About this site
Marine weather forecasts are vital to safety for all sailors. This site sets out to be the most informed and most informative of sailing weather sites worldwide.
The emphasis is on understanding about weather and weather forecasts as the most important of all aids to safety at sea. Frank Singleton provides the major component of the MailASail Weather Window that gives quick and easy access to many forecasts. This is intended to become a collection of weather sites compiled by experts combined with the MailASail efficient data (free) download services for WiFi, cell or satellite phone.
Initially, most pages on this site were written recognizing the needs of those who are limited in bandwidth. Over the years that has changed somewhat and I have made more use of graphics. There are still no pop-ups, and graphics are often in thumbnail form but expandable. Click on the picture to enter the site.
Click on the picture to enter main site
This picture was provided by my friend and communications guru, Ross Biddle, a (very slowly) circumnavigating Australian and skipper of Gemini. He has a 45 ft US built yacht with power supplies and computer hardware that make me green with envy.
If you are a dinghy sailor, coastal cruising yachtsman, motor boater or a long distance, blue water sailor, then you will know that weather is important. Also, that weather is complicated as this satellite image, provided by a cruising yachtsman, shows.
Weather services are also complicated and, although there are many very useful links to weather forecasts, few have any explanatory text. This site provides many links to forecasts that, from experience, are useful to sailors. Its object is to inform all sailors about weather, weather forecasts and how to use them. Forecast sources include many Internet sites as well as, and most importantly, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.
To enter the site click on the Picture or this Home Page link. If you are a beginner to sailing or meteorology, then try the Beginner's Page. If you are beyond that stage, then try your hand with the links in the left hand bar.
What this site is about
There is much mystique attached to weather with old shepherds and old salts being credited with knowledge that they often do not possess. I hope that this site will help clear the mist a little. I take a very pragmatic view of weather forecasts and recommend that you do the same.
There are many textbooks on meteorology aimed at the sailing public. Some, to my mind, concentrate too much on the science and not enough on the understanding and use of forecasts.
Notable exceptions are
A comprehensive book on weather written mainly for European leisure sailors. It has much information on weather, weather forecasts and how to use them.
This was publishes late December 2013.See.my Reeds Weather Handbook page.
Probably out of print, but worth borrowing from a library. This has some good descriptions of coastal and orographic effects. Despite some weakness in the theory, it is a very practical work based on experience sailing dinghies in Chichester harbour and as a forecaster at Thorney Island. The book deals, mainly, with relatively small scale effects.
This site also contains bits and pieces of weather information not all of which can be found in the text books.
My Background - why I feel qualified to run this site
- I had a career in the UK Met Office and, in mid career, was a senior forecaster at the (then) Central Forecast Office, Bracknell. I also worked at the Meteorological Research Flight, as a forecaster attached to the RAF in the UK and in Aden, in applied climatology and personnel. My final post was as Director of the Observations Division. That encompassed branches dealing with everything from rain gauges to satellites.
- My wife and I sailed racing dinghies (mainly Fireflies) for many years but, as our knees began to wear out, we migrated to cruising and did much bare boat chartering including the Caribbean (10 trips and about 2500 miles) and one brief week in Turkey.
- After a Jeanneau Sunlight 31, we now sail a a Hallberg Rassy 34. In our own yachts we have now sailed about 35,000 miles (out of a total of nearly 43,000). Copies of our logs since 2000 when we went from Dartmouth to Barcelona are on my Cruising logs page. Fairly, I can claim to know about weather and sailing from both directions.
- I am a RYA Yachtmaster (Offshore) and sat on a MCA Marine Safety Information Group by invitation of the CYCC. I am very pleased to have been given various awards for work on this site.
The site was set up, initially, at the suggestion of The Cruising Association for its members and those of The Hallberg Rassy Owner's Association. I am pleased that other sailors are finding the site useful and now have links from many other Clubs and Associations. Others are welcome to follow suit.
If you put a link to my site, then please let me know so that I can give a return link. There are many other links including National Met services, general weather sites, sailing schools, charter companies etc.
I am especially pleased to welcome the Sea Cadets. Any organisation that gets young (and not so young) people afloat is to be encouraged.
Most of the commercial sites listed offer good services to sailors and recognise this site. In particular, as a Dartmouth based sailor, (at least when in UK waters) I am very pleased to give a link to our old friends at Darthaven Marina.
At sea it is, of course, not always possible to use the web as a source of information. For that reason "old fashioned" radio links can often be necessary.
Those sailing the Pacific, especially, are very interested in getting information using Radio Teletype broadcasts. In particular they make use of coded versions of synoptic charts that are interpreted using Weather Decode software. Teletext broadcasts are more robust than RadioFax when there is interference.
Increasingly, satellite communications are being used. My sponsor, MailASail will be only too pleased to advise a communications solution to meet your neds.
A nice combination of HF/SSB and the web can be found at Pangolin which is a Yacht reporting service encouraging yachts to report their current weather as well as position, course etc. The system then maintains a list of all yachts reporting enabling family and friends ashore to check on latest known position and course.
For those who are HAM radio operators then Winlink2000 provides a most valuable service. See my Western Med forecasts page for a brief description. Through Winlink2000 or Sailmail it is possible to get quick downloads via email of very compressed data in GRIB Code.
Comments on the site in general and any queries or suggestions to Frank Singleton. I will try to respond reasonably quickly. However, we are likely to be away for much of the Summer half of the but can usually be contacted by email. I use the MailASail. email compression service. This converts all mails and Word documents to plain text. It holds picture and pdf files for me to recover at a later date. Thus there may well be a delay before I get a large email.