In this online class, you'll learn about the dynamic world of weather and essential skills in marine weather fundamentals to gain valuable insight into navigating confidently through rough waters.

90 Minutes English Unlimited Access

From the allure of beautiful sailing to the challenges of unexpected rough waters and high winds, during this online class, hosted by Jamie & Behan Gifford of Sailing Totem, viewers will gain insight into essential skills including marine weather fundamentals, synoptic charts, text, and GRIB forecasts. Uncover the intricacies of accurate forecast interpretation and learn to avoid common mistakes, ensuring a safe and more enjoyable sailing experience.

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This course caters to both novice and experienced sailors seeking a comprehensive understanding of marine weather. Whether you're new to sailing or looking to enhance your skills, this course will help gain valuable insights into weather interpretation while also gaining the skills and confidence to navigate rough waters, high winds, and unexpected conditions by learning to interpret forecasts accurately and avoid common mistakes.


Weather significantly impacts the daily experiences of cruising sailors. Beautiful sailing backed by sunsets and rainbows is a dream that feels like a myth after poor weather understanding puts a crew in unexpectedly uncomfortable or dangerous conditions: rough water, high winds, or lightning and squalls. This online course demonstrates why weather forecasts are easily misunderstood and helps participants to learn simple methods to avoid making common mistakes. Beginning with marine weather fundamentals and exploring the advantages and disadvantages of synoptic charts, text, and GRIB forecasts, this online class provides a solid foundation for accurately interpreting GRIB forecasts, including valuable techniques to gauge forecast accuracy.


  • Fundamental weather features every cruiser should know.
  • How forecasts are derived (human vs computer vs AI) and why these differences matter.
  • The right way (and wrong way) to use weather apps.
  • Decoding implied meanings in GRIB symbology for better understanding.
  • What’s the best model and how to assess for your location.
  • Getting to “real feel” and the composite forecast approach that works.
  • Using real-time observations to improve your forecast interpretation accuracy.

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Sailing Totem

With three young children, Behan and Jamie sailed Totem, their Stevens 47, South from Puget Sound in 2008. Trading a hectic suburban life for family adventure cruising in Mexico and the South Pacific was meant to be for 3 to 5 years; but 16 years, one circumnavigation, 48 countries, and 65,000 drama-free miles later, they are still cruising full time. Along their way around the world, Behan has developed her informative blog at into a leading resource for cruising inspiration and know-how. She also co-authored the acclaimed guide, Voyaging With Kids.

Meanwhile, Jamie's mechanical expertise complements Behan's lifestyle communication. Serving as a proficient sailmaker, designer, and rigger, he is also well-versed in various other onboard technical skills.  Together, Jamie and Behan present on multiple topics at Cruisers University and other boat shows and are frequent contributors to Cruising World magazine, all while also managing a coaching service to support thousands of fellow cruisers. Their expert guidance is broad ranging, from boat selection and cruising economics to routing, provisioning, and technical troubleshooting post-departure.