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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In another thread http://www.sailnet.com/forums/general-discussion-sailing-related/105421-rallies-gone-wrong.html there has been much discussion on how a fleet of boats got into worse conditions than predicted.

As full time cruisers, who often go off-shore, we study the weather reports with great interest but we never actually believe them, or rather we assign the report a wide range of error...20 knots we interpret as 10-40 knots, 24 hours we interpret as 12-48 hours, 8ft seas we interpret as up to 16 ft or even higher in the Gulf Stream.

Recently we have been listening to Chris Parker's excellent weather reports and predictions. Chris Parker Weather: Watch LIVE!

Problems develop when the sailors fail to assign the wide range of error...Chris Parker is excellent it is just that the Weather Gods do not listen to his forecast and they make up their own minds!

"Remember, experience only means that you screw up less often!"
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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"Remember, experience only means that you screw up less soften!"
You left out the part about when you do screw up its a doozy. *grin*

Establishing level of confidence in your sources is an important part of the equation.

I have generally high confidence in the guys at OPC and NHC. Regardless in reviewing synoptics I consider who the forecaster is. Some put more artifacts in, and others only locate the ones they are absolutely sure of. That means that interpolating between a surface analysis and a 48 hour forecast may be more useful than considering the provided 24 hour forecast. I just have more confidence in some forecasters than others.

A different tier of confidence goes to folks like the recently retired Herb Hilgenberg and Chris Parker (neither of whom have academic backgrounds in meteorology by the way). Aside from many years of experience, their biggest value is an understanding of their audience. Tailored analysis and advice is of great value. Herb and Chris both gave/give pretty conservative advice. Accordingly I use their forecasts more than their routing advice. *grin* I want to sail, not motor. For a retired couple that only make two passages a year I'd probably stay closer to Chris's routing.
 

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Speaking of personal forecast tailored for the audience, we've had good luck with commander's weather (no affiliation). IMHO, for a multi-day offshore passage, it's cheap insurance compared to some of the other stuff we pay for with boat bucks.
 
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