Comms & Technology Update
PredictWind DataHub, Iridium Go exec & StarLink
We’ve recently installed three new items on Windflower. The Iridium Go exec to replace our aging Iridium Go, StarLink and PredictWind’s DataHub.
The Iridium Go exec is a definite upgrade from the Iridium Go. The exec is significantly larger than the Go, but is still portable with much larger antenna and an integral battery.
About the Iridium Go exec
A couple of issues I’d like to see Iridium address are the method of mounting the devise and they are still using the same antenna plug as the Go which has been an ongoing source of angst with users.
I must admit I was also skeptical of their speed claims for the exec but having now tested it with both the antenna on the devise and the new external antenna my skepticism was unfounded.
On the Iridium Go even with the unlimited data subscription we still limited the file size because watching those blue download bars was like watching paint dry.
With the Exec this is no longer an issue, those blue bars now scroll quickly across the page.
If you’re like me, my Scottish blood looked at the pricing and said, what’s the cheapest? So I went for a very limited amount of data so was very careful about the file sizes which sort of defeats the purpose of the Exec.
PredictWind however have now sorted this with a new Unlimited Data Plan* on the exec that’s exclusive to PredictWind. The pricing is also very competitive, only a small jump up from the Go Unlimited Plan but with many more features.
There were initially a couple of roadblocks for me on the decision to Go exec! The biggest was Vessel Tracking. The exec needs the PredictWind DataHub to enable Tracking.
My first thoughts were, “another piece of electronic wizardry” & “Do I need to engage a guru to install it”.
Simple answer was no. I opted for the On Boarding Service PredictWind offer with the purchase of the DataHub.
Even with the need to build a Network Backbone to enable the DataHub to talk to the exec and my Wind and Speed instruments PredictWind Support talked me through the whole process.
The first advantage of the DataHub is the additional data that shows on the Tracking Page, true wind speed and direction. For a router like myself this speaks volumes.
For the average cruiser if you’re part of a rally or other tracking group you can now build a picture of what’s actually happening with the weather, from the boats around you, it’s like having dozens of observation points, but at sea!
The next is your Polars, these are your boats parameters that are used for routing. Most of us choose the closest predefined Polar from the list PredictWind provides.
PredictWind are on the cusp of something really special, AiPolar Generation. With Ai Polar Generation PredictWind manages your polar based on the data the DatHub sends to build a Polar specifically for your vessel and how you sail her and uses this to give a tailored routing.
Another huge benefit with the DataHub, it becomes your one stop for all your communication devise. The exec connects via a Cat 5 data cable and on Windflower we have a data dongle for Cellular Connection and StarLink while we’re at anchor.
The DataHub seamlessly connects to the devise with the best connection and uses, in PredictWind parlance, “Least Cost Fall Over”. In simple term it will choose the most cost effective connection option available.
The StarLink needs the inverter and together they eat up battery power, hence the Vodafone dongle. Even when the StarLink is off and there’s no cellular connection the DataHub still sends our tracking via the Exec. Even better if you use WhatApp, via the DataHub and exec, you can talk and text on WhatsApp.
- Be careful here the PredictWind Unlimited subscription on the Exec is only unlimited for PredictWind data.
So I’m hearing some of you asking why have both the Exec and StarLink?
The first is redundancy. As a weather router, if I don’t get the scheduled reporting in a timely manner I start to get concerned, one missed report can be explained by a number of causes but two missed reports and I’m starting to worry.
If the skipper is relying on only one form of communication the question arrises, has he/ she had a comms failure, for any number of reasons, or are they in trouble?
With StarLink there is also the ongoing concern that unless you’re on the Maritime package you may be left without comms if they finally get around to Geofencing the Roam Package to terrestrial reception only.
The other is portability. If in the worst case you need to abandon ship your Go or exec is transportable and you still have comms. Not so the StarLink, this also applies to SSB!
Is the Iridium Go exec worth it?
So, do I think it’s worth it. The short answer is yes! Was it easy? If you’d asked me this when I opened all the boxes and laid them out on the main saloon table I’d have been unable to tell you because of the lump in my throat.
After the first onboarding session with PredictWind support, I could see the wood from the trees and from there, the support articles were excellent and as it turned out the rest was strait forward and ,easy.
Now? We use it every day without thinking about it!
More on Ai Polar Generation
Watch you inbox this weekend for the press release from PredictWind on Ai polar Generation. In the meantime here’s a sneak peek.
PredictWind Introduces Revolutionary AI Polars: Personalised Weather Routing Tailored to Your Unique Sailing Style
AUGUST 15, 2023 – PredictWind, the world leader in marine forecasting, has unveiled a groundbreaking innovation that will redefine the future of weather routing: the Automated AI Polars.
The Personal Touch in Weather Routing
For ages, sailors have known that no two boats – or skippers – are alike. Recognising this, PredictWind’s AI Polars are engineered to optimise routing based on your boat’s real-time data combined with your distinctive sailing habits. By understanding your boat’s behaviour in various wind conditions (its polar), PredictWind can deliver ultra-precise weather routing.
From Pro Navigators to Every Sailor
Previously, personalised polars were the exclusive domain of elite navigators. PredictWind has democratised this feature, making it easy and intuitive for every sailor. “With our AI Polars, we are bridging the gap between professional navigators and recreational sailors. Now everyone can benefit from hyper-accurate, tailored weather routing,” says Jon Bilger from PredictWind.
Seamless Integration with DataHub
It’s as easy as plugging in the PredictWind DataHub to your boat’s instruments and activating the AI Polars. The technology springs into action, capturing and interpreting vital data points like boat speed, wave conditions, true wind speed, and true wind angle. Moreover, hydrodynamic modelling intricately analyses your boat’s movement across varied wave conditions, offering the most precise routing available.
Beyond Just Routing: Enhanced Comfort and Safety
With the inclusion of wave conditions and individual comfort preferences, PredictWind ensures not just optimal but also comfortable routing. AI Polars also guarantee accurate data by smartly filtering out times when the boat is anchored, motoring, or motorsailing.
The Journey to Perfection: Always Optimizing
Once activated, AI Polars aren’t static. They evolve, consistently harnessing new data to refine and perfect your personal boat polar, enhancing precision with every nautical mile you cover.
PredictWind continues to lead the marine forecasting frontier, reaffirming its commitment to bringing professional-grade tools to sailors everywhere. With the launch of AI Polars, the horizon has never looked clearer or more personalised.
For more details, visit PredictWind’s official website or reach out to email@example.com
By John Martin – Coastal & Offshore Cruising Intl.
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