Race to Mackinac Essential Weather
As the start of the 110th Race to Mackinac approaches, it makes sense to start watching the weather patterns across the Great Lakes. While its unlikely that the weather today will be anything like the weather on start day, a daily routine of reviewing past, current, and forecast weather will make it easier to pick up on the patterns when race day comes.
You don't want to be searching out weather links the day before the start. Take the time now to find links and weather sites/information you are comfortable with. There's nothing worse than going down a rabbit hole on the internet a few hours before the race starts. Get your links sorted now and review them everyday between now and the start.
There are THOUSANDS of web sites you can go to. I've put together a page with some of the essential ones here. This is your starting point. Many of these will lead you to others, and I'm sure you'll find more on your own.
But remember, in the end, this is a race to sail fast and safe to the island. Not a competition to see who has the most weather links! Find the information you need and, most importantly, understand.
Here is some basic advice:
1) ALWAYS check the OFFICIAL NOAA forecasts and warnings.
2) Make sure you have a source of weather information while underway. Your access to internet will be limited or perhaps non-existent once out on the lake. NOAA All Hazards Radio on your VHF is your friend - especially when adverse weather threatens.
3) Keep a suspicious eye to the sky at all times. Weather is happening outside the boat, NOT inside. if something doesn't look right, do NOT assume the best. Err on the side of safety for your boat and crew.
4) When in doubt, sail toward the mark. If the weather forecast is conflicted or uncertain, minimize distance at all cost. Only take a "flyer" if you are confident you can get back the miles you will invest.