The low-down on the weather
The surface, analysis and forecast charts, the wind fields (the famous GRIB files), the satellite photos, the observation records (provided by vessels and buoys, possible backed up by wind readings via satellite), together with the weather reports are just some of the elements that sailors need to take into account in their analysis process before heading out to sea and taking the start of a race. Indeed, meteorology is a topic that is as vast as it is complex. In fact it is one of the rare domains where you can still combine scientific knowledge, a sense of observation, intuition and decision-making. “The weather is a thrilling topic. It’s also a topic where you’re able to constantly learn and progress”, explains Giancarlo Pedote, who’s putting this period of confinement to good use by working on this element. “The Lorient Grand Large offshore training hub is organising weather briefings twice a week. The latter are being hosted as a videoconference by Christian Dumard, who is giving us various exercises to work on. Each participant does his or her own analysis of the situation before sharing their findings with the rest of the group. At that point, everyone exchanges ideas. It’s very interesting”, explains the skipper of Prysmian Group, who is notably working on the course for the Vendée Globe. “Our particular focus is the sections of oceans that we’ll traverse during the round the world so that we can integrate the different potential strategies as best we can to enhance our interpretation of them and better position ourselves during the race”,concludes the Italian sailor, who is all too aware how crucial honed analysis of the grib files and weather systems is to success.