difficulty in spotting approaching gusts

Thread starter #1
I have difficulty in seeing gusts approach and anticipating on them. I just see waves... What are the telltale signs?
Dark spots?

For instance in this video:

Can you tell me how the sailor can see a gust is approaching the boat?

It is hard to make out in the cloudy over cast conditions and also keep in mind that you are only seeing a fraction of what you could see if you were looking up course

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
Wearing Polarized sunglasses helps with seeing the contrast between the light and dark patches
Polarized shades are the ONLY way to go on the water, plus a billed cap will help reduce glare from the sun... that video was poorly made, you'll learn in due time to recognize cat's-paws in light to medium surface chop, as well as fierce gusts in heavy surface chop. When you're thrashing to windward in heavy chop, the fierce gusts will not always show until they're right on ya, particularly if there are no boats ahead of ya... sailing off the wind, even solo, you'll have a little more time to prep for those gusts, but ya better be prepped for 'em or it'll be "Death Roll City" (LOL). :eek: Meh, as long as you're not in polar or shark-infested waters, you'll figure it out, AYE??? ;)

Rob B

Active Member
Sunglasses are useful only in light winds, when they don't get wet.
For the visually impaired the glasses are a must. RainX is a great tool for keeping the spray off the shades. However, if you take a dive you have to cover your face with one hand as there's not a pair of crokies in the world that will keep them from getting washed off your face!

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
HaHa, we call 'em "goon cords" but they serve a purpose. In heavy spray, one can duck his head and visor if he's quick enough, that keeps some of the water off the lenses, LOL. Otherwise, put the glasses on a goon cord and wipe 'em when ya get the chance. The stronger "glasses retention" cords or straps with firm grip on the glasses arms are the way to go, so ya don't wind up steering with your feet as ya try to put everything back together... ask me how I know this, LOL. :confused:

P.S. Emilio, I'm beginning to suspect that you are actually a young man masquerading as someone who has been around since dinosaurs roamed the earth... :eek:
I agree it's hard to see the "gust" in this video but the technique is correct. A couple of things to keep in mind when you are learning to respond to gusty conditions.
1. Use all your senses. Feel is just as important as sight because the puff will hit the sail before you see it hit you at the water level.
2. If you are sailing in flatter water or with slight chop the puff will appear as a dark blob with more ripples. If you think you see one coming go with your gut and ease slightly.

Try sailing with your eyes closed. Turn your head towards the breeze and be ready to ease - hike - trim. You may go in the drink a few times or head up to high but the pay-off is better sensitivity to the change in breeze. And it's fun!

Good luck!