Reading the Wind & Weather

With the advent of apps it is easy to forget what causes the weather and what should a sailor know. When you are a day sailor, a motor-sailor or power boater the apps are just fine because your weather window is defined and the ability to avoid heavy weather is probable. However when you are 30 miles off-shore moving a 6 knots and a storm hits with 12 ft seas and 60 knot winds, you ask yourself was it avoidable? What tools can you use?

This is where things get very opinionated. Predict Wind comes cheap and expensive. For coastal cruising the basic version provides excellent and the ability to look at both Gribs and Isobars with forward time predictions as well as all the standard wave height, rain, temperature, cload cover ... The full function version alows passage planning enabling best selection of weather windows over 2 to 4 days.

Satellite weather from XM is expensive but it overlays right on your chartplotter giving a real time view of your local world. It also gives you XM satellite Music and News radio. If you live aboard or cruise then it becomes increasingly attractive.