Passionate about Weather and Sailing

Chris Bedford is respected world-wide for his experience and expertise in marine and coastal meteorology. Growing up immersed in the active weather of the Great Lakes region in North America, Chris graduated from the University of Michigan College of Engineering, receiving his degree with honors from the Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Department in 1986. He founded Sailing Weather Service in 1998 after 10 years experience as an environmental consultant and 2 years as manager at a large commercial weather forecasting operation.

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Sailing Weather Service has grown with a highly focused mission to provide customized weather solutions to some of the world’s leading competitive sailing teams and events. Chris Bedford’s sailing weather experience is extensive and successful.

 

  • A veteran of 10 America's Cup cycles (1987 through 2021), Chris has been with more winning AC efforts than any other meteorologist. 

  • Working with 5 Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread teams, he provided close support to the winning teams in 2001/02 (illbruck), 2008/09 (Ericsson) and 2014/15 (Abu Dhabi). Chris is actively involved in preparation for the 2022 edition of The Ocean Race.

  • His advice has been valued through 5 US Sailing Team campaigns – Barcelona, Savannah, Sydney, Athens and Rio de Janerio; teams that accumulated a total of 17 medals. The Australian Institute of Sport has chosen Bedford as their meteorological consultant across a wide range of weather-impacted sports for the upcoming Tokyo Games.

  • Chris has provided key meteorological advice on a number of successful Ultimate Trimaran campaigns/races, including:

    • Trans-Atlantic sailing speed record set by Banque Populaire (3 days 15 hours 25 minutes).

    • 2019 victory in the Brest Atlantique Race by Edmond de Rothschild of Team Gitana.

    • Ultimate class victory in the 2021 Transat Jacques Varbre by Edmond de Rothschild of Team Gitana.

  • Over the years, Chris has provided thousands of hours of weather instruction to a wide range of audiences from beginning sailors to world champions. He is sought out for his straight-forward, honest, and practical approach to using weather knowledge as a competitive advantage. In 2020, he co-founded Marine Weather University, an online weather school providing over 40 hours of content geared to sailing and marine weather enthusiasts. Marine Weather University currently has over 5000 students registered.

Bedford is a motivated advocate for the application of new techniques and technology to sailing:

  • He pioneered the application of ensemble modeling techniques to the problem of Optimal Routing in yacht racing. During the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race, illbruck Challenge used Bedford's pioneering techniques to help win the race. These methods continue to evolve with the advancement of modeling and routing software.

  • In 2012, he was part of a team awarded a patent for "Using Remotely detected Wind Velocities to Enhance Understanding of an Impending or Occurring Event". The patent employs state-of-the-art forward looking doppler LIDAR to predict changes in the wind from seconds to 10s of minutes in advance.

 

Chris has been recognized for his outstanding work and dedication to sailing and his profession:

  • In 2004, Chris received the US Sailing President’s Award specifically for his work with the US Sailing Team at the Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

  • In 2009, he was awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering Alumni Society Merit Award.

  • Chris was awarded status as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist (CCM) by the American Meteorological Society in 1994. At that time, he was the youngest person to ever receive the CCM designation.  Currently, there are approximately 400 active CCMs nationwide.

 

He has served as President of the National Council of Industrial Meteorologists and on a number of professional boards and committees with the American Meteorological Society, Air and Waste Management Association, and the former Commercial Weather Services Association. Over the years, Bedford has written and presented numerous technical papers at conferences and for refereed scientific journals, and has been an invited speaker and instructor. He has also provided subject matter expert review of papers submitted for publication in professional scientific journals as well as serving as meteorological editor for the American Heritage Dictionary.

Aside from forecasting the weather, Bedford remains active in and out of sailing:​

  • A licensed airplane pilot since 1994, and;

  • A bodybuilder using "old school" heavy compound movement weight training supplemented with high intensity interval training and a strict, clean diet.