To refresh your memory, here is the screenshot I made on May 20th and posted in my Weather Planning post yesterday. It was pretty optimistic and in fact, if it would come to pass, it would be very good weather to get underway.
Here is the map for the same period, valid 0800 on 26 May, made today, the 23rd.
You can still see that little blue area of light winds, but now it’s over northern California about 50 miles inland.
Dauntless can’t go that I-5 route.
I want to point out that the other factor I take into consideration, in continuity. In weather forecasts, a critical component of any forecast, whether produced my machine (numerical forecast models) or a weather forecaster.
During my forecasting days, when I was actually getting paid to make weather forecasts of some type or another, there were times, I’d look at the current weather and forecasts that were put out by the person I relieved and not believe a word.
But the first thing a good forecaster takes to heart is continuity. My initial read may end up being correct, but it’s not helpful to the customer if the forecast changes significantly every shift change. This was particularly important during my days with the Alaska Fire Service. We were making 24 hour and 5 and 10-day forecasts.
They used the 10-day forecast to reposition aircraft and equipment and at a certain point in the summer, to send that equipment to the Lower 48 to support wildfire suppression in the west, once it looked like Alaska was done for the season.
It was critical that we (the two of us forecasters) stayed to the same tune and as forecasts changed, changed them in a gradual way to make sure the change was real and not an anomaly that existed in the numbers of the computer and nowhere else.
So, again, when I see a favorable pattern like I saw on the 20th for the 26th, I won’t spend much time on it, yet, because I want to see that it stays put over the next coming forecast runs. In this case you can see it pretty much disappears.
The last year of moving up the west coast of North America has been difficult enough. I’m not leaving Vallejo until I see that the big Pacific High moves off or a large low manages to displace it.
So, even though I will make a plan based on the forecast, to prepare myself and the boat to be ready to go, I’m actually not leaving until the winds actually change.
When I see the reality of the change, then I’ll look closely at the forecast to decide how long it will last. But until then, I’m just a bystander.
I don’t leave port based on a forecast. Or put another way, when I do leave port, I assume the conditions I have will be as good as it gets.