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Old 13-10-2021, 10:50   #1
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Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

I am wondering about the practical benefit of receiving weather reports while on ocean
passages. Perhaps a dumb question but if you are mid-ocean and receive a hurricane warning how will the information improve your situation?
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Old 13-10-2021, 13:59   #2
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

In the case of a hurricane knowing where you are relative to the expected track tells you where to head to avoid being on the wrong side. There a single station methods which will give you good clues.

Outside info will be somewhat more reliable and pin down the center and it’s speed more accurately than single station forecasting.

Getting outside info depends on your financial situation.

Near developed countries there are often wx broadcasts on VHF.

Offshore you can receive forecasts and WxFax via HF SSB. $100-200 shortwave radio can receive these. You need a patch cable to your computer mic, an antenna extension would be good and WinMor or something Win??? Can decode and maybe display. Win??? Is free or cheap.

Spend several $100 and get a Pactor modem that will do a little better job of resolving sketchy signals.

Now we come to the big money:

A. Buy a Marine HF transceiver, install ground and antenna and antenna tuner figure $2k up front. and get GRIBs via SailMail. SailMail is something like $200/yr. And you get email.

B. Iridium satellite phone or deLorme inTouch which uses the Iridium sats for texts, email & GRIBs. $300-500 up front and $30/mon maybe.

A is more DIY and cheaper in the long run but B is plug-n-Play and requires less technical skill. GRIBS will give you wind forecasts down to 1degree or 1/4 degree squares on a map and are the BeesKnees.

On a budget I would get the Shortwave and Win??? Best bang for the buck.
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Old 13-10-2021, 14:08   #3
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Yes WinMor which is part of WinLink. WinMor is being discontinued in favor of something different/better.

https://www.winlink.org/tags/winmor
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Old 13-10-2021, 14:51   #4
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

I guess what I meant was it seems to me when sailing a small vessel between 3-6kts it doesn't really seem possible to effectively avoid large weather cells.
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Old 13-10-2021, 14:59   #5
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

If affordable,why would you not want to be forewarned, especially off shore. There is always something you can do to improve your survival chances.
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Old 13-10-2021, 15:36   #6
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara Mae View Post
I guess what I meant was it seems to me when sailing a small vessel between 3-6kts it doesn't really seem possible to effectively avoid large weather cells.
If you wanted to avoid the weather you would need a boat that could consistently crank out 200nm/d, that's 8.3kt. To do that you would need a lighter weight vessel 60' or longer.

In a smaller cruising vessel you can't avoid the weather, but you can chose to be in a less bad place with some warning. Hurricanes have a more dangerous side where the forward motion of the hurricane combines with the winds around the hurricane to create higher winds over the water surface and larger waves. Even at 3kt you can position yourself to be an the better side if you have enough warning.
These links may explain it better:
http://setsail.com/wp-content/upload...l_cyclones.pdf
https://setsail.com/wp-content/uploa..._avoidance.pdf
https://www.boatbuilding.xyz/heaver-.../info-uqc.html
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post2697127
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Old 13-10-2021, 15:44   #7
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

For example...?
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Old 13-10-2021, 15:45   #8
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by landsend View Post
There is always something you can do to improve your survival chances.
For example...?
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Old 13-10-2021, 16:00   #9
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara Mae View Post
For example...?
Prepare your boat
Reef your sails
Distance yourself from the oncoming storm'
USE YOUR BRAIN



C"mon guys help me out!!
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Old 13-10-2021, 18:08   #10
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

This is a potential ‘Darwin Awards’ issue.

Satellite weather is a complete waste of money- until things go sideways.

As a yacht delivery ‘captain’ I would not think of moving a boat offshore- be it a $100k boat or a $2mil high-end yacht- without getting weather twice a day.

Getting weather updates is safer AND makes me more productive.
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Old 13-10-2021, 18:10   #11
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

We left Guam, headed for Japan, with a clear weather picture, two and a half days later the gribs obtained from our sat phone showed a cyclone tracking along our course. We headed at 6 knots, under motor, at right angles to the predicted storm track. Less than two days later we were safely tucked in in Saipan as the Cat 3 passed 250 miles to the West.

Offshore weather forecasts are absolutely worth the money, they probably saved our lives!
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Old 13-10-2021, 18:19   #12
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara Mae View Post
For example...?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
This is a potential ‘Darwin Awards’ issue.

Satellite weather is a complete waste of money- until things go sideways.

As a yacht delivery ‘captain’ I would not think of moving a boat offshore- be it a $100k boat or a $2mil high-end yacht- without getting weather twice a day.

Getting weather updates is safer AND makes me more productive.
Understood but with all due respect, it does not answer my original question.
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Old 13-10-2021, 18:22   #13
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by landsend View Post
Prepare your boat
Reef your sails
Distance yourself from the oncoming storm'
USE YOUR BRAIN



C"mon guys help me out!!
Cant, you see weather cells on the horizon and low pressure on your barometer? Shouldn't your boat always be prepared?
Wind speed tells me when to reef.
I always have my brain on.
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Old 13-10-2021, 19:10   #14
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

The OP has come to the completely uninformed conclusion that paying to get weather forecasts offshore is a waste and wants people to support his opinion. There are two reasons that this might be true. He can't afford the service and wants to feel better about that, or he doesn't understand how to use it and will feel better if he can convince himself that it has no real value and he isn't missing anything. Or maybe he's just a troll stirring the pot for entertainment.

As an experienced offshore passage maker and delivery captain, I update my weather information every 12 hours and evaluate my route decisions with each new forecast. The idea that this information is somehow not "actionable" is just hooey.

The focus of this thread has been all about storms and dangerous weather, and that certainly can be a factor, but what about calms and head winds? I far more often adjust my route to get MORE wind, or wind from a better direction.

Just as an example: Knowing days ahead of time a front is going to pass through, exactly WHEN, and the wind direction shift that will accompany it is EXTREMELY valuable information to the knowledgable sailor. It can make a HUGE difference in the passage time by allowing me to know when it makes the best strategic sense to tack or gybe. If the value of advance knowledge of a 150 degree wind shift is lost on you, then there isn't much I can do to convince you otherwise, and I am not going to try.

The idea that the only weather information that has value is what you can SEE is just wrong.
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Old 13-10-2021, 19:30   #15
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Re: Cost/Benefit Ratio of Offsoundings weather reports

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mara Mae View Post
Cant, you see weather cells on the horizon and low pressure on your barometer? Shouldn't your boat always be prepared?
Wind speed tells me when to reef.
I always have my brain on.
You can see weather cells on the horizon. The horizon is 2.7nm away for a 6' eye height (CelNav joke). The weather cells at 10,000ft could be seen 122nm beyond if it weren't for all the intervening clouds at lower altitudes. The clouds at 1000-1500 can be see on the horizon at about 35nm range. Average storm moves at about 10kt.

From looking at cloud types, barometer, wind direction, whether the wind is backing or veering you can make a guess as to where the center is and the likely direction of travel. Then act on that.

Slightly better would be to listen to HF weather forcasts and take them into account as well as your direct observations.

You need to be acting on early indications of a storm, not waiting until you can see the storm cells, which you might never see.

Get a book on single station weather forecasting. Read it. Learn to identify cloud types. Keep your log up to date with true wind direction and estimated wind strength, barometer & air temp readings on an hourly basis. Most the time that's make work. Occasionally you look back over the last 6hr and see something developing.
https://www.landfallnavigation.com/w...BoCv8QQAvD_BwE

Here's a couple PDFs:
https://setsail.com/mwh.pdf
http://www.wayfarer-international.or...rResources.pdf
https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=1742
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