The All New PredictWind Weather Router

This is a comparison between the new PredictWind weather router and seven other widely used routers. 


Features of the new router:

  • Weather routing with a grid based, highly optimized algorithm
  • Considers wind, currents and waves
  • Uses high resolution grib data (wind and currents) when- and wherever available
  • Automatically covers the entire globe
  • Effective land avoidance
  • Considers all exclusion zones supplied
  • Provides both optimal weather routing and comfort routing
  • Advanced boat polar inter- and extrapolation
  • Allows a course to have both waypoints and roundings 
  • Multithreaded execution with multiple weather sources including the ECMWF ensemble day 34 day forecast
  • For each weather source, display of a corridor within which the “Estimated Time En route” (ETE) can be near to optimal
  • Display of the overlap of such corridors to show passages where the ensemble of weather forecasts agree that it is optimal to pass
  • Numerous data available along the route: wind, current, waves, speed, distances, angles, times, air pressure, temp, rain, CAPE index
  • Continuous interpolation of these data along the route
  • Presentation also of motoring time in comfort routing

A sample routing

A sample routing result is shown below. The top graph shows the optimal / fastest route for a Beneteau First 40.7 from Tampa (Florida) to Cancun (Mexico), considering wind (but not current) with four different wind forecast sources (PWG, PWE, ECMWF and GFS). The blue areas around the optimal routes represent alternate points you might pass without more total time loss than 0.1%. Where these areas for different forecasts overlap, there is forecast consensus that these are good points to pass. The more consensus in the ensemble of forecasts, the darker blue the area.

The lower graph is the same routing display, but this time also currents are considered (Mercator forecast with 0.1 degree resolution). The optimal routes and the optimal corridor are now narrower and moved a little to the West to avoid the Gulf stream counterflow.

Test of performance

The new PredictWind weather router has been compared with the weather routers of Adrena, Expedition, Fastseas, OpenCPN, Squid, and the original PredictWind router. Fifteen different courses were used. A Volvo 65 boat polar was used for four courses, TP52 for five, and First 40.7 for six. Currents and waves were not considered in these benchmarking test cases. GFS wind forecasts with 0.25 degree resolution and 14 days duration were used by all the routers (except Fastseas, which uses GFS 1 degree) for the comparisons. Comfort routing was not used. The tests were run during May-August, 2020.

In each case, the start and finish points were set well off land, not to disqualify routers with poor land avoidance. To avoid bias, the courses were selected before running any tests, and then not changed. No routings were excluded, or rerun, because of results. Hence, the results should be independent of any bias.

Weather routing is a complex, meta heuristic process. No router can be expected to be the best in all cases. In each case, the fastest among the routes was ranked the most optimal and for each other route the percentage ETE (Estimated Time En route) above the optimal was computed. The router that generated the biggest number of optimal routes, and the smallest mean ETE above optimal, was judged to be the best. In order to include failures in the evaluation, a ranking was also done, where a failure was deemed inferior to finding a route. In each case, the router with the shortest ETE was given rank 1, next to the shortest rank 2 etc. If one router failed it was given rank 8 for that case, if two failed they got rank 7.5 etc. For each router the mean was taken for these ranks over all cases. Please see the ‘Mean rank’ in the results table below. 

In order to eliminate time-en-route differences which solely depend on the different ways the various routers do their internal calculations, a “simulation” was done for each route. The ETE was computed for the same start time, the same wind grib forecast (GFS 0.25 degree), identical modes of interpolation of grib data, the same boat polar and the same techniques to inter- and extrapolate boat polar data. Still, the comparison between these simulated ETEs may not be fair, since when time shifts are introduced along the route, the individual router could have chosen another more optimal route according to a dislocated wind forecast. To make comparisons as fair as possible, both the ETE estimated by the router itself and the simulated ETE were used, with the same importance, i.e, with fifteen different courses there were 30 sets of ETEs to compare.

Standard settings, with no currents and no motoring, were used for all the routers. For isochronal routing, the standard timestep setting was one hour.

Special notes:

For Adrena, the Pro edition was used. The same set of grib files as used by the PredictWind routers was used.

Also for Expedition, the same set of wind grib files as for PredictWind and Adrena was used. Routing was primarily run with ‘Avoid vector chart land’ and ‘Avoid ENC land set, but without considering CMap (to get reasonable response times). Land avoidance problems were very common. Applying CMap land avoidance seldom helped. Instead, whenever necessary, land to avoid was manually specified as “race note areas”. Those were always respected by the grid-based, and mostly by the isochronal router. 

Fastseas uses the GFS 1 degree resolution wind forecasts (there is no other option).

OpenCPN can use only one wind grib file. The GFS 0.25 degree resolution, 3 hour timestep, 14 days file was downloaded via Saildocs.

For Squid, the GFS 25 km wind forecast was also used.


Results are summarized in this table, followed by some general comments, and then the graphs with some comments for each case. “Orig PW” is used to mean the old PredictWind router, “Exp grid” for Expedition with a grid based method, “Exp iso” ditto with an isochronal method.

 Failures (out of 15 cases)Found fastest routeMean ETE above optimal (lower better)Mean rank (the lower the better)New PW was better in % of cases
New PW053%0.8%2.3
Exp grid30%2.4%4.687%
Orig PW30%3.9%5.393%
Exp iso60%2.6%5.380%


No router was the best in all cases, but only the new PredictWind router had no routing failures, always avoided land, and was the leader in finding the fastest routes.

Generally, weather routing is volatile and unreliable when there are wind speeds below some 5 knots, making results of comparisons fairly random in those cases. When so many as eight routers are compared it is very hard to be better than all in more than 50% of the cases. If one router is better than each one of the others in 91% of the cases it will (as a mean) be better than all other routers in 50% of the cases. Similarly to the fact that the best sailor does not win all races.

Land avoidance was a major problem in routing with Expedition. Specification of large detailed “race note areas” (this process takes a long time) most often helped the grid-based router, but not seldom made the isochronal router go from creating a route crossing land to failing to find a route. 


The 15 routing cases are shown in the following graphs. Short comments are included after each graph. There is also a table of the own and simulated ETEs of each router, ranked in order of increasing average own / simulated ETE.

 Case 1. Transpac, from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Boat polar: TP52.

Expedition isochronal failed crossing land.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW8 d 1.2 h8 d 0.8 h8 d 1 h1
Exp grid+ 3.1 h+ 0.3 h+ 1.7 h2
OpenCPN+ 4.3 h+ 1.5 h+ 2.9 h3
Adrena+ 4.7 h+ 1.3 h+ 3 h4
Fastseas+ 2.3 h+ 6.3 h+ 4.3 h5
Squid+ 7.4 h+ 3.9 h+ 5.6 h6
Orig PW+ 9.5 h+ 5.3 h+ 7.4 h7
Exp iso8

Case 2. From Heraklion to Palma Mallorca. Boat polar: TP52.

Expedition isochronal failed when ‘race note areas’ were specified to avoid land crossings.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW5 d 10 h5 d 12.6 h5 d 11.3 h1
Squid+ 6.9 h+ 1.6 h+ 4.3 h2
Adrena+ 6.8 h+ 2 h+ 4.4 h3
Exp grid+ 4.1 h+ 6.2 h+ 5.1 h4
Fastseas+ 10.3 h+ 5.1 h+ 7.7 h5
Orig PW+ 1.5 h+ 14.9 h+ 8.2 h6
OpenCPN+ 23.5 h+ 19.5 h+ 21.5 h7
Exp iso8

Case 3. From Cape Verde to Barbados. Boat polar: Volvo 65.

OpenCPN failed.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Adrena6 d 9.8 h6 d 9.3 h6 d 9.5 h1
Exp grid– 0 h+ 0.5 h+ 0.3 h2
New PW+ 0.1 h+ 0.5 h+ 0.3 h3
Squid+ 0.3 h+ 1.9 h+ 1.1 h4
Exp iso– 1 h+ 3.6 h+ 1.3 h5
Orig PW+ 1.1 h+ 5.3 h+ 3.2 h6
Fastseas+ 45 h+ 13.5 h+ 29.2 h7

Case 4. From Cape Town to Melbourne. Boat polar: Volvo 65.

OpenCPN failed. Fastseas took the shortest and (in this case) slowest route.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Adrena8 d 22.6 h10 d 5.5 h9 d 14 h1
Squid– 0.2 h+ 3.6 h+ 1.7 h2
New PW+ 16.9 h– 6.5 h+ 5.2 h3
Exp iso+ 22.2 h– 8.5 h+ 6.9 h4
Orig PW+ 23.5 h– 6.8 h+ 8.3 h5
Exp grid+ 24.2 h– 2.2 h+ 11 h6
Fastseas+ 145.8 h+ 13.4 h+ 79.6 h7

Case 5. Chicago Mac (from Chicago to Mackinac island). Boat polar: TP52.

OpenCPN failed.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW1 d 8.5 h1 d 8.5 h1 d 8.5 h1
Exp grid+ 0.2 h– 0.1 h+ 0 h2
Adrena+ 0.5 h– 0.2 h+ 0.2 h3
Squid+ 0.7 h+ 0.8 h+ 0.7 h4
Orig PW+ 1 h+ 1.1 h+ 1.1 h5
Exp iso– 1.4 h+ 5 h+ 1.8 h6
Fastseas+ 4.9 h+ 3.2 h+ 4.1 h7

Case 6. Sydney Hobart race. Boat polar: TP52.

Both Expedition routers failed despite careful specification of “race note areas” for mainland Australia and Tasmania. Adrena also failed. The Squid route goes cross land.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW1 d 20.4 h1 d 20.3 h1 d 20.4 h1
Orig PW+ 1.6 h+ 0.6 h+ 1.1 h2
Fastseas+ 5.8 h+ 0.9 h+ 3.4 h3
OpenCPN+ 9.3 h+ 2.4 h+ 5.8 h4
Exp grid6.5
Exp iso6.5

Case 7. Ocean race leg: from Hague to Genoa (with a waypoint in the Gibraltar strait). Boat polar: Volvo 65.

Original PredictWind, Adrena, Expedition isochronal, Fastseas and OpenCPN failed. Expedition isochronal route got into NW African land despite activated map avoidance and “race note area” specification.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Squid9 d 1.3 h11 d 3 h10 d 2.1 h1
New PW+ 19.9 h– 13.7 h+ 3.1 h2
Exp grid+ 17.4 h– 3.9 h+ 6.8 h3
Exp iso6
Orig PW6

Case 8. From Alicante to Cape Verde. Boat polar: Volvo 65.

OpenCPN and original PredictWind routers failed.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Adrena5 d 17.9 h5 d 17.7 h5 d 17.8 h1
Exp iso– 0.2 h+ 2 h+ 0.9 h2
New PW+ 1.1 h+ 1.2 h+ 1.1 h3
Exp grid+ 0.5 h+ 2.3 h+ 1.4 h4
Squid+ 4.8 h+ 2.2 h+ 3.5 h5
Fastseas+ 34.6 h+ 22.1 h+ 28.3 h6
Orig PW7.5

Case 9. Round New Zealand leg 2: from Mangonui to Stewart Island. Boat polar: TP52.

Many routers failed for the rounding of the North Cape, without finding a possible route the other way around.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW3 d 3 h3 d 2.9 h3 d 3 h1
Squid+ 4.1 h+ 1.1 h+ 2.6 h2
Orig PW+ 8.1 h+ 3.1 h+ 5.6 h3
Exp grid6
Exp iso6

Case 10. From Newport to Bermuda. Boat polar: First 40.7.

The original PredictWind router deviated with a slower route to the East.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
OpenCPN3 d 10.4 h3 d 8.7 h3 d 9.5 h1
Adrena+ 0.8 h+ 0.4 h+ 0.6 h2
New PW– 0.2 h+ 1.9 h+ 0.9 h3
Exp iso– 0 h+ 2.2 h+ 1.1 h4
Exp grid+ 0.2 h+ 4 h+ 2.1 h5
Fastseas+ 1.9 h+ 3.3 h+ 2.6 h6
Squid+ 2.3 h+ 3.5 h+ 2.9 h7
Orig PW+ 5.8 h+ 7.7 h+ 6.8 h8

Case 11. From La Rochelle to Las Palmas. Boat polar: First 40.7.

Expedition isochronal, the new PredictWind router and OpenCPN deviate with slower routes.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Squid6 d 19.4 h6 d 19.1 h6 d 19.2 h1
Adrena+ 0.8 h– 0.4 h+ 0.2 h2
Orig PW+ 0.5 h+ 1 h+ 0.7 h3
Exp grid+ 1.5 h+ 0.2 h+ 0.9 h4
Fastseas+ 8.1 h+ 1.7 h+ 4.9 h5
Exp iso+ 7.9 h+ 6.9 h+ 7.4 h6
New PW+ 9.2 h+ 9.7 h+ 9.4 h7
OpenCPN+ 20.1 h+ 8.2 h+ 14.1 h8

Case 12. From Manila to Davao. Boat polar: First 40.7.

Both Expedition routers, Adrena and Fastseas failed to find a route.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW5 d 18.5 h5 d 21.4 h5 d 19.9 h1
OpenCPN+ 4.8 h+ 1 h+ 2.9 h2
Orig PW+ 1 h+ 5.9 h+ 3.4 h3
Squid+ 20.7 h+ 15.5 h+ 18.1 h4
Exp grid6.5
Exp iso6.5

Case 13. From Cape Town to St Helena. Boat polar: First 40.7.

The original PredictWind router failed.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW9 d 2.9 h9 d 5.8 h9 d 4.3 h1
OpenCPN+ 4 h– 1 h+ 1.5 h2
Squid+ 4.2 h+ 0.2 h+ 2.2 h3
Adrena+ 4.8 h+ 0 h+ 2.4 h4
Exp grid+ 5.2 h+ 0.1 h+ 2.7 h5
Fastseas+ 5.6 h+ 0.7 h+ 3.2 h6
Exp iso+ 6.5 h+ 4 h+ 5.3 h7
Orig PW8

Case 14. From Sydney to W of Auckland. Boat polar: First 40.7.

The more Southern routes (Expedition grid, Fastseas and OpenCPN) were slower.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
New PW6 d 19.2 h6 d 22 h6 d 20.6 h1
Orig PW+ 9.6 h+ 0.9 h+ 5.2 h2
Exp iso+ 11.3 h+ 3.8 h+ 7.6 h3
Squid+ 13.1 h+ 4.4 h+ 8.8 h4
Adrena+ 14.5 h+ 4.1 h+ 9.3 h5
Exp grid+ 14.9 h+ 10.9 h+ 12.9 h6
OpenCPN+ 17.2 h+ 12.4 h+ 14.8 h7
Fastseas+ 17.1 h+ 12.8 h+ 14.9 h8

Case 15. From Cork to La Coruna. Boat polar: First 40.7.

Own ETESim ETEAver ETERank
Adrena4 d 1.3 h4 d 0.4 h4 d 0.8 h1
Exp iso– 1.1 h+ 2.4 h+ 0.7 h2
Squid+ 1 h+ 0.4 h+ 0.7 h3
OpenCPN+ 0.3 h+ 1.2 h+ 0.7 h4
New PW– 0.3 h+ 2.5 h+ 1.1 h5
Fastseas+ 1.1 h+ 1.3 h+ 1.2 h6
Exp grid– 2.3 h+ 7.4 h+ 2.6 h7
Orig PW– 1.3 h+ 6.8 h+ 2.8 h8