Voyage Planning – TicTocTicToc

Yes! It’s that time again, and here we are watching the weather and watching and watching…and waiting and time passes.

We are ready to go – all the normal voyage preparations are done.

Voyage Preparations

· Main engine and generator lube oil and filters changed

· Fuel filters changed

· Anchor system tested

· Radar and Micro Commanders tested

· Provisions on board

· Weather viewed multiple times daily

· Miscellaneous deferred projects completed

· More weather watching

· More provisions – we ate what we bought

· More projects

· More weather…

Yes, we are ready, and we have been ready for over a month now. We expected to get underway right after Labor Day. But the weather – much like all of the last year – is just not cooperating. Of course it isn’t just us affected – but it feels that way.  There are sailboats waiting to get south, while we are waiting to get north.  Just yesterday a determined sailboat cruised in from the north.  I am glad I wasn’t on that cruise.

The Fall Plan

Our plan is to continue up the west coast to San Francisco Bay – where we will have to winter. We provisionally planned to go all the way north off of the Pacific Ocean and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and parts of British Columbia – if the weather allowed. But, now we wonder if we will get past Point Conception.

As we wait the sun moves south and the days grow shorter.  We now have about 12 hours of daylight.  If we get a good window for a day hop we want to arrive in the next port before dark – if possible. We would also like to finish this voyage before Standard Time arrives at the end of October.  It is nice to see where you are, but we have certainly arrived in the dark – and don’t forget that foggy arrival in Newport, OR, last fall. (Click on the highlighted Newport and read about it again.)

Finally, frustrated with no weather opening for us, Bruce did some online investigation and discovered that on September 8, 2011, a La Nina advisory was posted. Well, fine. You can read all about it here at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

To say there is no good weather on the coast is an exaggeration.  There are brief breaks, and mild weather between Point Conception and San Francisco Bay. However, they are brief or in the middle of the points with big seas surrounding them. The voyage into the bay is about 300 miles. There are safe weather ports along the way but the legs are long for a slow boat, and the windows are brief. What we’ve seen so far won’t allow us to get around Point Conception and into the next port – Morro Bay – comfortably. And, an even bigger question – how long would we wait there for another window?

No Weather today or 10 Days Out

Today (October 02, 2011) we know we aren’t going anywhere until some days after October 10th.  Look at this Navy Visual.

Friends, those big ugly circles with dark red and orange are major winter-like storms – already hitting the north.  The seas refract down the west coast. Oh, and look at that storm cell –  a potential hurricane, possibly headed toward Banderas Bay or vicinity.  No.  We aren’t going north anytime soon.

One other issue that I noted on many occasions is that the weather window is not necessarily as mild or as long as predicted. Lately the predictions flip and flop within hours of each posted forecast. That leaves us hesitant to consider a departure. We won’t leave until the weather sources agree – or mostly agree with each other. We still hope to get north, but we are also starting to think about what to do if we can’t move out of Southern California this fall. For now, we still intend to go north – to San Francisco Bay.

Brand New Page – Weather

Bruce continues to check weather.  In fact weather is so important I just added an “About Weather” page.  I want those looking for weather sites to find our tools fast. You can use these tools to watch the weather with us, too. Please share my new page with your fellow boaters and friends. Check them all out at my brand new page with this link –  About Weather, or with the “About Weather” button at the top of the blog.

Meanwhile – we are still Home Today – waiting and doing projects –  in Ventura.

10 thoughts on “Voyage Planning – TicTocTicToc

  1. Well of course we want you to travel in smooth seas, and it is now already October 13. However I just wanted to point out 2 minor things about your post here. First, Daylight Savings Time does not end until Nov 6 this year. Second, that makes no difference in the amount of daylight you have to work with, it only changes what time you set on your alarm clock.

    I have been doing my weather dance and it has brought rain to us in the Northwest so it should bring smooth sailing to Central California!

    • Yes, Peter, I know…but it is the idea of standard time – dark at 5:30, instead of 6:30….maybe it is a “me thing”. 🙂 Thanks for the weather dance – it worked!

  2. I will continue to think positive weather thoughts, wishing you fair seas to travel north. Keep safe and comfortable… San Francisco isn’t the worst place to winter over, even though it’s waaaaay too far south for us to drop by for coffee. Left coast weather has not been friendly this year!

  3. How well we remember waiting for the window..we made a mistake tho and decided to wait in Coho Bay to go around Conception..the wind was howing and the stainless steel anchor guide was bending with each swing..that is when we learned big time about snubbers and what great tools they are..when we finally had a window, there was hardly a swell..we wish the same for you…The Goodes of Too Goode (now sold and called Incommunicado)

    • Good Point on the Coho Anchorage. For those of you who don’t know it is a little anchorage just to the south and east of Point Conception. We would only go there, if we knew we were going around PC then next morning. We generally depart from Santa Barbara. Thanks for the comment, Barry!

  4. The weather is apparently going to be wacky for a while! Our weatherman told us today that we might experience all three seasons this week. 100 degrees tomorrow, low 80’s mid-week, and possibly snow (okay that would be in Flagstaff) by Friday, God willing! And they say we don’t have seasons in the desert! Oh well, we’re hoping things will hold for a while so that we can get out to see you! Road trip!! Hugs!!!

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