Back in the days before radio was widely available, before forecasts were sometimes accurate and you could get your weather reports in the middle of the ocean through a satellite, a good sailor relied on his instincts, experience and tried and tested knowledge.
Much of these less sophisticated forecasting skills are summarised in the way of sea rhymes such as:
'Mackerel skies and mares’ tails make all ships carry small sails'
Luckily today, there is a scientific explanation for all these rhymes. A good cruiser should be proficient in understanding weather, whether they have sophisticated equipment or not. Below are two books that should be in the library of all those that wish to have a good understanding of weather.
Modern Marine Weather (2nd edition) – David Burch
Modern Marine Weather by David Burch - .. .
A new, comprehensive text on how to take weather into account for the planning and navigation of voyages, local or global, using the latest technologies as well as the time-honored skills of maritime tradition, so that your time on the water remains as safe and efficient as possible.
Covers practical applications of GRIB files and other modern resources.
New topics in this edition include the European ASCAT and Indian OSCAT satellite wind data and how to access it, barometer options, developments in numerical weather predictions, new weather resources for mobile devices, changes in NWS terminology and weather map conventions, new research that affects practical marine weather, and new data on ocean and coastal currents, among others.
A significant part of the update comes from use of the book in marine weather courses for five years in many different settings, from kayak clubs to Navy warships.
Modern Marine Weather has 339 pages. If you cannot find it at your local marine book store, you can order it online by clicking here
RYA Weather Handbook – Chris Tibbs
RYA Weather - .. .
The RYA Weather handbook comes in both Northern and Southern Hemisphere versions, as this book is the companion to RYA courses taught worldwide.
Independent of the hemisphere, the book is packed with valuable advice on how to understand weather maps, modify them for local conditions and improve their accuracy.
Unlike, Modern Marine Weather, there is less emphasis on latest technologies and focuses more on teaching basic weather principles.
With coloured and well illustrated pages, it certainly makes it learning about weather easier and more appealing. This is a great starting point to mastering weather.
RYA – Weather Handbook has 316 pages.
If it is not available in your local marine book store, you can purchase it online from the RYA online shop
by Ivan B. Signorelli