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Old 26-09-2013, 19:24   #16
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Yes, having looked at a old map of San Diego I can see how a s'easter would be nasty assuming they anchored on the east of Point Loma, the north island would have offered very little protection. Now I also assume the same was true of most of the other anchorages. They were chosen to protect from the prevailing n'easterly winds and offered no protection from sudden winter storms. It seems that simple!

I am on my second read of "Two Years Before the Mast" and enjoying every page.
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Old 05-10-2013, 18:15   #17
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

Today and yesterday SoCal has experienced an offshore flow also known as Santa Anna's. Note, this event has been only moderate at best. Consult your normal means for weather information to see what this looks like. Also notice the two areas of high pressure located over UT/WY/CO. These are the weather makers for the coast.
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Old 05-10-2013, 18:22   #18
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Today and yesterday SoCal has experienced an offshore flow also known as Santa Anna's. Note, this event has been only moderate at best. Consult your normal means for weather information to see what this looks like. Also notice the two areas of high pressure located over UT/WY/CO. These are the weather makers for the coast.
Dana was certainly not referring to Santa Ana's. They are dry winds directly from the east.
In Dana's book, in the very last chapter he says that on his return 25 years after his voyage that the s'easter'a seemed to have disappeared and ships were now anchoring very close to the shore, not the three miles that the pilgrim anchored off.
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Old 05-10-2013, 18:39   #19
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

dana was referring to the nasty miserable winter storms so cal gets,, the first two days of a three day storm are winds from se. it clocks around to come from nw as the end of storm approaches.
we used to party our butts off, sober, awaiting a breakaway, as those happen in sd bay during the se wind phase of the winter storms .. they are nasty.
remember in danas time, north island was a low lying sand spit,not any kind of island, and coronado was a loong skinny sand isthmus from imperial beach to end of sandspit we call north island. wasnt much there so i presume there wasnt much appreciable protection. most of the old ships were berthed at the area now known as laurel street, on long wharves and anchored. bay was shallow. still is where dredge isnt used.
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Old 05-10-2013, 18:46   #20
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dana was referring to the nasty miserable winter storms so cal gets,, the first two days of a three day storm are winds from se. it clocks around to come from nw as the end of storm approaches. we used to party our butts off, sober, awaiting a breakaway, as those happen in sd bay during the se wind phase of the winter storms .. they are nasty. remember in danas time, north island was a low lying sand spit,not any kind of island, and coronado was a loong skinny sand isthmus from imperial beach to end of sandspit we call north island. wasnt much there so i presume there wasnt much appreciable protection. most of the old ships were berthed at the area now known as laurel street, on long wharves and anchored. bay was shallow. still is where dredge isnt used.
If you check the book you will see that Dana commented the S'Easter'a went awAy during his 25 year absence. During this time San Diego did not change , in fact the population shrank according to my research. I'm left wondering if the S'Easter's he experienced was maybe due to a El Niño effect or maybe another event somewhere else on earth
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Old 05-10-2013, 19:12   #21
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

if they went away they were prolly the el nino storms and la nina storms of winter. nasty things.
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Old 05-10-2013, 19:18   #22
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

I know it wasn't Santa Anna winds and I had posted that previously. I merely mentioned this current wind event as a point of reference to be compared to the weather Dana did mention. I posted in this thread because another poster had speculated it was Santa Anna's as a possibility to explain the weather Dana had encountered.

I thought it would be helpful to any outdoorsman (sailor, pilot, back country hiker, etc) to know the weather just by physical observation. About that...I have strived to correlate personal observation with that gotten from various products from NOAA. It is quite useful later on for when I either see the weather firsthand or view it on NOAA or other products I can be better informed for both current and what's coming. Too, the NOAA products help me develop insight to the 'big picture' which extends beyond the scope of personal observation. Still, I can derive my own forecasts more accurately as I better understand what the 'big dogs' are doing. Those are the weather makers.

A fine example of this is this current wind event. While the effects are local, the weather originates over the interior hundreds of miles distant. No clouds and a fairly steady barometer don't provide clues. Air temp and humidity are the only clues before the winds are felt.
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Old 05-10-2013, 19:27   #23
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

When speaking of El Nino's one should know not all such events are the same nor do they originate in the same location. Then, there are 'hybrids' which may be defined by traditional phenomena but also have other characteristics which are absent from 'traditional' events. It would seem the terms El Nino and La Nina get bandied about too often as a means to explain almost all unusual weather patterns and/or events.
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Old 05-10-2013, 19:47   #24
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

Dana Point today had a nice breeze out of the northwest, however that fits into the puzzle.
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Old 05-10-2013, 20:05   #25
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

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Dana Point today had a nice breeze out of the northwest, however that fits into the puzzle.
Where exactly? In the harbor, above or below the bluffs, at Doheney, beyond the breakwater, on the drive from somewhere?

I knew an oldtimer. He had over 40 yrs of daily weather observations all from the same location in Morro Bay. I knew several ranching buddies also kept detailed wx records. Even though they were only a few miles apart the recorded observations were quite often significantly different.
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Old 05-10-2013, 23:48   #26
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

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Where exactly? In the harbor, above or below the bluffs, at Doheney, beyond the breakwater, on the drive from somewhere?

I knew an oldtimer. He had over 40 yrs of daily weather observations all from the same location in Morro Bay. I knew several ranching buddies also kept detailed wx records. Even though they were only a few miles apart the recorded observations were quite often significantly different.
In the harbor, below the bluffs, inside the breakwater and generally in the area. I understand Southern California had a Sana Ana today with up to 90mph gusts, but at Dana Point the wind was from the northwest. If Richard Henry Dana was reporting about winds from the southeast, and if he was writing from what is now Dana Point, then these particular Santa Anas were not the winds he was describing in the passage above.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:45   #27
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

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If you check the book you will see that Dana commented the S'Easter'a went awAy during his 25 year absence. During this time San Diego did not change , in fact the population shrank according to my research. I'm left wondering if the S'Easter's he experienced was maybe due to a El Niño effect or maybe another event somewhere else on earth
Yup, Dana makes specific mention in his return 25 years later that the "much feared southeaster" had disappeared according to local captains. My guess is that the climate shift happening at the end of the little ice age around that time caused this change, but who knows.

We have occasionally seen a bit of this strange southeaster on Santa Ana days along the coast. The SD-Ensenada racers saw 20+ out of the SE down by Ensenada Saturday after a light Santa Ana drifter all the way down. We experienced a dead Santa Ana day turn in an instant into a 30+ knot southeaster in a January offshore race about 10 years ago. I don't know if this is actually the same thing or not, and seems very localized and temporary (a few hours at most).

For reference. the anchorage they used in San Diego bay was what is now La Playa, just to the seaward side of what's now Shelter Island (described as a low sand bar and spit in the book), between Shelter Island and the sub base/Ballast Point. It was shallow and narrow, so a strong SE wind, which in the book was described as force 9-10, would have turned the anchorage into a pretty dangerous lee. Regardless, they mostly talk about slipping their anchor in Dana Point, Long Beach (San Pedro), and Santa Barbara, and as near as I can tell they hid in Cat Harbor.
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Old 07-10-2013, 23:22   #28
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A more likely reason for the S'easter's to come
And go is the very large eruption of a volcano in 1916 which was the year without a summer. For a couple of decades the weather was crazy. In the 1820's England had the very wettest summers. For such a large event I see no reason that the weather was different for mAny years.
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Old 10-10-2013, 00:30   #29
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

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... and as near as I can tell they hid in Cat Harbor.
Interesting. I'm recalling from memory...I had pegged Santa Rosa island as the one time all the ships were blown out of Santa Barbara. I even had Johnson's lee in mind although it could have been Bechers. Dana gave scant description of where the other ships had gone. He did seem to imply the skippers of the other ships held better local knowledge.
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Old 10-10-2013, 18:18   #30
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Re: Richard Dana's "South Easter's"

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Interesting. I'm recalling from memory...I had pegged Santa Rosa island as the one time all the ships were blown out of Santa Barbara. I even had Johnson's lee in mind although it could have been Bechers. Dana gave scant description of where the other ships had gone. He did seem to imply the skippers of the other ships held better local knowledge.
Interesting - I hadn't even thought of that. He mentions slipping anchor and running from a SE-er while at San Pedro (Long Beach) also, and said something about a protected anchorage on the backside of a nearby island, so I had always just assumed Cat Harbor. But yeah, no reason they couldn't hide on the backside of Santa Rosa I suppose.
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