Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-04-2013, 20:11   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

I am planning a trip from Norfolk to Bahamas and back in May-July 2014 in our sailboat ANDURIL, a 1983 Beneteau First 35 with only myself and my wife on board. I am, however, practicing my weather window prediction for May 2013. I am keeping a daily log starting now of the offshore forecast, Atlantic briefing, Passage Weather forecast and several buoy reports and a daily record of Go or No Go decision for departing Little Creek, VA and the Chesapeake Bay. Is anyone interested in sharing weather analysis\decision justifications for this virtual cruise? We could exchange data\analysis by email or in this thread. My current status for yesterday and today is No-Go, due to predicted strong NE winds thru the weekend- (winds directly against the gulf stream) then changing to light and variable followed by strong E\SE winds on the nose for most of next week.
__________________

__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2013, 20:59   #2
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

since you've already decided to go may/july 2014, what's the purpose of keeping a weather log for this year?

don't mean to be facetious, but this years weather is not necessarily last years weather. we moved to daytona beach in 2004, hearing that there had never been a hurricane there. guess what? in 2004 there were three hurricanes, and another one the next year.

we're going end of may, this year. from norfolk, go offshore when possible, take the ditch when not possible (like maybe around hatteras). when you reach lake worth, wait for weather and cross the gulf stream. then you'll be 'on the banks' and can anchor just about anywhere.

you will like the abacos. your wife will LOVE them. three months may not be enough....
__________________

__________________
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2013, 21:09   #3
cruiser

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tampa Bay area
Boat: Hunter 31'
Posts: 5,731
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
since you've already decided to go may/july 2014, what's the purpose of keeping a weather log for this year?

don't mean to be facetious, but this years weather is not necessarily last years weather. we moved to daytona beach in 2004, hearing that there had never been a hurricane there. guess what? in 2004 there were three hurricanes, and another one the next year.

we're going end of may, this year. from norfolk, go offshore when possible, take the ditch when not possible (like maybe around hatteras). when you reach lake worth, wait for weather and cross the gulf stream. then you'll be 'on the banks' and can anchor just about anywhere.

you will like the abacos. your wife will LOVE them. three months may not be enough....

When I pick a "weather window" i mean a period of time when I'm reasonably certain no fronts are going to move through and when the liklihood of severe storms is small. I know that I, and my boat, can handle moderate storms, but sailing is most fun when you don't have to worry about the weather turning bad on you.

There's nothing wrong with keeping records, but if you really educate yourself about the weather, you'll get more information from your record keeping.

In my experience, where I am, the thing they forecast most poorly is windspeed.

The best forecasts are guesstimates. They can rarely guarantee no storms, and the warmer the water gets, the more likely unexpected t-storms are to form.

Another thing IMO they forecast rather weakly is how strong a tropical storm is going to get, and when. IMO they're much better at forecasting the path than the size or strength, but when those babies spread out (ex: TS Debby last summer) you can have remarkable squalls spinning off it for a very long distance.

If I were you I would read up on techniques for judging, for instance, what direction that thunderstorm in the distance is moving.
__________________
Rakuflames is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 07:07   #4
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

i apologize if i came across badly.

one nice thing about thunderstorms in florida and the bahamas is that you can see them coming from a long way off. this is because they tend to clump up in one large head and that there are no mountains to block your view.

two years ago we were sailing in the sea of abaco when we saw an enormous thunderstorm headed our way. but when you're on the banks the water is under twenty feet deep everywhere. so we dropped sails, put out an anchor (manson supreme) and sat it out. like most thunderstorms down here, they come and go quickly....

and the 'weather reports' here are probably as bad as yours. at least in your neck of the woods the weather generally moves from west to east, so there's plenty of time to watch it coming across the entire united states. down here our summer weather tends to come from the southeast. a change of direction to west is usually a bad sign.

i would like to recommend that you get a copy of steve dodges cruising guide to abaco. not just routes and anchorages, but a complete sailors guide to being there, including a discussion of weather patterns and crossing issues.
__________________
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 07:16   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,949
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

If I were headed from Norfolk to the Abacos and the weather wasn't cooperating I would continue to move down the ICW until I had a favorable window. In general, the further south you get, the better the wind angle and the shorter the distance. Just doing the first 205 miles down to Beaufort gets you safely south of Cape Hatteras, and makes it a shorter jaunt to get across the Gulf Stream.
__________________
Kettlewell Cruising
Kettlewell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 07:49   #6
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: New York
Boat: Islander 28
Posts: 108
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

I would suggest that you listen to one of the weather pros like Chris Parker on SSB.
Listening and correlating what you hear to what you see, over time, can be very educational.
Then, when you are ready to go, you might be well served to actually subscribe and get advice specific to your mission. You'll be advised of the when and where to give you the most favorable conditions for the smoothest ride in your boat.
I agree with previous posts about taking the ditch to Moorehead City to avoid Hatteras outside.
__________________
DrivinSteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 18:50   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

Obviously weather year to year is different but weather patterns tend to repeat, and considering the forecast and actual conditions and seeing how things pan out builds experience. Making the jump straight from Norfolk and going offshore saves at least 4 days in the ditch. I'm not retired or independently wealthy so I only will have 8-10 weeks to go down and back, before having to go back to the office to pay the mortgage.

Based on todays forecasts, I'm still in a hold at Little Creek. Conditions are light to get out of the bay but the forecasted NE winds will be contrary to the gulf stream and then quite strong S, SE winds. If the weather pattern looked like this and I was waiting in Little Creek, going on down to Beaufort inside might be the best idea.
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-04-2013, 21:57   #8
Registered User
 
Caribsailors's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Somewhere in the Caribbean
Boat: Beneteau First 38
Posts: 308
Images: 23
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

I've run your plan through a program I use for "guessing" my weather windows called Visual Passage Planner. From Digital Wave - Home
It has compiled weather data for, they say, the last 100 + years of weather data.

Our vessel is a 1985 First 38
I've set the min speed at 5 knots, which has worked well for me for planning, using this software. The program allows for current and wind, and all have been set to average.

I set four waypoints for your route.
N36.55.96 x W75.59.44
N35.57.80 x W75.16.99
N27.08.19 x W77.12.76
N26.50.23 x W77.30.41

The program has returned the following data.... for May

Calculated Great Circle Distance: 630 NM
Calculated Rhumbline Distance: 630 NM
Actual Distance Traveled due to Beating : 694.5 NM
Elapsed Time to Complete passage: 5.8 Days
Average Boat Speed: 5 Kts
Average Speed Made Good: 4.5 Kts

Apparent Wind Angle Information.
Leg 1 Beating 97% @ 10 kts
tight reaching 3% @ 14.5 kts
Leg 2 Beating 71% @ 13.5 kts
tight reaching 29% @ 11.2 Kts
Leg 3 Broad reaching 100% @ 12.8 kts

Just saying

I'm way South of you, so it was very interesting to run and see the results.
Thanks.
*I'll see if I can scan and post the weather data for the route Manana

Cheers
__________________
As I sit, a swirling sea of passion gives it's poems in waves underneath me.
The whispers of the sun in my eyes, a silence within.
Rhythm of the surf, drums of the sea. Thoughts tumble and toss about the deep blue abyss inside me, where the love of you dwells.
I'm fighting currents to get back to you, listening to the flow of your liquid language as you beckon me, "Come Play"
Mariners Cove, CI. Anonymous.
Caribsailors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-04-2013, 16:01   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

thanks for the tip. It would be nice if they upgraded to Jimmy Cornell's new pilot charts. I understand they are significantly different, and I am considering the purchase.

Just completed Lee Chesneaus 2 day advanced weather course. Well worth the cost and time. The products available for free from the NWS and OPC are highly valuable. My next consideration is how to download them at sea. The least expensive way is a via a HF receiver or weatherfax by Furono or Si-Tex or working off a small portable World Band Radio.
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2013, 18:03   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

another few days of strong NE winds. and 10 maybe 15 ft waves crashing into the Gulf steam. St Augustine is getting hammered with a intensifying low 30-40 east winds and 15 + ft waves only 40 miles off shore.
this could last into mid next week. no going offshore from anywhere on the east coast. some of long range models are predicting a change late next week and first SW winds coming in.... is summer coming ?
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 18:43   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

SW winds continues to be in the forecast for Wed-Friday. The models shown on Passage Weather and SeaWeather.net keep S SW winds in the area into next week. It looks like it would be favorable for a broad reach to Bermuda departing Wed or Thursday. Heading South to the Abacos would be a close reach to close hauled with dying winds forecasted at 30 deg N. Might have to motor in the last 200 miles or wait for the next weather system.

Any one else looking at this?
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 18:55   #12
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anduril View Post
Might have to motor in the last 200 miles or wait for the next weather system.
What some people mean by "weather window" is a situation where no fronts are going through, and where they consequently have to motor more than usual. Nice safe air.

What other people mean by "weather window" are situations where winds facilitate a fast passage.

Still others use the term "weather window" to indicate a point where they can finally leave a given anchorage without risking life and limb.

The only hard-and-fast rule is this: at no point should a "weather window" be influenced by the amount of time available to complete a cruise.
__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2013, 19:52   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

My definition is a bit of both, I want favorable winds and waves for good sailing with minimal motoring. I can handle 20-30 knots but would prefer it to be on a reach or behind me, and not blowing against the gulf stream.

Did I mention, clear star-filled nights and mahi-mahi on the line.
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2013, 20:20   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

There was an opportunity, departing yesterday a dawn from Little Creek VA, S SW winds most of time and a little weather, making 5 knots on average, we might be able to outrun the expected cold front on Sunday\Monday and get into St Georges BM ahead of the storm. Model forecast for after this cold front passage are for it to go back to the NE so departure on Monday might not be so good for crossing the GS. Low and Highs are stacked up across the US so we'll see how quickly the reach the coast and go out to sea. The good thing, I think, is that the dominate Low in the azores is finally getting pushed out into Europe and letting High pressure sit in the mid Atlantic ... more like summer weather.
__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-05-2013, 19:24   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Boat: Beneteau First 35 "Anduril"
Posts: 47
Re: Picking a Weather Window Norfolk-Bahamas

Departing tomorrow looks like it would be favorable for a run down to the Abacos. Staying below the low pressure that is suppose to develop off NJ. Riding SW winds down the va coast to Cape Hatteras and across the GS. Working south in to SW winds, gradually changing to S and then SE to East. looks like it could be generally clear all the way down to Marsh Harbor. We'll see how the actual weather pans out compared to the model predictions
__________________

__________________
Anduril is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
weather

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Looking for a Buddy Boat - Block Island to Norfolk or Atlantic City Weehappy Atlantic & the Caribbean 16 10-10-2016 18:07
Cape May to Norfolk, Outside - Any Advice ? way-happy Atlantic & the Caribbean 14 06-05-2013 21:39
Route Confusion! Florida to Panama via Bahamas 2far2drive Atlantic & the Caribbean 13 07-12-2011 14:13
Sea Myths and Sayings Mariners The Sailor's Confessional 5 29-09-2011 14:51
The Loss of 'Kampeska' TigerLilly Seamanship & Boat Handling 0 14-09-2011 06:32



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:13.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.