We all love the weather but where can we find the best forecast?

Met Office

The Met Office is the official provider of weather information in the UK providing a wide range of marine forecasts and warnings.

In the UK, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is responsible for the provision of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) to ships at sea, which includes the broadcast of warnings and forecasts. This includes Navigation Warnings.

The Met Office initiates warnings and prepares routine forecasts for dissemination on behalf of the MCA, Marine Coastguard Agency.

Mariners in UK waters should always use this source of information as their first port of call.

Forecasts are updated every 6 hours with broadcast over VHF Radio. Interim strong weather warnings are added when required.

XC Weather

XC Weather gives Observations, Forecasts, Overviews and Animations for:

Wind

Weather

Temperature

Visibility

Pressure

You can  select a location from a drop down menu. (Britain, France, Germany, Spain Italy and USA)

Well worth a look when planning a passage

Passage Weather

PassageWeather specialises in Sailing Weather Forecasts and provides  reliable, easy to use weather forecasting. 7-day Wind, Wave and Weather information to help mariners with their passage planning and weather routing.

The weather data used to produce the weather forecast charts come from the US National Weather Service (NWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the Marine Meteorology Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Frivind AS and the Cyprus Oceanography Center.

The site offers worldwide Surface Wind (10m above sea level), Surface PressureVisibilityCloud Cover and Precipitation forecast charts updated four times daily, with forecast output to 7 days ahead.

Windy TY

The best visual weather forecasting tool we have seen.

Windy (also know as Windyty) is intuitive, fast, efficient and accurate weather forecast used by professional pilots, surfers, sailors and motor boaters. We have used this for tracking storms, hurricanes and just plain weather forecasting enabling us to set the best time to leave to make the most of or avoid what the weather has in store for us.

Predict Wind

The free version of Predict Wind is a great tool for accurate wind forecasting.

The PWG & PWE forecast models are PredictWind models show wind weather updates every hour, with a wind speed and direction map for your entire local area. You can upgrade to the paid version for more information including wind gusts, wave heights and swell. This could be worth considering if you are on a longer passage as you can subscribe for as little as 3 months.

Remember – weather sites can only offer a guide as to what you can expect. Sometimes they are bang on with their accuracy but on other occasions you might wonder if the information relates to another place altogether. In short, there will be occasions when might as well rely on a piece of seaweed on the chart table and the wind  ruffling the feathers of the seagull sitting on your spreaders!

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Getting a weather forecast on your tablet or mobile phone

Weather Apps
Windy TY

We used Windy TY to help us plan our crossing of the notorious Gulf of Tehuantepec

The gulf of Tehuantepec is a notorious stretch of water through which the Tehuano wind or Tehuantepecer blows. This is s a violent wind that blows through Chivela Pass most commonly between October and February. It originates from eastern Mexico as a northerly wind which accelerates south as it blows through the gap between the Mexican and Guatemalan mountains. This wind can reach gale, storm, and hurricane force and typically can blow for more than 25 days in every month. These winds can influence waves which then propagate as swell and are sometimes observed 1,600 kms away.

Caution – be sure you know what time zone your device is displaying your forecast. Some applications use UTC, others the time zone on your computer or mobile device.