Difference Between Leeward and Windward

Leeward vs Windward

Windward and leeward are two terms used to give the position or orientation relative to the direction of the wind and one’s own position or another reference. Windward means on the side of something from which the wind is blowing. Leeward means the side opposite to which the wind is blowing.

The terms are often used in sailing; seamen use these terms in relation to their ships. They are used in reference to islands in an archipelago and different sides of a single island too. The side of a ship that is towards leeward is its lee side. Windward and leeward directions are important factors to think about when sailing a ship because the direction of the wind affects the maneuverability of the vessel. In normal conditions, the windward vessel is more maneuverable and lesser maneuverability in a leeward vessel. Therefore, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea rule 12 states that the leeward vessel has the right of way (priority) over the windward vessel.

The term is also used in aviation and meteorology. In meteorology, these terms have the same sense as the upwind and downwind. The leeward side is protected from the prevailing wind by the elevation of the island and is typically the drier side than the windward side. Therefore, leeward or windward nature is an important weather and climate defining factor on oceanic islands.

What is the difference between Windward and Leeward?

• Leeward and windward are two terms used in sailing, meteorology, and other related fields, to give a direction relative to the wind direction and other reference point.

• From a certain point, if the wind is blowing in a direction, that direction is the windward direction. If the wind is blowing towards some direction, that is the leeward direction.

• In a single scenario, windward direction and leeward direction are always opposing each other.