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Old 18-04-2019, 09:34   #1
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Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Cheers,

I was reading the thread "Rugged High Latitude Boats" and someone there mentioned "above 60N" as more hardcore than below, and I started wondering.

I loaded Google Earth and checked that, yes, indeed, my hometown is "above 60N" and I've done most of my sailing near or above 60N. It's too cold here, that's for sure. Especially in spring after the ice has left and everyone wants to get their boat floating before May 1st. But is it challenging in other ways? And how much more or less so than in other places?

I know some charter companies rate their destinations on their own scales (easy to advanced, more or less), but it would be really interesting to see or put together some comparative chart of the whole world. It's seasonal as well, of course, but still, a nice picture of a globe where average sailing difficulty is visualized from light green to deep red

Over here in Finland we sometimes have very variable winds, and that's a challenge for sure. On the other hand we don't have any real tidal flows, and that removes one whole basket of difficulty from the equation.
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Old 18-04-2019, 10:13   #2
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Nice idea, a spinabble 3D globe visualization like gEarth, coupled with a slider for the 12 months, red - orange - yellow - green for stormy-seas danger times.

Biggest challenge is getting beyond official weather records and collecting more actual experience data from passage-making sailors.

Non-weather issues like reefs and piracy also need distinct symbols.
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Old 18-04-2019, 10:16   #3
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Yes! And one more addition is general anchoring/docking difficulty.
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Old 18-04-2019, 12:12   #4
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Skillset of the crew starts to be more of a factor there. . .
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Old 18-04-2019, 12:45   #5
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

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Skillset of the crew starts to be more of a factor there. . .
Yes, true.

I have to admit that I think docking (and undocking) is terribly stressful. In Finland we generally have to actually dock and fit into small spaces between other boats. I really liked the Bahamas where you just drop the anchor kindly away from other boats. Less stressful by far
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Old 18-04-2019, 17:22   #6
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Pilot charts would provide info on wind speed and direction. That would be a good indicator for "sailing difficulty" in various locations worldwide. Take note of seasonal variations, though. The Caribbean is great -- until hurricane season.
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Old 19-04-2019, 08:24   #7
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

In the good old days of sailing ships they used to say:
It is more difficult to sail from Maracaibo to Trinidad than Trinidad to Europe.

And that is even more true today.



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Old 19-04-2019, 09:48   #8
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

I image the archipelago off Turku would be light green. In fact, all the waters from the Åland Islands down around Scania and up through the Sound and the Belts, across the Kattegat and out into open waters past the Skaw would be light green.

But from there the fun begins, and from the Norwegian coast all the way from Trondheim to Cape Chidley at the northern end of Labrador would be dark red. Similarly, in the Pacific from Icy Bay in Alaska to Chiswell Islands in the Aleutians would be Dark Red, as would the waters off Cape Scott and Hecate Strait generally at the northern end of Vancouver Island. Also the waters off that island's west coast as far south at 49º N. By contrast the Salish Sea and adjoining waters east of Vancouver Island north of 49º N. would be light green

Without meaning to be contrary, I don't really think a globe or chart of that kind would be of any real use to a cruising man. Ordinary knowledge of geography and meteorology, the sort of stuff we've carried in our heads since high school, is all the information such a globe or chart could possibly give us.

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Old 19-04-2019, 10:09   #9
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Yes but a nice visualization for lay people / beginners, allow for drilling down to the details

function as a centralized location for crowd-sourcing and disseminating valuable data from real-life experienced sailors,

and reflect the complexity of seasonal variations and changes over time, like the expanding danger zone off Venezuela, or increased storm uncertainty / volatility as climate change really kicks in.
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Old 19-04-2019, 11:16   #10
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Fair comment John :-)

I find that a program like VesselTracker is quite lovely for the purpose. Activate the facility for showing wind patters - which is continuously updated - and you have a very good idea of the weather that will obtain in any given location at any given time.

How do you relate that to the "difficulty" of sailing? To my mind there is a certain linearity between wind velocity and "difficulty". But as you know, those sorts of mechanistic relationships are the least of it. "Nous" is something that only comes with experience. The Board of Trade's Sailing Directions of old did, indeed, provided accumulated information of the sort our friend in Turku seeks, but every oceangoing sailing master had, as I'm suggesting for our present situation, the rough outline of these directions already in his head.

To come back to VesselTracker and its mates: A "difficulty" WE have to deal with, that the skippers of old did not in the same degree, is the density of traffic. Muckin' abaht in the Salish Sea my principal concern ("difficulty" though it's hardly to be so classified) is commercial traffic. In the Baltic that is also a concern, and I'm sure it is where you are, too.

So as I see it, the global "difficulty map" has little utility. VesselTracker has all kinds of utility. I see that our friend in Turku skippers a handsome vessel and has some years of skippering behind him. No reason he and others shouldn't produce a handsome, colour coded chart/globe. For my money, there are more interesting things to learn and to spend time on. But that's because, as I've been accused of, I'm a hopeless romantic, and if I had my d'ruthers I'd be sailing a gaff-rigged galease of the kind that until quite recent times handled the coastal trade in and out of Baltic ports like Turku :-)!

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Old 19-04-2019, 12:06   #11
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

I appreciate being the friend in Turku!

My obsession is to look for something quantifiable and comparable to maybe replace some of the hearsay and (sometimes exaggerated) anecdotes that are passed around.

Or at least give these things some thoughts until my thoughts are deemed ridiculous and bad

When weather (wind) is such a big factor, maybe one way of expressing difficulty would be to visualize how well multiple day weather forecasts have matched reality throughout recent history.

Re the Baltic/Hanseatic city of Turku and the romantic past, we have this nice ship docked right next to us but unfortunately nobody sails it anymore. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomen_Joutsen
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Old 19-04-2019, 12:13   #12
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

The Cornel pilot book charts gives you much of the weather and seasonal info you need. It will take some time to go through and decide what areas fit your criteria. No one can do that for you.
https://cornellsailing.com/publicati...s-ocean-atlas/
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Old 19-04-2019, 12:57   #13
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Here I found Google KMLs for average wind speed: Scatterometer Climatology of Ocean Winds - SCOW
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Old 19-04-2019, 13:04   #14
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

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Here I found Google KMLs for average wind speed: Scatterometer Climatology of Ocean Winds - SCOW
For passage planning average monthly wind speed is not very useful. Pilot charts like Cornels show percent of time and speed in each wind direction, wave heights, cyclone typical paths.....
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Old 19-04-2019, 13:50   #15
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Re: Global Map of How Difficult to Sail?

Thanks for that :-)! I do recall from my boyhood talk about a ship we referred to as "Finske Svane". No doubt the same vessel, though I never did see pictures of 'er.

FWIW, a great uncle went down with København out of Buenos Aires. 'Twoulda been in 1928, if memory serves. My father was signed on as a cadet in Georg Stage (I). Counting the years, it seems probable that he was due to ship out in that same infamous year. But a few months before departure he lost an eye in an accident and was thereby precluded from going. Whatever about all that, all I've ever been is a Sunday sailor :-)

Five and forty years ago a friend and I campaigned a King's Cruiser 29 out of Vancouver. The boat was a "frozen snot" boat (as opposed to stick-built) built by Turan Venevestiamo. That's as close to Turku as I've ever been:-)! The boat was rather luvverly, but being designed for Baltic conditions she couldn't hold her own, boat for boat, racing against the contemporary local North American jobs. We didn't have 'er long enuff to get the PHRF numbers adjusted to something that gave us half a chance.

Quote: "When weather (wind) is such a big factor, maybe one way of expressing difficulty would be to visualize how well multiple day weather forecasts have matched reality throughout recent history."

Yes, I can appreciate why you say that, but the need to do accurate long range weather forecasting on you own has obviously been drastically reduced in the last half century. There really isn't any need to do it any more, since the forecasts come off HolyMotherNet and out of the ether in a steady stream - as my father would have said: "like **** from a calf". The risk seems to me to be that of having MORE information than you can cope with, rather than too little. On a similar note: The Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea are in some ways like the sundry archipelagos in the Baltic. Chart plotters are handy, and if you are driving a fishing boat, a tug or a water taxi, then they are obviously the way to go. But as for me, as a hopelessly romantic Sunday sailor, I take my bearings and I plot them as I was taught to do those many years ago off the island of Funen. Truth be told, if I'm denied the opportunity to play with the pilotage I get awfully bored ;-)!

Hej då :-)

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