Waiting for Weather

Monday 21Z Update

I keep on looking for excuses not to leave, but Mother Nature, continues to send warning signals that I best be on my way.  Right now, the best 42 hour window is from the 13th at 0300L, putting us just off of Brest on the 14th at 22L.

A night time entry, but what else is new!

It’s the only way I can maiximize the good wind conditions as the ridge moves east .

By the way, windyty.com provides the same data as Earth Null School below: windyty.com for Irish Sea nad English Channel

I do like their format, but sometimes windyty has too much data for my liking, especially as it changes.

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So, in our last days in Waterford, saying goodbye to some really dear people, having to wait for weather is not so bad.

THe circle is just south of our current location. The arrow is near our destination just west of Brest.

THe circle is just south of our current location. The arrow is near our destination just west of Brest.

Presently the winds are gusting to 30 and we are snug as a bug in a rug. Nothing as sweet as riding out a storm in port, tied to a dock.

As I have mentioned many times, for short term planning, I’ll usually just look at the Null School data set, whose link is:

Current Surface Winds

And here is the current surface map to help you understand the wind pattern better:

Atlantic Sfc Analysis

I’ve been watching this for the last few weeks, at first just to get an idea of the timing of the systems and the strength of the winds.

Until yesterday, the prognosis (progs) seemed to indicate a thin ridge of high pressure passing eastward mid-week. Then yesterday, it showed a nice ridge (indicative of fair weather and weaker winds) on Thursday and Friday, with the high pressure area centered just west of Brest.

Now this afternoon, after the 12Z run of weather models, my ridge of high pressure has been squeezed to almost nothing. So for my 2 day trip, this now looks like a 24 hour weather window:

WNW winds down to 15 knots (map shows km/hr)

It’s for this reason, (that the progs can change significantly) I pretty much do not look at any other weather products routinely.  There are a number of reasons for this, in short, they all get their weather from the same source and more importantly, the different forecast models may differ in terms of space and time; but for someone not looking at them constantly, as in a full time job, forget it.  There is simply too much information to digest fine tune a forecast that much.  In addition, there is no point in looking at more detailed forecasts because by now, I know what to look for.

Though if I was travelling locally, like north along the coast, then I would check the marine forecast for that area. But if was just saying what I already could deduce myself, in other words no real local conditions to consider, then I don’t bother looking at it again.

Dauntless needs a little less than two full days. 42 hours, to get from Waterford to Brest, France.  So I’ve been watching for the last few weeks, whenever I have internet, to see how often a two-day window appears.

Not very often.  There may have been one a few weeks ago, but since that, I’ve only seen good weather windows of about a day.  Now, when I say good weather, originally I was looking only for winds on our stern at 15 knots or less. The Krogen runs really well in such conditions, rolling as she is wont to do, but the paravanes reduce most of that.

As I was watching, I had even settled for 20 knots astern, since I saw so few periods with less than 15.  Also, since our course to Brest will be 160 True, winds from dead astern would be 160 +180 = 340 or northwesterlies.  NW winds occur after a cold frontal passage.

So it’s easy, just wait for the front to pass and head out.

But it’s not so easy, as I learned 30 years ago while forecasting the weather for northern Europe and Germany in particular.  The North Atlantic is a true spawning ground for low pressure systems.  They line up like freight trains, from North America to Northern Europe. And they are moving quickly, averaging 4 times the speed of Dauntless or about 600 nm a day.

But as the fronts approach Europe, they start to weaken as they lose the upper air support that is centered over the North Atlantic.  Then with the passage of the cold front, instead of the usual 2 to 3 days of high pressure with NW winds and cold temperatures that one gets in the mid-west, one gets a reprieve of only 6 hours, before the winds jump around to the south or southwest in from the of the next cold front due to arrive in about 18 hours.

It was exactly the pattern I got into in the last three days of my Atlantic Passage two years ago.  But then, I wasn’t thinking of the overall pattern, but instead was just so glad to see a few rays of sunshine as the winds dropped to 15 to 18 knots.

Halleluiah

I remember making a snack thinking the worst was over.  I was able to find the banging wine bottle.  So as the winds picked up again in the next few hours, I hardly noticed.  I was like the lobster in the pot of cold water wholeheartedly noticed the water getting hotter and hotter until it’s too late.

But unlike the lobster, I know I’ll be safe no matter what, though I may be miserable.  That’s because the first step is to find and have a boat that can do what you want it to do.

 

 

 

One thought on “Waiting for Weather

  1. Leaving behind the boat yard gang, Berfrank, Carmella, the butcher, bakery, Oli, etc is going to be tough.

    I have been craving a Berfrank BLAA breakfast sandwich for weeks. And we sure miss the french fries….. 🙂

    But, one has to go off and find new places, people and adventures….

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