Boaters are subject to rain, wind, and extreme heat, so being prepared for the weather and keeping up with sudden changes is required. As technology advances, the PredictWind weather forecasting smartphone application and website has mariners dialed in when weather or cellular service start to adjust.
While technology grows, the boating community now has better resources at their fingertips, and PredictWind, a weather application, is one download all mariners should consider.
Refined weather forecasting models are being produced by a multitude of meteorological offices around the world, whose computers siphon through data of impressive complexity, from the charge of particles in the air to convection currents.
Jon Bilger is the founding director of PredictWind, and a keen competitive yachtsman with achievements in Alinghi Weather as Team Manager, a winner of the Americas Cups in 2003 and 2007, and as the Alinghi Weather Team Manager for the 2010 Dog Match.
PredictWind provides forecasts and tools that cater to all types of marine users, from those heading out for an afternoon to those taking a ten-day trip. The PredictWind app and website are designed for use on cellular and wifi networks. Users can view high-resolution forecasts on their mobile, tablet, or computer.
The application displays a user-friendly interface with a slick animated forecast that uses colors to reinforce the data on wind strength. Users can also swap between traditional wind barbs and arrows and consult wind, waves, electrical potential, cloud, rain, pressure, and temperatures. The validation page lets you identify your location’s most accurate forecast model, but coverage is not universal. PredictWind is also unique in offering a toolbox full of instruments, including offshore weather routing, that analyzes wave patterns to calculate the conditions of the sea.
Available for Android and iOS, PredictWind will save the user’s locations. Each day is divided into four periods in the order of early morning, morning, afternoon, and evening. Users can view forecasts however they choose between maps, graphs, or tables. The accuracy of the application provides high-resolution forecasts with 1km resolution to furnish more detail. The app offers forecast confidence with multiple weather models, including:
- ECMWF- European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
- SPIRE- uses a unique technique of measuring the earth’s atmosphere with three times more radio occultation data than any other commercial entity.
- UKMO- Unified Model by the UK Meteorological Office has a long reputation as a market leader in forecast modeling. UKMO has very similar accuracy to the ECMWF model offshore and is slightly behind the ECMWF and Spire models for the land-based weather stations.
- GFS- Global Forecast System from NCEP. Most other weather websites and apps use this.
- PWG- PredictWind proprietary weather model that uses the NCEP global initial conditions, processed through the CSIRO CCAM model to generate the PWG forecast.
- PWE- PredictWind proprietary weather model that uses the ECMWF global initial conditions, processed through the CSIRO CCAM model to generate the PWE forecast.
PredictWind accomplishes GPS tracking and has a narrowband satellite version for more efficient offshore forecasting using a separate PredictWind Offshore app. There is a dedicated PredictWind app within the Iridium Go! Satellite communicator.
Subscriptions for the smartphone app range from a free version to $499 per year for the professional package, which delivers wave modeling and offshore detail.
The basic package is $29 a year and gives users weather forecasting basics, while the standard subscription for $249 a year and adds in weather routing. PredictWind has also developed a datalogger for $299, which records NMEA data, tracks your boat with GPS, and complies it in log files or blog posts, which you can send to a satellite phone to publish online.
For more information, please visit https://www.predictwind.com/.