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Old 02-27-2014, 09:38 PM   #1
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Weather hold in Puget sound or not?

We've a couple of days off work and we'd planned on cruising from Lake Union to Port Townsend tomorrow (Friday 2/28).

However...the weather doesn't look that great and while I'm 75 hours into my Californian 39, I'm comfortable but still a newbie

The weather forecast is NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT.

I'll check the weather again before we head out in the morning but I'd appreciate the advice of seasoned boaters before I decide.

Please select:
1) Don't go out, it's dangerous
2) As long as the weather forecast is the same in the morning, you should consider going ahead
3) Don't go unless it drops to 15 max

Obviously it is my decision but I'd appreciate your opinions please

Thanks

Chris
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:04 PM   #2
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Sorry, but I know nothing of your boat's condition, equipment safety related or otherwise, crew competency or skipper's experience.

That said, my marine weather forecasts say worse for the period Saturday through Monday. Me, I'd stay in Lake Union and do boat work.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:17 PM   #3
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My weather report says 15 to 25 NE winds Friday & Saturday. That means you will be beating into waves heading to Port Townsend. I wouldn't do that unless you had to. It wouldn't be a fun day. It looks like the current will be in your direction (ebbing) and that would be in your favor.

I would think Blake Island or points south would be a better cruise this coming weekend.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisg4242 View Post
We've a couple of days off work and we'd planned on cruising from Lake Union to Port Townsend tomorrow (Friday 2/28).

However...the weather doesn't look that great and while I'm 75 hours into my Californian 39, I'm comfortable but still a newbie

The weather forecast is NW WIND 15 TO 25 KT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT.

I'll check the weather again before we head out in the morning but I'd appreciate the advice of seasoned boaters before I decide.

Please select:
1) Don't go out, it's dangerous
2) As long as the weather forecast is the same in the morning, you should consider going ahead
3) Don't go unless it drops to 15 max

Obviously it is my decision but I'd appreciate your opinions please

Thanks

Chris
I'm going to say stay put not because your boat cannot handle it, but because honestly if your confidence level hasnt built up to a point where the decision is a non issue, then its better to stay in port, and wait.

We all have differing experience levels. If I was planning on the trip I wouldn't even think twice about it, but I'm not you, you're not me.

Rough water seamanship is a learned skill. Anybody that tells you otherwise is full of it. It takes practice, lots of practice.

As a new boater I intentionally took my boats out into worse and worse conditions as a skill building exercise. I got to a point where in a 30' boat a SCA was a non issue, and have tested myself in some much nastier conditions. Thats how you learn and build confidence.

You might think about doing the same, a little at a time, and before long you'll know what to do, and how boats react. That experience will prepare you for not if, but when you really get in deep kimchi and need the skills. Your confidence as a captain is essential to the mental comfort of your passengers. A confident captain projects a calmness that will make a world of difference during truly bad weather.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:22 PM   #5
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The weather going outside to PT can get very dicey at times. Our rule of thumb is weather demands respect and holding off travel through potential uncomfortable to dangerous situations is a no brainier. Not knowing how your boat responds in weather like described is why I would stay on the hook.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:24 PM   #6
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If you get to Marrowstone Pt during the 3 knot ebb tomorrow am and it is blowing NW 25, I guarantee that the waves won't be 2-4'.

Small craft warnings up now for Admiralty Inlet thru Sat pm.

It's still winter.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:25 PM   #7
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You have a choice in what weather you go out in; you don't have a choice in what weather you will come home in. Don't go looking for bad weather to build experience with your new boat in, bad weather will find you soon enough.

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Old 02-27-2014, 10:25 PM   #8
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According to Environment Canada, the East end of Juan de Fuca has 20 to 30 knots forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Guess where Port Townsend is?
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:28 PM   #9
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An old "rule" for sailboats is : In your first racing season if you have doubts about carrying a particular sail you don`t; in your second year you do. I think it applies in your situation.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:45 PM   #10
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If the forecast is 2-4, generally there will be areas of much worse conditions due to wind against tide, wind funneling, gusting, etc...

Now...a 39 foot boat can certainly handle 2-4's occasionally 6ers if it is in reasonable shape...but me...I wouldn't even think about it in my Albin unless it was a dead downwind run the whole way without the slightest turn.

I like as little motion as possible because for me it's recreation, not work.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
You have a choice in what weather you go out in; you don't have a choice in what weather you will come home in. Don't go looking for bad weather to build experience with your new boat in, bad weather will find you soon enough.

Ted
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:05 AM   #12
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Chris, I don't know if you are married or have small kids but I guarantee that if you take them out in that kind of weather and scare the hell out of them, the boat will be for sale next week.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:23 AM   #13
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Great advice, thank you all - I'll take it. What might be sensible limits / boundaries to weather in my first few months
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:37 AM   #14
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Great advice, thank you all - I'll take it. What might be sensible limits / boundaries to weather in my first few months
I look at it like learning to drive a car. If you were like me at first you were tense. Then you started to learn your capabilities. It took a while to really get the feel of the road, and be fully comfortable. Remember that seldom does weather give you better than you anticipate. On the contrary if you start out in marginal conditions, it can deteriote.

To answer your question specifically, I would look for a max of 15 knot winds until you get more experience. Remember as mentioned earlier wind opposing current can create havoc above and beyond anticipated conditions. We boat in areas very much affected by thunderstorms. Try as we may to miss them we have to deal with them.

There are adverse conditions waiting out there for you. Just don't go looking for them.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:11 AM   #15
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Jill and I were in those very conditions and location over Christmas. The catch is it was wonderful on the way out and conditions worsened on the way back. The opposing wind and currents make for a lively ride, you get a real blast off of Rosario Straights.

We broke our own rule about going out and having to be back at a certain time/date. It was not enjoyable and isn't that the whole reason for going out?

#1 is my recommendation. Enjoy a run around Lake Union and save this trip for beautiful weather which is what it deserves.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:41 AM   #16
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My answer would be the same as one above. The very fact you asked says to me "don't go." When in doubt, don't. You know your skills and experience and confidence better than us and you question them in these conditions. There is a small craft advisory for Port Townsend from 4 pm Friday through Saturday afternoon. Conditions are supposed to worsen late tomorrow. Now Sunday is supposed to be nice.

You also left out what is often the most important piece of the forecast, more than the wind or wave height and that is the period. First, the 2 to 4 is expected to grow to 3 to 5 late tomorrow so could even go 4 to 6. Now 5 with a period of 8 would be one thing but if it's 5 with a period of 5 then that is significantly worse.

Also familiarity with the area. If I was home in Fort Lauderdale and heading to Miami and that was the forecast, I might go. But if it was Port Townsend which I don't have experience with, I'd stay in. And that's with experience.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:47 AM   #17
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I've been out on day's there on Puget Sound (same with SF Bay!) you guys call "nice" (maybe because the sun was shining?) and all I could think was "holy shit, this is what Biscayne Bay looks like during a Hurricane, not for me thank you". Plus it's cold!!
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:50 AM   #18
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Awe come on PK it's only a little bumpy!
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
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My weather report says 15 to 25 NE winds Friday & Saturday. That means you will be beating into waves heading to Port Townsend. I wouldn't do that unless you had to. It wouldn't be a fun day. It looks like the current will be in your direction (ebbing) and that would be in your favor.
The red bits highlight key factors. Not in your favor at all. Wind against current will mean its quite rough in a few places - short wavelength steep waves. Very bouncy. I spent a year in Port Townsend - fabulous place. Go there by car this weekend!
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:03 AM   #20
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Very good advice written here.

Personally, time spent working on the boat, a lovely shared dinner, a beaker of your favourite beverage with the heater on, some nice music, a nice warm bunk. I think it doesn't matter if we never leave the dock.
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