Sailing tips - Wind

Sailing tips - Wind

Every wind has its own characteristics which help us predict whether the wind will strengthen, cease or announce the arrival of another wind. A good knowledge of the wind enable us to catch the right one that can lead us to our goal.

The favorite predictors of weather for many sailors are the dolphins. Although initially provide a lovely sight, their presence often precede s a worsening of weather. The direction from which the dolphins swim is where one can expect bad weather to arrive from.

The arrival of a particular wind, the good or bad, can be recognized by the clouds and the sunsets. A pale and blurry sunset announces a worsening of the weather. A clear sky and a sunset of strong, lively colors are the signs of good weather. Small fluffy clouds above the island hills signify a “Maestral”, which means pleasant sailing weather. Arrival of the “Bura” wind is announced by a cover of clouds above the peak of the inland mountains, which requires much caution because it doesn't give sailors enough time to prepare for its strong blows.

The winds of the Adriatic mainly originate from the differences in temperatures of the land and the sea and due to differences in air pressure. Air circulation and changes from warm to cold air create pleasant winds that continuously fill the sails with their force. These are the “Burin” and “Maestral” winds. Abrupt changes of air-pressure announce stronger winds that are worth avoiding by sailing to one of the numerous sheltered harbours and bays. The structure of the Adriatic region's wind movements comprises 8 main winds.

The “Maestral” is a north-west summertime Adriatic wind, which brings stable and nice weather. It starts blowing around dawn and lasts until sunset. During summer, it offers a welcome cooling effect, bringing healthier, cleaner and colder air from the sea. It is suitable for sailing due to its moderate strength, so you can safely yield to the movement of sea.

The “Jugo” is a south-western, humid and warm wind of moderate force that blows from the sea towards the inland. It appears in all seasons along the length of the coast, although in the summer it is somewhat less frequent. The “Jugo” creates long and soundless waves that hit the shore and then draw themselves back towards the high seas with a roar. This wind offers a particular experience to dynamic navigators, enabling the sailboat to reach high speeds. Fish usually bite well during the  “Jugo”.

The “Bura” is a north-western wind, which blows in bursts from inland towards the sea. This unpredictable wind is cold and dry, and as such purifies and brightens the atmosphere. The weather after the “Bura” is sunny and clear and visibility is excellent. Sailing during the “Bura” is exciting and challenging, but it requires caution, due to the short, high waves it brings, making the navigation difficult. The small drops formed by the wind create a so-called “sea smoke” that significantly reduces the visibility. Experienced seamen have a proverb, which says: “The Bura says: When I sail, you don't!”

The remaining winds are of less significance for the inhabitants of the Adriatic area, but they may be favorable to sailors further out at sea.

Tramontana – northerly, cooling wind that announces beautiful and pleasant weather

Grego – strong or moderate north-easterly wind that carries dry, clear and cold weather

Levant – easterly wind that blows during cloudy, humid and rainy weather

Oštro – southerly, warm and damp wind

Lebić – south-westerly, dry and warm wind, which blows after the Jugo, levelling the waves in shallow harbours

 

When it comes to enjoyable sailing trip good planing is cruical. Knowing when to sail or what boat to choose are among those important things you have to know in advance. Read articles on winds and weather in the Caribbean, advices on sailing in Croatia and when is the best sailing season in Italy.

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My name is Irina Matosevic and I am a member of SailingEurope Contact Team. I will be happy to help organize Your sailing holidays.

Irina Matosevic