For the past 25 years, Canadian sailor and meteorologist Herb Hilgenberg has been providing sailors with weather forecasting and routing advice. His service was offered freely and has helped countless yachts make safe passages and avoid a needless weather related tragedy at sea.
His tireless dedication to those who sought his sage advice is a loss to us all, but now at the age of 76 Hilgenberg has decided to close his North Atlantic radio net and retire.
But Hilgenberg’s retirement is bittersweet. According to his website, “In November of 2011, Herb lost all of his dedication/enthusiasm and commitment to continue operating his daily Net, over 25 years, Call Sign VAX498, (South Bound II Coastal). This was triggered by unjust negative media assessments of Herb’s advice to yachts, participating in the 2011 NARC event.
His inclination was that it would be best to start reducing his level of service beginning in 2012, by requesting that skippers pre-register, and that he would cease coverage of any yachting/cruising races.
While this helped to reduce traffic down to about 325 vessels up to May 31, 2013, covering: tall ships, fishing vessels, motor yachts, experienced yacht delivery captains, past contacts as far back as 25 years, experienced racers/cruisers, as well as responding to requests from Rescue Coordination Centers, his heart is no longer in it to continue.
It gets more difficult climbing up antenna towers at age 76, in order to repair/replace antenna storm damage.”
The single-sideband will be a much lonelier place without Hilgenberg, and the long ocean passages filled with a lot more weather angst. Thank you, Herb for helping to keep so many of us out of harm’s way, and “Have a good watch.”