Shema tracks weather for yacht race

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 12/01/01)
By Ray Pendleton

What will you be doing in July, 2002?

Too soon to know, you say? Well, not if youčre meteorologist Rick Shema, also known as the "Weatherguy" in Hawaiičs recreational boating community.

Shema's company,, has recently established an exclusive arrangement with the Pacific Cup Yacht Club - organizers of the biennial San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay, Pacific Cup yacht race - to provide sole-source weather services for its 14th race next summer.

"We look forward to working with the PCYC to take weather support for transoceanic races to the next level," Shema said.

Unquestionably, he will be extremely busy providing North Pacific weather information to the 70-plus entrants in this contest, which has earned a nickname of the "fun race to Hawaii." But, he's not complaining.

Shema founded in 1995 as a marine weather service for racing, cruising and commercial mariners.

Since then, his mission has been to provide the most accurate and personalized marine weather and ocean forecasts available for vessels operating both locally and worldwide. also offers a broad range of weather-related products and services, including a weather-related sailing tactics consulting practice.

For a transPacific race like the Pacific Cup, developing a strategic and tactical plan involves many considerations and the effects of the weather should be one of them, Shema points out on his Web site.

Generally speaking, the fastest way to sail from San Francisco to Hawai`i is to sail south and west below the Pacific High, so as to get the best of its clockwise rotation of air.

As Shema notes, "the goal is to sail the boat in the most wind, over the least distance."

This sounds simple, but, as with most endeavors, it's usually how you pay attention to details that make the difference between the winners and the also-rans.

"Sailboat racing is like going to battle," Shema says. "A sound plan of attack is critical to success."

To assist yacht racers in developing a winning plan, offers a personalized Race Weather Package. It's tailored for individual boat skippers and navigators and it gives weather summaries and forecasts beginning about five days before the start of the race.

During the race, boats will receive six-day forecasts, weather system trends, route recommendations, surface- and upper-level analysis and forecast charts, satellite imagery, tropical cyclone warnings, sea-surface temperatures, solar/lunar data, and other appropriate information.

"We are very pleased to have supporting us," PCYC Commodore Michael Caplan said.

"We chose the company over other weather consultants because provides the most accurate forecasting ability," Caplan added. "And it has a reputation for superior service." The fact that also offers weather-related information and consultation for those taking their boats back to the West Coast or on to other destinations after the Pacific Cup may be part of the service that earned it such praise.

Additional information about can be found at its Web site, or by calling Rick Shema at (808) 291-9949.

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