I have been using weather routing companies for over 25 years, anytime I have had to make a tricky passage, particularly early or late in the season.
(Less so in recent years when improved models and less expensive satellite data have allowed me to develop and perfect my own routing procedures—see the blue box below the video.)
That said, I’m seeing a recent trend of some sailors assuming that a router is a miracle worker who can make any passage safe and even comfortable.
But, as I related in my last article, that’s not necessarily so, particularly when making a North Atlantic passage in November with winter coming on fast.
But don’t take my word for it. Rather, let me hand you over to Ken Campbell, founder and senior router at Commander’s Weather. I know it’s 45 minutes long and you are busy, but this is really worth your time. Ken is the real deal, and he is showing big-time integrity in sharing the limitations in what he does and the data he (and we) use.
After you get done watching Ken, scroll down for some thoughts on how to learn about weather.
Learning About Weather
There are eight additional segments by other presenters (all of whom I admire) available from the same one day seminar.
Sounds like a great way to learn about weather, but, having watched all but one of the presentations, I found that the others suffered from the standard problem of one, or even two, day weather seminars: trying to cram too much in.
This results in attendees getting deluged with theory, that, if they are anything like me, will stay between their ears for a good five minutes, but coming away with little hard actionable information.
I mean seriously, Lee Chesneau, one of my weather heroes, would need most of two days to lay the ground work before he could teach us stuff we can use offshore, not 45 minutes.
I think most people who wish to get a basic grounding in weather for self-routing offshore would be better off to:
- Read Frank Singleton‘s Weather Handbook. It will only take you a couple of hours, at least for a first pass. I have never seen a better way to wrap your arms around the basic theory in the minimum possible time. (Get the paper version, graphics suck on Kindle.)
- Read our Weather Reception and Analysis Online Book, for a step-by-step how-to—another two hours or so.
- If you really want to get into it, move on to the “Damned Book“.
All that said, I did learn some useful stuff from most of the videos, so here are links to the others so you can judge for yourself:
- Introduction (Frank Bohlen, CCA)
- Marine Weather Fundamentals (Ken McKinley, Locus Weather)
- The 500 mb Surface: Significance and Analysis (Lee Chesneau, Chesneau Marine Weather)
- Ocean Currents, Waves, and Sea State (Frank Bohlen, University of Connecticut Marine Sciences)
- Ocean Forecasting: The Process and the Products (Joseph Sienkiewicz, NOAA NWS Ocean Prediction Center)
- Communications for Weather (Jim Corenman, SailMail Association)
- The Navigator’s Weather Watch (Ralph Naranjo, Annapolis School of Seamanship)
- Questions from the floor – Roundtable Discussion (all presenters)