If you want to sail away, free FastSeas weather routing can help

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

22 Responses

  1. mattnyc says:

    why do I need to log in?

  2. Richard C says:

    Just signed into FastSeas and like it. Wish I had it last June on the sail to Bermuda. Wonder if FastSeas can text routing updates based on changing weather and send it to my inReach Explorer. Can it send a GPX file email update to a winlink address based on changing conditions? If it can do either it makes this a very powerful tool.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Matt, FastSeas saves your edited or imported polar data and also the last Start and Finish lat/longs you choose, even between platforms like PC and iPad. That requires a logged-in account. Also, your identity is protected to whatever extent it already is on Facebook, Google, or Twitter; there is no additional email or anything else required.

  4. Joel says:

    I used FastSeas and Expedition for the Annapolis Bermuda race. Both came up with the same route. It was easy to export the route from a PC to a micro SD card and then import into a Ray e7. We caught favorable eddys and avoided unfavorable ones. We passed a lot of boats who went south of the rhumb line while we went North.

  5. Jeremy Waters says:

    @Richard FastSeas has an email responder service similar to SailMail which can email you a routing or departure planning solution in response to an emailed request. Details are provided on the “Introduction” tab under “Get Weather Routing Solutions While Underway”. You can get routing solution emailed to you in a variety of file formats including GPX. I have not tested it with Delorme inReach, but it should work.

  6. Robert Hagens says:

    Count me in as a crew on that trip to Martinique. When do we leave?

  7. Sparkyu says:

    Cool beans.
    Can someone explain why the current overlay for Gulf of Maine shows no change as I step the time line forward? Particularly near SW Nova Scotia.

  8. Sparky says:

    @Ben. The electronics kit used board Great American IV would make a great article.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sparky, I don’t see the current display changing anywhere as I step thru a route. It may be a display issue or maybe they don’t change much? I don’t think the OSCAR model accounts for coastal tidal currents, and the forecast increment may be 5 days:
    Hopefully Jeremy will explain.

  10. Jeremy Waters says:

    @Sparkyu @Ben the ocean current data provided by the OSCAR project are a 5 day average derived from satellite observation – and not a forecast. It is therefore provided with a single time index.

  11. Jeremy Waters says:

    @ben I’ve made a few tweaks to accommodate power boats – including creating “simple” power boat polars and adjusting how the “motoring” logic works. I’ve also added sea surface temperature (sst), sst anomaly, and atmospheric pressure layers. Regards, Jeremy

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Very cool, Jeremy! I just adjusted the “simple” power boat polars to slower speeds with much of a breeze on the beam — it’s mostly a comfort thing — and then ran a scenario crossing the Gulf of Maine from Monhegan to the Cape Cod Canal. Your Departure Planning calculation seemed to nail the passage I’d hope for, a straight shot at max displacement speed with 100% winds less than 10kn and those mostly on the quarter. I leave the day after Thanksgiving, with leftovers (not really).
    I also tried the coast of New Jersey, and that’s when I discovered that I can set low maximum head and beam winds and then let Departure Planner find the days that work. Nice!
    It is a little confusing to see different passage and motoring times in the Passage Stats and Departure Planning but I assume they are not real calculations.

  13. Marc Dacey says:

    This looks great for planning. I exported a KMZ route to Google Earth and it worked like a charm.

  14. Michael says:

    This looks very cool – I’ll give it a try for our passage from Norfolk to the BVI in January.

  15. CitizenK says:

    If using android buy Sailgrib WR. Possible to use boat polar files with many options. Works great!

  16. Michael says:

    That’s not much use offshore. I will try out the InReach email option, though.

  17. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    3/4 around the planet in 50 days solo sailing, and the great Brit hope Alex Thomson is a close second though he lost his starboard foil a long ways back!
    For some interesting armchair racing, plug the IMOCA2015 polars I linked to above into Fastseas and watch it work out the possible last leg up the Atlantics. Only about 6,250 nm to go.
    But wait, Thomas Coville just sailed a big tri around the world in 49 days…
    …and several Sydney-Hobart race records may fall tonight:

  18. Sparky says:

    @Ben. Where is that Imoca 60 polar?
    Last leg of Vendee looks to be a horse race again.

  19. jjn says:

    i made a comparison between fastseas and sailgrib on android during the vendeeglobe! sailgrib has far more advanced features then fastseas!
    if you plan an offshore cruise try sailgrib you will be surprised!

  20. FastSeas says:

    FastSeas now supports Garmin/DeLorme inReach devices. Both routing and departure planning solutions can now be requested and delivered to inReach devices.
    See the following for details:
    Let me know if you have any questions.

  21. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Looks like an thorough implementation, Jeremy, and I hope to try it on new InReach+ I’m testing.
    It’s an interesting coincidence that I just heard from my friend Charlie Doane (WaveTrain.com) because he’s picking up his new boat in France, his weather router told him he had to get an inReach, and Charlie wasn’t sure he could register it from abroad. The answer was easy — yes!
    At any rate, it will be interesting to learn more about how a pro router used inReach with clients.

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