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Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham receives Order of Australian Medal

Roger ‘Clouds’ Badham has been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List, with an Order of Australia Medal for 50 years of service to science as a meteorologist.

The CYCA sends its heartfelt congratulations to Roger as well as our gratitude for his services predicting weather for the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and other events. As one of the first to take up full-time forecasting for the yachting industry, the expertise of ‘‘Clouds’’ as a preeminent meteorologist is undisputed.

Badham has a PhD in numerical meteorology and is regarded around the world for his accuracy.

In 1977, while Badham was working as a meteorologist in Sydney, doing forecasts for Channel 7, he made his first foray into the sailing when he started calling the weather for Iain Murray’s successful 18ft skiff campaigns. Badham was a weather forecaster with Channel 7, Channel 10 and Radio 2UE from 1977-1982,

Anyone who’s sailed knows how tricky the wind, tide and current can be, yet Badham is an expert at understanding how topography affects the way the breeze behaves. In 2000, after New Zealand’s successful America’s Cup defence, Roger Badham was headhunted by Team NZ boss Tom Schnackenberg – they’d worked together on the winning Australia II challenge in ’83 – because Team NZ wanted to have a more scientific approach to their weather forecasting.

A simple, matter of fact man, Roger was allegedly given his nickname early in his America’s Cup career, when he told teams of sailors to “Look at the bloody clouds, you idiots!”

Back in the early days of his career, he is said to have ‘slaved over large charts’, plotting the weather by hand.

Since then, his illustrious career has included forecasting 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Races since 1981, working with the winning Team NZ on several successful America’s Cup wins, and even working as weather forecaster for the Ferrari Formula One team, since 2008.

As a one-man-band – who has been flown all over the world to work on races – Roger has shown a talent for sitting on hillsides and watching clouds – something of a rarefied skill in the day-and-age of advanced, computer modelling.

“There is more weather on the internet than pornography,” Badham recently told a podcaster on Broad Reach Radio Episode 40. “There are so many models which you can use on the internet and you can always look back and realise which one was right, but you have to pick the right one before the race.”

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