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Case Study 1: Virgin Active

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Attempt at breaking the record for kitesurfing across the channel.

Between August and October a selected group associated with Virgin Active and headed up by Richard Branson attempted to cross the channel starting from Dungeness in Kent.

Critical to the record attempt was going to be the weather with a variety of different limits. I was on hand to help them pick the best weather windows over the limited time periods that they had available.

This required some long term initial forecasting between 10-14 days ahead to determine the best 3 day window over a certain time period with some fairly stringent limiting factors With a critical wind direction, wind strength limits both upper and lower and sea state limits the windows of opportunity we quite narrow.

We worked with a simple traffic light system to identify the days into three categories to begin the forecast with more in depth details below, click here to an example.

Date Limiting Conditions
Monday 23rd Due to day to day change in prediction still staying AMBER but 50% probability of GREEN
Tuesday 24th None
Wednesday 25th WINDSPEED LIMIT EXCEEDED 40-45KT expected

This allowed the team to better manage their and expectations ahead of the period and to organise the PR aspect of the event.

As the days got nearer the forecast was constantly updated in the morning and evening along with several conference calls.

Sadly a suitable weather window did not appear for the 6 days we had available and they are potentially looking to return in 2011, with revised limits to improve their chances. So keep an eye out on the features page.

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