Round the Island forecast

Mike Broughton gives his assessment of tomorrow's forecast

Friday June 21st 2002, Author: Mike Broughton, Location: United Kingdom
Forecast winds for tomorrow look medium to light from the southwest for the Round the Island Race, with little chances of records tumbling as the fleet will have to beat west out of the Solent and face the prospects of a further light beat on the final leg from No Man's Land Fort to the finish line off Cowes.

General Synopsis for start time: Complex low-pressure system (1004 mb) over the northern part of Scotland is slowly moving northeast towards Norway, with an associated weak trailing front moving east along the English Channel throughout the day.

Skies will be mainly overcast with a chance of a few showers moving across from the west mainly through the morning and early afternoon and skies clearing later in the day, as a weak front moves east towards Dover. Temperatures 14-17degC

Forecast winds:
0900 - Start off Cowes 230-245 9 - 13 knots (left handers on the Island side of the Course)
1000 - Western Solent 220 - 255 10 - 14 knots (+4 knots acceleration of wind in Needles Channel)
1100 - Western Solent 210 - 245 8 - 13 knots, 200 - 230 to the southwest of the Island.
1200 - Area SW of Island 210 - 230 8 - 13 knots (250-260 +3 knots acceleration of wind around St Catherine's Point)
1300 - Area south of Island 230 - 250 8 - 14 knots (255 -265 +3 knots acceleration of St Cat's)
1400 - Area SE of Island 190 - 220 8 - 12 knots else where the wind 200 - 240 (light in Sandown Bay, more wind offshore)
1500 - Wind generally veering to 230 - 260 8 - 14 knots (watch out for wind shadow caused by Culver Cliff)
1600 - 240 - 255 in the Solent 8 - 15 knots (wind bend around Norris Point)
1700 - 245 - 265 8 - 15 knots

What could go wrong?! If the low-pressure moves a little further north than expected and a small ridge of high-pressure moves in behind the front, the winds will be much lighter, though from a similar direction. The amount of residual cloud around will limit sea breeze development, though there will be some thermal enhancement of wind speed in the afternoon.

Wind field data for 1000 predicting winds of southwest F2-3. Note the winds in the Needles Channel will increase due to the acceleration effect round the high ground, added to the effect of the ebb tide that will increase the sailing wind by around 3 knots as the boats sweep past Hurst Castle. Image: Raytech/DNMI GRIB data

Merged synoptic/cloud forecast chart for 1300 showing the low-pressure centre over the Shetland Isles and a long weak trailing cold front over the Isle of Wight. As the front moves east the winds can expect to veer to the west. Image: US Air force

Late afternoon the winds look like they will veer to the west-southwest after the passage of the weak front. Winds overall remaining pretty light from the southwest quadrant, not making it a great day for record attempts. Image: Deckman/DNMI GRIB data

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