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. …
Written by Ben Ellison on Feb 21, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
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.…
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. …
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.…
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.…
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.…
Written by Ben Ellison on Oct 9, 2013 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub
Maybe 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…
Now 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.…
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.
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.
We’re mostly able to appreciate the beauty they bring, but it always puts us on high alert, and it can be stressful.
It seems to safe to say that the 2012 North Atlantic tropical storm season has come to end, so I’ve been pawing through the sat pix I’ve collected trying to choose my favorite for the year. In terms of storm intensity, it was a rather poor season, so the pickings are a bit slim. Consequently, my number one choice isn’t actually a satellite image. What you see up top, a pictorial rendering of the locations and intensities of all reported tropical storms and hurricanes since 1851, was published by John Nelson of IDV Solutions on his UXBlog on August 20.
It is quite beautiful, but also a bit counter-intuitive in its presentation, as the map is Antarctic-centric.…
It ends today. So, how did it go?
Here's a review:
[I]t was an active one, with 19 named storms – tied for third most on record. But despite the large number of named storms, the total amount of storm energy (accumulated cyclone energy) was just somewhat above average as we had only one major hurricane and a number of weaker storms which stayed out in the open ocean.
“Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades,” NOAA wrote in its seasonal recap released today.
The seasonal activity was more than predicted by NOAA thanks to the fact El Nino failed to develop as forecast.