2014 © Graham Rabbitts [You are welcome to use original material from this site, but the source should be acknowledged]
Every country seems to have a different approach to reporting ‘actual’ weather (which the kiwis call ‘nowcasting’).
In the UK, there is a lot of information available on the Met Office website But the information given on broadcast forecasts (VHF, BBC, or Navtex) is much more sparse than other countries, especially with regard to seastate. .
There are some private sites such as Bramblemet and Hurst Castle, though they can be hard to find unless you are local to the area. However, all these are Internet dependent. Some current weather (about 4 hours old) is given on Navtex 490khz, but it is a bit stale.
(I brought quite a few information sources together on the Solent Now page of the Solenr Protection Society website)
In France, actual data is fully included in the VHF weather forecasts. In Ireland, in addition to giving actual data for all the coastal regions in their VHF forecasts they also give wind and sea conditions for five offshore buoys, which is extremely useful.
New Zealand, in the Hauraki Gulf area, has a sponsored ‘nowcasting’ service on dedicated vhf channels, which broadcasts voice synthesised wind speed and direction from about a dozen stations in a continuous cycle. It is an excellent service.
In short, the UK provision of actual data is poor compared to other countries.
For inclusion in Logs, the best diagrams are probably the analysis synoptic charts as these are ‘actual’ data. It is also possible to include diagrams created from data recorded from the ships own instruments. Using SOB, the data is logged into a table that can be analysed in Excel, and wind direction over a passage can be shown as a ‘hedgehog’ diagram. Graphs of windspeed and direction over time can also be of interest.