Bruce’s R2AK Weather Brief

Photos by Jan Anderson

A lot of us were surprised at just how fast some of the boats got to Victoria on Thursday in just about perfect conditions. Sunday’s 1200 start will be distinctly different as the wind will be light in the starting area and then build lightly from the west until you turn the corner at Trial Island and or duck inside to avoid the ebb tide. Max ebb at Trial Island will be about 1400 hours at 1.1 knots. Slack will occur around 1630 hours so for the rowers and paddlers it will be a simple matter of working the beach to stay out of the tide and travel the shortest possible distance up through the Islands and then depending upon the tide going through Dodd or False Narrows. The Flood will last until almost midnight so you should make good progress going at least to Nanaimo.

For the sailors, it will be how to get to the breeze in the northern part of the Strait of Georgia the fastest way possible which won’t be easy. It will be an on-the-water call however if you can sail up the inside and get into Trincomali Channel and then catch the flood tide to exit out through Porlier Pass and into the Strait of Georgia, that looks like a real possibility. From there you’ll be dealing with a light to moderate northwesterly and of course the tidal gate at Seymour Narrows. If you’re watching the wind in Johnstone Strait remember that the anemometer readings from Fanny Island at the west end of Hardwicke Island are intermittent and reading about twice the real wind speed. At this point it certainly looks like there won’t be a repeat of the thrash up Johnstone Strait that occurred last year.

The rest of the week doesn’t look too bad as the high off the coast is still not setting up in a very stable shape and there is a weak low pressure system associated with a cutoff upper level low that will make its way towards the BC coast late in the week which should give sailors a great ride north to Ketchikan. Maybe just in time to give sailors a southerly to get through the channel at Bella Bella.

Regardless, it’s going to be interesting to watch the tracker as they get to Campbell River and Seymour Narrows.

Good luck and stay safe.

Ed. Note: The R2AK certainly is not under any radars this year. But it’s great to see that the spirit of the event is still alive and well with many it it clearly for the adventure and not the steak knives. Last year’s thrash was one kind of R2AK while this year’s race promises something completely different. Makes me wonder what the Bieker proa Pure and Wild would do this year. 47700-X2You have to hand it to the Buchans, who reportedly pulled their inboard to make Madrona legal. Not surprising, the first leg was won handily by Mad Dog Racing, the super fast M32 cat. But if last year showed us anything, the best stories are likely to come from the other end of the fleet as they persevere to the north.

Fair winds, all. And I second Bruce’s thoughts on staying safe.  –Kurt Hoehne



Bruce has raced and cruised the Pacific Northwest his entire life. He earned a Bachelor's of Science from the University of Washington in Biological Oceanography and learned meteorology "to keep from getting kicked around on the race course." Bruce spent nearly two decades as Associate Publisher for Northwest Yachting Magazine, retiring in mid-2015, and was the chairman of the board of trustees for the Northwest Marine Trade Association in 2014. (photo of Bruce driving Playstation is a bit dated, but cool)

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