Seminar To Address Sourcing Weather Data and How To Use It
The topic of weather is such a common part of daily conversation that everyone from author Samuel L. Clemens to television personality Willard Scott have repeated Charles Dudley Warner’s famous remark “Everyone complains about the weather, but nobody ever seems to do anything about it.”
H L Devore, navigator on the 2016 St David's Lighthouse trophy winning yacht WARROR WON, shares computer weather and Gulf Stream data with other navigators Photo Barry Pickthall/PP
In the wake of the 50th running of the Newport Bermuda Race, however, the Cruising Club of America (CCA) is taking steps to change that perception. Armed with feedback from a survey of race participants – most of whom indicating they wished they had spent more time studying weather forecasting on their own – the CCA’s New York Station, along with The North American Station (NAS) of the Royal Scandinavian Yacht Club and Nyländska Jaktklubben, have joined together to present a weather seminar on Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 10:00-4:00 at Larchmont Yacht Club in Larchmont, N.Y.
The seminar will be presented by Michael Geagan of Wayne, Penn., and Ian Gumprecht of Locust Valley, N.Y. Geagan’s sailing knowledge has been honed while cruising in the Baltic and North Seas, and on three Transatlantic crossings – including a solo east to west crossing in 2012. Gumprecht, winner of the 2013 Marion Bermuda Race in the doublehanded class, was a navigator onboard the Swan 44 Helios for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race.
“Every time a boater sets out in his or her vessel, they encounter a different set of weather circumstances and conditions,” said Ernie Godshalk (Boston, Mass.), chairman of the CCA’s Safety & Seamanship Committee and Post Captain of The North American Station. “In the case of the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race, the predictions of weather forecasters led to 50 boats dropping out of what was expected to be the third-largest fleet in the event’s history. Ultimately, however, the weather did not live up to the dire predictions.”
In response to demand, Weather Data: How to Get It, How to Use It, has been organized by the CCA and the NAS. Participants will learn how to access and use reliable, useful weather forecasting data for coastal or offshore sailing. This practical seminar will help participants: choose the best solution for obtaining data and email when not within cellular range; set up and use a weather computer; and use weather data to plan and route a course.
During the morning lecture, discussions will center on the pros and cons of satellite phones vs SSB, choosing hardware and software based on specific needs and budget, and which kinds of weather forecasting data are most effective.
During the hands-on afternoon session, participants will be shown how to install and configure communication and weather software on their own laptop which will enable them to download and view weather data just as one would during a passage. Using actual data, working through weather forecasting exercises will also be explored.
Some of the questions that will be answered include: What are GRIB files and where can I find them? Should I use a Single Sideband radio (SSB), a satellite phone, or VHF radio? What software should I use? Do I need a special computer, and, if so, how do I set it up? How reliable is weather data? How much will this cost?
For more information and to sign up for this weather seminar, visit: https://cruisingclub.org/weather-nov-19