With or without these GRIB files, it remains valuable to also obtain the text forecasts from the NWS, in part because the GFS—or any one single model—can sometimes be quite a bit off on the tropical system intensity.
We have three basic text reports that might be of interest: high seas forecasts, high seas discussions, and tropical cyclone alerts. The basic ones we need to supplement the maps are the forecasts, and these are easy to get.
In principle we can get all of the text reports we need from the NWS FTPmail service, but this requires a very specific format and list of file names. An alternative is the excellent services of Saildocs, which have proven very dependable and versatile; it is relied upon by thousands of mariners worldwide, so we will limit the source to this one.
The eastern half of the Pacific Ocean is in the IMO GMDSS forecast zone called Metarea XII; the western half of the Atlantic Ocean is in Metarea IV.
To get text report and forecast for Metarea XII (North Pacific)
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the body of the text blank except for
send met.12 You can put anything in the subject line, which can serve for finding the mail for a repeated request. Be sure there is no signature or other text or graphics in the body.
This is all there is to it. Try it here.
You can also subscribe to this request to have it sent to you automatically every day. Send a blank email to email@example.com for details.
For other metareas, use these Saildocs abbreviations
|North Part of North Atlantic Ocean (High Seas)
|Northeast Part of North Atlantic Ocean (Offshore)
|East Part of North Atlantic Ocean
|East Mediterranean Sea
|West Mediterranean Sea
|West Part of North Atlantic Ocean
|North Part of South Atlantic Ocean
|South Atlantic Ocean North of 60S
|South Atlantic Ocean South of 60S
|Southeast Atlantic Ocean + extreme SW Indian Ocean
|North Indian Ocean
|Southwest of Indian ocean
|Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf
|Northeast of Australia (Pacific ocean)
|North of Australia
|Southeast of Indian ocean
|Southeast of Australia (Pacific ocean)
|West part of the North Pacific Ocean (from China)
|West part of the North Pacific Ocean (from Japan)
|West part of Pacific Ocean, 0-12S 90E-142E approx
|East part of the North Pacific Ocean
|Northwest of Pacific Nord and part of Arctic waters
|From SW corner 67N, 44E to NE corner 80N, 165W
|South Pacific south of 25S
|South Pacific north of 25S
|Southeast Pacific between 18S and 3S)
We can also see these reports online two ways. Directly from the IMO see
and we have similar reports from the NWS from this folder:
The files matching metarea XII and IV are north_pacific.txt and north_atlantic.txt
If you are sailing across one of these oceans, you would want to set up a schedule with Saildocs to send you the text report at least once a day, automatically. This will supplement your maps and GRIB file weather analysis.
* * *
Any of these services that might potentially be used underway
should be thoroughly tested before departure.
* * *