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Old 24-11-2019, 10:31   #661
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
october-november is the main winter migratory period for whales, their route between the portugese coast,to and around the azores.



i doubt a whale would be able to submerge fast enough to avoid a cat hissing along at 10 knots,in these instances only a watch close to the helm where fast evasive action is needed suffices.
Tough to do at night though. Maybe mount stereo speakers against the hull?

Had a whale cross our bow in Juan de Fuca Straits once, VERY close...lots of phosphorecense...looked like a glowing school bus...I was on bow watch...mesmerized & speechless!
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Old 24-11-2019, 10:39   #662
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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We once had a mother and kid whale play around our boat near the Azores. The would swim along quite close and dive under and turn upside down (so you could see their belly) and look at the boat and then come up on the other side. They treated us with kid gloves like we were very fragile.



Also near here, we did wake up, or at least startle, a really big sperm. It shook and flapped its tail, which would not have ended well if it had actually hit us . . . but it did not.



Overall the ocean whales have always treated us very well. I know some have been aggressive to other boats and I always wonder what caused that. I remember in a game park in S Africa there was an elephant which was attacking cars. The park rangers darted him and discovered he had a very bad toothache. They fixed it and he settled down into a lovable elephant again.


I have a firm belief that the whales do not like red bottom paint. Most of the boats Iíve been on had either black, which they seem to like, or blue. I was coming down the California coast with my new to me Boat, which had red bottom paint, and I had a whale chasing me full speed. It confirmed my belief, changed to black as soon as I got to Mexico! I hope somebody chimes in and agrees.

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Old 24-11-2019, 11:57   #663
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

Things seem to be pretty unsettled right now. A couple days ago we beat from Antigua to St Martin. Lots of large lows creating havoc with the traditional weather systems.
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Old 24-11-2019, 12:06   #664
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Things seem to be pretty unsettled right now. A couple days ago we beat from Antigua to St Martin. Lots of large lows creating havoc with the traditional weather systems.
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Old 24-11-2019, 12:42   #665
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Originally Posted by Breaking Waves View Post
On the 27th there is a big ridge forming to the south. there will be a decision whether to go quite high/north to chase wind pressure, or to stay down near the edge of pressure and just sail along in light air.
I see two Highs and a very shallow low (only 1004) dragging (kinda) an occluded front. I wouldn't expect anything other than a smooth diminishing of winds by just a few knots. What are you seeing that I am not? I don't see a ridge.

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Are you seriously telling me you cannot see where the fronts are on the top image and need someone to draw them in for you?
I can see them. I don't need anyone to draw them in. I can say with great assurance based on speaking engagements and owner aboard deliveries that most cruisers cannot. I'll also point out that professional meteorologists have access to a lot of information we do not (ensembles, temp and humidity f(altitude), radar/IR/visual overhead imagery) that we simply do not have at sea.

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But #1 you then can't use any of the modern weather analysis/routing tools that have been developed the past quarter decade. And #2 you can not zoom in and see the anticipated close in details, which not accurate 25 years ago but is in fact now pretty damn accurate (like right now, within a half degree, how low can they go and still hang onto wind in 2 days). And #3 you have more difficulty assessing the confidence of the forecast - than when you have the ability to have multiple models and multiple time series overlayed.
I don't agree. Importantly GIGO. Comparing different models without a firm understanding of the algorithms and boundary conditions is a crap shoot. Zooming in to see interpolated data confuses accuracy with precision. There are some exceptions of course including NOAA OFS but those don't help on an ocean crossing.

I've sat side-by-side with meteorologists at OPC in College Park. Those dedicated professionals digest more information (which we don't have at sea, or generally at home without significant subscriptions) more quickly than we can hope to.

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This passage would have been ALOT more difficult to carefully and accurately route without the modern tools.
I disagree. You might not have so many pretty pictures but the product based on synoptics is straightforward.

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Plus OpenCPN is worth mention as being another excellent tool for weather, for those who can't see the fronts on a grib then overlaying a synoptic can be very interesting, though with the grib you'll have much more info about how grumpy the front will be.
I agree. Overlays are a tremendous capability of OpenCPN. This is the huge benefit of a tool built by people who use the tool themselves in the real world. Huge fan. I use OpenCPN with both synoptic and grib overlays. Synoptics are better in my experience. When raw ensembles are available from Saildocs someone let me know. Never mind - don't bother - I'll see them.

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Honestly, at least in my experience, a 'close watch' would have to be pretty lucky to see a (slightly submerged) sleeping whale, in front of them, in any sort of sea. They don't stand out. And at night/dusk, no way at all.
I strongly agree with you here. Whale or container you don't have a prayer of seeing them in time to do anything without being very very lucky. I have the same issue with inshore sailors/boaters buying forward-looking sonar. If you're glued to the display with your hands on throttle and wheel maybe, but then will you have time to 'look out the window?'
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Old 24-11-2019, 13:16   #666
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Tough to do at night though. Maybe mount stereo speakers against the hull?

Had a whale cross our bow in Juan de Fuca Straits once, VERY close...lots of phosphorecense...looked like a glowing school bus...I was on bow watch...mesmerized & speechless!
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Old 24-11-2019, 13:18   #667
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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I don't see a ridge.

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I can see them. I don't need anyone to draw them in. I can say with great assurance based on speaking engagements and owner aboard deliveries that most cruisers cannot.

Well, perhaps it would be better to encourage them to properly learn to use modern tools to see the fronts, rather than teaching them to depend on someone else drawing them into an inflexible product.

I'll also point out that professional meteorologists have access to a lot of information we do not (ensembles, temp and humidity f(altitude), radar/IR/visual overhead imagery) that we simply do not have at sea.

The quantified data of which is (mostly) baked into the models already.

Comparing different models without a firm understanding of the algorithms and boundary conditions is a crap shoot.

Comparing GFS and Euro is very very straightforward.I DO NOT need to understand the details of algorithms to readily identify when there is consistency/confidence and when there is not. I am not trying to pick one, I am trying to identify when I can do 'clever' routing close to systems, and when I should not.

Zooming in to see interpolated data confuses accuracy with precision.

We are looking at 1/4 or 1/2 degree gfs and 9km euro data - there is just no way to even approach that sort of detail with an ocean level synoptic chart. And it works - you can position a boat remarkably accurately, the racers do it with remarkable effect - ofc not all the time, sometimes even the current conditions are just wrong, but you are not going to get it any of the time with an ocean level chart.

I've sat side-by-side with meteorologists at OPC in College Park. Those dedicated professionals digest more information (which we don't have at sea, or generally at home without significant subscriptions) more quickly than we can hope to.

The "raw model vs human input" discussion was important 20 years ago, but is way way less so now because the models have gotten an absolute ton better.

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Right now if there is say a model disagreement between GFS and euro and a (noaa) forecaster product who/which one will turn out to be right is close to a crapshoot - but statistically (from the data I have seen) euro comes out slightly ahead. In fact it did right here on this voyage with the development of the TS - euro saw and identified and forecast its track before and better than gfs or noaa humans. Weather is a chaos driven system and there is a level of accuracy above which nothing, but especially a human, can aspire to - direct model-driven AI is the future here.


You might not have so many pretty pictures but the product based on synoptics is straightforward.

well, I have actually been doing day to day routing here on this specific voyage - have you? It's been interesting and complex. I can tell you operating just with ocean level synoptics it would have been more difficult both placing the boat with as much precision and having as much confidence in the result. Sure you could get across an ocean,. we all used to do it. But there HAS been 25 years development of these tools, and they are used by ALL the top racers and ALL the top routers, and you are just casually dismissing them as useless . . . thats just putting your head in the sand on 25 years of development and improvement.
Bottom line - you are doing the cruising community a disservice by casually dismissing current modern tools the way you do.
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Old 24-11-2019, 13:37   #668
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
I strongly agree with you here. Whale or container you don't have a prayer of seeing them in time to do anything without being very very lucky. I have the same issue with inshore sailors/boaters buying forward-looking sonar. If you're glued to the display with your hands on throttle and wheel maybe, but then will you have time to 'look out the window?'
i agree with you to a point that at night you are unlikely to see a whale.
having hit one in the south atlantic at dusk and been thrown out of my hammock on the aft deck, at the time i did see its tail and a big splash behind us,the person steering was also surprised and was fighting to put the yacht back on coarse as we had been knocked sideways and gybed.

but on two other occasions in the indian ocean and of off palawan in the philipines running at 6 and 8 knots in 2m seas we had very close encounters,both times seeing the whale around 100m ahead ,and as both times i was hand steering , i was able to put the helm over,gybing the boat and sails .
had we been on auto pilot we would have without doubt hit .

so i guess it comes down to what you call being on watch and peoples reliance on auto pilots.

we never really had that level of watch keeping ,as we mostly hand steered on the last 2 circumnavigations.
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Old 24-11-2019, 13:42   #669
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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so i guess it comes down to what you call being on watch and peoples reliance on auto pilots.

we never really had that level of watch keeping ,as we mostly hand steered on the last 2 circumnavigations.
This is an important point.

Having someone hand steering totally changes the watchkeeping attention level, and I would guess is statistically measurably safer (if anyone was able to gather such statistics).

But there is a minimum amount of competent helmsmen you would want because it is fatiguing if you are only say two on board. And you do not want to build up to much fatigue on board, so you have some reserves in order to deal effectively with the difficult and unexpected situations.

How many competent helms people did you have onboard for continuous helming - 4?

I've been curious if G's father is a sailor at home - does he have a boat (even a small one), can he helm? I am sort of assuming not from what has been written. It would have been a noticeable additional help if he was able . . . but you can only play the cards you are dealt.
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Old 24-11-2019, 14:04   #670
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Originally Posted by Breaking Waves View Post
This is an important point.

Having someone hand steering totally changes the watchkeeping attention level, and I would guess is statistically measurably safer (if anyone was able to gather such statistics).

But there is a minimum amount of competent helmsmen you would want because it is fatiguing if you are only say two on board. And you do not want to build up to much fatigue on board, so you have some reserves in order to deal effectively with the difficult and unexpected situations.

How many competent helms people did you have onboard for continuous helming - 4?

I've been curious if G's father is a sailor at home - does he have a boat (even a small one), can he helm? I am sort of assuming not from what has been written. It would have been a noticeable additional help if he was able . . . but you can only play the cards you are dealt.
on ocean crossings normally 4 or 5 on our first boat that was 35ft
and on our current boat that is 63 ft anywhere up to 10 adults and the 2 kids
generally with 2 on watch at a time alternating the steering between them on a 4 hour watch.
works great and gives people something to do on a long passage.
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Old 24-11-2019, 14:09   #671
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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anywhere up to 10 adults and the 2 kids
nice situation for watchkeeping . . . but I admire your leadership skills to manage such a team.

I find even people you thought you know, can be strangers and quite 'odd' sometimes at sea.

On a race boat it helps pull everyone together that you all have a very specific common purpose - on a cruising boat your leadership is required to create and hold together that common purpose. Good on you !
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Old 24-11-2019, 14:45   #672
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Holy Crap!

We get humpbacks here on the Pacific side of Panama, but Ive never seen a broach that up close!
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Old 24-11-2019, 14:48   #673
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Sunday Dec 1st - that is impressive, that is a really BIG low.

Attachment 203672

Covering from NYC to the Azores.

It looks like it will not cause any major issues by the time it gets to LV position (high-pressure system pushes it north), but still, damn that is a big system.

It may drive Sly/SWly winds on their landfall, which will be something to starting keeping in mind for routing - dont want to have to be too hard upwind for the finish.


If it continues to pan out that way would there be any value in driving south east, maybe around 17W, then being able to run/reach NE into Lisbon? A few more miles but maybe better sailing?
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Old 24-11-2019, 14:56   #674
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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If it continues to pan out that way would there be any value in driving south east, maybe around 17W
It is possible.
Current long-range routing says not - it has a long approach run in from north of west.
But the forecast that far out can certainly change a lot and my polar speeds are still not perfect for this boat - so the long-range routing timing could be off.
Right now it is something to keep in the back of your mind as you make the near term day to day choice between going high for wind and staying low, an extra little weight on the staying low side.
I really posted it just because I was struck by the size.
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Old 24-11-2019, 15:19   #675
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Re: La Vagabonde's crossing

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Originally Posted by Breaking Waves View Post
It is possible.
Current long-range routing says not - it has a long approach run in from north of west.
But the forecast that far out can certainly change a lot and my polar speeds are still not perfect for this boat - so the long-range routing timing could be off.
Right now it is something to keep in the back of your mind as you make the near term day to day choice between going high for wind and staying low, an extra little weight on the staying low side.
I really posted it just because I was struck by the size.
972hpa as it leaves the east coast! but generally these big lows don't reach that far south untill later in december and can reach as far as the canary island bringing SW winds.

on the portugese coast the portugese trades are well established at this time of year,so any passing low generally does not disrupt the NE prevailing wind for long and quickly moves off to the NE
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