Before sailing, checking the weather forecast is an absolute must for any good sailor. If you just ask Alexa to tell you what the weather is, you don’t usually get the most important piece of information you need though, which is wind information. If you are just going for a daysail or even a coastal cruise for several days (or even weeks) you will be able to get weather information via the internet on your phone or laptop. When you are passage making, your options change somewhat. Most offshore forecasts are delivered via some sort of satellite-based services now. Here are our favorite apps for weather when you have a good internet connection.
WeatherFlow.com – You probably know this as WindAlert or SailFlow (or about 4 other names). These are all very similar apps from one company. They have a free and a paid service, but I’ve never needed anything more than the free service for the lake sailing and coastal cruising I’ve done. It shows live data and forecasts at specific weather stations in your area. You can get tide, wave, and other information and show forecast animations as well.
Windy.com – This one is great for large area forecasts when you are looking to do coastal cruising, or even planning your passage making. It shows trends over larger areas and you can move the time scale forward to really think about where you want to sail to take advantage of the wind. Windy has a community feature and discussion boards behind it as well.
WindFinder.com – This one is very similar to the WeatherFlow app family. They have animated forecasts with different layers and options. The presentation is different from other apps and some people will like one over the other. They have a free and a “pro” (aka paid) version as well.
MyRadar.com – This is a great all-around weather app. It is layer based, so you can decide what you want to see on the screen. It has a wind layer, as well as precipitation, temperature, and clouds. It can show you animated forecasts and it can also be set up to give you alerts based on your location. It is free, but some layers require a their “paid’ version of the app and then some features are subscription based after that.
I’m sure there are more out there, but these are our go-to apps for weather information. And usually, I use more than one to cross reference different forecasts.