Weather, tides and currents are important to sailors. You need to be aware of forecast conditions and to be able to identify signs of good sailing conditions and the warning signs of poor weather.
Always check the marine forecast for your proposed sailing area. Generally, you would start watching the weather prior to a planned passage. Use surface pressure analysis and forecasts to understand current weather systems and potential conditions.
Check the weather
Marine forecasts are available;
- On-line e.g. https://www.metservice.com/marine/recreational/locations/bay-of-islands
- Via device app e.g. Predictwind
- Marine Radio – check channel for your area e.g. VHF Channel 19 Bay of Islands
- Some traditional media – TV, radio, newspaper
Watch the weather
When out sailing keep an eye on the weather, some of the signs that might indicate deteriorating conditions;
- Increasing and darkening clouds
- Sudden changes in wind
- Increase in wave height
Reef early. it’s always easier to take a reef out if it is not needed. If you are at all concerned consider revising your passage plan, seek shelter, return to shore.