Armada Weather Forecast in the Patagonian Channel

George.Curtis2 (Past OCC Member)
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Contributed by Suzanne Hills SV Whanake:

Chile, as a long thin country, is divided into 10 zones. The Patagonian channels are in zones 6, 7 and 8 i.e. Puerto Montt to Puerto Williams.

The Armada transmit the local weather forecast twice daily at 0835LT and 2035LT on 4146 KHz. In the southern canals, Magallanes Radio (Armada radio station) gives the forecast for zones 6, 7 and 8 but also for 9 specific places. The forecast for these 9 places is very useful and more accurate than grib weather files because it is a locally generated forecast.

The nine specific places are:-

- Puerto Natales (the town north of Magellan Straits)

- Faro Evangelistas (western extremity of Magellan Straits)

- Paso del Mar (western end of Magellan Straits)

- Punta Arenas (eastern Magellan Straits)

- Punta Delgada (eastern end of Magellan Straits – first narrows)

- Canal Brecknock (western most canal west of Beagle Channel)

- Canal Ballerno (west of Beagle Channel)

- Puerto Navarino (Beagle Channel)

- Puerto Williams (Beagle Channel)

You can pick up the forecast for the area you are in if you know the sequence order and after listening carefully a few times - it is a very poor quality pre-recording so it makes it a lot easier if you know the sequence. They always say the name before the forecast, e.g. “Paso del Mar …..”

The sequence order is:

1. Notices to mariners (buoys etc)

2. Weather warnings

3. Forecast for zones 6, 7 and 8 - 12 hours and 24 hours

4. Forecast for the 9 specific places as above – 12 hours (evening forecast is for 0800LT to 2000LT and morning forecast is for 2000LT to 0800LT)

We really did find this forecast of great value. They give cloud coverage, visibility, the wind speed and direction, strength of rachas (gusts) and sea state. We would only sail upwind with a forecast of up to 20knots with rachas of up to 25knots. Anything more than this is too full-on for upwind sailing in the canals.

Suzanne Hills and Chris Cromey



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