David Scheidt has been racing sailboats around the Chesapeake Bay since the mid-1970s. Successful in a number of different boats and classes over the years, he currently campaigns his J/35, Maggie, out of Annapolis. He gives back to his sport by volunteering to run regattas from time to time.
One such event is the Shearwater Sailing Club’s Twilight Race, which will start near the Annapolis CBIBS on June 21. Racers will be eager to check in at that buoy to help them decide which sails to use and much more.
Over the years, part of his success has come from a keen knowledge and use of weather data. Recently, he discovered how useful data from CBIBS buoys could be for his sailboat racing when he clicked on the link to the CBIBS website that is listed at the Annapolis Yacht Club’s weather resources web page.
“I use CBIBS data before and during each race to understand to better understand the wind and current conditions in Annapolis,” he explained. “The ability to see wind speed and direction trends over time graphically is particularly useful. I also check the wind conditions from the other CBIBS buoys to anticipate changing conditions. For example, if a sea breeze is coming up the Bay the wind will increase on the lower bay buoys before Annapolis.”
Experience has also shown Scheidt that the weather on shore can be quite different from what he and his crew will experience on the water. For example, if weather forecasts say it will be an 80 degree day in Annapolis in May, but the Annapolis CBIBS buoy shows water temperature still in the 50s—he’ll pack a jacket, just in case.
Scheidt uses both the website and mobile app to access CBIBS data, and primarily checks in on the Annapolis buoy as that’s where Maggie sails most. But they venture out of the mid-Bay area several times a year, so other buoys come in handy for them as well. As a racing sailor, the parameters most relevant to the crew of Maggie as they develop their strategy for races are wind speed and wind direction; wind gust and current speed and direction also play roles as the crew makes decisions about where to go on the race course.
Looking at wind data after races also heightens Scheidt’s awareness of how he and the boat performed. For example, he noted he might think “last Wednesday’s night’s race was gnarly; it must have been blowing 50 knots!” but could go check past data from the Annapolis buoy. He joked, “Only a peak of 27 knots? I gotta toughen up!”
“The Bay is an incredible resource for those of us living in Maryland and Virginia,” he said.” There are so many great recreational uses of the Bay, sailing being one of them. CBIBS provides up-to-date data on the current state of the Bay that can allow people to prepare for that day’s experience.