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Old 09-08-2009, 08:17   #1
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Tracking a Sailboat's Position at Sea?

we are sailing from SA to the Caribbean this winter and want to let our shore-based friends keep track of our location while we are at sea. how can we accomplish this?
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:26   #2
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If you loose a Globalstar phone it can be done easily. Ocens email can be set up to attach a position report to each email you send. The Caribbean 1500 rally now use a transponder that reports the position of each boat in the fleet on Google Earth, updated every 6 hours.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:02   #3
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The SPOT Messenger GPS tracking device is an option you might want to look at.

I used one (loaned to me by CF member s/v Hylyte) on a passage from USVI to Tampa Bay last November. It worked very well, automatically updating our position on the Internet in a Google Maps format, accessible by anyone with the webpage URL. Two more CF members (Soft Air and bvimatelot) used one on a passage from San Juan to Cartagena this past spring. Here's an example of on of the webpage images for their trip.

The SPOT website has all the info on coverage areas, equipment, etc.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:04   #4
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Globalstar would be a nice solution (especially the SPOT device), EXCEPT for the fact that the coverage area doesn't include the SE Atlantic waters. So, from South Africa you'd have no coverage until you got off Brazil somewhere, then it would be fine the rest of the way.

By the way, the coverage map on the SPOT website is a bit deceptive. Here's a better one: http://www.globalstarusa.com/en/content.php?cid=300

Iridium satphones work anywhere, but are more expensive.

HF/SSB radio (ham or marine) also work anywhere and could provide coverage.

There are more expensive satellite-based solutions as well.

Bill
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:08   #5
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If you have onboard email (satellite or SSB-based), you can use the shiptrak.org or Yotreps systems to let your family and friends see your daily positions, as well as a short log entry for each position. If you are a ham and have SSB but don't have email, the maritime nets will post positions on these sites for you.

As an example, see shiptrak.org, and put in my call sign--kk6dq
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
If you have onboard email (satellite or SSB-based), you can use the shiptrak.org or Yotreps systems to let your family and friends see your daily positions, as well as a short log entry for each position. If you are a ham and have SSB but don't have email, the maritime nets will post positions on these sites for you.

As an example, see shiptrak.org, and put in my call sign--kk6dq
Airmail, the software used to send SSB radio email via Sailmail or Winlink (HAM) systems has a module to automatically format short emails with position, weather, boat data & optional short text message. There is an option to allow the report to be sent to Yotreps as well as being viewable on Shiptrak by default.

BTW Airmail can also use POP3 server to send emails.

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Old 12-08-2009, 07:13   #7
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Skymate will report position automatically and give you email capability without being a radio techie.

See SkyMate. Wherever you are. Whatever you need.

Hud's answer of using the SPOT is probably the lowest cost/least hassle option.

George
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Old 14-08-2009, 07:58   #8
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Airmail (at least the 3.4.034 version) also has a built-in facility to format email messages that can update your blog at SailBlogs | Sailing Blog Hosting & Social Network

You would need to set up a $35/yr account with Sailblogs. That will allow you to send position reports and comments updates to your own blog in real time while offshore using your SSB and Pactor modem. The blog will show your positions on a simple map, or on Google Earth if you have the Google Earth browser plug-in. You can make your blog public, or password protected if you only want certain people to be able to follow you.
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