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Marine Weather University Celebrates its First Anniversary

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Sharon Green /The Stars & Stripes '87 boat
Sharon Green /The Stars & Stripes '87 boat

During the spring of 2020, as the reality of a Covid lockdown began to settle in, long time America’s Cup teammates Peter Isler and Chris Bedford came up with a plan to build an online school that would teach meteorology to sailors and boaters. Over the course of the summer of 2020 the duo worked to produce a new online class every week.   Some classes debuted as live webinars – others went straight to Marine Weather University’s (MWU) online curriculum.    By the end of September 2020, the college-level curriculum was complete and available on demand.   Designed by legendary sailing meteorologist Chris Bedford, MWU’s 8 class Fundamentals Course and the 16 class Advanced Course feature lectures, class resources and quizzes that has set a standard for marine weather education. 


“Sailors are always striving to better understand the weather,” says Isler.  “Racers want to predict that next shift, long distance sailors want to plot the safest and most efficient route, and day sailors want to know what conditions to prepare for.   But so many boaters get stuck by relying blindly on their favorite weather app or get overwhelmed by the plethora of weather information available online.   MWU’s curriculum is designed to teach the underlying science and professional techniques so that a student can understand the limitations of and add value to the information provided by the weather app.    MWU students learn how to read clouds, interpret satellite and radar imagery, find the cogent weather data and to apply the science of meteorology to better understand, construe and forecast the weather.  I’m so proud of MWU’s curriculum, it’s changed the way I look at weather every time I’m on a boat – and I majored in meteorology in college!”

After producing MWU’s core curriculum, Bedford and Isler have continued rolling out individual courses – some of them free to the public- on a variety of marine weather-related topics.   While Bedford was in Auckland serving as team meteorologist for “American Magic” (his 10th America’s Cup campaign) MWU offered a free class on America’s Cup weather.  MWU’s most recent class was an advanced course on weather models – “Weather Models 201”.    “In just the first year we have had over 5,000 students take one of our online courses,” notes Isler.  “We are enormously proud of MWU and thankful that the Covid lockdown gave us the opportunity to build something that can provide so much value to the marine community.  Our two full-length courses are the foundation of the University, but Chris and I both love teaching and sharing our knowledge and we have a long list of fun topics that we are looking forward to doing in future – stay tuned!”

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