Definition of Wind over Tide?

  • Thread starter Deleted User YDKXO
  • Start date

Deleted User YDKXO

We have a bit of a debate going on the Mobo forum regarding the definition of 'wind over tide'
Some of us believe it means wind with tide and others wind against tide
So, learned friends, which is it?


New member
15 Nov 2004
Wind against tide .... has been the definition of Wind Over Tide we've used for the past 20 odd years! It creates a nice little chop that slows down them powerboats!! /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif


24 Jan 2003
East Coast
'Wind over Tide' used in the context of 'It was a rough wind over tide crossing' or similar negative connotations means the wind and tide travelling in opposite directions, which means the waves are heading into the tide which causes the waves to pile up on each other, and have a much shorter wavelength, and be much more 'choppy'.

This genereally has a much greater effect when sailing, as passages are usually planned to have a fair tide, therfore if you have got wind against tide, and the tide is fair, then you will be sailing upwind. A combination of sailing upwind and wind against tide 'chop' is particularly unpleasent.


Active member
22 Dec 2003
N5533 W00441
Wind over tide......In laymans terms the wind is coming from the direction that the tide is flowing towards, therefore the two force's are acting against each other. Not a great problem unless the tide is running at more than 3kts and then even a gentle force 4 could kick up a rather nasty short choppy sea. For passage making through strong tidal flow area's especially around head lands etc carefull planninmg and consideration should be made of relevant wind and tidal direction's/speed's.



New member
29 Apr 2003
Not always where I would like to be!
I raised this point some time ago on the forum and it was taken on board by YM, who vowed to find the definitive answer.

It subsequently appeared in an issue as a readers question and, if I recall correctly, the great TC decided that it could mean either and that I shouldn't be so pedantic!

I had been taught, very many moons ago, that wind over tide implied that both were acting in the same direction, which would flatten out the sea, and wind against tide suggested that the forces were in opposition with a resultant lumpy sea state.

Anyway it's all pedantry and we should say wind with tide and wind against tide.


16 May 2001
Any Pub Lancashire or Wales
O6T - 2001 Sydney-Hobart yacht race
... the core as we beat into a difficult wind over tide set in 30 kts of breeze.
... The wind over tide was producing some steep seas. Its a difficult call, ... - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

TNC On Tour 2003 Page 12
... It now began to get a bit choppy, a nasty wind over tide short sea, ...
This was due to the NW (wind over Spring tide) Force 4 now not having much flood ... - 31k - Cached - Similar pages

TNC On Tour 2002 Page 10
... It was wind over tide, so slightly bumpy on the exposed sections of the river.
... Wind over tide can make it a bit bumpy even this far up. ... - 13k - 2 Apr 2005 - Cached - Similar pages

Alderney | Yachts & Cruisers
... strong tidal streams (up to 9 knots in the Swinge and 11 knots in the Race)
can create dangerous overfalls, especially with the wind over tide. ... - 83k - Cached - Similar pages

Tidal River Ouse
... The lower Ouse also has its fair share of wind-over-tide problems – particularly
at Trent Falls and at Sandhall Reach (just above Goole) where a ... - 29k - 2 Apr 2005 - Cached - Similar pages

Portishead Cruising Club - Pilotage
... The apparent wind is now nearly force 8, the wind over tide conditions kick
the waves up into short choppy seas the bow is regularly scooping solid ... - 19k - Cached - Similar pages

... at 1.00 pm into a brisk south-westerly force 5 and with the spring tide ebbing
there was a substantial amount of lumpy water because of wind over tide. ... lymington_nationals02/lymington_nationals_final.htm - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

X-99 World Cup 2000
... but due to a strong wind over tide situation the committee boat could not hold
their anchor and we returned to the marina to wait until the tide turned ... - 23k - 2 Apr 2005 - Cached - Similar pages

Sailing Round Ireland Summer 2004 - Donegal
... The pilot warns that a 'steep and dangerous sea' can be raised here very
quickly in a wind over tide situation, which we now had. ... - 15k - Cached - Similar pages

Secret Spot - Cornwall- []
... Cove: Sheltered from southerly winds, good from low to 3/4 high tide. Good right
hand break over rocks, hollow at low tide. Works on any wind from E to ... - 16k - 2 Apr 2005 - Cached - Similar pages

Sans Bateau

Well-known member
19 Jan 2004

You are right, just so long as you can understand and recgonise which is which it does'nt matter much so long as what you are saying is clear.

Get it wrong and a force 5 SW on a spring ebb at the Needles can be VERY interesting!


New member
15 Nov 2004
Shall we make a stand then?

Why don't we make a decision and define it?


New member
12 Nov 2002
Wind against tide. Which can create seriously steep seas in reletively low wind speeds.