When I talk to cruisers and their First Mates, one of the key concerns they have is avoiding bad weather. The truth is – there is so much weather information out there, you should have enough to make a go or no-go decision, even when Mother Nature throws you a curveball.

Interpreting the Weather

In the 2017 Waggoner Cruising Guide, we extended our weather information to help you gather the information you need. We step you through what information to write down and how to interpret the information. We offer you a weather checklist to help you gather the weather information you need. You can download the FREE form HERE.

The weather information is available online, by telephone, or over the WX channels on the VHF. On the back of our Weather Checklist is the outline of the order telephone and VHF forecasts are presented, both for US and Canadian weather broadcasts. No more waiting 10 minutes for the beginning of the broadcast loop.

How Currents and Moon Phases Help in Interpreting the Weather

We also added a component that will affect the sea conditions by recommending you check the currents and the phase of the moon for your area. Wind against wave and current will create choppy conditions or rough seas. Because the tidal currents change every 6 hours, rough conditions now may change in a few hours. The phase of the moon will indicate how strong the currents will be. A full moon or a new moon will cause the potential for the worst conditions due to the strongest currents. Closer to a half-moon and the tidal currents will be less and less chance for rough conditions.

With all of this weather information, you can determine the critical wind and sea conditions for a particular forecast.

Interpreting the weather

Now, if you want to see all of this in motion and have access to a computer or smartphone, take a look at www.windytv.com. This is one of the coolest weather tools out there. It takes the information from your choice of several weather models and puts them graphically into motion. You can see the wind and more importantly you can see the pattern of the Highs and Lows. The different displays also show the hour by hour weather forecasts, and you can easily drop your cursor anywhere for a local forecast for that spot. You can even choose between the different weather computation models from Europe and other places of the world. It is really slick, and the interface is easy to use. Highly Recommended.

You can start using these tools now to see the offshore weather patterns and how they affect cruising in Puget Sound, BC, and the Inside Passage before your passage. Understanding the weather and the tools available will give you and your crew the ability to make good weather decisions and to decide to go or no-go on a particular day, or delay the start of your passage by a couple of hours due to the current.

Enjoy and be safe out on the water.

 ~Mark Bunzel

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