26 July, 2010

Mediterranean Cruisers Net

The Mednet as it is known to the cruising yachts in the Mediterranean is an institution to those in the know.  It is a network (talkshow to landlubbers) run on the SSB HF radio on Frequency 8122Khz at 07:30 Italian time.
I first heard the Mednet when we entered the Med on April 2007 and have follow it every summer since then.  A netcontroller introduces the Mednet then asks for vessels to check in giving their boat name, crew names, location and weather.  On good days when the propagation is clear the netcontroller can get up to 25 boats checking in, ranging from the Eastern Med near Egypt to the far western Med of Spain.  We have even had a few boats give us a call from the Bay of Biscay west of Portugal.
It is great fun to follow the people that check in day after day as they cruise in a particular sea either along the Turkish coast or on their way to Venice or wherever.  The purpose of the net is to to share information with other cruisers and to find out where your friends are.  This has been moderately successful because people are generally careful with their advice over the air however this year the netcontrollers decided to change the format and drop the formal reading of the weather and ask for more information to be shared.  I am the Netcontroller on Tuesday.  The fellow who does Monday has been able to get people to share such a lot of information that we are now starting to reach our goal. Some days it is good other not so good but we all listen even if the noise from the radio drowns out the people talking. (only one at a time)
The other benefit of the Mednet is that one comes to know the peoples' voices that checkin each day to such an extent that you feel you actually know them.  We have cruised the length and breadth of the Med over the last four years and have only actually crossed paths and met four vessel that check in to the Mednet.  Last week we cruised into a anchorage on the south coast of Elba and there right in the middle of the bay was the yacht Threshold.  The crew had checked-in this summer and I had come to recognize their voices.  It was an absolute delight to actually meet the crew of this great vessel. The conversation started as if we had last seen then that morning on the Mednet. In fact we have now sailed together for almost a week, enjoying their company more than somewhat.  The great advantage of the Mednet.

No comments: