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I am a member of a boat club where I have to reserve a boat to use it. If one is available I can take it out. But I can reserve one in advance too. Of course the best boats are less likely to be available on weekends. I am also self employed, and with short notice can move things around to sneak a day sail during the week. So I am always keeping an eye out for good sailing days. (though any day on the water is better than one in the office).

I use passage weather.com and the NWS weather source. What are some other good sources for weather forecasting?
 

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Buy a book or two.
Or go through the multiple threads on this subject here.
Most folks have
Ssb or satphone or now mostly both. Also need modem if ssb used for weather.
Full and that means FULL set of tools- multiple lists are available just google.
Raft,ditch bag, FULL medical kit
Spares for all key systems
Epirbs,spots for boat and personal ones on all harnesses.
Storm sails,drogues or other ways to deal with storms.
Training or experience in dealing with passage making.

Issue is most of the time most people and most boats can do the circuit to Bermuda without issue. It's only a 3-6d transit in a decent sized boat. However, weather prediction becomes less certain the farther out you go. Especially after 3-4d. If you hire Chris Parker or the like you may get a heads up on your specific local weather. Otherwise you can see some very snotty local stuff-squalls and the like not apparent in gribs or even ocean prediction center stuff at the time you pick your window.
Finally every passage is different. Do a few before you do one on your own boat. Sign up with herb at offshore opportunities or similar group. Some folks have the dream but hate the reality.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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I am interested in off shore resources, say for sailing from SC/NC to Bermuda? What gear and software do offshore sailors use? As you can see, I am on low end of learning curve.
You should really have synoptic charts. There are lots of ways to get them but the least expensive is an SSB-capable shortwave receiver, a laptop, and some free software. You can practice at home - you need to know what you are looking at.

Most folks have
Ssb or satphone or now mostly both. Also need modem if ssb used for weather.
You don't need a modem to use an SSB for weather. You need an appropriate cable between the radio and a laptop. The soundcard can demodulate the weather fax data under control of a display program. Very easy and effective. The same radio gives access to USCG HF voice weather forecasts.

If you hire Chris Parker or the like you may get a heads up on your specific local weather. Otherwise you can see some very snotty local stuff-squalls and the like not apparent in gribs or even ocean prediction center stuff at the time you pick your window.
Gribs don't show things you care about, like fronts. There are a few places in the world (parts of the South Pacific) where there is nothing else, but generally you want synoptics. You just have to know what you are looking at. Using third party services like Chris Parker is fine, but you'll get more value from Chris if you have synoptic charts also - what he says will make more sense and you will learn more about weather as you go.
 

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A- agree with everything you said. Also think looking at the 500mB gives you a better understanding of what's coming down the pike. Unfortunately not infrequently when I most need to think about weather I'm tired, it's dark, and its getting snotty. I find using the ssb/modem setup is quick and easy. Even easier is a fast download through the satphone. When I have a chance to download all the sources and a moment to think about what you suggest makes great sense.
I think Chris provides a great service. On a recent passage we had a daily chat on the ssb every day in the afternoon. He was given our location, knew where we wanted to go and the boat we were on. He was looking various models and using his judgment as what to believe. His skill set is way above mine and probably always will be.
This made for much less stress and if I could I would make use of his services whenever possible.
Still for most of us we don't have the confidence in our understanding of weather that we don't benefit from the expertise of a Chris Parker or learn something every time we listen to Lee talk.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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A- agree with everything you said. Also think looking at the 500mB gives you a better understanding of what's coming down the pike.
No question. 500 mB charts are asking a good bit of people as they become self-sufficient in weather forecasting and vessel routing.

Unfortunately not infrequently when I most need to think about weather I'm tired, it's dark, and its getting snotty. I find using the ssb/modem setup is quick and easy. Even easier is a fast download through the satphone. When I have a chance to download all the sources and a moment to think about what you suggest makes great sense.
So what do you get over relatively expensive satphone e-mail that you can't get over wefax? Please don't say gribs, as they generally just confuse matters since they don't show weather artifacts that we really care about, and are just flat wrong in the region of those artifacts.

I think Chris provides a great service.
I agree. I have never used his services but we are (I think) friends through a number of SSCA projects. I've introduced him a couple of times at talks and we correspond and talk on the phone regularly, as recently as last Thursday.

A lot of my customers use Chris Parker's Marine Weather Center services and are very happy. I suggest that the more you know about weather the MORE valuable Chris's services become.

Still for most of us we don't have the confidence in our understanding of weather that we don't benefit from the expertise of a Chris Parker or learn something every time we listen to Lee talk.
I think Chris Parker and Lee Chesneau offer very synergistic services. Lee makes us more self-sufficient, and Chris provides experience and insight and advice (well rested and with lots of Internet) that is hard to duplicate at sea.

Personally I'm pretty confident doing my own forecasting and routing with the same data that Chris uses before I drop lines, and with wefax synoptics underway. If things get messy I know what to ask for on SSB nets and contacts to fill in. Not everyone wants to put in the time to get to that point. I don't put myself in the category of Chris or Herb much less Lee. I can be self-sufficient.

Your point on fatigue is well made. I got caught between two emerging systems - nothing on the 96 hr charts, nothing in the HF voice forecasts, just nothing. POW. They showed up on the 48s and then on the 24s. I was already whipped. Friends ashore provided advice to "run away" that I responded to with a two page analysis (Winlink or Sailmail e-mail - I forget). The next morning after another night of insufficient rest I managed to get two brain cells to rub together and sent them another e-mail to the effect that I realized they were getting eight hours of sleep a night and I was exhausted. I headed into Beaufort instead of continuing toward the Chesapeake at 1.5 kts.
 
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