Best weather apps for sailors

Published on January 22nd, 2023

Weather data is getting easier and cheaper to download. Sam Fortescue reviews the latest options for British publication Yachting Monthly and chooses the best weather apps for sailors.

Rapidly evolving digital technology now allows the sailing community to benefit from a huge range of specialized, easy to use and inexpensive weather apps.

Advanced weather forecasting models are currently being produced by a multitude of meteorological offices around the world, whose supercomputers churn through data of unimaginable complexity, from the charge of particles in the air to convection currents.

Different models have different strong points, and many of the weather apps covered in this survey allow you to select between them, with the more technical ones comparing several forecasts with actual observations in your area and recommending the most accurate.

The best weather apps tend to charge a subscription fee, so it’s worth being clear on where and how you intend to use your boat.

There’s no sense going for PredictWind, for instance, with its offshore weather routing and narrowband satellite mode, if you just want to know what’s happening in your local estuary over the next few hours.

Some weather apps also offer better overseas coverage than others, with global predictions up to a year ahead.

But be aware that you may need to buy a separate subscription to unlock unlimited forward predictions beyond the UK. Note also that not all the apps offer the same level of support for secondary ports, so check your favorite spots before you buy.

Nor is it always specified whether the apps use UTC or local time, which can give rise to errors of an hour.

Weather apps draw on a huge range of meteorological models to gather and present their data, so dig down into the version details to make sure the meteorological model being used by the app will suit your cruising plans. – Full report

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