Maestral - The Good Fairy
They still call the Maestral “the good wind”, the friend of seafarers, mainly sailors. It is a summer wind, which lowers the heat, and so this is why winegrowers like it because it cools down the vineyards, particularly those on the southern slopes exposed to the long-lasting sun, and it also prevents the formation of disease on the grapes.
It is strongest in July and August. It occurs because of the differences in temperature between the land and sea, so it is a thermal wind that blows from the sea towards the land. The Maestral “follows” the route of the sun, and so from the morning when it starts as a south-easterly until the afternoon it changes direction and when it stabilises, it blows from the north-west direction.
During nice and warm weather it typically blows every day, and will blow for about ten hours, the latest to around midday and gets stronger until about dusk, and it sometimes lasts even longer. Its strength gradually grows all the way until an occasional afternoon Maeštralun, when it is also a strong wind that can start to blow with speeds of more than 30 knots. Typically, it is considerably stronger in Central, and especially Southern Adriatic rather than the Northern. In the open sea it lifts up large waves (for example between Hvar and Vis or Korčula and Lastovo), and in the channels it gains extra speed (between Zadar and Ugljan, Brač and Hvar or Korčula and Pelješac).
It is ideal when it “pushes” you from the stern, and sailing it requires a little more skill regardless of whether you are sailing with a sailboat or motorboat, along with the obligatory rolling. But it isn’t always like that, it can also blow as a weak wind which reaches just over ten knots the whole day. Sometimes, particularly in channels it can also be confusing. It can pass very suddenly from a starting point in the southeast to the northwest, and so whilst the first has not even ended, it collides with the second.
The absence of the Maestral is a sign that the weather is changing. Usually, after a day of silence the wind turns towards the south, and that means a worsening in the weather. Generally, when there is no proper change in the wind from the land towards the sea (Burin, Bura) or from the sea towards the land, a great change in the weather follows.