1. at least one of the vector wind components is generally better predicted than the wind speed
2. wind speed predictions constructed from the predictions of vector wind components are more skillful than direct wind speed predictions
3. the linear predictability of wind speed (relative to that of the vector wind components) increases as vector wind fluctuations become smaller relative to their mean value
These model results are shown to be broadly consistent with linear predictive skills assessed using sea surface wind observations from the SeaWinds scatterometer. Biases in the model predictions are shown to be related to the degree to which vector wind fluctuations are non-Gaussian.