For the crossing East to West this was a great solution for us. Nice and cheap (comparatively), and provided us with enough information for what should always be a rather uneventful crossing due to the trade winds present in the area.
For the crossing West to East, you are much more likely to be affected by low-pressure systems flicking off Norther America, progressing across the Atlantic past Bermuda toward the Azores, before then heading a bit further north over the UK and Europe.
We purchased the Iridium secondhand from Vela who recently sold their boat in the BVIs before flying home, and it now lives “permanently” on the back wall of our Navigation table.
The setup came with an external antenna which is also “permanently” mounted outside near our port solar panel, with the cable routed into the boat using the same route as the solar panel.
The key difference between the Garmin Inreach and Iridium Go for us is the amount of “data” that you can receive and transmit and also the format.
The Garmin Inreach only allows you to send and receive short SMS-like messages (though you can email from the InReach, they are still SMS lengthed).
This means weather retrieval and weather routing can be a bit more of a pain, sending text instructions and receiving multiple test messages back telling you where you should maybe go and what the weather may be if you are there at the right time. It’s very hard to get a big picture from this though.
With Iridium it allows us to download Grib files for detailed weather information across a whole area, but also we can choose to pay for and use Predict Wind, which we will be doing for this crossing.
In comparison to the messages above from Fast Seas, the Predict Wind app can work directly with the Iridium Go, providing all of the routings and weather information in an easy to read display on your phone.
It’s all certainly more $$$, but should make the crossing a little easier to plan and we go.
Let’s see what we think about it all when we reach the other side!