How do you guys find ACCURATE wind conditions? - Page 4 - SailNet Community
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post #31 of 49 Old 10-08-2011
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I've found nothing that gives you accurate weather conditions. There's too many factors which effect the wind that they'd have to have more sites from where they measure than what is feasible.

Generally I use a mix of sailflow, intellicast, accuweather. If they're all different then I know it's up in the air. If they're all similar, I know it'll probably be around that.

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post #32 of 49 Old 10-08-2011
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In the Northeast, I find that VHF radio weather "current conditions" are usually within a few knots. They are part of the regular repetitive broadcasts from the closest local stations on VHF weather bands. Wind conditions at buoys and stations are repeated throughout the day, the only downside being that you need to listen through the entire forecast, etc. to get the specific locations. Although I have never used it, NOAA also has the "Dial a Buoy" service to get real time wind/wave info from coastal weather buoys. The # is 888-701-8992. I suppose you could easily call this number and input the code for the buoy you want from a cell phone. The NOAA website has all the info. for this at: National Data Buoy Center.
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post #33 of 49 Old 10-08-2011
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Here's another option that you can try:

Davis Instruments
is selling networkable weather stations that put their real-time readings on the internet. Even if you don't own one, you can pull up a map, enter your location, and see the location of all of the available stations with the normal Google zoom in/zoom out capability. I tried typing in Newport Beach, CA, and found this station on L Street near the tip of Balboa Peninsula. It might give you some pretty good readings of what is actually happening.

I doubt that Davis has any quality control to ensure that the stations are mounted properly, and not in the shadow of large obstructions or in wind tunnels that would accelerate winds from certain preferred directions. So ultimately you need to observe any station's readings over time to see if it correlates well with the sailing conditions that you encounter.

I've been monitoring a few stations in my area all summer, and one of them seems to give pretty good indication of current conditions. Another one is titled with the name of a nearby sailing club, but the map actually shows it several miles inland from the club location, so I suspect a member of the club registered the station in the club's name but put the station at his house. Another station seems to be in a place that completely blocks the wind from certain directions. So you need to get familiar with these stations over time to build any trust in them.

I've been using this in addition to SailFLow, WUnderground, TWC, Accuweather, and NWS to build "consensus estimates" of sailing conditions in my area.


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Last edited by TakeFive; 10-08-2011 at 11:49 PM.
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post #34 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewportNewbie View Post
looking for current conditions, NOT forecasting. Seems simple...
The quality of the information will vary with the region. I'm not familiar with your area, but in many areas (such as the Salish Sea) it is hard to generalize from one location to another, even one relatively close by.

A lot of internet searches may turn up current information in unexpected locations. For example, a member of my Yacht Club works for our county surface water division of environmental services. He installs weather stations for the county that send wireless information out to the county data servers. The county puts this information as live feeds on the Internet. He was able to justify putting one at one of our Yacht Clubs outstations. So we know current wind, temperature, and rainfall information for a specific location. However, the conditions a mile away can be entirely different and the conditions may be vastly different a 1/2 hour later.

So, search around for live reporting stations in your area and look at those and then do a bit of extrapolating to the locations that you are interested in.

BTW, ignore some of the less-than-respectful replies to your reasonable question. You aren't naive.

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post #35 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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On Vancouver Island Big wave Dave most accurate forecasts and real time web cams with real time wind wave info
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post #36 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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I too use Big Wave Dave's webcams and Environment Canada's website, Marine Forecasts.
There is a link on Enviro-Canada's website to all of the local lighthouses that shows real time weather reports, wind speed, direction and wave height. They also have in-motion doppler radar imagery and in-motion satalite weather imagery.
The marina where I keep my boat also has webcams, but it would be really helpful if they hung a flag or a windsock up in front of one.

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post #37 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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There is an app for the Iphone called wind guru quite detailed and so far so accurate
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post #38 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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I find this page is pretty handy since you can personalize it for your area and it puts both forecasts and observations on the same page.

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post #39 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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Lots of good info here! I would add that even when you've got a good idea of the wind at present, it has nothing to do with what the wind may do in an hour. Thinking about what I actually do, it goes something like this: 1. the night before, get a Weatherfax 24 hr. forecast map. 2. in the morning, get the same map again to look for any changes. This gives me a good picture of what's going on with weather fronts. I may also get the wind/wave map, or upper level wind map and of course, the trop. storm map. 3. get a local VHF forecast. I have little pre-printed note sheets that make it easy to copy the info. and serve to look back for changes from the previous forecasts 4. go up on deck to look for indications of weather. This is probably the most important step in the decision process because, in my regular sailing area here in the NE, I have good feel for what the wind/weather will do regardless of forecasts. There is nothing as good as local knowledge and knowing those old sailors' sayings like, "As the sun rises, so does the wind."
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post #40 of 49 Old 10-09-2011
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And then you have the Cape effect... While you make an easy breeze offshore. But as you near land the shape of the points, capes and gorges will funnel that air mass and the wind will increase in a manner that may be alarmingly to you. Plan for it and you will enjoy a good fast sail. That is until you are away from that cape effect.
Cape effect areas that I've sail through; Point Loma, San Diego. Columbia Gorge, Columbia River. Hood Canal, Washington. And many more to name... But can you name the ones in your area?
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Last edited by Boasun; 10-09-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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