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Old 09-05-2009, 04:51   #16
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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
Check in with Herb on and 12alpha SouthboundII each day. He's the offshore sailor's friend.
Herb Hilgenberg (“Southbound II” - South Bound II VAX498 - Ship routing and weather forecasting), and his wife, Brigitte, also an advanced amateur, provides a daily ship-routing/weather forecasting service, on marine HF/SSB frequency12359.0 starting at 2000 UTC until completion of traffic. Alternate frequencies may be announced from time to time during the "NET" depending on and subject to propagation. Vessels are welcome to check in between 1930 and 2000 UTC and should then stand by until contacted once their area gets covered. New check-ins should provide a short description of their location on checking in for the first time...
Primary area of coverage is the North Atlantic between the Eastern Seaboard and Europe, including the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. Limited coverage is available for the South Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific subject to HF propagation.

More about Herb:
Article
and:
ABCNEWS.com : The Man Mariners Trust With Their Fates
and:
Cruiser's Weather Guru

Although Herb does all this at no cost and, many boats send donations to help offset his considerable costs, and as a thank you for this wonderful service. Commercial weather routing services charge hundreds of dollars for similar services, and few would have Herb's wealth of experience.

You can email Herb at: hehilgen@sympatico.ca
or by regular mail at:
Herb Hilgenberg
5468 Hixon Ave, Burlington,
Ontario, Canada, L7L 3S2
Web: South Bound II VAX498 - Ship routing and weather forecasting
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Old 10-05-2009, 11:31   #17
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Having used a weather routing service once over this route myself (Ponce Inlet to Block Island), I have to urge you to not rely completely on them. I contracted for the service and, while they did not put me into harm's way, the forecasts were certainly not predictive of anything I ran into over the 6 day trip. More than half the time the winds were 15 knots more or less than predicted, and from a direction more than 90 degrees from predicted the seas 50% more or less than half the predicted heights and their route did not maximize the Gulf stream--they told me they were not that good at the Gulf stream and to contact Jennifer. (!)
What was most insulting is when I emailed my actual position (reported automatically by Skymate) wave and wind conditions periodically, they told me they had no such reports from ship bridges in the area. Most often I was reporting less sea and wind so this was not a situation where the sailor was exaggerating the conditions or the ships were underestimating. I am still baffled as to how they could be so wrong over such a long time.
My experience is only one data point. The weather was unsettled during this trip (I was on the backside of fronts). But the expenditure was a waste of money and better information was coming from Herb and my own weather from NWS via Skymate. Don't think the routing service is a substitute for getting your own data and understanding what is going on.
Generally, I support the other posts here for options and observations along this route.
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Old 10-05-2009, 18:24   #18
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If you have an SSB and a laptop, you can download daily weather faxes.

Herb is an invaluable resource.

Jennifer Clark is the gulf stream expert. The eddies change regularly she can route you to take the best advantage of the northerly flows.
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Old 13-05-2009, 19:35   #19
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I do have a SSB, a friend will be teaching me how to use it when I get down to the boat in Fla, but just how do you connect a lap top to SSB to receive weather faxes?
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Old 13-05-2009, 19:37   #20
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By the way, I've been looking at the sites you've all mentioned. Herb is quite a special person, I look forward to listening to his broadcasts.
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Old 19-05-2009, 13:25   #21
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Ft. Pierce to Montauk....

You're welcome.....
Trying to take advantage of the 2-3 kts+ of the Stream is a good thing.....
But, it isn't always possible.....
It moves around a lot, so as long as you're in a favorable current, you're good!!!
If you've got good wind and you get lucky enough to stay in the Stream, you're flying!!!!

But, PLEASE remember that the route suggestions I made weeks ago were based on typical / historic positions of the Gulf Stream......
The Gulf Stream's current/forecast position is significantly different than those coordinates......


Just for grins, here's some more up-to-date model info....although still NOT an absolute....
The Stream is turning NNE and NE much further to the south than typical......

Check out the computer models on passageweather.com and you'll see what I mean.....
Also, be sure to always use the NWS/NOAA forecasts, as they are from human beings, not just computers.....

Still a week away, it's difficult to be exact, so these are just general thoughts....

You'll probably need to steer NNE to NE after nearing 28.5* to 29* North.......making easting much further south than typical, if you wish to stay in the main axis of the Stream.....
And as it nears 30* North x 77* West, turning Northward again.....and making an "S" as it snakes its way around.....

And, as you near 31* North x 74.5* West, the main axis of the Stream is forecast to be heading due North......taking you east of the Cape, and you may still find a nice N'erly and NE'erly flowing eddy near 74* West, taking you past 39* North.....


Also, some GOOD news is that winds are shifting and moderating.......giving you a decent ride.....
(Strong N and NE winds against the Stream would;ve been a wild ride, and I'd not have recommeded routing in the Stream at all!!!)

Again, good luck....

John
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Old 19-05-2009, 21:54   #22
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Oceansong...cheap SSB receiver (ie. portable radio) to laptop soundcard hookup just requires a jack from the radio output to the mic input on your laptop AND weather fax software. This will get you all the weather faxes and text reports once you get used to using it.
Several WeFax software sources exist...none free...but some with trials.
I like this one and it is priced belo $50 bucks.
SeaTTY RTTY/NAVTEX decoder by dxzone.com
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Old 19-05-2009, 22:04   #23
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cam-
radio speaker to MIC input? Or LINE input? Most mic inputs would be overloaded by a speaker connection, and it is awfully hard to find a laptop with a line input these days. (Supposedly the RIAA has bullied the laptop makers into omitting line inputs in order to discourage duping music.) An external USB sound "card" or PCM sound card is usually necessary to get a line input these days.
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Old 20-05-2009, 16:48   #24
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Rather than start a new thread, figured I'd jump in here, since I'm doing the same route. I'm doing the last stretch of my delivery trip. In Cape May now and I need to go to Highlands.

Boat is a Gemini, 34', 14' beam, shallow draft with kick up rudders and boards. Only 2 of us, and no way we'll be able to pull an overnighter.

Do you think I'll be ok going in and/or out at Barnegat?

I'm thinking either Cape May to Absecon, then up the inside until we decide to call it a day, or depending on what kind of timer we're making, Cape May to Barnegat.

Then back out at
Barnegat, to avoid all the bridges up by Manesquan.
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Old 20-05-2009, 20:43   #25
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NOAA seems to think the wx at Barnegat will be mild for the next 48 hours. As long as the wx is mild and there are no strong currents in the inlet, you should be OK. But given adverse wx or the wrong timing, every NJ inlet can be a nasty or even impassable place. Check the current & the wxcast before you go, and bear in mind that all of the NJ shore can be a far more dangerous place than it appears to be, under the wrong conditions.
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Old 20-05-2009, 21:15   #26
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grunster...why be afraid of Manesquan...it is a good inlet and a natural stop as it is a good day sails distance from Atlantic City and the same from Highlands. I went through the bridges with a 15 foot beam, 64' mast and 6ft. keel...should be easier for you!

As to weather...looks entirely favorable through Sunday for you. Light to moderate winds, low sea state and everything out of the south to West...perfect for actually sailing!
Of course...get the latest reports and keep up with Noaa underway as well...but it looks near perfect. Have a great trip.
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Old 20-05-2009, 21:24   #27
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HS...I'm talking about headphone output from the radio to mono mic input on the laptop. Worked for me on both Toshiba and HP laptop through the mic input. Don't know about RIAA and line in vs. mic in...perhaps the frequency response specs or similar have been degraded but I know I can dub in audio through my mic jack....in MONO.
In any event...the mic jack works just fine on two major brands for the fax software and I'd be surprised to hear of problems on other brands as the software is really designed to take advantage of laptop capabilities.
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Old 20-05-2009, 21:36   #28
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cam, there are some laptops where there's just one "input" jack and it is smart enough to switch roles as needed. Dunno if you have one of those. But typically, if oyu put headphone (line) level input into a mic jack, there's so much distortion--no matter how you turn down the volume--that the signal is unuseable. Even if it doesn't blow anything.

But, as long as it works for you, that's what counts.
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Old 22-05-2009, 20:04   #29
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grunster...why be afraid of Manesquan...it is a good inlet and a natural stop as it is a good day sails distance from Atlantic City and the same from Highlands. I went through the bridges with a 15 foot beam, 64' mast and 6ft. keel...should be easier for you!

As to weather...looks entirely favorable through Sunday for you. Light to moderate winds, low sea state and everything out of the south to West...perfect for actually sailing!
Of course...get the latest reports and keep up with Noaa underway as well...but it looks near perfect. Have a great trip.
Nothing against Manesquan, but I was starting in Cape May, not AC. Actually if we left a little earlier or if there was actually any wind, we may have made Manesquan from Cape May. Ocean was like a lake, but winds were VERY light most of the day. Got a late start, because I had to work late the night before. We went in at Barnegat, and then up the inside to Lavallette, tied up at my parent's friend's house in Ocean Beach.
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Old 22-05-2009, 21:41   #30
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Understood...I did Cape May >>> Atlantic City >>>>Manasquan>>> Highlands.
Glad you had a good trip.
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