Sailfeed
October 5th

Ugly weather off the coast of Malaysia

Posted by // October 5, 2014 // COMMENT (12 Comments)

Cruising, ,

DSC_0794-b

Well, that was unpleasant.

There are the beautiful days of white sandy beaches and gin-clear water, and then there are the days when you have your ass handed to you by the weather.

We spent just over a week knocking off a list of projects from rig tuning to galvanizing in Penang. It’s probably our last marina stay until we arrive in South Africa, more than a year from now, and some things are just easier to do at a dock when the boat is relatively motionless and the fresh water runs freely. But we were ready to get out and back in our happy place, rocking gently at anchor.…

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April 9th

Pacific Weather Seminar Seats Open

Posted by // April 9, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Techniques,

Lee Chesneau reports that he still has a few seats open for his weather seminar on Sunday, April 13, 0800-1600, at the Strictly Sail Pacific boatshow in Oakland, California.

The one-day intensive is on the calendar in particular for entries in the 2014 Pacific Cup, but anyone serious about ocean voyaging can get something out of this. Lee describes it this way:

forecastverification“The course reviews some important meteorological principles that govern what one will experience routinely on a day to day basis such as pressure and wind. The review also extends to the structure of surface middle latitude weather systems and their features (e.g., lows, highs, fronts, troughs, squall line & ridges), along with the specific symbols commonly found on surface pressure weather charts.…

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February 27th

Surviving a Cyclone in the Marina

Posted by // February 27, 2014 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, Techniques, , ,

March is almost upon us, and with it comes New Caledonia’s big cyclone month.  We have been very, very lucky up until now; only Cyclones June and Ian have come anywhere near us.  But the weather has gotten rainier and rainier, and I’m reminded that the country was rocked by Cyclone Erica in March a decade ago.  As Mad Eye Moody would say: constant vigilance!

The old wisdom tells us that, in a storm, a boat is safer at sea than in a harbor.  And I can see the point: there is less to hit out there.  But, as the sad story of the Bounty shows, being out at sea isn’t always the greatest strategy.  …

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February 21st

Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 21, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

Humminbird_ION_10_web_browser_cPanbo.jpg

That’s the Web browser built into the Humminbird ION10 MFD that I first saw demoed in Lauderdale (pre browser), and the test was pretty realistic for a boat show. It was easy to log the ION onto my phone’s WiFi hotspot and if you click the image bigger, you’ll see how well it rendered a complex site like www.powerandmotoryacht.com. It even supports tabs for multiple sites, so if I were out fishing on, say, a sunny center console, I could have had a weather site open while still checking my gmail or moderating Panbo comments, all on a bright waterproof screen.…

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January 13th

Is That a Cyclone Coming?

Posted by // January 13, 2014 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Cruising,

I opened my email this morning and found the unwelcome subject line: “Not liking the look of weather toward the end of this week.”  I put my head down on the table.  Erik had sent me the note from a land far away; apparently not even being up to his eyeballs in work could keep him from checking on the weather.  Sadly, when we “don´t like the look of the weather” around here, it doesn´t mean a little rain is going to ruin our picnic.  It doesn´t mean it will be too windy to hang out laundry.  It means something bad might be coming.  …

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December 11th

The trades have finally filled in now - but it's been a tough start.

The trades have finally filled in now – but it’s been a tough start.

Here’s another update from St. Lucia that I just finished working on. Follow the fleet online at www.worldcruising.com/arc and click ‘Fleet Viewer’. As usual, see below for photos with captions.

Year to year, the docktalk among ARC crew inevitably turns to the weather, and 2013 is certainly no different. And what’s on everyone’s mind this year is the remarkably challenging conditions that most crews have had to deal with. In fact, the 2013 ARC is turning into one of the most challenging years for weather in recent memory.

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November 16th

Mini Transat start

We all know how this goes: the very worst thing you can have on a boat–worse than women, bananas, or priests even–is a schedule. Yet most of us sail to a schedule, for various reasons, and sometimes suffer as a result. This fall has been particularly interesting, as the usual gamut of cruising rallies here in the U.S. and shorthanded ocean races over in Europe have sought to evade the clutches of the coming winter.

Exhibit A: the Caribbean 1500. For the second year in a row my SAILfeed compadre Andy Schell, who now wrangles the rally for the World Cruising Club, has had the cojones not to postpone the rally start, but to “prepone” it (so to speak) by setting his ducks loose upon the waters a day before the scheduled start (on November 2 instead of November 3) so as not to miss a promising weather window.…

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November 10th

How to use social media to help in a crisis

Posted by // November 10, 2013 // COMMENT (2 Comments)

Techniques, , ,

Typhoon Haiyan ran a course of destruction through the Philippines this week, cutting through the middle of the country on a westbound track. It came with sustained winds of nearly 200 mph (320 km/h)- gusts were up to 235 mph. Can you even imagine what it feels like to be in that kind of wind? Not being able to stand, or walk; the smallest piece of airborne debris hitting with a painful sting. Imagine being in a car going that fast (as if)- you couldn’t hold your hand out the window.

Like this Super Typhoon, we are in Southeast Asia, but very far away from the bad weather.…

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October 9th

Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 9, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

IHO_Surface_Current_Survey_page_cPanbo.jpgMaybe you, too, have an opinion about how predicted currents should be overlaid on electronic charts?  Well, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is developing an S-100 specification for “the delivery and presentation of navigationally significant surface currents” and right now they’re running an online survey of all interested parties. What waters do you care about (coastal for me)? What prediction frequency would you like? Are you willing to pay? How should the data look? And more…

Jeppesen_C-Map_Plan2Nav_Android_1.1_cPanbo.jpgNow maybe you’re thinking that current predictions are already pretty well displayed, and I wouldn’t argue, but what’s wonderful about the IHO’s interest is the prospect of a standard that might encourage the collection and distribution of better data.…

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August 19th

Crazy squalls off the coast of Borneo

Posted by // August 19, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Borneo squalls

The west side of Borneo is giving us excellent squall-spotting and squall-dodging practice. Thunderstorms form most afternoons.

It starts innocently enough…just some pretty cumulus clouds giving texture to a beautiful day.

skurfing

But at some point, that puff of fluffy cloud gets evil looking. Most of the time, the wind hits first, with rain starting only when the wind begins to diminish. Unless, of course, it’s an especially evil squall. Then all rules about wind and rain order are off.

 

Borneo squalls
the wall of rain

We’re mostly able to appreciate the beauty they bring, but it always puts us on high alert, and it can be stressful.

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