Tag Archives: Using Sailmail via Internet

Webmail. Accessing your SailMail account via somebody else’s computer.

If you have to use somebody else’s computer or use a public computer in an internet cafe, and you would like to read  the SailMail messages that you have queued for you at SailMail via the Web, you can do so via SailMail’s Webmail service.   Note that you can delete  email messages via these Web based mail readers.  This will avoid you having to waste radio connect-time downloading old messages when you access the SailMail system via radio from your boat.

If you have been away from your boat for a while, it is a very good idea to access your account and delete all of the old messages.

Connecting to SailMail via the Internet, using AirMail

If you have an internet connection into your computer (e.g. a Wi-fi or cell-phone connection in port, or an Iridium or Inmarsat satellite connection offshore) then you can use AirMail to directly retrieve your SailMail messages over internet instead of connecting via HF-Radio. This is very handy when you are in a marina where internet access is available, and is useful offshore as an anternative to radio.

Just press the “internet” button on the message index window, which looks like a lightning bolt. In the window that then opens up, press the “connect” button, which looks like a green ball. If your internet access is working you will retrieve and send all of your SailMail messages just as if you had a (very fast) connection via radio.

You need an internet connection of course. If you are connecting via marina WiFi or similar, test your internet connection by opening www.google.com in your browser. If you open a Google search page you should be able to send and retrieve your SailMail messages. (If not, see “Troubleshooting” below).

If you have any problems here are the details and settings.

For Airmail version 3.5 the internet settings are part of the “stations” update and are designated “Server1”, “Backup1”, etc.  To update those settings, send a (blank) email via Sailmail to: stations@saildocs.com and the reply-message will automatically update the settings. The settings will show in the Internet window settings box (Edit menu), but cannot be changed from there. They are stored in the Sailmail INI-file and updated with an updated “stations” message from Saildocs.

For Airmail ver 3.4 (or earlier) the settings are pre-configured but may need updating manually when there are changes. If you don’t see the yellow “lightning-bolt” button, or “Internet Access” or “Telnet” in the Modules menu, then open Tools menu, Options window, Modules tab, and make sure that the box to the left of “Internet Access” or “Telnet Client” is checked. Click OK.

To check (or add) server settings, first check the list of servers: If the server designation (Remote-ID) is listed below, select it and click “Settings”. Verify Remote-Host and Port, change as needed and click OK. The Port is always 50, timeout 120.

For Server1 the Remote ID is SMSG1, Remote Host is
For Server2 the Remote ID is SMSG2, remote host is
For Backup1 the Remote ID is WQAB964, remote host is
(The current list is always shown here: http://saildocs.com/stations

Select “Server” and click the “Settings” button (or click “New” if there is no listing for WRD719). Check or enter the following settings:

** Note: For quicker access via Iridium, use Server1 (or WRD719), make sure the port is “50”, and enter the numeric IP-address “” instead of “pop3.sailmail.com”– this saves a few seconds. Note that this address may change if we need to shift servers– so if it won’t connect then enter the “pop3.sailmail.com” and note the address which is shown when you connect. (Don’t include the quotes shown here).


If you get an error instead of connecting, then double-check your settings and try port 50 instead of 50001, or vice-versa. Also try opening a web page in a browser. If you cannot open a web page, then find out why your internet connection is not working.
If you can open a web page but cannot connect to Sailmail, then it is likely that the internet provider has blocked port 50 and 50001. Ask them to un-block port 50 (or 50001), or read on:

There is one other trick, and that is to use Airmail’s “mail client” window to access Sailmail’s POP3 server. This is unlikely to be blocked for receiving mail, but may be blocked for sending mail. Here’s the skinny:

Connecting to Sailmail via Airmail’s mail-client window:

Open Airmail’s Tools/Options window, click on Modules tab, make sure that “Mail (pop/smtp) Client” is checked (enabled). Click OK to save changes and close.

Now go to Airmail’s Modules menu, Mail-client. If you don’t already have a “Sailmail” tab, then click “New”, enter “Sailmail” as the account-name (without the quotes, for all this), and enter the following settings:

On the right side, under “POP3 connection”, enter the following:
Server address: pop3.sailmail.com
Login name: (your Sailmail callsign)
Password: (your Sailmail password, same as for telnet)
Leave mail on server: No check-mark
(no entry for “days” or “KB” box)
Timeout: 60
Port: 110
Tick the box “Include in check-all”.

On the left, under “SMTP connection” enter the following:
Server address: smtp.sailmail.com
From Name: (your name or boat name, used only for the return address)
Email address: (your complete Sailmail address– callsign@sailmail.com)
Authorization: Check the “Login” box
Login: (your Sailmail callsign, same as above)
Password: (your Sailmail password, same as above)
Timeout: 60
Port: 2525
Check the box “Include in check-all”.

Now click OK to save and close, and then click “Check all” on the mail-client window to check your mail.

This uses the standard POP3 connection (port 110), that will certainly not be blocked.
For sending mail, many providers want you to use their own SMTP server. That’s fine, ask them what the server-address and login info is.

If you want Airmail to also dial a telephone connection then check the
“First dial…” box and select the appropriate connection. (Note: earlier
versions of Airmail did not properly disconnect even when the “hang up” box
was selected, always make sure that the phone disconnects).

Note that Iridium has blocked most internet ports, as a result Sailmail
is currently supporting both port 50 and 50001 on both servers- use port-50 for Iridium connections, or if there is any problem connecting to port 5001- it may be a blocked port for the local connection.

More information:
For more details on accessing Sailmail via an Iridium sat-phone, see the FAQ post IridiumPPP

Also, for HAMS, remember that Winlink also supports Telnet but the settings
are different. Check the Airmail help file and the MBO List (View menu) for
settings and server addresses, or contact k4cjx@comcast.net.

Cheers, Jim

(revised 2020-04-18)

Accessing SailMail from an iPad or iPhone

Information on accessing Sailmail via POP3, via the internet, using normal Email Clients is available here.

Information on accessing SailMail using AirMail, when your computer has Internet access is available here.

The following information covers setting up an iPad or iPhone to access your Sailmail mailbox via internet to Sailmail’s email servers:

1. If this is the first mail account you’re setting up then tap “Mail”.
Otherwise, from the Home screen tap “Settings” then scroll down to “Passwords & Accounts” and click “Add Account” to create a new account.

2. The next page is a list of useless accounts, select “Other”, then “Add Mail Account”.

3. In the “Name” box enter your name or boat-name, in the “Address” enter your complete Sailmail email-address, for “Password” enter your Sailmail password (in your Welcome message), “Description” can be your email address or “Sailmail”. Click “Next”.

4. On the next page you have a choice of IMAP or POP, select “POP”. Under “Incoming Mail Server”, for Host Name enter “pop3.sailmail.com” (without quotes), for User Name enter your Sailmail callsign or ID (without the “@sailmail.com), “Password” should already be entered.

5. Scroll down to “Outgoing Mail Server” and for Host Name enter “smtp.sailmail.com”,
for User Name enter the same user-name and password as above for POP.
Then click “Save”. You will need to finish SMTP settings, (7) below, but the iDevice will try to verify the settings.

6. If you see an error “Cannot connect using SSL” then click “No”. You will see a warning that the account may not be able to send/receive, click “Save”.

7. Now go back to the Account Settings page by clicking on the account name.

  • Under “Outgoing mail server” click “SMTP” to open SMTP settings.
  • Check that Primary Server “smtp.sailmail.com” is set “on”, then click on that to open those settings.
  • Be sure that SSL is OFF, and verify that “Authentication” is “Password”
  • change “Server Port” to 2525, then click “Done”.

8. Now go back to the settings for the account, scroll down if needed and click “Advanced”. This takes you to more settings, including “Incoming settings”.

  • Be sure that SSL is OFF, and verify that “Authentication” is “Password”
  • Change Server Port to 110. There is no “Done” button, go back to the account settings.

If you have problems sending or receiving email, check everything above. Computers are humorless when it comes to spelling. Incoming mail is POP (pop3), no SSL, port 110. Outgoing mail is SMTP, no SSL, port 2525.

revised 2019-09-17 Jim Corenman

Accessing SailMail messages via a normal email program, e.g. Outlook via POP3

You can access your SailMail account via normal POP3/SMTP email connections from any email client program such as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. Airmail can also connect via POP3/SMTP from its Mail Client window, although for low-speed satellite connections you would want to use the Internet/Satellite Gateway client window.

You can also retrieve your SailMail messages into another email account such as Gmail, live.com, etc.– see below for details.

Generally, the only information needed for setup is your SailMail address.

If that seems too simple, here are the details.
Netscape), use the following settings:

For incoming mail:

  • The incoming POP3 mail server is pop3.sailmail.com
  • The POP3 port is 995 (secure) or 110 (standard)
  • Your POP3 username is your Sailmail address or just the name-part (before the “@”)
  • Your POP3 password is your SailMail password, included in your “Welcome” message– same as used for any access to SailMail.
  • The connection can be secure (SSL/TLS) or not, as you prefer.

For outgoing mail:

  • The outgoing SMTP mail server is smtp.sailmail.com
  • the SMTP port is 465 or 587 (secure) or 2525 (non-standard, not secure)
  • Your SMTP username and password are the same as for incoming POP3 email.
  • The connection can be secure (SSL/TLS) or not, as you prefer.

Most email apps and programs will figure this out if you simply provide your SailMail address and password. And Airmail will be pre-configured for POP3/SMTP connections to SailMail.

You can also retrieve messages from SailMail into most web-based email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc. Again, the only info you usually need is your SailMail address but the info above applies here also.

For replying to an email that was sent to SailMail and retrieved into another account such as Gmail, you can send the reply using Gmail’s outgoing mail server (for example) or use SailMail’s outgoing SMTP mail server with the info above.

In some cases, a premium (i.e. paid) service is needed in order to fetch mail from another account. This is not the case for Gmail.

For Gmail, here is how to set up message retrieval:

  • Find the settings button (gear icon, upper-right), then “Settings”.
  • Click “Accounts and Import”
  • Find “Check mail from other accounts”, click on “Add a mail account”.
  • Enter your complete SailMail email address, click Next
  • Select “Import emails from my other account (POP3), click Next
  • Enter your SailMail password
  • If you want to original to remain in SailMail mailserver for retrieval via radio for example, check “Leave a copy or retrieved message on server”.
  • Click “Add account”

Other email systems will be similar. The important things to remember are that your login username can be your SailMail address or just the name-part (before the “@”), the mail servers are pop3.sailmail.com and smtp.sailmail.com, and connections can be secure (recommended) or not.

Computer Security

Most of us are well aware of the need to protect our computers from the hazards lurking on the internet, but it is less clear exactly what is needed. The danger is viruses or “worms” or “trojans”, different types of malicious programs that can infect your computer. (We’ll call them all “viruses” for simplicity). As long as the computer stays on the boat and only connects through Sailmail then it is safe. Viruses cannot get through the server- incoming mail is scanned but more importantly Sailmail does not forward file-attachments (except for certain files which are inherently safe) so there is no way to send a virus via Sailmail. (The same is not true for Winlink, malicious programs can be sent as file-attachments and a brand-new virus will always get past a scanner).

Think of your computer as a fortress surrounded by hordes of bad guys (e.g. the battle for Helms Deep in “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”). At sea, you have the world’s largest moat with a slender well-fortified bridge (Sailmail). If you connect your computer directly to the internet then you need both strong bastion walls and solders on the inside (firewalls and anti-virus software, respectively). The connections we are concerned about include wireless connections in a marina, a dial-up connection via a cell-phone, or taking the computer ashore and connecting it to a phone line or network connection. These all expose your computer to potential threats. The threats can come from a virus attached to email, or as part of a malicious website, or by a direct connection to your computer (think of ladders over the walls).

So the basic rules are to keep your operating system updated, protect your internet connection, never open a questionable email or a suspicious website, and keep your anti-virus updated.

Operating system updates are important in order to make sure that your computer is secure against known vulnerabilities which have been fixed.

In order to protect your computer from a direct connection you need a “firewall” to block unauthorized connections. Windows includes an effective built-in firewall which should be left turned on, check Windows Security-center on the Windows control-panel. There are normally no programs which require that it be turned off.

There are other firewall software programs available, including various “internet security” packages. Many of these go overboard in terms of protection, adding no security but seriously interfering with normal use of the computer. Also, do not attempt to use more than one software firewall, this can tie things into knots. Our advice is to use Windows firewall (and disable any others).

Most local wired or wireless networks include an internet “router” which also acts as a firewall by blocking direct connections from the internet. But an internet router will not block a connection from a fellow user of the local network, who might themselves be infected. So continue to use your computer firewall.

It is also important to disable file-sharing unless you need this for a local connection. Windows-7 manages this as “private” versus “public” networks. File-sharing is disabled for public networks, be sure this is selected for any sort of internet-connected network, unless you are protected by your own hardware router.

For Windows-XP file-sharing is controlled as part of the TCP/IP properties for the each network connection- uncheck the “File and Printer Sharing” box to disable all file-sharing.

The final level of protection is a good anti-virus program which is kept up-to-date. Most new computers come with a “trial” version of some “all-in-one” internet security program, free for a while and then needs a paid subscription. There are two problems here: The “all-in-one” solutions aren’t as good– and a lot more intrusive– than Windows firewall plus a good stand-alone anti-virus program; and there are free versions of good programs (supported by their corporate customers) that there is no real advantage to a paid program.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a well-rated anti-virus program that works well without getting in the way, we use that here. AVG/free anti-virus is also good, and Kaspersky and FProt are also good but apparently no longer have free versions. Symantec and Norton anti-virus programs work well, but they tend to be packaged with firewall software as “Internet Security” packages which are overly complex and intrusive, and we have to recommend against them.

Google or any browser search engine can find these, be sure to include “free” in the search as all of these folks like to push the paid version (except Microsoft, they already got your money).

Some folks take the view “anything but Microsoft”, ten years ago that was reasonable but things change. Particularly after they got past Vista they seem to “get it” to a much higher degree.

And remember that any anti-virus software is only as good as its most recent update.

There’s another tool work considering, and that is an anti-malware program to periodically scan for spyware and other nasties that aren’t malicious enough to qualify as a virus or worm, but stuff you definitely don’t want it on your computer. MalwareBytes anti-malware free version is highly regarded, as are teh free versions of “Spybot Search & Destroy” and “Ad-Aware”.

For all of these (except Microsoft) read the websites carefully, some push paid versions, or “free” upgrades to the full version (only free for a limited time), or try to trick you into installing some other “clean your PC” crap. Read the info carefully.

But remember that anti-virus software only works if it can find the virus in its database. So there is always an opportunity for a new virus to sneak through before the company can update the definitions and you can download them. For this reason it is still necessary to use common sense and not open a file attachment from an unknown sender, and avoid visiting suspicious websites. There are relatively few malicious websites but if you get a note from an unknown person asking you to check out an interesting website then don’t.

And lastly, beware of the “phishing” expeditions. If your bank writes to you and asks that you go to a website to re-verify something, don’t. Contact the bank first- it may be a pirate website trying to hijack your login and password information.

A few links:
Microsoft Security Essentials: http://windows.microsoft.com/mse
AVG Anti-virus free: http://free.avg.com
MalwareBytes anti-malware: http://www.malwarebytes.org

Good sailing!

updated 2012-01-08