Gear

Apps for Sailors: Predict Wind

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A day on the water revolves around wind, and there’s nothing more appealing than knowing where the next breeze will come from. Many weather apps provide current conditions, but PredictWind offers accurate and reliable wind forecasts. Available online and via Apple or Android smartphones (predictwind.com), PredictWind provides high-resolution hourly wind speed and direction forecasts for over 20,000 locations worldwide, as well as weather routing and trip planning tools.

PredictWind’s forecast model takes local variables such as sea breezes and land masses into account, and then provides forecasts from both the Canadian Met Centre (CMC) and the Global Forecast System from NOAA (GFS) for comparison. Forecasts are generated twice a day in most regions around the world. 

To use the app, enter your city and country, then choose from a map of forecast locations. Tables displays forecast wind speed and direction, wave height and period, temperature, rainfall and cloud cover. Graphs shows the forecast data as speed and direction, rainfall and cloud cover, temperature and pressure, wave height, direction and period. Maps shows local, offshore and global forecast maps with colored arrows representing wind speed and direction. Other options include Observations, Alerts, Routing, Trip Planning and Tracking.

According to PredictWind, navigators in the America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and Sydney-Hobart race have all used and endorsed the forecast model, claiming the forecasts are valuable, accurate and reliable. 

Subscription levels range from free to “Professional” ($199/3 months or $499/year), with each level offering not only more, but more accurate, information. The free version is quite useful for day sailors, coastal cruisers and buoy racers, with wind speed and direction forecasts, rain, clouds and temperature for one location and one day. Higher levels add more locations, longer forecasts, alerts, trip planning and weather routing.

I give this app 4½ stars based on its sophisticated wind forecast model, its ease of use and its comprehensive website. 

Learn about other great apps for sailors:

Postagram

Intellicast Boating App

Anchor Watch

Smartphone AIS

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