FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers here to the most frequently asked questions about BuscaViento in this FAQ.
There’s an old saying that sums it up perfectly: “You get what you pay for“. It’s true that there are lots of free websites offering wind data from anemometers and webcams, but in the end their usefulness depends on many factors which are usually unknown: Where and how is the anemometer or webcam installed? Is it close to the sailing area and free of obstacles? Does anyone keep it working and repair it when it breaks down? Are the data really current? Are the data reliable?
If something is free, that usually means it’s not very good, or even if it is, that there’s probably no one on the other end very motivated to repair it when it breaks because it will cost them money. It’s true that many websites are supported by advertising, but that’s usually not sufficient to cover the costs of installing and regularly maintaining one or more weather stations. Wind sensors require regular maintenance – they have mechanical parts which suffer wear and corrosion due to constant exposure to the elements. Data communications from the weather station also experience frequent interruptions due to electrical or phone problems, and requiere constant monitoring.
From our experience, the vast majority of free websites display data from anemometers which are far from the beach (in airports or nearby towns) and in inadequate locations (on balconies or buildings with obstacles in one or more directions), and are frequently out of order for long periods until someone notices and decides to repair them. What’s worse, these websites don’t offer the possibility of alerting you when the wind picks up, so you have be constantly checking them. If you forget to check at the right time, you could miss a great day of sailing.
Convenience is also worth considering. It’s not the same to have to be constantly checking several websites in different formats and varying degrees of reliability using a PC, as to view reliable, current data from all the best spots on your cell-phone screen in a concise, standard format, wherever you are, and to receive personalized alerts when the wind picks up at your favorite spots. For very little money (less than the price of a cup of coffee every 4 days), you can be always connected to the wind and rest assured that the data will be current and reliable so as to not miss a single sailing day.
If freebies are what turn you on, hang around surfing free websites. But if you want to sail, trust BuscaViento.
It’s true there are a multitude of websites offering detailed wind forecasts in attractive formats. It’s also true that forecasting models are becoming more and more sophisticated and achieve what sometimes appear to be surprisingly good results. However, we must not forget that forecasting models are far from being perfected and still have a large margin of error. No matter how beautifully the data are displayed, it doesn’t mean we can rely on them one hundred percent.
In particular we would say the following: From our experience, forecasts sometimes (not always) get the tendency fairly right – that is, the windspeed, direction, and time of strong winds (caused by passing weather fronts, etc.) but they don’t forecast moderate or light winds well, especially thermal winds, which are particularly relevant for windsurfing and kitesurfing here in Spain. These observations are based on comparisons we’ve made of forecasted data and real data from our sensors on various beaches, and also on comments from many of our users who also check forecasts. We frequently hear complaints from wind or kitesurfers who have trusted forecasts which never came true. Forecasting models have simply not achieved the level of perfection necessary to reliably forecast moderate and light winds, which depend largely on local phenomena difficult to include in the models.
It should also be kept in mind that forecasting websites tend to display the data as if they were much more geographically localized than they really are. Forecasting models compute predictions for regularly-spaced points on a map, like a grid. These points are usually at least 5 or 10 kilometers apart. On a particular website you may see a list of specific beaches like “Castelldefels”, “Mareny Blau”, “Riumar”, etc. as if the data had been forecast for these exact beaches, when in fact they are displaying data for the nearest points on the “grid”, which may be several kilometers away. All you have to do is check the geographical coordinates of the computed points corresponding to each “beach” to see the difference.
Nevertheless, we don’t want to completely dismiss forecasts, but rather recommend that they beused wisely and in addition to real wind readings. It might be helpful to check out the forecasts to see the overall tendency expected on a particular day in order to be prepared, but later watch the real readings from BuscaVientoto get it right. Por este motivo, en las gráficas del viento de nuestra app incluimos tanto las previsiones como las lecturas reales, lo que permite ir anticipando el viento previsto y comparándolo con la realidad. With this in mind, in the wind graphs in our app we include both the forecast and the real readings to allow anticipating the forecasted wind and comparing it with what’s actually happening.
Currently, no. For one thing, we want accessing BuscaViento to be convenient and portable for everyone – viewable in the palm of your hand from everywhere. Not all of us work in front of a PC, but we all carry a cell phone we can pull out to check the wind anywhere, any time. In addition, with a cell phone it’s possible to reliably authenticate users, thus ensuring that there is only one user per subscription, which is vital for keeping the BuscaViento service operating with the same high quality as we have for the last 10 years.
You bet. As explained on our support page, you can call us at 627-95-95-88 or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org any day of the year and we’ll give you qualified, personalized, friendly assistance. One of they keys to BuscaViento’s success has always been the quality and availability of our customer service, which any one of our subscribers will undoubtedly testify.
If you need a hand to install, configure or use our app, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.
We would also like to hear any suggestion you may have to improve BuscaViento or adapt it to your needs. BuscaViento is intended to be useful, and many of its features were suggestions from our subscribers.
First, install and try out our app on your cell phone following these instructions. You have 15 days to try it absolutely free.
Once you have our app installed on your phone you can subscribe at any time. The subscription always begins after the free 15-day trial. You can subscribe by filling out the subscription form on our website, or by calling us at 627-95-95-88.
The subscription fee is charged by automatic bank debit. Not only is the the most inexpensive and convenient method for you, but also the safest method, since you always have a 15-day period to reject any automatic debit in the event of an error.
In the unlikely event you want to unsubscribe to our service (due to injury, old age, or expatriation, for example), the procedure is simple. Just let us know by phone, WhatsApp or e-mail and we’ll cancel your subscription immediately.
You can install it from the App StoreSM or Google PlayTM with one of the following links:
First, simply install our app on your new phone from the App StoreSM or Google PlayTM just like you did for your old phone.
Then, let us know so that we can transfer your subscription to your new phone. Otherwise, the system will block your access when it detect you have our app installed on two different phones.
First, simply install our app on your new phone from the App StoreSM or Google PlayTM just like you did for your old phone.
Then, let us know so we can transfer your subscription to your new number. Otherwise, the system will block your access after the initial 15-day trial with the new number.
No. The system only allows 1 copy of the app per user, meaning you have to choose a single phone you want to use it on. Why? This is an anti-copy mechanism to prevent several users from sharing a single subscription, which would inevitably result in BuscaViento’s disappearance. BuscaViento has worked well for over 20 years largely due to user subscriptions, which cover the costs necessary to keep it working – equipment, telecommunications, installation, maintenance, travel expenses, system management, software development, customer service, etc. If everyone were allowed to copy and share it, there would end up being many users who don’t contribute and BuscaViento would be unsustainable. Even if you copied it to another phone belonging to you, it’s impossible to verify that you end up using it yourself and not someone else. For this reason, only 1 copy of the app is allowed per user.
On the first line of the wind reports the wind direction is displayed in international format (N, NNE, NE, ENE, E, etc.), and on the second line the common wind name is displayed, abbreviated to 3 letters. The common names vary depending on the region, and in some cases have different names within the same region, depending on the exact location or the sport or profession in which they’re used (boating, fishing, windsurfing, etc.). For example, in Valencia everyone seems to have their own theory as to whether the SW wind is called “Llebeig” or “Garbí”, and whether the “Llebeig” comes from the SW or the SE. ; Based on our own survey, these appear to be the most accepted names in each region:
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This error may appear for several reasons:
- A problem with the Internet connectivity on your phone Check that you have connectivity for other tasks (browser, WhatsApp, etc.), both WiFi and mobile data.
- An Internet issue that affects access to our server. If you’ve verified you have internet connectivity and the problem lasts more than 5 minutes, contact us and we can inform you of any issues we’re aware of.
- An issue with our server If you’ve verified you have internet connectivity and the problem lasts more than 5 minutes, contact us to see if this may be the reason.
- The app’s data file might have become corrupted If the problem persists after eliminating all the above possibilities, use the “Settings – Restore” option in the app to clean the file. This will also restore the spot list to it’s original state so you’ll have to choose your favorite spots again.
For any assistance with this problem, don’t hesitate to call or send us a WhatsApp at 627-95-95-88 or e-mail us at email@example.com and we’ll give you a hand.
What gives BuscaViento its main added value is that we measure the wind right on the beach in the sailing area Wind is a very localized phenomenon, so it’s not the same thing to measure it right on the beach as to measure it at the nearest town or airport, or even on a building one row back from the beachfront. Wind readings are of little use if you arrive at the beach find that the wind is completely different. For this reason, we always place our sensors on structures either right on the beach, or else on beachfront buildings free of obstacles. Typically these are windsurfing club structures, lifeguard huts, sailing clubs, campgrounds, port jetties, or beachfront hotels or restaurants. But what we never do, as a rule, is install a sensor in an inadequate location just to say we have a sensor on a particular beach. Until we’ve found a location from which to take good readings, we don’t install a sensor.
You can see the locations of our sensors within a few meters on this map.
We’d like to eventually cover all the best spots, so we appreciate any suggestions for new sensors. But of course, installing and maintaining a weather station costs money, so it’s essential that a beach be sufficiently in demand to cover these costs. We keep a record of all requests we receive for new spots, and the most requested ones are the first candidates for a sensor. So if you’d like a sensor on your favorite beach, just say so, and ask your friends to let us know too. You can send us your request here.
Just like any electronic or mechanical device, weather stations occasionally suffer failures. Over the last 20 years we have developed many improvements in our stations to make them as failsafe as possible, but the occasional failure is inevitable. The wind sensors have mechanical parts and are subject to wear, fouling, and corrosion from constant friction and exposure to the elements. The stations’ electronic components can also become damaged, especially by power surges caused by electrical storms. We constantly monitor all of our weather stations to detect any malfunction and ensure their continuous operation, and we also depend on the collaboration of our users to notify us of some types of failures only detectable on-site. We manage to resolve most problems by phone in just a few minutes or hours. We make an effort to solve more complicated failures in less than 1 week. However, on occasion there may be delays due to exceptional circumstances – power cut-offs due to construction work, difficulty in obtaining spare parts, the need for permission to access the premises, etc. In these cases we notify users of the estimated repair time and recommend that other nearby sensors be used in the mean time.
We constantly monitor all of our weather stations to detect any malfunction and ensure their continuous operation. However, occasionally there are failures which are difficult to detect except right on the beach – low readings or incorrect direction readings caused by a dirty sensor, for example. In these cases, the collaboration of our users is vital to detect and resolve problems as soon as possible.
If you believe that a sensor is giving incorrect readings, don’t hesitate to let us know, but keeping in mind these pointers to avoid false alarms:
- Make sure you’re talking about the same beach as where our sensor is located. Some beaches are very long, meaning that you might be sailing in an area far from our sensor, where the wind is different.
- Write down all the data you can about your observations: date, time, observed windspeed and direction, and corresponding readings from BuscaViento during the same time interval. If possible, use a hand-held anemometer to take readings, as we sometimes think our “eye-o-meter” is better calibrated than it actually is. Using your data, we can verify them against our own data logs to better analyze any problem there might be.
- Make your observations during at least a 15-minute interval to avoid recording isolated gusts. Keep in mind that BuscaViento readings are average values of windspeed and direction for the previous 15 minutes. You might be observing strong, isolated gusts, whereas the average windspeed is much lower.
If you want to be alerted when it gets windy in some spots, but not when it’s windy in others, just set a very high wind threshold for those spots you’re not interested in. For example, if you want to be alerted if the wind goes above 15 knots in BARNA, but you don’t want to be alerted if it gets windy in CAMBRI, set a threshold of 15 knots for BARNA, and 50 knots or more for CAMBRI. Unless a gale starts blowing in CAMBRI, you won’t be alerted for that spot.
Our subscription fee helps cover all costs required to keep BuscaViento operating as a high-quality service. Behind the cool screen, BuscaViento is a complex system requiring a great deal of work which goes unseen:
- Assembly, installation and maintenance of the weather stations
- Data telecommunications from the wind stations
- Housing and maintenance of our central server
- Design, development and maintenance of the phone software, and central server software
- Development and maintenance of our website
- Maintenance travel expenses
- Customer service and technical support
- Monitoring, management and administration
- Advertisement and promotion
We’ve always made an effort to keep the subscription fee as low as possible so as to attract a greater number of users, allowing us to not only to cover costs but to expand and improve our system as well.
Think of it this way: Surely you go to a bar and order a cup of coffee somewhat regularly. If you order one cup a day, at the end of the month you will have spent 4 times the BuscaViento subscription fee. That’s 4 times cheaper than a cup of coffee, but it buys you much more fun.
The BuscaViento application updates the wind data on your phone using Internet connections. The application has been optimized so as to spend as little as possible on each connection. The cost of each connection depends on which mobile operator you have, the data plan you’ve signed up for with that company, and the correct configuration of your phone. At most, using the BuscaViento application as often as you want can use only 1 – 2MB per month in Internet connections. Nowadays, practically all mobile operators offer flat-rate plans which include large volumes of data, so there’s no need to worry. But if yours doesn’t, verify their data rates before you subscribe in order to avoid any surprises with your phone bill. Don’t hesitate to call us for any help on this subject.