How Wind Indicators Help in Navigation?

A wind indicator is used on ships and boats to point the direction of the wind. It is also known as a windex.  Wind indicators use the technology of weather vanes to point the correct direction of wind in the oceans.

The most important reason why wind indicators are needed in ships is because of the unpredictability of weather on the trading route. Wind is greatly affected by water and since ships do not have a steady course on water, using a wind indicator provides shipmen with the knowledge of the direction of air that is blowing. With the help of this knowledge, the captain of a ship can avoid any emergency situations like flash storms and gale winds blowing from a particular direction.

Wind Indicator
Credits: West Marine/YouTube

Using wind indicators also helps smaller boatmen to know when to raise the sails on their boat. It is also very helpful for recreational vessels such as yachts.

Types of Wind Indicators

There are three main types of wind indicators that are available in the market today. They are:

TYPE I: The first type of wind indicator is the most basic type. This type of wind indicator is known as the Luff Telltales (luff is that part of the ship’s sail that is very close to the wind). Luff Telltales are wind indicators that are generally attached to the sails rather than kept separately on the ship.

TYPE II: These types of wind indicators are known as Shroud and Stay Telltales. They are better designed than the previous type of wind indicator as the person navigating the ship can see clearly the indication of the direction of the wind. In the Type I variety, since the wind indicator is attached to the sail, indication of the wind direction is somewhat unclear.

TYPE III: This variety of wind indicators is the best out of the three. They are completely modern and function electronically. This helps to reduce the margin of errors that could happen if the wind direction is monitored with the help of mental calculations (like in the previous two varieties). The wind indicator needs to be placed at the top of the mast. This type of wind indicator also monitors the speed of the ship accurately along with the direction of the wind.

The role and responsibility of a wind indicator is unique. The uniqueness and reliability are the factors that make wind indicators one of the most necessary aspects of marine travel, even though many technologies have developed to assist shipmen in the present times.

You may also like to read-What is Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

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