Originally Posted by sunchaser
...I first heard the term weather bomb (intense tightly packed low pressure) about 30 years ago when digital weather maps were becoming common and weather fax a useful tool. Richard's the expert and can tell us more I'm sure. For sailors in the Southern Oceans the term was well understood to define an area of tight gradient to avoid at all costs. I found this term over 20 years ago in Australia
This was one of the points of investigation and contention for the infamous Sidney Hobart race where many perished due to bad weather that was not deemed by race organizers to be a bomb. Bruce K or others in Australia can add details to clear my hazy recollection...
Tom, doing my best from memory and a little searching, a developing low was certainly forecast before the race began, and I think identified as a "storm". My understanding is not all boats understood the term "storm" for its level of severity. I don`t think the word "bomb" was ever used. My memory of the system diagrams is it developed into something extremely severe and rarely seen.
Both the Bureau of Meteorology and the race organizers CYCA came in for criticism, the former for not fully spelling out the weather implications, the latter for abdicating their responsibility to competitors and leaving them to make their own assessments despite CYCA knowing of the terrible emerging risks. As it was, the system deepened into "a perfect storm" with 70 knot winds and waves to 20M. There was midsummer snow in some parts of SE Australia.
A number of boats use private weather forecasting,Ian Badham being most popular, they may have been better warned. Coroner criticism led to changes in Bureau forecasting incl wave height and wind speed.
A work colleague was on board "Winston Churchill", and onboard a life raft after she sank, before rescue. Not all crew survived, he came back a changed man.