There are a number of ways sailors can learn about an approaching storm.
It’s hard for any discussion of sailing—long-distance or ocean-crossing passages in particular—to not quickly turn to the topic of weather and storms.
Every human activity involves non-zero risk, and sailing is no exception. However, there are several tools prudent sailors can employ to mitigate and minimize risk from weather.
While sailing offshore, forecasts, NOAA synoptic charts, and other weather information can be accessed through an Iridium GO.
However, on a couple notable occasions, the forecasts—even when just hours ahead—differed significantly from real conditions.
This made me want better access to actual observations. Until now, I did not have a solution for this while offshore outside of the U.S.
Over the years, NOAA/NDBC buoy data has been instrumental in my weather- and condition-related decision-making processes.
These buoys offer near-real-time information about actual wind and sea state. Knowing the actual conditions where you’ll be sailing is immensely useful.
Recently I was wondering… Is this buoy data available offshore?
Inspired by a section in Heavy Weather Sailing by Peter Bruce, I decided to see what sea climate maps were available online, so I could include them in my collection of cruising resources.