Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not Believing the Weather Forecast

The forecast in the picture above has been fairly typical of what SailFlow has predicted for the winds at least one day each week recently. Light winds, changing direction all around the compass, probably no more than 3 or 4 knots during the time we are likely to be sailing. Ugh!

The forecast for the Saturday of the Newport Regatta was much like that. I thought about not going. But I went. I had a good time.

The forecast for the Saturday of the Lipton Cup was much like that. I thought about not going. But I went. I had a good time.

I think I've cured myself from my "paralysis by analysis", my tendency to read too much into weather forecasts, specifically my belief that if the forecast predicts light fluky winds then it will be impossible to sail... or at least impossible to have fun sailing. Two years ago this bad attitude of mine was one of the reasons I almost gave up sailing. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that I've cured myself of that one.

Last Tuesday was another case in point. Shitty light wind weather forecast. But I went to Bristol anyway. I sailed for an hour by myself in about 5 or 6 knots. I had a good time. The wind died. I waited around. Another Laser sailor came out to join me. The wind picked up to maybe 3-5 knots. We raced three short windward-leeward races. We had a good time.

I asked my companion if he wanted to do another race. He said no, he would rather use what wind was left to sail back to the beach. It was a good decision.

I'm glad I've stopped believing the weather forecast, or at least in letting a light wind forecast from stopping me going sailing.

Tonight on the other hand SailFlow is promising 14 knots from the south at 5pm. Woo hoo!

No wait. I don't believe it.


Tiff said...

This was the reason I sold all my windsurfing gear and took up cruising - i was fed up of sitting around the beach moaning when the forecast wind failed to show up, or sitting in the office moaning because the forecast was bad, causing me to decide not to sail, only for it to blow a hooly.
Admittedly it's more difficult to have fun in light flukey winds on a windsurf board (particularly if, like me, you're big enough that almost any board is a 'sinker').
So, in 2007 I sold my gear, bought a mountain bike, and charter boats (with íron tops'l for when the wind doesn't play) for my sailing fixes.

PeconicPuffin said...

'tis true...when the forecast is for light or no wind, anything can happen, and from any direction. Most of the best sailors I know say they ignore the forecast for the most part...they just stare at the treetops all day. (Of course they're lying about ignoring the forecast...they do both.)

On the Tillerman writing assignment project I propose you assign blog posts about losing or finding or losing and then finding a piece of valued equipment. I have written mine already. I miss so many of these because I'm off looking for lost stuff, and I end up reading everyone else's prose, feeling left out. Lost, as it were.

Baydog said...

What Tiff said. But I stowed my windsurfing gear years earlier and then my joints went south.

Just the fact that there's some wind to keep you moving is often satisfying enough. As long as there aren't too many iron tops'ls around.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

What PeconicPuffin said: trees don't lie like forecasters do. We have two rules-of thumb: (1) it's never as rainy as the forecasts predict and (2), never decide against sailing until you're on your boat: She'll tell you if she wants to go out.

tillerman said...

"Never decide against sailing until you're on your boat." I like that one.

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