AbstractHindcasts with reanalysis-driven regional climate models (RCMs) are a common tool to assess weather statistics (i.e., climate) and recent changes and trends. The capability of different state-of-the-art RCMs (with and without spectral nudging applied) to add value for surface marine wind speed in comparison to the reanalysis wind speed forcing is assessed by the comparison with observations in the eastern North Atlantic in 1998. Added value is elaborated on instantaneous wind speeds and their frequency distribution. The observations are discriminated into groups according to their proximity to land and assimilation status, meaning whether they are assimilated into the reanalysis or not. For instantaneous wind speeds RCMs do not show added value both in “open ocean” areas and the German Bight. However, in the English Channel, where local topography and associated local wind regimes become important, the regional models show an added value for instantaneous wind speeds. Concerning the wind speed distribution there is a clear indication for an added value of the RCMs in coastal regions, especially for higher wind speed percentiles, while in open-ocean areas no added value is found. In comparison to the unnudged simulation, the spectrally nudged simulations better represent both instantaneous wind speeds and their frequency distribution. These results hold independently of the measurements’ assimilation status. Strictly the findings of this study only hold for hindcast studies, the results may differ for other areas and years.