A lesser known gale prediction trick - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 04-19-2014
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A lesser known gale prediction trick

I don't know if I've actually read, or heard this anywhere, but I have an observation that I make from time to time that I find is very accurate in predicting gales.

When the weather is reasonably calm, or somewhat windy (doesn't have to be dead calm like "the calm before the storm") if you see a large number of seagulls milling about inland in open, flat areas, you're in for a pounding.

I learned this trick in a rural school in Australia that I attended which was near some waterways. The school has big grassy sports fields and I was usually looking out the window. Periodically, I'd see lots of seagulls milling about on the cricket pitch (open grassy field) looking bored.

Being from the PNW, I know that these white/grey flying rats are usually out and about looking for food. Milling about out in the open, where they can't find food and appear vulnerable seemed like odd seagull behavior to me. I started to notice that a few hours after observing these behavious there would be a huge windstorm.

2 days ago, the wind was predicted to be 15-25, but I thought it would be higher. I even put on my BFS T-shirt hoping for some photos of a BFS and sure enough, an unforecast gale appeared.

See the story and photos here: MedSailor's BFS

Today, while at home, we're getting pounded again by another wind storm and this morning the seagulls were inland again milling about the school yard.

Anyone else know of this trick?

MedSailor
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

Back before I had VHF wheather or not reports we all watched the gulls for input.
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

In warm waters, when you're swimming or snorkeling look at the conch. When they're burying themselves it's going to get nasty.
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

when they sit on the grass is a biiig storm...
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Old 04-19-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

The seagulls gather in fields because as the barometer drops it is harder for them to fly. If it's a grassy field there's always a chance that the rain brings up the earthworms. Yum.
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Old 04-21-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

Good tip. Thanks. I'll have to keep my eyes open, see if it holds true.
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Old 04-21-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

I just watch the stinkpotters. If they sit aboard, tied to the dock, its going to be cloudy or windy. If they go home, its going to rain.
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Old 04-21-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

But if I am 3 miles offshore how am I going to see the seagulls?
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Old 04-21-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokesailor View Post
But if I am 3 miles offshore how am I going to see the seagulls?
Usually you won't see seagulls 3 miles offshore, so you'll need better gale prediction techniques out there.

HOWEVER, if you DO see a bunch of seagulls trying to land on your boat 3 miles offshore, it likely means that there was a huge earthquake and your former cruising grounds have sunk into the sea. So, what it really means is that you're now 30 miles offshore.



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Old 04-21-2014
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Re: A lesser known gale prediction trick

I've noticed the gulls sitting in the fields but never put it together with the weather - thanks!
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