Relying on weather forecasts

Weatherillo.jpgOne of the advantages of having an internet connection while cruising is to have the current forecast at hand at all times. But a wise sailor will still expect the unexpected. As I write this, we’re anchored on the Shoalhaven river near Greenwell Point, a stopover on an Easter cruise to Ulladulla. I awoke at 0400 hrs to a few creaks and rattles. The kind you get when something is about to change…

While our anchor had set well when we arrived the previous afternoon,
it pays to be on guard, so I got up. Over the next half hour, the wind
increased to around 20-25 knots. We were well dug in and there was no
drama. But is was well beyond the “8-13 knots” forecast. Despite all
our technology and the BOM super computers, as sailors we still have to
expect the unexpected from mother nature.

None of this is to
suggest that the Bureau doesn’t do an excellent job with its services
or that Seabreeze isn’t useful. Just that they can’t be 100% accurate
all of the time. Which leaves to us any final decision about where and when
we go…

Captured around 0500 Wednesday 18 March 2008:

Here is Seabreeze, showing an expected less than 10 knots overnight for Point Perpendicular.


Here is the Bureau of Meteorology forecast issued at 0445hrs, with the Illawarra forecast at 8-13 knots:


And here is the BOM weather observation page, showing the nearest location, Point Perpendicular with winds gusting to 31 knots at 0500hrs:


The forecasters looked at their own observations, of course. And here is the BOM updated forecast issued at 0530hrs:


As a Scout might say: Be Prepared”

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