WeatherFax 2000

We are long time users of WeatherFax 2000, from Xaxero Marine Software Engineering Ltd in New Zealand, for the reception of weather faxes on a Windows PC.

WeatherFax 2000 is one of those products that are all too rare around boats: it just works; no fuss, no muss. Not only does it do the best job of anything we have tried at pulling vital weather information out of the ether, but the interface is easy to understand and the documentation explains a fairly complex technology clearly.

I think the key to why it is such a good product is that it was written by a real bona fide long distance cruiser: the last I heard, Jonathan, the developer of WeatherFax 2000, was on his boat cruising Chile; a place that will definitely breed a healthy interest in the weather and effective ways to track it!

A couple of months ago, when we launched Morgan’s Cloud, I found that our demodulator—one of two options offered by Xaxero for receiving weather faxes—was failing intermittently. I wrote Jonathan asking what a replacement would cost in the hope that I would not have to repurchase the entire package. I fully expected to pay for the new hardware and shipping, since the demodulator was six years old, and even said that in my e-mail.

The next day I heard from Jonathan offering to send me a new demodulator free of charge and ten days later it was in my hand. Now that is pretty amazing service. What more can I say?

By the way, some people may be surprised that we are still using weather fax since there are modern sources for weather information available. We use some of them, such as downloading GRIB wind field and pressure information over Iridium, but, in our experience, you still can’t beat a series of weather fax surface prognosis charts for getting an overall understanding of what is coming at you weather wise. Best of all, weather fax is free.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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