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For sailors wind is usually the most important data. While the Met Office Shipping and Inshore Waters forecasts are always the first place to look, they only give relatively short-term forecasts. Both of the really useful longer-term forecast websites - Theyr and Windguru - are now pay-for-access, at least for full data.

The Shipping Forecast from the Meteorological Office

The Inshore Waters Forecast from the Meteorological Office

Marine Extended Outlook Forecast from the Meteorological Office

The normal land area BBC Weather website

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts offers synoptic charts for Atlantic and European waters for up to a week in advance


XCWeather.co.uk - originally a gliding-related website - has a very clever map display of current conditions across the UK and France - you can choose windspeed, direction, visibility, pressure etc. displays. Current data comes mainly from airfields, lighthouses and buoys. It also has a wind forecast for each point, but this appears to ignore likely sea breeze effects.

MetVUW.com from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, has worldwide 3-day and 7-day forecast charts - here are the European 7-day charts.

Frank Singleton's Weather and Sailing Pages collect together a variety of weather related resources in one place. Frank is a retired professional forecaster and experience crusing sailor, and a recipient of the Royal Crusing Club's medal for services to cruising.

Real-time weather reports from offshore buoys from the National Data Buoy Center.  Although a US Government site, it gives windspeeds and directions plus wave heights, from buoys off UK coasts as well as world-wide sites.

A commercial weather data site - oceanweather.com - with worldwide readings for wind, sea heights and short-term forecasts available free

Windguru is a Czech website aimed at windsurfers and kitesurfers, but gives wind forecasts for worldwide locations in an easy to read format. Access to basic data is free, but there is also a subscription-only 'Pro' version.

Windfinder has real-time wind data and some history from a variety of stations

WeatherOnline is a UK weather forecast site - nice simple interface with a separate 'Sailing' area giving wind and wave prediction.

Another commercial weather site Accuweather.com offers free three day UK sailing forecasts for a variety of UK coastal areas. You do get annoying advertising windows popping up with this site.


Premier Marinas have useful downloadable tide tables for the year for their various marinas along the south coasts from Brighton to Falmouth. Look for their "weather and tide" page. You can save the pages as PDF files and then print them.

Free tidal predictions for the next week only can be found on the UKHO Easytide website - and you can get one or two week predictions for dates further ahead (or in the past) for £1.00 or £1.75

Funded by the Environment Agency, the National Tidal and Sea Level Facility also give tidal predictions for up to 28 days ahead for a range of ports. The site also tells you the highest and lowest predicted spring and autumn tides for the next 20 years

WXTide32 is a free software download that will generate tidal data for many locations worldwide for any date from 1970 to 2037. Accuracy is not guaranteed for critical use, but is generally good enough for advance passage planning. The current version generates UK data from non-UKHO sources.

Tides for Fishing has an online tide prediction calculation option for many UK ports running over a year in advance - although "not for navigation" it appears to generate predictions for Falmouth generally within 10 mins and 0.1 metre of the official data - useful for advance planning.

Tideplotter 2005 - 10.99 including UKHO licensing, gives data for smaller UK ports and harbours (480+ UK and nearby Channel ports) for one year.  Order online at Belfield Software or try out as a free download.  The download evaluation version does not support future dates. A simple, intuitive program ..... 


Notices to Mariners and chart corrections from the UK Hydrographic Office

The US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Maritime Safety Information portal (US military) has online access to download NP229 sight reduction tables, which are identical to the paid-for-only UK NP401 tables. The website is not easy to navigate but a great deal of material is available free - for example the sight reduction tables here.

From people who seem to care about traditional navigation, as well as sell the kit online, a good source of basic information about sextants, and why you should still use one - Celestaire 

Surveys & Surveyors

Yachtsnet's list of surveyors in the UK 

Osmosis and Blistering of GRP hulls

Our own web page on 'osmosis'

Possibly the best printed reference work is one of the later editions of the book 'Fibreglass Boats' by Hugo Du Plessis, published by Adlard Coles Nautical from 1964 onwards - make sure you have a reasonably up to date edition (preferably 2006 plus) as these have much more information on osmosis. You can buy the latest 5th edition paperback on Amazon. A few samples fromdu Plessis:-

".... In middle age, say ten years, blisters can be expected. They will develop slowly, so there is plenty of time to consider what to do. Cheap, owner maintenance may contain them indefinitely"

On moisture meters: ".... Meters do not detect only moisture....." "....many owners have been lured into expensive work on the basis of false moisture meter readings.

".... Never go by the advice of a specialist clinic or boatyard. They want work ...."

".... Replacing a gel coat is a major operation to be avoided if possible, a last resort, and not, as so often regarded, the first and only treatment"

Du Plessis is also fairly brutal in his assessments of most yacht builders "....to most builders the main consideration has not been whether the boat would blister but would it do so before the guarantee expired".

And finally - some US small powerboat boatbuilders are now putting conditions on their hull warranties to the effect that they don't guarantee the boat hull not to blister if it is in the water for more than two weeks......

Organisations and associations

Stolenboats.org - an online database of stolen boats and marine equipment. All the information on this website is provided by the marine insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer. Although the majority of stolen boats are dinghies and speedboats, a few sailing yachts do also get stolen.

The Cruising Association represents the interests of cruising sailors worldwide. It's purpose built HQ overlooking Limehouse Basin in London contains an outstanding library and chartroom, as well as cabins, bar and catering facilities.

Nicholson 32 Class Association - one of the all time classic production cruisers

Hurley Owners Association - in the 1960s and early 1970s Hurley were one of the major British builders of production GRP cruising yachts - the most famous of these being the Hurley 22. This is the class association for all Hurleys - plus a number of differently named but very similar later derivatives of the designs.

Sailing web links

Sailing Issues is a private website providing a good tutorial on marine navigation, plus information on sailing holidays in Greece. Well designed, lots of information - and well worth a look

Commercial yachting and marine sites

Sailing Scenes Marine Photography: David Harding of Sailing Scenes is a yachting writer and photographer whose work is widely seen in the yachting press and marine industry; from books, magazines and newspapers to web sites, brochures and exhibition displays. His archive includes yacht and dinghy racing, motor-boats, cruising, coastal scenery and commercial shipping, together with an A – Z library of production cruising yachts which is used by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bowman Yacht Charters is based in Falmouth in Cornwall, and offers a variety of yachts for skippered or bareboat charter including our own yacht "Alcyone", a Sun Odyssey 35.

Bowman Yacht Charters

Landamores have been building boats in Wroxham and Hoveton in Norfolk since 1923, ranging from Broads hire cruisers through offshore racing yachts to dinghies, motor yachts and classic launches. They also offer boatyard and marina services.

SchoonerSail Sailng Holidays offers sailing adventures, offshore and coastal voyages on board the schooner Trinovante. Passages include Norway (Norwegian Fjords) Arctic Circle and The Netherlands, plus weekend breaks in the UK.

Tangent Engineering is a small family-run engine restoration business, specialising in Gardner marine and automotive diesels. They can supply customised LW and LX engines finished to a high standard, also core engines and generators. Contact tangent.gardner@gmail.com or +44 (0)7802-572441

GS Products supply a range of marine grade fittings, including wire rope, chain, anchors and many fittings. Online ordring is available, with delivery usually within two business days. Call 01384-883330


Halcyon Yachts Ltd is a yacht delivery company based near Falmouth. All skippers are qualified RYA Ocean Yachtmasters as a minimum, with experienced crew. Unlike many other companies there are no charges for delays caused by weather. There is also a 24 hr engineer support service.

Boat-shift.com is a boat transport company based in Kent, specialising in moving yachts and motor cruisers around the U.K, France and Spain by road. Contact via their website.

South West Boat Transport, UK and European boat transport, Queen Anne's Battery Marina, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 0LP. Tel: 01752-687700, E-mail info@boat-transportation.co.uk

Shiply is a website allowing you to seek bids for transport of any item including boats - which have a separate page for you to enter the details of the boat you want moved.

Ship Shape Bedding specialise in making bedding for yachts and motor boats. All their marine bedding is especially shaped to fit beds on boats. Their range includes V berth, round ended beds, tapered, asymmetric doubles and singles and many more. They also supply shaped duvets, fitted sheets and mattress protectors.

Michael Briant's website has lots of information about long-distance cruising, and also sells his books, including 'French Canals to the Mediterranean', 'Living Aboard Round the World', and a number of DVDs covering cruising areas such as Polynesia, Panama Canal, Indian Ocean etc.

Yacht Brochures is a commercial service offering scanned copies of original sales brochures for out of production yachts. These original brochures are often rare and difficult to obtain but extremely popular with owners and enthusiasts. Copies of the brochures can be ordered for a fee.

Simon Winter Marine Limited Classic Yacht Insurance Specialists. British Marine Federation and British Insurance Brokers' Association member. Clock House, Swan Hill Road, Colyford, Devon EX24 6QL Tel +44 (0)844 988 6132 Fax +44 (0)844 988 6133 Mob +44 (0)7775 627652 Email info@simonwintermarine.co.uk

Powersail Training is an RYA recognised training centre and yacht charter business, and provider of sailing corporate events, based at Dartmouth in Devon in summer and the Solent in winter. Contact 07774-745788 or email info@powersailtraining.co.uk


Cockwells Modern & Classic Boatbuilding are based near Falmouth, and are specialists in the construction of quality Duchy and Hardy design motor yachts, also bespoke orders including for superyacht tenders. Tel 01326-377366.

Online sales of a wide range of sailing lifejackets and accessories at the Marine Warehouse, Swansea

Marine electronics from Yachtbits - the web outlet of KM Electronics, with online ordering for electrical and electronic items, and a few other marine products


Ace Marine offer a Naval Architecture Service, including hull fairing, stability analysis and general design work

Pratt Naval Architecture undertakes the designs of both powered and sailing vessels, plus consultancy and stability analysis

Classic Sailing. Find lots of Classic Sailing Holidays for beginners and experienced sailors on Tall Ships and Traditional Vessels in the UK, Europe and many other parts of the world.

Classic Sailing Holidays

Daften Die-casting of Wadebridge in Cornwall manufacture a range of sacrificial anodes for yachts and commercial craft

Non-sailing links

Townsend Accommodation Agency - property lettings in Falmouth and surrounding areas

Save our Foreshores - a community website set up to fight inappropriate waterfront apartment development by the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth