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Like many other cruisers these days, I’ve added an extra fishing rod holder to my solar arch and used it to mount one of Elon Musk’s lovely new satellite dishes. But, being suspicious of new-fangled technology and given the mercurial nature of Musk coupled with the the fact that, like many others, I’ve jury-rigged the RV Starlink rather than shelling out for the marine version, I like to have a backup on board. For us this comes in the shape of our Zoleo satellite communicator.

Our Zoleo is also new-fangled but it is a lot simpler – it allows SMS and email messages to be sent via the Iridium network and comes with handy SOS and medical assistance functions. So far, it has proven reliable on a few short offshore passages and, as we sit here at Marina de Las Palmas, I feel confident it will perform well on our upcoming Atlantic crossing too.

How to use Zoleo with noforeignland?

But how to use Zoleo to update our noforeignland tracking and add stories to our joruney? Well thanks to the coding prowess of the noforeignland team Zoleo has just been added to their long list of tracking options.

The instructions for Zoleo are the same as those for tracking with email, and basically involve sending an email with your latitude and longitude from the Zoleo to

It’s really important to get the format of the email just right – I suffered the sting of rejection a few times before cracking the code – the noforeignland server is very particular that your email looks just like the following, i.e. no spaces and with the lat and lon on two separate lines:


And if you want to add a story, that’s easy too – just write it below the lat and lon and follow it with four minus signs. I used underscores on my first try and was told off by the noforeignland server again. The minus signs mark the end of your story and to prevent email footer text from being added to your journey:

After a few seconds the email will be processed, and a short reply sent from the noforeignland server indicating that the position and story has been added to your journey:

So that’s all there is to it – simple really, and another fine feature of the noforeignland app.

Fair winds all!

By Ben Steele

Ben Steele is a New Zealander sailing with his Danish wife and their two kids. They started in Greece and are heading as far west as they can make it in a year, all on Saga their Elan Impression 434.


  • Katja Giannini says:

    Thank you NFL for the magazine and Ben for his excellent article. We have ordered it immediately as the backup for Starlink. A product we didn’t know existed. Fair winds, Katja

  • Pete Naylor says:

    Thank you. The attached articles are very interesting and informative. Well appreciated.

  • Jason says:

    Would love if there was a way to send the Zoleo automatic position updates to NFL and use NFL as our tracking map rather than the ZOLEO map. Thanks for what you’ve created.

    • Steve Neal says:

      Hi Jason,

      We’re glad to year you like what we’re doing 🙂

      We’ve found with other tracking systems that if a customer (in this case you) gets in touch and asks them to integrate with noforeignland, it gets a much better response than if we contact them directly. Please do this and we’ll be happy to talk with them to get it working.

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