Due to the eastward passage of the Atlantic weather systems Scotland has a regular supply of wind for the sailor!
Overall the prevailing wind is from the south west, which brings warm damp air in from the Atlantic. However, during the spring and early summer the weather systems often pass to the south, meaning that cool, dry winds from the north and east tend to be more common at this time.
Mean wind speeds are typically between 10 and 15 knots during the sailing season, but be warned that gales can occur in any month of the year In coastal areas the wind direction can be strongly influenced by the local topography – it has been known for two yachts to be sailing towards each other whilst both flying a spinnaker!
Finally, there is yet another misconception about the Scottish weather that is associated with the wind – this is that the air is ‘heavier’ in Scotland, ie for a given wind strength a boat will heel more. The reality is that the sheltered nature of many coastal areas means that the sea state is often less than might be expected for a given wind strength. Consequently, a visiting sailor might judge the wind strength by what they see, ie the sea state, rather than their anemometer.
If in doubt reef early and keep a little in reserve!
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