Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-02-2008, 01:30   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Crete, Greece
Boat: Neptunian Ketch Calloo
Posts: 30
Sailmail ?

We are planning a passage from the UK to Greece via Biscay this spring. I've been looking at Sailmail as a means of keeping in touch and for weather updates. Is Sailmail the best option to consider? Are there any other packages that would do the job? Has anyone any experience of using Sailmail in the north eastern Atlantic or the Med? Is reception good?

Any tips or comments would be much appreciated.


Capt Hook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 01:46   #2
Moderator Emeritus
GordMay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 29,347
Images: 240
Excerpted from the SailMail Primer page at: SailMail Primer

We will be sailing from X to Y. Will SailMail provide adequate coverage?

The short answer is yes. SailMail has stations scattered around the world. Members with good radio installations and who are reasonably clever at picking times, stations, and frequencies have used SailMail from everywhere in the world that you can take a boat. The longer answer follows:

Each SailMail station is easily used at ranges out to 4000 miles, and is useful at ranges out to 8000 or more if you have a good radio, tuner, and ground installation, if you use a PTC-II modem, and if there are no nearby sources of interference. It also helps if you are reasonably skilled at choosing the best station, time, and frequency.

You may find it helpful to download, install, and use the propagation program for Airmail from the download page on the SailMail website. But remember that it is only a computer projection, so use it as a guide but not as the "bible". As you sail around the world and your location relative to SailMail stations slowly changes, you will get pretty knowledgeable about picking times, stations, and frequencies. Comparing notes to other SailMail users that you run across will also help you pick times, stations, and frequencies.

SailMail Stations map:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	sailmail stations.GIF
Views:	155
Size:	8.0 KB
ID:	2587  

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 04:00   #3
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
Hud3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
Boat: Island Packet 380, now sold
Posts: 8,847
Images: 47

I can't help you with an evaluation of Sailmail's performance in the area you're going to be cruising, but it did work reasonably well for me in the eastern US and eastern Caribbean. Be sure to download and use the propagation software. Different stations work better or worse, depending on the time of day.
Hud3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 07:22   #4
Registered User
Auspicious's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Chesapeake Bay
Boat: HR 40 - Auspicious
Posts: 1,478
Sailmail (and roughly equivalent Winlink) worked fine for me in the Eastern Atlantic (Ragnerok, North Sea, and English Channel). I haven't used it in the Med but I know many people have.

You definitely want to have the propagation software loaded. Make sure the lat/long for your own position is correct; the software will keep track of the Sailmail stations.
S/V Auspicious
SSCA Annapolis Cruising Station
Beware cut and paste sailors
Auspicious is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2008, 09:50   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2003
Location: East Coast & Other Forums!
Posts: 913
C'Hook...I was a very satisfied sailmail user a couple of years bak in the Caribe. It is a very robust and well supported service and will do the job for text e-mails and weather.
Having said that...even if you already have an SSB/Ham setup, you will be investing over 1000 bucks in a pactor JUST for text only E-MAIL (you can get weather fax etc. from your radio without pactor). Plus it costs $250 bucks a year for the sailmail service..10 minutes of text e-mails a day.
If I had to do it over again...I would not get either the pactor or the sailmail as there are many other options today (we/fax software,sat phones, wifi in harbors, internet cafes, cell phones near shore). For a coastal Euro trip of limited duration I would suggest you look at some of the other options for your weather and internet needs.
camaraderie is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
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
sailmail and mac vonnwonder Marine Electronics 3 14-12-2006 14:53
Sailmail help needed Harriet Marine Electronics 0 30-11-2006 11:07
SailMail Seminar GordMay Cruising News & Events 0 03-11-2006 16:38
Sailmail with Pactor I ? Hamsailor Marine Electronics 0 12-07-2005 07:02

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:53.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.