Bruce’s Brief for Weather April 29-30 and Protection Island Race

It’s a ways from Seattle to Protection Island

The bad news is that we are going to have more rain, as if we haven’t had enough already. The good news, especially for the longest race in the Tri-Island Series, is we are going to have wind as long as you finish the Long Course before about 0200 hrs Sunday morning. The other good news is that for the most part the tides will be with us. The really good news, especially for the folks going on TransPac, is that some semblance of a Pacific High is starting to form and the jet stream is slowly and inexorably moving north. Summer will eventually happen.

Tides for Admiralty Inlet off of Bush Point


0500 Max Flood 1.29 knts

0706 Slack

1112 Max Ebb.   3.89 knts

1448 Slack

1800 Max Flood 3.13 knts

2124 Slack


0024 Max Ebb   2.46 knts

0354 Slack

0554 Max Flood 1.02 knts

0754 Slack

1200 Max Ebb   3.62 knts

The surface charts show a weak high pressure system off the coast that will be pushed out of the way by a weak frontal system that will make it’s way onshore over Saturday and into Sunday morning. Following a typical pattern, the pre-frontal southerly will be light, 6-8 knots, in the starting area and then build as the day goes on especially in the northern part of the race course. By late Saturday afternoon and into the early evening we could see 20-25-knots of SSE so plan ahead with safety harnesses and jack lines rigged before you leave the dock, as well as starboard tack barber haulers. Once the front passes, the post frontal westerly will fill down the Straits creating a light air convergence zone from Pt. Townsend to Kingston, in other words finish early.

You should be able to sail pretty much a course that gets you to the Island with a minimal number of gybes. You might also want to think about getting a warm meal into the crew while you’re going downwind because it will be really lumpy coming home and you’re going to want people hiking all the time for the beat home. As you sail up Admiralty Inlet towards the Island if you want to find out what’s happening on the water between Discovery Bay and Protection Island just go to This is a private weather station located on the north side of Diamond Point. Think also about getting set up for the beat home with the headsail hoisted in the port groove because you’ll have long starboard tacks and short port tacks.

Going around the Island for those of you with deep drafts remember the Dallas Bank extends a long way to the north of Protection Island and because it’ shallow in places there can be a lot of kelp out there. This time of the year it shouldn’t be too bad but it will pay to keep a sharp lookout.

From the Island to Pt Townsend, it should be a close reach and generally speaking the water will be flatter along the west side from Pt. Townsend to Pt. No Point. On starboard tack the puffs will be lifts however if it starts to get light on the approach to Pt. No Point remember there’s a reason why it’s called Skunk Bay, don’t get in too close.

From Point No Point to the finish if the barometer is rising the wind will be slowly shifting from the SSE to the SSW which will mean staying to the west so you will be on the inside of the lift for the approach to the finish.

Be safe, have a great race.


Ed. Notes: Thanks Bruce, for taking time from your Mexican holiday and putting down the margarita long enough to to the Brief. And to all those racers, please help me with post-race coverage by sending me anecdotes, photos or video links. Thanks.


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)

One thought on “Bruce’s Brief for Weather April 29-30 and Protection Island Race

  • May 6, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Great work on the Protection Island weekend.

    Also, great work on the previous R2AK weather predictions

    R2AK 2017 starts 0500 June 8, 2017.

    As the smallest craft (12′ SCAMP) crossing the Strait in 2015 and 2016, Noddy’s Noggins is most interested in your wind/current forecast for the Stage-1 crossing. We made it across at 4.2 kts average and felt jolly lucky getting through the light spot in the center as the wing swung around to the NW.

    Thanks, and we’re looking forward to your forecast for 2017 as we get closer.

    Noddy’s Noggins
    12′ SCAMP


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