University of Athens ForecastAll who go to sea need to keep an eye on the weather. A reliable forecast is essential in helping you decide where to go and when.
Of course, what you make of the weather forecast will depend upon your own experience and inclination. Some prefer to sail when it is going to be relatively calm and comfortable; others delight in the news of an imminent Force 6 and the exhilarating sailing it will bring!
With wireless networks and Internet cafes available in many ports it is now easy to access the information you need.
Our office (which often means me) telephones the school yachts each morning to give them an up to date summary of local forecasts.
Here are the Internet resources that I use, which should prove useful to you if you are sailing here on your own boat.
Firstly I will mention Poseidon. This is possibly the best-known of the Greek weather forecast websites. You’ll find Poseidon bookmarked on many Internet café near ports.
The URL is http://www.poseidon.hcmr.gr/
Personally, while I think Posidon is good for giving an overall picture, there are other sites that I prefer as I find they give more detailed information about what is happening locally.
My weather site of choice is the High Resolution Forecast produced by the atmospheric modelling group at the University of Athens. This was improved for the 2004 Olympic Games and I find it gives the best local forecast for this area. The URL of the site is http://forecast.uoa.gr (note there is no www!)
From the main page you need to select High Resolution and you can then choose Europe, Greece, or Athens for the area to be covered. The Athens forecast covers the Saronic, Gulf of Corinth, and Northern Cyclades.
In the Select Field box choose Sea Surface Wind and the display will show forecast winds on the Beaufort scale.
Here’s the forecast for the whole of Greece for 1500 UTC today. You’ll notice that the Ionian, supposedly an ‘easier’ sailing area, actually has stronger winds forecast than we do in the Saronic.
With all the islands in the Saronic Gulf the wind washes around them and it’s quite possible to be in a channel with two yachts sailing towards each other … each on a run with their spinnaker up!
The University of Athens site is the only one I’ve seen that shows this local variation in wind as it moves around the land masses.
There is an example of another image from the UOA site at the top of this post that illustrates this local variation very well. This is the Athens area forecast for 1500 today.
I love the area to the south east of Aegina where the wind appears to be going in every direction out from a central point. It’s a good job it isn’t sucking in or we might have our own triangle of disappearing vessels.
Another good site
This one is useful for those on land as well as sailors – www.meteo.gr – is in Greek but you can click on a map if you can’t read the place names on the left hand menu (although there are more places on the menu than clickable dots on the map).
Once you have selected your forecast area there is an option to see it in English.
For some reason, however, the English version only covers 2 -3 days whereas the Greek version will give you a 4 – 6 day forecast. To be honest we don’t think the longer range forecasts are any more reliable here than they were in the UK when we lived there.
At least at this time of year it is fairly safe to predict warm sunny days!
If you’re coming sailing with us and want to see the current forecast for Aegina in English click here
Last, but by no means least, is an atmospheric pressure chart. It took a lot of searching to find something that covered all the regions around Greece that affect our weather.
The best that I have found, showing atmospheric pressure in Greece and the surrounding areas, is produced by the BBC. I print this chart out every week and give it to our skippers in the pack that they receive prior to a course starting.
BBC Pressure Chart for Greece
You can view a current atmospheric pressure chart by following this link .
Further down the same web page you can watch a video of the latest BBC European weather forecast.
A note on times
When using these sites you will find most show forecasts at 3 or 6 hourly intervals. Note that time is usually shown in UTC and you should add 3 hours for local time here in Greece.
What do you use?
If you’ve got a favourite weather site that is not featured here why not add a comment let others know.