A Windguru forecast for Bolus Head (just a little further south than Bray head). When we coastal cruise I spend a lot of time studying weather forecasts for our next destination. The study begins when we reach our previous destination (or perhaps even earleir!). I am a great fan of Windguru - I pay an annual subscription ( I think it is circa €20 p.a) for the 'pro' version. I check the weather forecasts each time that they are updated (four times a day, at six hourly intervals starting at midnight)f. And I screendump them so that I can review/study them later. In the case of our passage to Bantry Bay I chose to use the 'spot search' option and located a forecast for Bolus Head. Note that although Bantry Bay IS featured as one of the available options for Ireland (96 in total) it does not show wave details. The screendump above shows the forecast issued at 18:00 UTC (Reports are released six hours after the timestamp).
I had been tracking two dates for some time... Fri and Sat, 20/21st July. At first glance this report seemed to favour Sat for our passage to Bantry Bay. very low swell (0.8m - 0.6m); low winds (F1/F2) as opposed to a higher swell on the Fri (1.7m - 1.1m) and slightly higher winds, i.e. no F1.
And yes there were other factors that led me to think that Fri might be the better choice for us. Firstly, the wave direction, for both days, was westerly BUT the wind direction on Fri was decidedly northerly whereas for Sat it was mixed but predominantly south/south-west. I prefer northerly winds when heading south (and the reverse when coming back up!). Also, Tues and Wed were not as attractive and i felt that the bad weather might slip forward and edge into Sat leaving us with no cushion whereas Sat offered a cushion for the Friday.
N.B. Click the above image to view more clearly
Now check the next image and see what awaited us on Friday morning.