Pacific?

2) To get PredictWinds Departure Planning and Weather Routing features you have to buy their Standard package at $250 per year or Professional package at $500 per year. (+ $700 for Iridium Go + $60 to $140 per month for Iridium Go data package.) Which would you choose? https://forecast.predictwind.com/reg...change/package

3) Assuming PredictWind is accurate, I sure like the peace of mind available with their Departure Planning and Route Planning, but are there better and cheaper alternatives? This guy uses Weatherfax with a little cheap short wave radio and laptop.
https://youtu.be/l1QyDVgclto

Thanks!
Great video.

I am interested in this topic because I'm thinking of Predict Wind but don't know much about it yet; the cost quoted in the video is expensive.

I sailed a roundtrip Washington-Hawaii in 2016 using Xaxero Weather Fax 2000 (New Zealand product) software on my laptop and an old SEA Corp 2250 SSB radio that was already installed on my boat but not capable with a Pactor Modem I was told.

Biggest problem with Weatherfax is that the faxes you are interested in are only broadcasted once or twice a day and at "specific times"...you miss it, for whatever reason, you lose it; you must give priority to the fax time. Of course, there are 24, 48, and 72hour forecasts so you can usually get one of them. I was not always able to get a forecast for different reasons. As stated in the video, it does take some practice.

You can Google "Worldwide Marine Radiofacsimile Broadcast Schedules" to see the schedules of the entire world; these schedules sometimes change so make sure it is current when you depart. Those that you will be interested in are broadcasted from Point Reyes, CA; Honolulu, HI; and Kodiak, AK...the only one that ever worked for me were the ones from Point Reyes.

There are many broadcasts and you need to pick the correct ones for the area you are in NOTING THE TIME OF THE BROADCAST. Start listening early to tune your radio and get used to the sequencing.

The software cost me $213 and tuning up my old SSB radio totaled $455 for two visits.

Good Luck.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
MJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 12:37   #9
Registered User
 
StoneCrab's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 84
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Good question.
If you have a modern laptop with a TRRS audio plug you can build a cable easily to avoid the USB adapter. Nothing particularly wrong with USB adapters if you have enough ports for everything you want.
I haven't played with this yet but are you just running the radio output to the microphone jack on the PC? Does OpenCPN know what to do with this sound signal or is something else required?

I have an older Radio Shack Shortwave Radio which doesn't specifically have USB / LSB switch. Is this a problem for receiving the signal?
StoneCrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 13:39   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWSalmon View Post
This is an important topic. I am going offshore next year and this is where I have arrived after a lot of study. First, I highly recommend Starpathís Marine Weather course if you really want to learn weather. This course will make your head hurt but itís worth it if youíre spending significant time on the water.

Once you know how to use weather data, weather maps and the GRIB files are indispensable. You can get these in a number of ways. With SSB you can use weatherfax. You can also use winlink (Amateur radio license needed) or Sailmail (only ship FCC ID needed) to receive maps via email. Thatís pretty easy an automatic if you get the setup right. With IridiumGO you can simply use saildocs over satellite internet. You can have the Weather maps and GRIBs emailed directly to you four times a day in either case.

Now, PredictWind uses a number of models, currently the US (GFS) and European (ECMWF), additionally, PredictWind has their own modeling available for each (PWG and PWE). PredictWindís app gives you a number of very easy ways to see weather interpretations (charts, tables, maps, etc). In an ideal world, you would use the weather maps and GRIB files to validate your own observations and determine if the weather interpreters are correct for that upcoming forecasts (24hr, 48hr, 72hr). Same with Predictwind, you would use your observations at the time of the forecast to validate their models.

With all this data you can start making go/no-go decisions and routing decisions underway. Predictwinds offshore app has routing features that attempt to help you with this as well.

But what else do you have access to? Weather nets, pilot charts, sailing instructions, and routing services. Even with all the studying, I am planning on using a routing service for the first major passages. Iíll marry my knowledge with the routing service and make my own call.

Our boat had an Icom and pactor and Iíve learned to use it. Iím a believer in redundant systems, so I will have sailmail (about 250 a year) as a radio backup. I will also have iridiumGo and predictwind and use a routing service. This is overkill but within the first year I should be able to whittle this down and see if I need sailmail (part of this will also depend of if the FCC kills off winlink in the US, which seems like it might happen). During passages the icom will be collecting weather faxes. This is a small usage of amps. Iíll primarily use iridium for for email, texts, location tracking, and weather info. Iíll activate sailmail if the iridium fails for some reason.

Hopefully in a year or two Iíll have some real world experience with all of this.
1) Regarding the Starpath course... Did you take the online course here: https://www.starpath.com/cgi-bin/web...rine%20Weather that includes the book, Modern Marine Weather for $289? Or did you learn from buying just Modern Marine Weather book for $37 from Amazon? http://tinyurl.com/y3zjvw5p

2) Is there a reason you're using SSB and Sailmail to get weatherfaxes vs the cheapo way this guy is doing it with a little inexpensive shortwave radio and a laptop? https://youtu.be/l1QyDVgclto

3) If you're going to use PredictWind then why not use their route planning feature instead of paying for a service outside of PredictWind?
magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 13:57   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
Holler if I can help.

*grin* the PL-880 is a great little radio.

There are other bits that are really handy - a powered USB hub is big.

This is all very real for me. This is how I run on delivery so what I depend on.

Thanks, I appreciate that! I'm 100% willing to put in the time and effort to learn marine weather, but direction as to what are the best learning resources and good reliable and economical equipment is something I'm going to need all the help/direction I can find.

If you were starting new, but knowing what you know now, and you were NOT rich, what would YOU do as far as learning marine weather and what equipment would you get?

Thanks
magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 13:59   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobiehobie View Post
For ocean trips we use predict wind for daily downloads via sat phone but engage a weather service like commanders to give us custom departure and routing opinion.
Why don't you use the Depart Planning and Weather Routing features that PredictWind offers instead?
magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 14:02   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 302
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Quote:
Originally Posted by HBrew View Post
I use Predictwind with Iridium Go and my feedback would be as follows:
1. The Predictwind/Iridium Go system is not the cheapest option at all. You have the annual fee to Predictwind. If you are crossing oceans then the professional level is worth the extra as it gives you currents and plans routes based on currents, which can make a big difference. Then you have the installation - I would not recommend the Iridium Go without the external antenna, which costs extra, with the cable and installation (unless you do it yourself). Then you have the monthly fee - $125 for unlimited downloads, then you have the Iridium Go unit as well.
2. The forecast models - you have the US and European model and their own modified versions of each - so 4 models to compare output. In general I have found them to be very good at the big picture and reasonable at more localized details. The route planning is a useful baseline to compare your own thoughts against - once again you get one route for each of the four models. Overall I am very comfortable with the system and the ability to get regular rapid updates is nice. But of course they are just models, so thereís no expert judgement.
3. Although the Iridium Go is not cheap, I also consider it a safety addition to my boat. I can send unlimited SMS and call up to 60 mins per month without extra charge and it has a distress feature that will work anywhere. The reliability with the antenna is excellent, I rarely get drop outs. I can also send emails which can be handy when you need to advise ports of your arrival.

Obviously you can do most of this stuff with a Pactor and SSB and it will be a lot cheaper, but for me the whole package is well worth the money.

I hope this helps.
Hamish
Are you paying for PredictWinds Standard Package or Professional Package?
https://forecast.predictwind.com/reg...change/package
magentawave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 15:14   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Marina del Rey
Boat: Hunter 31
Posts: 909
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

In my opinion the options are as follows:

1) SailGrib WR Android app, costs about $40 one time, has good weather routing and integrates well with Iridium Go. We used this in the ARC last year and it was dead accurate. It predicted. 16 day crossing, we did it in 17 days with updates every 2-3 days.

2) If you have an SSB radio you can also retrieve the Grib files manually then import in SailGrib. A little less automated but you avoid the cost of PredictWind.

3) You can also do with just InReach with unlimited messaging if you have someone on shore to do the weather routing for you and just send you waypoints.

4) PredictWind is not bad but it does the routing on the servers and just sends you the route. This is not as flexible as calculating the route on the boat and making modification on the fly (once you have the Grib file in SailGrib you can change the polars as you change your sail setup then run another routing). With PredictWind you have to request a new routing every time and it gets cumbersome after a while.

I use Inreach and onshore routing mostly, sometimes download a Grib via SSB/Pactor and play with it if I am bored.

Keep in mind that the weather to Hawaii does not change that much and weather routing while helpful will not dramatically change your experience. If you were crossing the Northern Atlantic, then the weather watch would be much more important.

By all means, have an SSB receiver at least to follow the big picture weather.
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-09-2019, 15:23   #15
Registered User

Join Date: May 2018
Location: Maine
Boat: Wauquiez Gladiateur, 33í
Posts: 33
Re: PredictWind? Weatherfax? What weather system do you recommend for crossing oceans

Then there is the free “Windy” which seems okay for fairly local trips. I believe it has a pro version called “Fastseas”. Not sure I remember the name correctly.
__________________

Whosails is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
weather, wind, men

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Predictwind Weather Packages zupa General Sailing Forum 5 11-07-2019 16:11
Living aboard a 25 ft while crossing oceans trapoc Construction, Maintenance & Refit 113 26-06-2015 17:59

Advertise Here


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:58.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.