All routing decisions, whether by routing software or manual plotting, ultimately depend on a wind forecast, displayed as an image or, better yet, represented as a digital file read by your navigational or tactical software. If the forecast is off, so will be your routing. Often there are two or more forecasts available, with substantial differences that can impact the way you go. Just as often, once you get into a race, the winds you observe will be different than those in the forecast, and it will become clear that unless you adjust the forecast, routing computations based on it will be way off, perhaps meaningless. All forecasts depend on some method of predicting how weather will evolve and winds change, and there are numerous kinds of "wind models."

Up to this point, it has been difficult to visualize how forecasts (wind models) differ over multiple days and how these differences impact your route, and even more difficult to make meaningful adjustments, even with great effort. Most often routing solutions are computed for ocean racing, over considerable distances, and for this you can obtain free wind files (usually in standard "grib" format) off the web, from an increasing number of websites. These files typically have a fairly coarse resolution, usually one deg of lat-lon, sometimes 1/2 deg resolution. However, routing would also be very useful in shorter races, perhaps in Long Island Sound, the English Channel or even San Francisco Bay, if it were possible to obtain grib files with much finer resolution.

There are image files on the web that can take you down to 1/8 of a degree, sometimes more, and for local waters you may have enough experience to design your own model. But these are not available in digital format (e.g., as a grib), and so these sources don't work as input for routing software. Until now ...
WindMaster provides a broad range of tools to display, compare, build and edit wind models. Once you have what you want, you can export a model as a grib file for use with any brand of routing or navigational software. You can convert a grib file to editable format as the start for a new model, build a model by point & click, copying a wind image file, or define the model by hand, either on a grid or free form, placing definition points anywhere you want (essential for local models reflecting hills, islands and other geography). WindMaster is compatible with all other software.

Just as importantly, WindMaster's editing tools make it fast and easy to make changes, either globally, in sections, or point by point. The entire range of functions is described and illustrated in the html (web browser)-style 'Tutorial.' The graphic below shows the "Wind Tile" display, simultaneously displaying model output for up to 9 times simultaneously (or displaying up to 3 models at once). The date and time of each tile can be changed with the drop-down list at its top, or selected in a variety of ways with the "Wind Tile Control." As shown in the graphic, you can choose to add predicted boat positions on the tiles (say from a routing solution) in order to better focus on what portions at what times impact the route - very useful to detect where the routing solution may be unusually sensitive to the wind forecast.

The graphic below shows the "Wind Tile" display, simultaneously displaying model output for up to 9 times simultaneously (or displaying up to 3 models at once). The date and time of each tile can be changed with the drop-down list at its top, or selected in a variety of ways with the "Wind Tile Control." As shown in the graphic, you can choose to add predicted boat positions on the tiles (say from a routing solution) in order to better focus on what portions at what times impact the route - very useful to detect where the routing solution may be unusually sensitive to the wind forecast.
WINDMASTER FUNCTIONS
OVERVIEW OF OUR "WINDMASTER" PROGRAM
You can also add measured wind values from your earlier track to the corresponding tile, to see how what you observe compares to predictions (and do this with alternate wind models to see which one better describes the reality). If you want to make certain classes of quick-to-define model changes (called "Overrides"), you can switch back and forth to the Override Tool and immediately see the impact on the wind model predictions.
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