News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int

 

Sail-World.com : A cruising sailor's best friend: The Weather Window

A cruising sailor's best friend: The Weather Window

'Weather Window - but what exactly is it?'    .

One of the main differences between racing and cruising, apart from the competitiveness or otherwise, is the constant use by cruising sailors of the concept of the Weather Window.

Most cruising, except for a few ocean crossings or a non-stop circumnavigation of something-or-other, is undertaken in passages that are rarely more than a week long.

So whereas the racing yacht must go when the gun goes, the cruising sailor has the greatest chance of travelling during clement weather, just by waiting.


Many of the difficulties encountered in racing, including the occasional fatal race like the 1979 Fastnet and the 1998 Hobart Race occurred because the sailors were racing in weather that would horrify an self-respecting cruising sailor. Had the crews racing had the luxury of being able to say 'No' when they read the weather forecast, many of them would not have departed.

But what exactly is a 'Weather Window'? Well, simply put, it is the time period of weather and sea conditions which are relatively suitable for the planned voyage. The weather window occurs usually between two periods of time when the weather is unsuitable, eg. sea state or winds would make an unpleasant, if not dangerous journey.

A fixed schedule is an anathema for a cruising sailor. Agreeing to collect visitors from a particular harbour on a particular day, or agreeing to deliver someone at a particular time to a particular place are agreements that the prudent sailor should avoid at all costs, as it may put the yacht and the crew in jeopardy if the weather conditions dictate that one should not sail.

For example, in temperate latitudes from the autumnal equinox right through to the vernal equinox in the spring, you can expect some king of weather disturbance every four days or so that lasts for 24 to 36 hours. So the sensible time for travelling, both for safety and for comfort, is between those disturbances.

Weather Window - watching for the lows to pass, waiting for favourable winds in stable weather -  .. .  
The prudent sailor will be watching the weather patterns, the lows passing through, and the fronts, and will be standing by ready to go as soon as the disturbance has passed and the winds are favourable. Patience is the key, and the crew pressuring a skipper to go against his or her better judgement because 'I have to get back to work' or something similar, is the kind of pressure that good skippers will resist, and that good crew will never offer.

There are other kinds of weather windows apart from those experienced between systems passing. These are longer in their time frame and are more commonly referred to as seasons. Often these are the times when there are no hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones, dependent on where you sail.

At other times it refers to the prevailing winds. Travelling up the Red Sea, for instance, is usually undertaken between February and April, as these are the months when the south east winds extend furthest up the Red Sea, making the best of running with the wind while it lasts.

Rallies often make the most of the cruising season, occurring at the beginning or end. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is a prime example of this, crossing the Atlantic from East to West at the beginning of the cruising season in November/December. This allows yachts from the Mediterranean region to spend the cruising season in the Caribbean. The return rally is timed for May, before the hurricane season begins in the Atlantic.

Similarly, the Port2Port Rally, from Port Vila in Vanuatu to the Port of Bundaberg in Australia occurs at the end of the cruising season in October, getting the yachts out of way of the cyclone season that afflicts the South Pacific from November on.

A skipper's weather and climate consciousness and his adherence to the use of weather windows is one of the greatest indicators of his or her good seamanship.




by Des Ryan

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=89502

5:45 AM Tue 11 Oct 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

19 Mar 2014  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
10 Jan 2014  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
10 Dec 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
04 Dec 2013  Remove the mast, check the rigging - at home!
24 Nov 2013  Young Endeavour seeks sailors between 16-23 years for 2014 voyages
06 Nov 2013  Use This Simple 'Speed and Power' Sail Trim Secret!
29 Oct 2013  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
22 Oct 2013  Ocean cruising classes from Maryland - a great way to start
21 Oct 2013  How to stay put in a blow - the good oil.
15 Oct 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
MORE STORIES ...

Cruising USA

Canal Boating in the Alsace with the Galley Guys by Greg Nicoll with John Armstrong,


World ARC fleet arrives in Darwin by World Cruising Club,






Where in the world are our strongest corals? by Hanny Rivera - Cohen's Lab,








Barnacle Busting by Neil and Ley Langford,


From Penguins to Polar Bears by Cherie Winner,




Polar research: Six priorities for Antarctic science by Mahlon C. Kennicutt II and colleagues,




NCI granted dedicated VHF Channel by National Coastwatch,


Positive news for cruising boats in Greece by The Cruising Association,




















Risks to penguin populations continues by British Antarctic Survey,




Follow these tips when anchoring by Alex and Daria Blackwell,


Galley Guys meet the Spice Lady by Greg Nicoll, Andy Adams and John Armstrong,




If all else fails read the instructions!! by Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager,




Phuket Yacht Show: new kid on the block taking on PIMEX? *Feature by Guy Nowell, Sail-World Asia and Phuket Yacht Show,




Baltic 4 Nations rally is now in full swing
Tropical Storm Bertha expected to become a typhoon
Flags at Sea, an infographic by John Tissott
Cruising lessons from ocean racers
Procedures set out for waterborne visitors to Vanuatu
17-year-old RNLI volunteer saves child in first rescue mission + Video
Teen names latest RNLI Shannon class lifeboat in Poole + Video
Fascinating opportunity with OceansWatch
Fake GPS signals detected when cruising the high seas
Our new Cruising Editor editor remembers his first offshore adventure
Blue Planet Odyssey - Jimmy Cornell playing catch up on North West Pa
World ARC 2014 reaches Australia
Venezuelan Port Control lift recent port restrictions.
Seismic survey ship operating north of Aruba and Curacao
Predictwind helps you pick the best time to depart
Watch this whale lift a Kayak clear out of the water
World ARC reaches half-way point in Australia
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles (Part 2) *Feature
Drowning or electric shock? What you need to know to help save a life
Costa Concordia - the $2.25 billion salvage operation ready to begin
Northern Scotland: Voyage to Orkney and Shetland Isles, more photos *Feature   
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - New location and attractions   
Long Island waters could become more taxing this summer   
4.8 million Legos all at sea   
Tranquil, colourful and funky, Genoa Bay is a must stop for West Coast *Feature   
Scientist pioneered tracer to reveal hidden ocean flows   
Sail-World 2.0 - the Beta version- Please take a look   
Dredging activity near corals can increase frequency of diseases   
World ARC heading out of the Pacific   
Understanding the Ocean's role in Greenland Glacier melt   
Desolation Sound added to Salish Sea Pilot free cruising guides   
Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors   
Revealing report on Search for American yacht Nina released *Feature   
PredictWind's Weather Routing opens your navigation options - try it!   
Sail-World Cruising Founding Editor Nancy Knudsen says farewell   
Book review: Weather - you like it or not   
Vaavud launches generation 2 wind meter   
The drama begins - North West Passage sailors rescued from ice   
Entering an unfamiliar bay - decision time   
Baby Nemos finding their way home   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT