Avoiding boomers Page 2 - Sail Magazine

Avoiding boomers Page 2

SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. SEAS 1 TO 2 FT. A CHANCE OF T-STMS IN THE AFTERNOON. Also a chance that a product below will provide many many more details...…and possibly allow you to enjoy a good day’s sailing in spite of an iffy forecast. With real-time weather-tracking capability you can see rain and thunderstorms moving through the area, allowing you to make smarter decisions about when to head
Author:
Publish date:

Comparison: Forecasts

xm_local_forecast

All three products will give you a forecast at your present location and any destination you choose to view. I found it difficult to determine which forecasts are best, but there are clear differences in how they are delivered.

XM is the most straightforward, giving you click access to any location, with further clicking stepping forward in 12-hour intervals. The XM/Garmin was the only system that quickly showed if there would be sun or clouds. The three-hour forecast intervals offered by Sirius are helpful if you want to time your departure or arrival to changing conditions, but the E-80 Sirius interface only moves forward, which is annoying.

ClearPoint provides the most forecast information, as well as sophisticated forecasting models valued by top-notch sailing tacticians, and can easily move forward or backward. All the services, with the exception of XM running on a Garmin 545s, also offer text NOAA marine forecasts you should probably read first, as they include warnings.

Comparison: Forecast Wind/Sailing

Aside from ClearPoint, these live-weather services are not particularly good at forecasting wind conditions. Sirius does offer forecasts at three-hour intervals, but the predictions look like the same generalized model data that XM provides. The velocity and direction forecasts don’t take into account local geography or heat absorbed or released by landmasses.

ClearPoint claims to use an advanced wind model tweaked for local conditions in certain sailing areas where it offers “High Definition” forecasting in 15-, 5-, and 1-mile resolutions. The company is even putting up its own anemometers to validate and improve its model. ClearPoint’s roster of high-end-racing customers may benefit from this, but the average cruiser/racer may find, as I did, that state-of-the-art wind forecasts are often still disappointing.

Pricing

Hardware prices vary depending on the chartplotter, computer, and receiver method used. The service plans needed to reproduce the benefits in this article, excluding music and high-resolution wind forecasts, are (as of August 2008): XM (Master Mariner package, $49/mo, $50 activation); Sirius (Marine Weather, $29/mo, $50 activation); ClearPoint (HD Weather Edition, $395/six months, or Premium Edition, $10/day + a wireless Internet plan, which starts at about $30/mo).

Dan Corcoran became an electronics enthusiast at 12 and a software company owner at 20. He often sails on Long Island Sound with his family aboard their 39-foot Breeze Pleeze.

Resources

ClearPoint Weather, www.clearpointweather.com

Sirius Satellite Weather, www.sirius.com/marineweather

XM Satellite Weather, www.xmradio.com/weather/marine.xmc

Related

Outremer45

Boat Review: Outremer 45

It’s funny the way things that work right almost inevitably tend to look right as well. Case in point: the Outremer 45, a catamaran that can’t help but turn heads with its large rig, nicely sculpted cabintrunk and narrow, purposeful bows. Better yet, under sail the boat more than ...read more

Sunset-Tyrrel-Bay

Charter: Glorious Grenada

In the wake of the hurricanes that devastated the Virgin Islands last year many charterers ended up going farther south to Grenada and the Grenadines where they found the sailing excellent and the vibe just fine“God must have been a sailor when he created the Caribbean,” a friend ...read more

WaterLinesNov

Waterlines: Tangled Up in Pots

I learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy, and one of the things my elders taught me was to respect fishing gear. If you got caught up with a lobster pot, you did everything you could to get clear without cutting the pot warp. It represented a family’s livelihood and thus was ...read more

7353

Harken’s Reflex 3 top-down Furler

Furl PowerAre you afraid of flying—spinnakers, that is? Harken’s new Reflex 3 top-down furler will tame A-sails on monohulls from 44-58ft and multis from 39-55ft, and Code 0’s on 39-54ft monos and 36-50ft multis. All you do is heave on the furling line and the sail will roll up ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comDitch the stress Owners of high-freeboard yachts best boarded via the stern sugar-scoop like to back them into a slip, but the process can be fraught on a windy day or when there’s a current running, ...read more

Sun-Odyssey-490-Bertrand_DUQUENNE-aft

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

True innovation in monohull sailboat design can be a bit elusive these days. That’s not to say that there are no more new ideas, but it does seem that many new tweaks and introductions are a bit incremental: let’s say evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Just when it seems ...read more