The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
GSR|67 northern route, staying north of a direct course toward the Australian coast (and keeping stoppage/"bail out" ports in mind) to reduce/ minimize exposure to adverse weather conditions (quartering/head winds and large NW-SW-S combined seas) from fronts. During summer, the opposite holds true, cold fronts are much less of a factor, and more direct routing is possible. However, we now need to watch the tropics closely, especially as we get into early/mid summer (January/February), when tropical cyclone activity nears and reaches its peak. Weather windows will be highly dependent on tropical cyclone activity and again, mariners who travel during this time need to be mindful of stoppage ports along the way....prepare for delays in departure when a tropical cyclone is already in or might move into your routing path. Failing that, alternate routing options will need to be considered to increase sea room around cyclones. The most optimal times to travel will be when weather regimes are in transition, from winter to summer and vice versa. During April, tropical cyclone activity is usually diminished, with cold fronts somewhat less of a factor than their wintertime counterparts. Likewise, in October, cold fronts tend to become as we progress through the month, and tropical cyclone activity is less frequent than later in the spring and during much of the summer. THE IMPORTANCE OF WEATHER PROVIDERS AND PROPER TRIP PLANNING As one can see, there's a lot to consider and potential dangers to avoid along the way when making such a long transit. Questions invariably come to mind when making such a long trek to Australia: What is the best route to take? When should I travel? What do I do when adverse weather is on the way on my present course? That is where the guidance of a professional weather routing and forecast service comes in. We provide the answers to those questions and more, making for ease in travel planning, wherever your final destination may be. To put it another way, we are more than merely authors. We are forecasters and part of a routing and forecasting company that prides itself in taking the time to constantly monitor vessels and meteorological/oceanographic data, both prior to a vessel's departure and while underway. This takes the guesswork away from captains, allowing for ease and peace of mind knowing there is someone "watching over you" and always available to provide proper guidance, be it from initial routing and providing forecast information, or to advise of changing weather conditions and alternate route recommendations promptly when conditions dictate. Awareness is always key. By knowing what to expect and using proper guidance, any yachtsman can be rest assured that he/she knows what lies ahead and can avoid any potential danger. It is this awareness that will make for enjoyable trip...the trip of a lifetime that will be remembered by all for years to come. David Cannon is Yacht Operations Manager and Senior Meteorologist, Jeremy Davis is a Senior Meteorologist, and Garrett Gwiazda is a Meteorologist. All are employed at Weather Routing Inc. (WRI Ltd.), which has provided professional routing and meteorological consultation to mariners worldwide since 1961. In the southwest Pacific, there are "pros" and "cons" to be found, regardless of when you wish to travel. During late autumn as well as during early to mid spring, our concerns of encountering a tropcial cyclone are non-existent, but remember that the weather during this particular time of year can be quite volatile and changeable, as cold fronts and following high pressure ridges become stronger and more frequent. Finding weather windows during this period can be difficult at times, but not impossible, and will be highly dependent on properly timing cold fronts, and the arrival of lighter and more favorable weather, as high pressure ridges move further offshore. When travel is a must and cold fronts become a factor in routing, one should consider more period. Generally following/quartering conditions are found in NE-E-SE winds, with generally long- period swells and fast-moving westward moving currents. Staying north of 10S will in the vast majority of cases offer a good ride in what will generally be following conditions. Looking farther south toward 20S and in central and eastern waters, general trade winds are also found, but this area also offers a greater possibility of encountering higher winds and larger, shorter- period seas. This is especially the case during late autumn and winter/early spring when trade wind surges from merging high pressure ridges are more common. Currents also tend to slow some, but for the most part are favorable east to west moving currents. Figure 9: Typical summer weather pattern in the Southwestern Pacific. Figure 8: Typical winter weather pattern in the Southwestern Pacific.
2010 - 2011