We've been using LuckGrib now for a few years, and have found it to be an incredibly good companion to Expedition. The offshore download options reduce grib sizes by a fair margin. The developer is a fellow cruiser, and a long time software developer with a lot of experience with graphics development, so the visualizations are first rate.
The routing is also very solid, and I would rate it second only to Expedition.
They were also first to deliver true Grib2 functionality in a sailing app, as well as support for ensemble gribs.
It's only available on MacOS and iOS, but for those looking for great Grib and routing app, it's worth the time. Lots of youtube training vids from the developer as well.
Hi Daria and all,
I do not remember seeing your initial question, but it got me thinking… I suspect most of what I write below you know, but I also write for others who might come across this exchange.
In a contest between short term local grib forecasts (on an ocean passage) and long term, I would take long term any day. Short term most of what one needs to know can be had by a good barometer, watching the clouds and the sea state and recording their characteristics on a scheduled basis (on Alchemy, every 4 hours). The barometer tells you what is coming: a high or a low, and how much to worry: how fast the pressure is changing. The grib will fill out the details, but it is already too late to do much at sailboat speeds to position yourself better.
Long term gribs can really save your bacon. Daily or twice daily long term gribs, lined up next to each other (or drawn on paper wx charts) make it is possible to see trends. And they are far enough out to allow for a few degree course change to get a better slant on the wind or to move so that a low passes below or above you. For most sailboats, you will not be able to avoid bad weather, but you can position your boat to best take advantage of the weather to come. At worst, you can get psychologically ready, and the boat ready, for a blow and know how long you have to endure: well more than half the battle.
On Alchemy, I worked with twice daily long and short term wx forecasts which were free for me from ham radio downloads through Saildocs (marine SSB needed a very modest fee for similar wx data). I sometimes included wx faxes (surface analysis and forecasts and wind & wave), but found that most data could be obtained more easily through gribs.
I suspect that someone familiar with some of the new satellite equipment will weigh in with their capabilities. I believe Passage Weather has gotten good reviews and can be teamed with a device that can also do texts and the like.
Correct me if I am missing something, but my outside take on what I hear, is that the expense of a sat-phone with a data hookup and shore based service to facilitate delivery of emails, wx data and the like is for boats that want full comm capabilities. For simpler needs, wx data, texts, position reporting and emergency reporting, the new devices are far less expensive to buy and to install and to use, and check most of the boxes one needs on passage.
I have heard good things also about WINMOR, but when going to research, my eyes glazed over quickly.
My best, Dick Stevenson, KC2HKW, s/v Alchemy