Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".






Sunday, 20 October 2013

UK marine weather forecast sites

I have been following an interesting discussion on the open boat forum regarding UK marine weather forecasts and which are best. Some I use and some I haven't used before but here is a list of the ones I know of

http://magicseaweed.com/Wembury-Surf-Report/1234/

Magic seaweed is a surfing based site.

Then there is wind guru. I like using this one. I have always found it to be pretty much on the nose.
http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=98372&sty=m_menu

There are others as well. For example, on extended coastal passages along the coast 
will use the  Met office SW England forecast which can be found at
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/sw/sw_forecast_weather.html

It comes with some useful maps and tabs so that I can separate out wind speed etc.  

The other one for extended passages, a favourite of mine is at PassageWeather.com.
 I have always found this to be an accurate site as well.


Frank's weather site has a wealth of useful information and is well worth a visit at


A number of forum members discussed the merits of this site http://www.xcweather.co.uk/
If you move your cursor over the various arrows on the map that appears, 
very detailed forecasts appear in the right hand box.
However, some forum members argued that their experience was the 
forecast from this site would underestimate the wind speed in the forecast 
compared to reality.
Expect one force higher than predicted was the proffered wisdom.
Some members recommended Fizzweather for ipad/iphone. 
It gives an average beaufort scale figure for wind speed rather than the range 
that you get from the met office inshore waters forecasts.
Another ipad app I use is WeatherproHD. I've found it to be a pretty reliable 
indicator of weather within Plymouth Sound, especially regarding wind and 
rain predictions.
I quite like MeteoEarth HD as well but only because I'm a visual person and 
I like the interactive maps. i wouldn't say it it is as reliable a forecast as some 
of the others mentioned above but it gives me a range of interactive maps and 
the wind one is useful. You slide along the date and time bar at the bottom of the
map and the wind arrows change width and direction and colour accordingly.
It is a good visual representation of shifts in wind speeds over a 24 hr period.
Whilst on the subject of ipad apps, SeaNav Uk is a useful one for me - a sort of 
series of charts and symbols for all my coastal cruising areas locally. 
Interactive map layers can be switched on and off to show depths, wrecks etc. 
You can work out waypoint information and have a good scout of where you are going.
It isn't accurate enough for safe navigation but it is a good one to work off when 
doing initial passage planning/feasibility thinking. It comes with a useful toolbar at 
bottom. The great bonus is that you can hybrid detailed aerial photographs with up 
to date chart information. TidesPlanner is my preferred tidal planner app.
You can get any date tide and then see it as a tidal range curve. It has a slider that 
allows calculation of tidal heights for your particular location at different times of 
day and again is a useful planning tool. Tides UK is also another one I use occasionally.
I am sure there are plenty more out there. If you have some useful recommendations for 
small boat sailors in the UK, then let me know via  the comment box and I will add them 
in to another blog post.
 It is always interesting sharing useful blog and internet sites with a likeminded community.
Steve




4 comments:

Paul Mullings said...

Hi Steve, viewed on my iPad the rh side of the paragraph is cut off... Is it just me?

steve said...

Hi Paul
Yep I know
It is irritating the hell out of me because I can't get it to correct itself. May need to delete and start again
Frustrating, sorry. Normal service will be resumed ASAP

Steve

Paul Mullings said...

Hi Steve, if using your iPad have you tried 'Posts' for Blogger and a good vector drawing app is 'Inkpad'
Cheers
Paul

steve said...

Cheers Paul
Will take a look at both
Thank you
Steve