Our abo with www.wetterwelt.de provides good weather information (Grib files) but is weak on WeatherRouting, which is key to ensure sailing in safety, comfort and style. Actually their software SeamanPro does not generate any optimised route between selected starting point A and ending point E. It will only show the weather conditions over cruising time based on an imported fixed route. That is not what we are looking for in nowadays century.

A program called qtVlm has been introduced to me by Hans-Uwe from Intermar e.V. and I am quite impressed by the comprehensive approach this freeware (French development, you name it!) provides to the sailors. Especially the weather routing is amazing.

One of the features, which impressed me, was the catalogue on their server to choose the polar-diagram for the individual boat under journey. Obviously you need to tell the software how fast the boat will go under which wind conditions. Together with the grib files it will then optimise the best routing for your travel plans and sametime generate waypoints for the routing to follow. Continuous updates while on voyage are possible based on actual boat position and updated weather information at any given point in time. Excellent!

I have simulated three routes to Funchal/Madeira the other day based on three different weather models provided by Saildoc, Wetterwelt and XyGrib. As you can see in the chart above, Saildoc and Wetterwelt result in the same routing, the only difference is the arrival time, Saildoc is 1 hour and 35min later. Routing based on XyGrib is slightly further North but about the same arrival time as Saildoc. I lose my confidence a bit looking at the “Nb of Tacks and Gybes” in the table! With a sharp eye you can see the prop in the top rigth quadrant nest to the routing line. Engine hours are calculated to around 4.5 hours at the time the boat speed by sail drops below 3kts. Amazing but Let’s see, it’s all theory anyway! 😉

Mother nature will tell us the truth and I am sure it will be quite different but it helps to optimze the journey and manage expectations!

Besides that I look forward to good discussions with the Intermar e.V. Netcontrols on 14.313kHz twice a day during our times out on the ocean.

Fair winds…