The problem facing communication via HF radio at this time - this year, is the result of poor propagation on the frequencies used by cruising yachts - be they Ham or Marine band frequencies.
I reproduce 2 charts from HFRadio
to illustrate the difficulty in finding what are termed MUFs (Minimum Useable Frequencies)
Our Planet's cycle for efficient radio communication is just leaving the bottom of the trough - the charts show a gradual but steady improvement through to the end of 2011 ( after that the improvement will continue to complete another 11 year cycle.
So what does this mean to a cruising yacht who is trying to talk to a maritime net or another cruiser, or who is trying to send and receive emails, or trying to receive weather information?
It will mean that at certain times of the day (or night) frequencies that have been allocated for specific purposes will not function sufficiently well enough to send or receive voice or digital traffic - therefore, by referring to Regional Optimum frequency (FOT) charts , one may have to communicate at times irrespective of what other members of the crew are doing - eg snoring at 3am local