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5.12 Online information


This article is from the Boats FAQ, by John F. Hughes with numerous contributions by others.

5.12 Online information

First of all, Mosaic/Web pages about boats are sprouting up like weeds,
and there's no way I can keep track of all of them. I can, however, give a
pointer to a page that seems to keep track of a lot:


This page is maintained by Jeremy Smith.

Second, there's the Live-Aboard mailing list: To join, send E-mail to:
majordomo@centaur.astro.utoronto.ca; the subject line is not critical but
in the BODY of your e-mail write:


Stefan (the maintainer of the list) provided me with the following

Previous contributions are available by anonymous ftp. Just ftp to
centaur.astro.utoronto.ca, login as "anonymous" and use your e-mail
address as the password. Go to the directory pub/archive. The directory
pub/digests contains earlier posts filed into folders. The material in both
directories is updated periodically.

(The following section courtesy of sb)
You can FTP hourly surface analyses (one of the things you can recieve
with a weather fax receiver), in the form of .GIF files from
vmd.cs.uiuc.edu, in directory WX.

There is also hourly raw visual and infrared satellite imagery, (from
GEOS-7) which I don't know what to do with these.

The files are SA*.GIF, CI*.GIF and CV*.GIF, where the * is the date
and GMT hour of the picture.

Then, if you are on a unix system, you can use xloadimage to display

There are also .DOC files which describe many other sources of weather
related information on the network.


telnet madlab.sprl.umich.edu 3000

gets you any forecast you like. If you enter the city "BOSM," you get the
forecast for Boston, PLUS the marine forecast. This may work for other
cities as well.

You can also try telnetting to duats.gtefsd.com. This is an aviation
weather service funded by the FAA. It's really meant for pilots to get
weather briefings, but they don't seem to mind non-pilots using it (in fact,
the particular hostname I mentioned is specifically for non-pilots; there is
another host with the identical service for pilots which requires an
account and allows use of some additional functions).

When you get to the main menu, select "Weather Briefing", then "Local
Briefing", then "Standard Briefing". Anytime it asks for a "Tail
Number", just enter "N1234".

The user interface is kind of clunky, and the reports are all in
technojargonspeak which is probably pretty much incomprehensible if you
don't know how to decode it. You will probably need a book on
interpreting weather service reports to make any use of it, but for raw
weather information, it probably can't be beat as a source. For example,
here's the last three hours worth of reports from LaGuardia Airport:

LGA SA 1850 E140 BKN 12 122/55/46/0513/989 LGA SA 1750 M110
BKN 12 122/54/46/0517/989/ 214 1070 54 LGA SA 1650 80 SCT M110
OVC 10 115/55/45/0616/987/WSHFT 28 FROPA BINOVC

The 1650 (UTC) report is the longest, so I'll decode that. It says:
LaGuardia Airport, Normal scheduled report at 1650 UTC (i.e. 12:50 PM
Eastern Daylight Time). First cloud layer is estimated to be at 8000 feet
and is scattered (which I think means covering between 10% and 50% of
the sky). Second cloud layer is measured at 11,000 feet and is overcast
(i.e. covering more than 90% of the sky). Visibility is 10 miles. Sea-level
barometric pressure is 1011.5 millibars. Temperature is 55 degrees F. Dew
point is 45 F. Wind (this is the part you're interested in, right?) is from
060 at 16 kts. Altimiter setting is 29.87 inches of Hg. Windshift from 280,
frontal passage, breaks in overcast.

The coding is baroque and opaque, being designed for the days of 110
baud teletypes when saving every character mattered.

There are also forecasts for the next 12 hours or so for selected locations,
predicted winds aloft (sometimes useful for predicting surface wind shifts),
locations of fronts, etc. As far as 24-48 hours in the future, I don't suspect
you'll find much in the way of that, except in the most vague and general
terms. (rs)

More weather stuff:

NORAD (TLE) for NOAA sats, tide code
Tide code (shareware) for IBM-PC compatible

The racing rules updates can be found on the Ship-to-Shore BBS (the
number is listed in the Max Ebb article). Here's a list that I got from the
BBS: (hc)

Ship to Shore OIS
Marine Net for Sailors

Arlington VA 703-525-1458 Boston MA 508-256-1775
Moncton NB 506-386-8843 New York City NY 212-865-3787
Norwalk CT 203-831-8791 San Diego CA 619-435-3187
San Francisco CA 415-365-6385 Salt Lake Cty UT 801-968-8770
Toronto ON 416-322-6814 Vancouver BC 604-540-9596

There are also the following mailing lists for discussion of various topics:


owner address: E.R.Kooi@CRI.Leidenuniv.NL
list address : YACHT-L%HEARN.BITNET


The SAIL-TX mailing list FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) File:
________________________ Listname:
SAIL-TX Title: Texas Sailing announcements and discussion To post:
sail-tx-l@mdf.fidonet.org To SUBscribe: sail-tx-r@mdf.fidonet.org To
UNSUBscribt: listserv@mdf.fidonet.org in the msg body state UNSUB
SAIL-TX ________________________

From Joe Hersey, of Coast Guard Communications: For those who are
interested, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center in Groton
CT now has an operational World Wide Web server, accessable from:

I'll try to keep an up-to-date summary of the Coast Guard's Internet
services in the CG Navigation Information System BBS, accessable from

Finally, Boat/US maintains an online mailing list:

"Some info will still be posted in rec.boats, but to avoid cluttering the
group, we've decided to create a mailing list open to all interested boaters.
To subscribe, just email your request directly to boatus@aol.com."


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