5 best yachting weather apps
Denis Korablev
  • 01.11.2021
  • 2,390

5 best yachting weather apps

Yachtsmen, when deciding whether to go to sea today or not, are guided primarily by the weather. How do I know the weather forecast, if the voyage has been going on for several days? Weather forecast applications help out in such cases.

A weather app - what does it look like? It is a program showing meteorological data that is downloaded using GRIB files. There are applications that resell GRIB files (in fact free), which appear every six hours on the FTR of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Saldocs server warns that the computer often underestimates the strength of sea storms when simulating, since they are small in the coordination grid. The GRIB file provides information about the expected movement of the cyclone, but you cannot fully rely on this information, you need to track forecasters warnings from other sources. The GRIF file is calculated by the computer, excluding the interpretation of meteorologists.

Experienced sailors are advised to remember the rules developed over the years in the process of observation:

  • the wind usually dies down in the evening and gets stronger during the day;
  • winds blow along a rocky or steep coast and bend around the headland (not over it);
  • the pressure drops above the ground during the day, warming up the resulting breezes;
  • pressure increases over the ground at night and offshore winds cool;
  • if the pressure drops slowly, then a light breeze and light rain are likely;
  • plummeting pressure signals an impending storm;
  • the pressure decreases moderately, it means there will be a moderate wind; the possibility of rain in a warm front is not excluded.

Weather apps will be useful helpers if you don't forget about certain restrictions. In this article, 2yachts specialists present 5 popular programs that you should familiarize yourself with and adopt, which seems the most convenient.

Global Forecasting System (GFS) - The Most Simple Application

The American model is large-scale and does not take into account such "small details" as land relief, small islands, thermal winds, and coastal outlines. Provides reasonably accurate weather forecasts one hundred (or more) miles from land with a resolution of 0.5 degrees, i.e. its grid of coordinates covers a square of approximately 50x50 kilometers.

This model is unsuitable for closed water bodies and near the coast, as forecasts often do not correspond to reality. When using the local model as a source of information, the weather forecast for a particular area will be reasonably accurate.

As a rule, the forecast underestimates the strength of the wind. Traditionally, wind speed is measured at 10 meters above sea level. When the mast of the sailing yacht is over 10 meters, 20% should be added to the promised speed. Keep in mind that with wind gusts, the speed increases by another twenty percent. The startup screen, upon initial acquaintance with the program, will inform you about the absence of GRIB files; the "+" sign is located in the upper right corner, click it. Select a geographic area in the application: find it in the catalog or mark it on the map.

Then customize the weather forecast by setting the duration, step, resolution, and select the indicators you want to see with the indication of units. The app can report forecast pressure in millibars or inches of mercury, temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius, wind speed in km/h, knots, mph or Beaufort. After all the values of the units of measure are set, the GRIB file can be downloaded to a mobile phone and used offline.

You can use the Lite version for free, providing information for two days with a frequency of 6 hours on the type of precipitation, wind direction and strength, atmospheric pressure. Weather forecast for 8 days is provided by paid version with 3-hour step (this is the minimum); in addition to all of the above, you can find out data on wave height, cloud accumulation, relative humidity. For Android, this version costs $ 4, and for iOS it already costs $ 6.

Meteorological information can be viewed by overlaying it on a map, as well as in the form of a table or graph. Wind on the map is indicated by an arrow, precipitation - by darkening with a different shade, pressure - by isobars. For those who are forgetful, there is a hint that you can call with one click on the map. The "play" icon is located at the bottom of the screen, with its help you can turn on an animation showing how the weather conditions will change over a certain period of time. If you need to quickly understand the tendencies of weather changes, then the most convenient meteogram is, according to the indicators, graphs that clearly demonstrate the changes.

iGrib Application

How it works: GRIB files are loaded from the American GFS server and layers of information are overlaid on the map (they can be disabled at choice and the transparency level can be changed). This format for providing information is the only one; the maximum forecast period is 10 days.

For information on:

  • wind direction and strength;
  • atmospheric pressure;
  • excitement at sea;
  • air temperature;
  • cloud cluster;
  • types of precipitation.

It is enough to click on a specific point on the map and a window of weather parameters of this particular place will open, meteorological characteristics are configured in accordance with your wishes. The advantage of the application is good graphics and download of GRIB files from other meteorological services (not just GFS). There is no free version, for Android the price is $ 7, and for iOS - $ 6.

Windfinder App

The horizontal resolution of the free version is almost 27 kilometers, the program works with GFS data. The paid version is supplemented with local North American and European models with a resolution of 12 kilometers and an Egyptian one with a seven kilometers resolution. On the start screen you can see a list of selected locations with a listing of information on the wind direction, current speed, air temperature.

There are two ways to add a geographic region to the list of “favorites”:

  • independently search the proposed list;
  • the application automatically detects your location by GPS when you enter the name of a nearby settlement.

A detailed forecast for the week is given in three-hour increments, where information on:

  • air temperature;
  • wind direction and strength;
  • wind speed;
  • rough seas;
  • ebb and flow;
  • types of precipitation.

On the "Report" screen, you can see a report in the form of a graph of changes in wind direction (its strength) for the area of interest over the last 12 hours, which allows you to trace the trend.

The paid version has a small graphical application (widget), when installed on the screen at home it is possible to view the weather report in a specific geographic location without opening the program, which is very rational. Nice surprise: the price of the app is only $ 2, the same for iOS and Android.

PredictWind Application

Thanks to the author's development, this application, when predicting weather conditions, is able to take into account the relief of the requested territory; works with two sources of information: GFS and SMS, respectively, of the American and Canadian meteorological services. The free version offers a weekly forecast (1 hour step) with a resolution of one hundred kilometers. At the same time, the weather forecast can be viewed only for three preset points. Wind speed and direction are shown on the map, the rest of the traditional information is available in the form of graphs and tables.

Paid versions are supplemented with maps of waves, clouds and rain, the temperature of not only air, but also water. An excellent resolution of one kilometer is provided by the professional version. Paid versions include data for planning the route, taking into account the upcoming weather, you can make the shortest route and calculate an acceptable sailing start date, as well as GPS tracking, which is very convenient for those who pass yachts for rent, as it allows you to constantly monitor the location of your property.

Quite an interesting option - transfer of GRIF files via satellite; during a long voyage (in the absence of the Internet) this application is simply irreplaceable.

The disadvantages include a complex interface, oversaturated with charts, and pricing. You will have to pay almost $ 200 for a three-month use of the professional version, and almost $ 500 for an annual one. etc.

Weathertrack App

It has GRIB files from many sources: the traditional GFS, Tidetech (a leading provider of oceanographic data), the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Cyprus Center for Oceanography, the German Federal Office for Maritime Shipping and Hydrography, the non-profit organization Sailmail. Can receive data without an Internet connection by receiving data via a satellite link; only works on Apple devices. Pay $ 10 and get access to GRIB Viewer providing 16 days weather forecasts.

Diagrams, layers of information on the map, graphs show all the necessary information on:

  • wind direction and speed;
  • ocean currents;
  • water and air temperature;
  • rough seas;
  • atmospheric pressure;
  • types of precipitation;
  • cloudy.

It is proposed to expand the capabilities of the application by connecting the following functions for an additional fee:

  • GRIB Robot (capable of transmitting several GRIB files simultaneously via satellite, combining information);
  • Route Weather (allows you to pave the way and set an auspicious start day).

The cost of a weekly application of GRIB Robot will be about $ 3, and for half a year - almost $ 29. Please note that you will need to purchase a dedicated device to connect your iPhone to a satellite phone. The cost of Route Weather is pleasing, only $ 5. And the cost of Tidetech, showing high-resolution maps of tidal currents will cost $ 8 per month or almost 48 - per year.

State of the art weather apps provide seafarers with a more comfortable environment, especially on long voyages. Thanks to them, you can calculate the best route, shorten the distance, and thereby reduce the travel time. Choose the application that is most convenient for you and use it with pleasure!