A couple of notes on EC's SSB
comments -- there's no doubt that you can probably get more out of a $7000 SSB
rig with a "pactor" III modem
and sailmail etc than you can out of a $100 "yachtboy ssb hf reciever" but what you need to ask yourself is do you really care?
After crossing the Pacific I now understand my own requirements extremely well -- I only care about the ability to get long distance weather
forecasts day and night (HF voice or weather
fax with a laptop
or demodulator) and sometimes listen in on nets for info on the next island group and/or emergencies. Not relying on GRIBs will make you more knowledgable about weather in general.
Full SSB installs are extremely expensive and complex monsters that draw a lot of power on trasmit. They're not for me but your mileage may vary.
I also caution anyone who thinks you're going to have excellent reception
right out of the box with high end SSB rigs. I've sat in may anchorages
pulling down weather faxes with my own anttenae which is just a piece of heavy wire taped to the backstay and had much better quality than my auto-tuner neighbors. There is a lot to be said for quality installs and good testing of setup.