How do you determine the direction and strength of the wind?

25 October 2022

Pleasure boaters, knowing how to determine the direction and strength of the wind is crucial before going to sea. Here are our tips to properly prepare for your outing.

Wind direction is one of the basic elements of maritime sailing and can determine the way to sail, the duration and the position of the sails. A strong wind can make sailing more dangerous.

Taking the time to learn and equip your boat is essential to guarantee your safety.

  1. Check real-time wind information

In order to make your sea sailing safer and more comfortable, you can find real-time information on the direction, speed and gusts of wind in the Golfe-Juan harbour area online.

Check the wind, wave, weather and tide forecasts (

  1. Take a look at the sea conditions

With the Beaufort scale, it is possible to estimate the strength of the wind by simply observing its effects on the sea for about ten minutes. This makes it possible to estimate its strength level which ranges from 0 to 12: 0 indicates no wind (less than 1 km/h), 6 indicates a fresh wind (between 39 and 49 km/h) and 12 indicates a hurricane (more than 118 km/h).

See the Beaufort scale

  1. Use onboard instruments

Install instruments such as an anemometer and wind vane on your boat to measure wind speed and direction. The anemometer is used to calculate wind speed based on the number of turns the cups make: the stronger the wind, the faster the cups turn. The wind vane moves its arrow in the direction of the wind until it is parallel with the wind.

  1. Use the tools at your disposal

A windsock and flag can help you determine wind direction and speed. The elongated shape of the windsock helps to identify the direction of the wind and its inclination gives indications of wind speed. This allows you to determine a speed of 0 to 25 knots. When the windsock is fully inflated, it represents 25 knots or 45 km/h. The flag also follows the direction of the wind and thus indicates its direction.

Happy sailing!