For Cruisers who move from one anchorage to another, for Cruisers who explore, for Cruisers
who leave one country for another and for Cruisers who cross oceans ; the wind and weather are often the most important elements affecting the process of passage planning and decision making.
During the last 29 years the Mobile Maritime Net for S.E. Asian Waters has every day collected weather forecasts (NB: the 1st. 22 years this net known as Rowdy's Net). In the early days we collected forecasts from Radio Broadcasts, from WX Fax, from Pilots, from local fishermen, from wherever. When we were operating from Hong Kong - we used to phone the Royal Hong Observatory every early morning, prior to the net (no doubt one of the most professional marine WX forecasters in the world) Every day, the net has, from its latest most relevant forecast/s, past on the significant juicy parts to Cruisers.
How Technology has changed :- Sailing Vessel "Moonshine" sitting quietly in the outer anchorage of Telaga Harbour 6 degs 21.4239' North x 99 degs 40.7473' East , powers up her laptop, connects via wifi via the Marina's hot spot to the internet and downloads weather for that day and the next few. The choice that Moonshine has for forecasters is mind boggling - hundreds!
However, the Indian Ocean has the least in terms of numbers of forecasts that provide micro weather for the short term. On the other hand , the seas of South East Asia are well served - some more useful for local weather and the others for the macro picture.
For the last 7 years - every morning the MMNETSEA has progressively winnowed down the number of forecasters it uses to provide relevant/significant weather to Cruisers who interact with the morning sched. They are also asked as to what they are experiencing at that time - their responses enable a better understanding of the accuracy and relevance of the macro forecast to what is happening in the Cruisers own piece of water.
The URL links posted here provide a galaxy of some 15 screens each with different forecasts and actual observed weather (real time satellite pictures) In presenting Cruisers with the information gleaned from the forecast - the MMNETSEA continually reiterates that it does not
forecast weather - first and foremost, because it is not competent to do so, and secondly these forecasts do not always reflect what is seen from the Cruiser's cockpit.
Once these web sites are opened , it will be necessary in some, to put in appropriate dates, to choose specific pages. Then by practice and evaluation pickup the various symbols and forecaster's shorthand to appreciate the information provided.