Email While World Cruising

I am seeking advice re the best choice for setting up an email account for use during my family’s upcoming sail around the world. My crew are my wife and two young daughters (5 and 8). We plan to depart in September 2003 from Groton CT aboard our Westsail 32. First of all, we plan to have a ham radio Winlink email address (if I can just carve out enough time to study for and take the tests!). But for sending and receiving photos and large attachments I gather that we should consider having an email address that we can access from Internet cafes and similar locations using our laptop. Do we need to have a subscription internet service provider that we would dial into from landlines at foreign ports? If so which is best? A free one like Hotmail (I think it’s free)? Or do we need to pay $10 to $20+ per month for an ISP like Earthlink or AOL? Do we simply need the email address and then plan to use the Internet cafe’s or other retail location’s internet service provider to gain access to the web. As you can tell, I am having trouble figuring all this out and would really appreciate your guidance as to whom we should contact for the best, most current advice. Thank you for whatever you can tell me to get us headed in the right direction.– Doug

Hi Doug: I would prioritize as follows:

1-Use Winlink (ham) for most e-mail, weather downloads, and related.

2- Have a good system for compacting your photos–like Adobe Photoshop tools for making images ready for the web which will allow you to send small images with Winlink.

3-For Internet Cafe usage and larger files to send home (or recieve from home) the trade off comes down to time vs. monthly costs. If you can afford the monthly fees of the Inernet only providers–usually $10 or so a month, you will get faster access than with the free services like Hotmail. Even quicker are the large services like AOL, Earthlink, etc. provided they have free access from the areas you will be cruising. If they charge–some used to do this–when you are away from home and using foreign phone lines for direct access, then the free Internet systems are better. Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 28, 2003)

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