We have done our miles for the most part doing our own wx forecasting. That said:
When Herb was doing his routing in the North Atlantic, we found his help very valuable.
Chris Parker is an acquaintance from back before and we are very impressed with what he has put together and the quality of his work. We used his email service for when we were in Central America and needed a few days warning to get to a bolt hole for the occasional northers that would come screaming down from the US. We consider his work very helpful.
And when we were in the challenging waters of Iceland/Greenland and into Canada and we used Commander’s Weather. We found them quite nice companions and re-assuring as we were doing our own forecasting, but appreciated when CW suggested the same forecast. They were particularly good at looking at potential challenging wx that was still 3-5 days away: a low in mid North America which all forecasts predicted would be S of our track (preferred), but not far S and the steering currents could bring it on us or N.
It was discussions like this that gave us a bit greater confidence in these unfamiliar waters. CW was also responsive to individual questions: How many icebergs were reported in the various quadrants off Newfoundland/Labrador for ex.
Bottom line for Alchemy: when Herb was available, we always kept in touch with him. With Chris, in the Bahamas and Carib, I would always pay for a subscription, in part because I think he provides a valuable service and I want support it. And his work was always helpful.
For CW, I would likely hire them again for tricky or unfamiliar forecasting areas. My research does not indicate there is a better router wx forecaster, although there are a number: all seem to be moderately well thought of, but I found none that stood out.
Always, I would not sail into waters where I felt my forecasting skills necessitated an outside router, but I might easily welcome a back-up.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, sharing a wharf with Shimshal, Simon & Sally, in Burgeo, Newfoundland, CA