Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Choosing a Weather window

I am sitting here in south Florida waiting for the weather to be favorable for a trip to Bermuda. Generally I try to follow the sun on my boat so that I don't have to worry about heating or air conditioning and after that I like to choose good winds to sail with. It is no fun being beaten up by 25 knot winds on a boat as you can well imagine. It is uncomfortable, you can get seasick and lose a lot of sleep. No thank you. There are "pilot charts" for every month and every ocean that show the most common winds you are likely to find and here is a chart for April between Florida and Bermuda.
The length of the shaft on the "rose" shows the percentage of winds from that direction. So in theory, if you look at the chart, there should be plenty of days this month where I could sail north from Miami, riding the gulf stream and then east from Savannah and have favorable winds. Well this year has been different and most of the winds have been coming out of the north east........in the direction that I want to go. Here is a sample of North Easterly winds from the web site Passage Weather for next Monday.
This map is called a grib, and the wind barbs point towards the direction the wind is coming from. The “tails” tell you the predicted wind speed; each half tail indicates 5 knots of wind speed. If you had two full tails and a half tail you would expect to have up to 25 knots of wind speed. A knot is a nautical mile per hour and in 25 knots of wind there would be 10 foot seas, lots of whitecaps and plenty of spray. Ugly! So here i wait in Stuart trying to keep busy with boat chores and making the most of the wonderful facilities here at the Sunset Bay Marina.
Life is good!

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