Weather Windows

Perth 1418 nm  

Didn't I just talk about making plans and how we're going to try to stick to a schedule? Well, we're a day behind schedule already. One thing you can't control on a boat … the weather. You really have to “go with the flow” or stay put. On land, in a car … you plan to go somewhere on Saturday, you go … unless you're in Wisconsin, for instance, and you're up to your eyeballs in snow. There are some no-go situations, but it usually doesn't depend upon the direction the wind is blowing. For the most part, your travel is not limited by weather and wind.

We had planned to leave this morning for Port Lincoln. The sun is shining, but the wind is blowing … from the west … the direction we want to go. So instead, we're spending the day aboard and taking the opportunity to catch up with some writing and reading. Tomorrow looks more promising wind-wise, but then there are the waves to think about. This is the way it goes with sailing. Sometimes you just wait.




We've spent as much as two weeks in some places waiting for a good weather window to appear. It takes patience. Sometimes we wait for storms to pass, but usually it's because the wind is blowing in the wrong direction and close hauled sailing, beating into the wind is not pleasant, nor is it fast. We've had times when we've gone backwards and lost miles during a passage. Tacking angles are flat, especially when the seas are big, and you go north or south or backwards, but never west … the direction you really want to head. How often do you go backwards in your car … unless you're in reverse?


bom forecast


We use several weather predicting tools to help us make our plans. There are the GRIBs which provide a big synoptic picture of what the weather is doing and what we can expect. There's the local weather forecasts … in our case, Australian BOM (Bureau of Meterology) and there's also Willie Weather. We also use BuoyWeather, an annual subscription service that uses “virtual buoys” to predict wind and waves and weather along our travel path. They're all helpful, although sometimes they all disagree. And quite honestly, as good as weather prediction is nowadays, the wind and sea gods always make the final decisions and once you're out there, you get what you get.




So we wait and hopefully, we'll be off tomorrow!