As Bob Dylan said so well: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." Lately I became a little more suspect about what I hear from NOAA on the VHF and it's forecasts having been surprised one two many times in my travels. Since they digitized the voice of the forecasters one can never really tell who is making the forecast if anyone. I use to know the trusted forecasters by their voice. Not anymore. The digital Mr. NOAA aka Perfect Paul sounds the same all the time. Reading the forecasts online does not help much either especially when you read more and more things like "because the computer models diverge forecast is tricky" seems like they are relying more on the computers than knowledge and experience. So I use the NOAA forecast like we used the paper routines/scripts when I worked in live television. Somewhere on the page were these words of warning "This is merely a guide" Meaning things can change. So I have more and more started to become my own weather forecaster. Thanks to the Internet we sailors who can connect to it can now get a lot of the same data the NOAA folks do. I've been using the NOAA site to collect some data but, a fellow named Allen Edwards has put together a really great free weather site at L-36.com for sailors that has all the weather info you could want in just a few clicks. Watch his video demo and then try it:
One page and you've got the wind speeds, forecasts, weather maps and radar and what I find most important nearby buoy data. Plus you can edit it to your needs too. Allen has done a great job of compiling all the info a sailor might need at L-36.com and so he gets a Capt. Mike tip of the hat!