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post #11 of 30 Old 02-24-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

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Drake since you seem to be loaded ($) I would suggest a weather router. They will give you waypoints to shoot for taking advantage of weather and current. (Not the stream).
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In my opinion the offshore sailor should his or her own best weather router. It's easy to get 98% of the information onboard in a timely way. You should be able to interpret it and make appropriate decisions. The ham and marine SSB nets get you that last 2%. It's not about cost, it's about self-sufficiency.
I found those commercial weather routers totally waste of money and time. Been there and done that for many times. May be we don't have enough clout to gain a decent service from them. I understand they are big for the cruisers. Many organizations praise the service. I wonder if this is just "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours".

All the weather charts are readily available on the net. While in down time and not sailing, spend sometime to study at the weather charts, and then read their weather forecast, follow up by verifying with the actual weather. You will gain much more knowledge than paying 300 to 400 dollars
for their service.

But that is just me sayin'.
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-24-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

Lots of advice here to which I can add very little having only done the Hatteras thing once. I would add, however, that 15 March might be a tad early. A month later would probably make for a better trip, especially if you're doing Hatteras to NY in a single hop.

If you're planning on stopping in Greenland you probably don't want to be there until the end of July, so that should give you lots of time to make your way north.

I'm planning on leaving Cape Cod around 15 June bound for Scotland. We may bump into you if we end up taking the northern route.
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-24-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

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All the weather charts are readily available on the net.
Much less important than that all of those same products are available over weather fax, free, with inexpensive hardware. There is no excuse for an offshore sailor not having all the NOAA/NWS or UK Met products every day.
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post #14 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

Personally I think that it would be foolish for anyone to think that they can accurately make weather predictions using OPC charts and gribs alone (no offense Auspicious, just my opinion) on a trip of more than 3 days across an ocean. If you have the means the input from a weather router can be invaluable together with your input to the router on the conditions where you are located.
Situations like TS Sean last year where even the professionals could not foresee the storm days in advance, the help of a router was invaluable for boats that were caught in the middle of it to get out of it. (With a couple of exeptions..,.)
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post #15 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

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Personally I think that it would be foolish for anyone to think that they can accurately make weather predictions using OPC charts and gribs alone (no offense Auspicious, just my opinion) on a trip of more than 3 days across an ocean.
No offense taken at all. I fear that my suggestion was not sufficiently clear.

First, gribs are bad. Although US NOAA/NWS is working on it, they don't show fronts or major weather artifacts, where bad things happen. Don't get sucked in to technology. For the digit-heads I'll be happy to share the algorithms and where and why they break down.

OPC charts are good. HOWEVER, you can't launch offshore with a set of synoptics and expect to be okay. You should have the ability to receive weather faxes onboard every day. The full set are transmitted twice each day. If you already have a laptop you can be set up for $100US or less to receive weather fax on board. You should (my opinion) be able to look at a set of wefax and make good, responsible decisions about your tactical routing. You'll be looking at the same material that the weather routers are.

Herb Hilgenberg and Chris Parker do not have academic backgrounds in meteorology. If they can do it you can to. There are some challenges but you can do it, and you SHOULD. Be self-sufficient. Learn this stuff. If you are really sailing offshore your safety may depend on it. It's up to you.

The 3-day threshold is apt. I fully agree, and that defines my definition of sailing offshore. If you're 3 days from a bailout you are offshore. Less than that, you are coastal (or at least near-shore). Even US to Bermuda is offshore and you MUST (my opinion again) have a means to get weather information onboard. A router is better than nothing but cheaper AND better is getting the NWS or UK Met products onto the boat and making your own decisions.

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post #16 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

From where you are - Oriental - why on earth would you want to go out around Hatteras (in MARCH, no less - perhaps the single most volatile month of the year weather wise near Hatteras), instead of running up inside to the Chesapeake? A route that probably adds 50 miles or more to the mouth of the Chesapeake than running up the ICW?

If you do go outside, better make sure there is no possibility of a front coming through before you can make the Chesapeake Entrance... I generally do like Auspicious mentions, right around the red nun "2" off Diamond Shoals, no problem in settled weather... Going further out in search of a push from the Stream this time of year is a fool's errand, in my opinion... Especially starting from Beaufort. It's one thing to hunt for the Stream if you're coming direct from the Bahamas, for example... But to go that far offshore and add that much distance to the inshore route right around Diamond Shoals, in search of a bit of fair current for a day or so, makes no sense whatsoever...

Again, especially in the month of March... Wait for a period of calm, and motor all the way around... Or, possibly catch a bit of SW breeze filling in north of Hatteras that generally presages the arrival of a front, nothing finer than sailing up along the beach north of Wimble Shoals in a SW breeze... Just be damn sure you're north of Cape Henry before the front arrives...

But, as long as you're gonna be doing that much motoring, why not do it inside?
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post #17 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

Again just my opinion but its OK for the likes of AJ Smith, Hank Schmidt and Auspicious to make a go across the pond with their knowledge of weather. If they find themselves in the middle of hell, like AJ did last fall, amoung others, his knowledge , fast boat and grit got him out of harms way without running for the epirb. For the average cruiser that makes the yearly crossing to the Caribbean he should use all the help he can get, including a router.
Every trip I have made to St Martin and back we've always had daily contact with a router and I think it is a lot of help if anything else psychologically. If we don't agree on his recommendation we always discuss it with him and we come to a group decision.
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post #18 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

Auspicious,

"If you already have a laptop you can be set up for $100US or less to receive weather fax on board." Are you talking about an SSB radio?
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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Re: advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

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Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
Situations like TS Sean last year where even the professionals could not foresee the storm days in advance, the help of a router was invaluable for boats that were caught in the middle of it to get out of it. (With a couple of exeptions..,.)
It was 2011 not in last year. I was in C1500. Weather router did not nothing for us. I am just Sayin'


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post #20 of 30 Old 02-25-2013
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advice on sailing around Cape Hatteras?

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