Private Forecasting Services
Our uniquely qualified staff of Sailing Meteorologists publish customized forecasts for events around the world.
Recent forecasts have been provided for the Kenwood Cup, Key West Race Week, TRANSPAC, Steve Fossett’s PlayStation, and many events around the world for the US Sailing Team.
Included below is a sample forecast for the Montego Bay Race (Pineapple Cup) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Jamaica.
For more information e-mail email@example.com
Sample Forecast: Montego Bay Race (Pineapple Cup) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Jamaica.
Sailing Weather Forecast for Montego Bay Race.
Issued: 0700 EST 02/02/01 by WeatherFlow Meteorologist Dave Morris.
Synopsis: Start of the race very much dominated by a slow moving cold front running northeast/southwest across Northern and Central portions of Florida this morning. This frontal zone is associated with a deepening depression, tracking off the East Coast and into the Atlantic from Delaware. Continental high pressure currently centered over Kansas, will gradually build towards the Southeastern States and surge into the Atlantic through Saturday.
High temperatures precede the front across southeastern Florida, but eventually the cold front will bring showers, up and down winds and a considerable veer through Friday night and into Saturday morning. The strongest winds are likely to be closer to the coast with the front gradually losing impetus further to the east. Eventually, a much-decayed front will lift back across the area as high pressure begins to dominate through Saturday.
As the high-pressure cell drifts into the Atlantic to the north through Sunday night and into Monday, the next vigorous depression moves from north of the Great Lakes eastwards through New England and into the Atlantic. Latest models agree that this system sweeps the next, more vigorous, cold front off the coast of Florida on Monday evening.
High pressure builds into Florida on Tuesday bringing a northeasterly component to the Northern Bahamas, but around Cuba and the Southern Bahamas winds are likely to remain east (or east-northeast further south).
Current Conditions: Extensive band of showers showing up well on radar, with the main activity through the Florida Panhandle, Jacksonville and on up the Georgia Coast. A few less distinct bands of showers southeast of this line, with speckles as far south as Orlando. Also a couple of isolated speckles off the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay. Light winds around the front this morning, with stations north of Daytona reporting light north or north-northwesterly winds in the 2 to 7 knot range under extensive cloud. Further south, partly cloudy skies (with some morning mist) predominate, with light and variable airs along the coast through Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. A truer wind exists across the Keys this morning with southeasterlies in the 4 to 8 knot range.
Further east, skies are clearer. Freeport reports calm conditions, and Nassau Airport reports an easterly wind at 5 knots.
Friday – As the cold front across Central Florida gradually drapes itself southwards and offshore, relatively light southeasterly puffs are likely to pick up as a series of pulses with a higher frequency of right shifts to the south towards late morning. By midday average winds off Port Everglades will notch up into double figures with stronger gusts into the mid-teens by the start of the race likely. Expect most shifts to be to the right as slightly stronger, veered winds aloft are brought down to the surface. Cloud and showers will increase through the day for coastal waters, but decrease eastwards of the Gulf Stream and into the Northwest Providence Channel. Through Friday evening and into the night, winds will become lighter, (except in and around showers), and rapidly veer to the north or north-northeast by midnight. Strengths will also ramp up once more into the upper teens, with gusts into the mid-twenties.
Saturday – The early hours of Saturday morning will see a continuation of north-northeasterly winds in the upper teens, perhaps easing off between 3am and 6am but recovering slightly by 9am. Chance of more showers through the morning. Conditions will be stronger in the northwest and weaken to the southeast. Synoptic flow will gradually veer further to the northeast by noon as it moderates once again into the low teens possibly single digits, (by the afternoon you will be bearing away down the coast of Eleuthera Island if fluky conditions haven’t slowed progress too much). Models consistently show that further to the south, winds through much of the day will be a couple of knots weaker and more easterly.
Sunday – Relatively consistent winds for Sunday. Easterly through the early hours, with a tendency to gradually veer further through the day as high pressure to the north tracks eastwards. Strengths also consistent, with smooth winds in the 9 to 15 knot range, except in and around isolated showers or where there are localized land effects. The general trend will be for the synoptic gradient to generally slacken across the entire area, but with slightly stronger conditions further to the south. (If making good progress should be approaching Windward Passage by late Sunday/early hours Monday). Expect winds to generally increase on board as you head south.
Monday – Winds across Northern Bahamas backing and becoming generally lighter with some gusts, (associated with showers), outrunning the cold front that is due to arrive around Andros Island by approximately 1900. However, this is not likely to have too much influence on southwestern portions of the racecourse, especially if south of Windward Passage by this time. Easterly winds in the 12 to 18 knot range will become more reliable with increased southing, especially once clear of land effects around the Coast of Cuba. Directions are likely to become more east-northeast as distance from Cuba increases. Strengths should also increase with averages remaining in the upper teens with gusts into the twenties.
Tuesday – More of the same, with directions shifted slightly further to the left. Trade winds in the 14 to 19 knot range from northeast or east-northeast.
Weather: Increasing scattered showers, some possibly heavy, for the start of the race. Cloud and showers likely to continue across the Gulf Stream, but the frequency of showers will tend to diminish through Northwest Providence Channel. Towering cumulus should diminish to a low deck of stratocumulus through Friday night and by Saturday morning and with more easting made this should become more broken. For the rest of the weekend and into next week, mainly broken and scattered stratocumulus will give way to more typical, fair weather cumulus, trade wind conditions. Late Monday night and early Tuesday morning may see some amplified convection resulting in towering Cu and isolated squally showers. However, it is debatable exactly how far east this will influence. Expect some increased cloud and isolated showers around windward slopes of Cuba near Punta Maisi and Baracoa; and also windward slopes of Jamaica.
Detailed Wind Forecast:
D/TT Wind Speed (Kts) Wind Dir. (°T) Comments
(EST) Mean Range Mean Range
2/12...09....07-12.....160....140-185...Picking up through the AM
2/15...14....07-16.....160....140-200...Fluky! Gusts around showers!
2/18...05....03-12.....175....155-250...Possibly more SW
2/21...08....05-14.....340....240-000...Big veer then strengths increasing
3/00...15....13-18.....005....350-020...Less showers further east
3/03...19....15-21.....010....355-025...Possibly stronger gusts in shwr’s
3/12...11....09-14.....040....020-060...More right S of 25.5°N
3/18...10....08-13.....050....030-070...More showers possible
4/12...12....10-14.....100....080-120...Poss. more right
4/18...13....11-15.....105....085-120...Generally inc. southwards
5/06...13....11-15.....095....075-115...Tending to back once more
6/06...17....15-19.....080....065-095...Poss. more left
7/06...17....15-19.....075....060-095...Poss. more left and stronger
Seas: Expect confused, shorter and steeper seas to 7ft in Gulf Stream waters, decreasing to 2 to 5ft through Northwest Providence Channel. Seas will increase once again through Northeast Providence Channel depending upon wind and current strength. Swells combined with waves from the NE or E, are likely to remain fairly long, and in the 3 to 6 ft range to windward of Eleuthera and Cat Islands. Expect slightly shorter, more confused seas around Rum Cay, Conception Island and Crooked Passage. South of Acklins Island, towards Windward Passage, seas are likely to increase into the 4 to 8ft range. From Windward passage to Jamaica, expect a similar, but longer following sea with wave heights to 9ft.
Watch for erratic and sometimes strong currents through the channels and islands. Attempt to understand where the strongest/weakest flows are and use them to advantage if possible.
Location of Gulf Stream Western Wall: Fowey Rocks 8NM, Port Everglades 14NM, Lake Worth 16NM.
Local effects: 1) A relatively volatile atmosphere for the start of the race, with towering cumulus and embedded cumulonimbus generating outflows and downdraughts. Generally light synoptic winds are likely to be swamped by some potentially strong gusts, possibly to 30 knots. Most gusts from between west and north, but be prepared for some exciting moments from any direction, interspersing the longer periods of light and fluky conditions.
2) Warm Gulf Stream waters will support convective activity, which may not show much sign of dissipation until well into the Northwest Providence Channel. Likely to be playing light and fluky shifts across the stream, however if the northerly winds kick in early, expect slightly stronger winds across the deck when in the north-going current. (If this happens expect some short, steep and confused seas to pick up relatively rapidly).
3) Expect some nocturnal cooling across the land masses of Grand Bahama Island and Great Abaco. De-coupled winds are likely to remain above the surface for some distance downwind. This will result in patchier, less consistent conditions further to the north, close in to the land. Conversely, expect slightly smoother, more consistent winds further away, to the south.
4) Shifty conditions approaching Hole in the Wall may be countered by slightly stronger flow in the Northeast Providence Channel due to a slight channeling effect and focusing of the flow around the headlands. Watch for slight left shifts if passing close to Bridge Point and Palmetto Point on Eleuthera Island.
5) Be aware of extensive wind shadows extending downwind from Conception Island and Rum Cay. If the wind is trending towards east-southeast, then it may be more prudent to leave Rum Cay to starboard rather than have to head up to clear South Point, Long Island. If however, winds are around the top end of the ranges and remain east or north of east, then the diminished sea-state behind the islands may result in a slightly improved speed through the water, with only a small wind shadow to pass through, (Do not get too close under the lee of the islands in any conditions).
6) Watch for similar wind shadows behind Acklins Island, (and Great Inagua to a lesser extent), especially at night with some nocturnal cooling and enhanced de-coupling. Consider the heading, likely sea-state and wind direction and strength for the leg from Mira Por Vos Cays to Windward Passage. It may be better to risk some fluky winds around Acklins Island for a faster course over the next 110NM’s to Cuba.
7) The next dilemma is, how close to pass to the Cuban shore. This really depends upon the time of arrival there, as well as the synoptic flow and sea state. Expect sea-breeze conditions to enhance easterly winds and shift them shoreward around the entire coastline. This will really begin around 10 or 11am depending upon cloud cover. Around Pta Fraile expect winds between 1 and 3 miles off the coast to shift to northeast through the afternoon hours. Similarly winds around Pta Caletta will shift to the right with more southeast winds at this time. A land breeze may tend to decrease the synoptic flow close in to the coast between 10pm and 9am, and should be a place to avoid. More than 3 miles off, these effects will hardly be noticeable. If arriving there around the mid afternoon hours, look for an enhanced line of cumulus clouds over the land, signifying a healthy sea-breeze component closer in.
8) Watch for the same effect when you make landfall at the north coast of Jamaica. Again time of arrival is all-important, so as to possibly take advantage of slightly stronger left shifted winds through the hottest part of the day, or to avoid the coast at other times.
Hedge: 1) Some concern over wind directions on the approaches to Northeast Providence Channel. The forecast table depicts a gradual veer through Saturday. However, there is a chance that this veer will happen slightly more rapidly causing you to harden up towards Hole in the Wall. If this occurs, the chances are that these winds will be a couple of knots stronger than shown.
2) I feel that Sunday’s wind strengths may be a little low as shown on the forecast table. Strengths are likely to increase further to the south, which will tend to stretch the fleet out. By Sunday night/Monday morning strengths may be back into the mid teens, rather than increasing around midday Mon as shown on the table.
3) Most of the shower activity will be during the initial couple of days. Most gusts will be stronger right shifts. Expect stronger winds ahead of a shower, tending to fan out forward of the squall. Behind the squall, there will be lighter, flukier conditions.
Port Everglades - L08:21, H14:19, L20:50
Nassau – L08:08, H14:06, L20:10
Nassau – H02:52, L09:15, H15:14, L21:15
Clarence Hbr – H03:34, L10:11, H15:58, L22:06
Nassau – H03:57, L10:21, H16:22, L22:21
Clarence Hbr – H04:40, L11:17, H17:05, L23:10
Baracoa – H03:58, L10:31, H16:23, L22:24
Clarence Hbr – H05:44, L12:18, H18:08
Baracoa – H05:02, L11:32, H17:26, L23:26
Clarence Hbr – L00:12, H06:43, L13:14, H19:06
Baracoa – H06:01, L12:28, H18:24
Clarence Hbr – L01:11, H07:39, L14:06, H20:02
Baracoa – L00:25, H06:57, L13:20, H19:20