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WEATHER STRATEGY

At the 2009 Southampton Boat Show, I explored the possibility of getting an Iridium phone. The economics are beginning to get quite interesting! But our cruising range has shortened with our increasing age!. However, the same company offer through mailasail an SMS  weather service that is truly amazing, because of excellent data compression.


I had some fascinating e-mail exchanges with Frank Singleton. Exploring the links that Frank gave  in that discussion is extremely interesting.


Clearly there are many options for getting weather over the Internet, even using a mobile phone when roaming(!), and it is not easy to decide on the best combination. So  much has changed since then in the comms world, including some amazing tablet apps, that all I can do is to give some brief clues about the options….


-    I have had some success with getting grib weather maps over the internet using mobile phone and no browser.


-    When overseas, I generally only use my email account on the mobile phone when I have wifi access


-    Consider creating  a new gmail account that is managed using Outlook (and therefore does not need a browser). This email address can also be given to  to close friends and family. This can be updated cost effectively using either a wifi connection or by using the mobile phone as a modem. grib files or weather charts can then be displayed on the computer using some types of navigational software (e.g. Digiboat Software on Board) or any picture viewer.


-    Of the mobile phone apps. I have tested the Passage Weather application on my Android phone. It is easy to use. The great points are (a) it is worldwide in coverage and (b) it includes wave height and direction forecasts. There numerous other apps available.


-    For cartography I have also loaded the Navionics app to my Android phone giving me full chart coverage for UK, Ireland and N France. Using this is the quickest way to get tidal height and tidal stream data for time now and in the future. (e.g. answer the question "When will the tide turn in my favour at Hurst next Saturday")


The net result is that I have sufficient access to weather and navigational information on the phone for quick access and lookup. Only if I need to keep a weather map for inclusion in a Log, or for later reference, do I need to download to the computer.


 I have used Mailasail for weather maps because they have a useful and simple selection. I like them because (as Frank recommends) they have had some human intervention and the fronts have been drawn on. (To get the full menu of weather charts from Mailsail send an email to weather [at] mailasail [dot] com with the words help-graphic in the subject box. For more general help just send a blank email to weather [at] mailasail [dot] com). If you want regularly scheduled weather maps, it is probably worth setting up a repeat grib menu from Saildocs.


Of course, if broadband wifi access to the Internet is available sources like the UK Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting have some wonderful websites. These are reviewed in other pages of the weather section.


PRINCIPAL E-MAIL WEATHER

MAILASAIL WEATHER DATA

FRANK SINGLETON’S WEBSITE

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FRANK SINGLETON’S GUIDE TO SAILDOCS

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