Bruce’s Weather Brief, July 22-23

Bruce’s Weather Brief, July 22-23

Bruce is back! With forecasts! Now let’s get out there and cruise.

TransPac was great but nothing beats the Pacific Northwest in the summer when the weather is perfect here while the rest of the country is baking and getting overly soaked. Not much on tap around here in terms of weather to watch except the usual summertime suspects: the wind against the ebb tide going over the bars along the coast and the afternoons in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as the westerly fills down especially in the central to eastern part of the Strait.

What is strange is that weak group of low-pressure systems centered off of the Queen Charlottes. These are supported by a cut-off upper-level low that you see on today’s 500MB chart. This combination has the overall effect of keeping the Pacific High weak and unstable. This is actually good news as this will have the effect of keeping our temperatures from getting too warm. The other good news is that not much is going to change going forward. Overall, that means do more boating, get out and enjoy our incredible area.

Triumph finishes Transpac

Triumph finishes Transpac

The Santa Cruz 52 Triumph, with Bruce and Gregg Hedrick aboard, finished their Transpac last night and are presumed safely docked and mai taied. Congratulations all. Raisin’ Cane and Kinetic V finished last night as well, and BlueFlash is closing in on the finish line fast. Merlin, with Carl Buchan aboard, finished in the wee hours Friday morning to finish second over the line in class and third in class on corrected time. I’ll try to get more details on each of the stories. Results here.

In the meantime, here’s the last report from Bruce Hedrick, filed just before the finish. It’s a fun insight to life onboard and a well-run program.

TransPac Update 15 July 2017

What a long strange race it’s been. Sorry I wasn’t able to get more info out to you however we’ve been working really hard to keep the boat moving in difficult conditions. Even though records were set by the big boats, we’ve spent a lot of time sailing in 9-13 knots even on this final approach to the Islands when we should be sailing with our full sized, heavy kite in 20 to 25 knots of trade winds. Instead we are just comfortably cruising along making about 8-9 knots in 14 knots of breeze.

We had a great first half of the race and it seems like after we had hit something large and soft, we lost our boat speed edge. Even though we could see nothing on our keel or rudder, we also couldn’t see the full length of either one of them. After three days of the slows we finally bit the bullet, dropped the spinnaker and did a complete back down. We never saw anything come off the bottom but we definitely got our speed back and went from 30 miles behind the other SC-52s to within 3 miles of them last night. At sunset we started aggressively gybing on the shifts to try and get past them and actually ended up losing time, go figure. So now we are just keeping the pedal down and are once again sailing up to them. We have about 100 miles to go so it will be interesting.

Our crew has been great and we have had a great time. Our skipper, Steve Sellinger, did an outstanding job of putting a diverse group together and getting them to function as a team. There is no question that any of us would happily sail on Triumph with Steve again, any time, any place. Our boat captain is Gregg Hedrick who did a superb job putting the boat together and getting us ready for this long trip. We have not had one single failure of any piece of equipment or any of the many complex systems aboard. A true testament to his skills and abilities.

We have two watch captains, Scott Mason and Scott Poe, who bring a wealth of knowledge to the table along with an incredible amount sailing skills and abilities. They know instinctively the right thing to do at the absolutely the right time. We also have the considerable fortune to have Bruce Cooper aboard, our sailmaker and living, breathing human crossover chart who knows, without looking, exactly what sail we should have up and where we should be sailing it.

The person you would race anywhere with is Grant Wooden because he is constantly trying  to figure out how to make the boat go faster by always trimming and re-trimming to get the very most out of you and the boat. The most dangerous job on the boat is running the foredeck which entails never ending trips to frontier land (the bow) to get the sails up and down as well as get the spinnakers through that complex series of maneuvers we call gybing which involves coordinating the entire crew. We are so fortunate to have Zack Hannah in charge of all of that; he is just amazing as well as totally fearless. Regardless of the task, time of day or night, even if he just came off watch, he always answers the call with a smile on his face.  A truly outstanding group!

So what worked for us on this 10 day trip? Besides everything, there are notable standouts. Top of the list was the food, and it was incredible. There was none of that freeze-dried junk. Instead we had real food that had been completely prepared, vacuum packed and then deep frozen. All you had to do then was take the breakfast for the next morning out the night before or take dinner out in the morning. Once it was thawed you simply placed the plastic bag in the boiling water of the pressure cooker, let the pressure come up to about 4psi, and your meal was ready! The meals were planned to meet the expected conditions so for the first night, which is traditionally rough, we had easy to eat chicken and rice or bean and cheese burritos. Other dinners included carne asada, pork roast and veggies, pappardelle, sabatinos sausage spaghetti, turkey meatloaf, and for our last supper we’re having barbeque chicken with Trader Joe’s cabbage salad. Not a marginal meal in the bunch. We do have five days of backup freeze-dried meals however things would have to get pretty desperate before we went to those.

Lunch and breakfast were less organized because of the watch system however as the days go on and the days get warmer you generally transition from three meals to two meals and more snacks. Even todays snacks included carrots, celery, apples, oranges, beef jerky, and Kind bars. We’ve all lost some weight but not for lack of food.

A very cool addition to the boat was a coffee grinder mounted in the cockpit which allowed one person to sit on a Home Depot bucket with a boat cushion and easily trim the kite with the option to going to three speeds if needed. So much easier than trying to sit on a winch island and grind a top action winch.

Bruce Cooper, our sailmaker from Ullman Sails, also introduced us to the latest and greatest when it came to aids in the nighttime trimming of spinnakers. For years we’ve used contrasting strips of cloth in a chevron shape along the luff. We got these new luminescent strips which glowed in the dark and were easily seen from the cockpit. They got a little fainter towards dawn but then recharged themselves when the sun came up. He also small strips of the same tape you could place on the sheet so you could easily return to the same fast setting.

Lastly, my Don Leighton autographed sailing gloves were worth every cent. Every time you touched the wheel with them the boat went almost a knot faster. If you reached over the side and touched the water, seas were instantly calmed. Amazing.

Overall, the thing to remember is that when you can sail across the pond with such a great group on such a well prepared vessel, it is an experience like no other and you should never miss an opportunity to do so. Again, I apologize for not getting more of these out to you. Needless to say, if you’re going to be around TransPac Row in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor tonight around 2300 hours, come on by and say hello.

TransPac Update Triumph 8 July

TransPac Update Triumph 8 July
Triumph

On-the-water update from Bruce Hedrick aboard Triumph.

I usually get these out sooner however we’ve been a very busy boat. The boat has been going very fast and we’ve had ZERO problems. Gregg (and Ben not on the boat) Hedrick have done a great job getting us ready. As the newbie on the boat I’m totally stoked about the great team our captain and owner Steve Sellinger has assembled. It’s the main reason the boat is going so fast and we’re having so much fun.

It’s been a pretty normal TransPac so far, going through the usual progression of sails. It hasn’t been super windy however the nav station is on the starboard and it can be a challenge to keep from falling out of the nav seat, that’s my excuse for not starting this sooner. We started with the heavy#1 and then changed to the #3 at the west end of Catalina and then back to the H#1 about 2 miles later. Beyond San Nicholas we changed back to #3 and carried this combo in 18 to 25 for about 12 hrs before we put a reef in the main. As the wind slowly eased and clocked we added a genoa staysail and then later dumped the reef. Yesterday morning we set our first spinnaker, the A3.

This necessitated that we change our watch system from 3 on deck to 4 on deck; 1 driver, 1 grinder, 1 trimmer, and a mainsheet trimmer. We then change one person an hour. We were close to beam reaching in very confused seas so everyone on deck rotated a position every 30 minutes. Our foredeck king, Zack, led the way in increasing speed by breaking the 9, 10, and 11-knot barriers somewhat effortlessly.

Last night was one of those just great nights of sailing, even though it didn’t start out that way because we’ve been sailing under a heavy marine layer which had done a great job of wiping out the nearly full moon and almost all of the stars. Near midnight the full moon found its way through an opening and provided us with a sparkling silver surface upon which to sail. The best part was that this coincided with a visit from a large pod of dolphin and they were extremely happy to be playing right alongside us, coming so far out of the water you could see the reflection of the moon under the flying dolphin. It doesn’t matter how many times this happens; you never tire of watching these amazing creatures.

All for now, everyone is well, working hard, and enjoying some great meals. Hopefully more tomorrow.  Looking forward to another night of fast sailing.

I remain, your humble scribe.

Ed. Note: Thanks, Bruce, sitting down will become easier as the wind moves aft…. We’ll have several updates from Raisin’ Cane, which has a great shore team conveying info. And, by the way, I forgot to mention that well known PNW sailor Bob King is also aboard. Thanks to Mitchel Nimon for that reminder. Basically, all our PNW boats are moving along nicely, their relative positions unchanged from yesterday. Comanche broke the 24-hour speed record (now 481 odd miles).

Bruce’s Weather Brief (summer’s here and there’s stuff to do!): 24-25 June 2017

Bruce’s Weather Brief (summer’s here and there’s stuff to do!): 24-25 June 2017

Pretty much only good, no, great news for this weekend. Just in time for the official start of summer, we’re going to have 75+⁰F for today, 80+⁰F for Saturday and 90+⁰F for Sunday. No reason not to get out and enjoy our beautiful waters this weekend.

Plus there is plenty going on especially if you DON’T have a boat. You can go for free boat rides at Seas the Day at South Lake Union at 901 Fairview Ave N. If you do have a boat and just want to brush up on some boating skills, like docking, anchoring, technology, sail rigging, or knot tying there will be clinics on all this and more. Add in seminars on salmon fishing, crabbing, or chartering then add in perfect weather and you’ve got a great way to spend Saturday from 1100 to 1500. I know, too much to do and not nearly enough time. If you have any questions feel free to give them a call at 206-748-0012.

On all the inland waters expect perfect conditions just beware that while the air temperature may be warm, the water temp is still COLD and hypothermia is not out of the question. There won’t be a lot of wind, see the surface charts to see why.

What is really interesting is the 500MB charts and the Tropical Surface Charts. The jet stream is way north and undulating in a manner to suggest that when it straightens out, we’ll have another cutoff low over northern BC and SE Alaska. There is also a weak upper-level low off of southern California which is preventing the Pacific High from setting up where we’d like it for TransPac. A new feature this week showed up on the tropical surface charts and that would be the first of the tropical waves which usually precedes the formation of tropical cyclone development. By this time last year, we were already well into alphabet when it came to named storms. For those of you headed across the pond, this will bear watching.

The TransPac folks are also watching the late development of the Pacific High and not only is it out of place, it’s also weak and therefore easily pushed around by the low-pressure systems still coming across the Pacific. The result, if you were to start today, would be a very slow beat/reach away from the coast followed by a slow drag race to the Islands with very interesting squall activity if you’re taking the more northerly route. The trouble with this type of pattern is that you could get caught behind one of these squalls and lose six hours to a competitor just a couple of miles away. Scary stuff.

Enjoy the weekend!

Bruce’s Brief June 14-15 R2AK

Bruce’s Brief June 14-15 R2AK

While it did get breezy in the Strait of Georgia, it certainly didn’t get as light as we thought it would from Nanaimo to Campbell River. This allowed some well sailed multi-hulls to get a lead and make it through the tide gate at Seymour Narrows. There are a whole mess of boats waiting for the favorable tide at Seymour Narrows and they should get shot through this evening. As of 2230 hours, five boats have made it through and are well on their way to round Cape Caution tonight and three of them are setting up for what should be a great race to the finish in Ketchikan.

The reason is that early Wednesday morning the next front will be getting to the Hecate Strait with another one right behind it on Thursday morning. This will mean breezy conditions (25-35 knots from the SSE)for the next 24 to 36 hours. This could mean 200 to 250 mile days for the tri’s and if they can hold together, avoid logs, and stay upright they could finish late Thursday or early Friday. This southerly will extend over the entire race course from Nanaimo to Bella Bella, it won’t be as breezy but it will certainly help the middle part of the fleet to get through Johnstone Strait and around Cape Caution.

After that, it’s going to go light again.

Ed. Note: The race within a race, for the $10K boat buy back offer, has got me really intrigued. There’s no way any of the Farrier trimaran types, but according to the race’s first podcast, the Ketch Me if U Can team with the Nacra 20 have their eyes on that prize and they’re in a comfy (for now) 5th place on the water. Who will take the $10K and fly home? –Kurt

Bruce’s Brief’s: R2AK Start from Victoria

Bruce’s Brief’s:  R2AK Start from Victoria

As we said yesterday, it’s a very complex picture and the models are not at all in agreement. As you can see from the surface charts, there isn’t much of a gradient. After tomorrow it doesn’t look much better, however one of the models has the Strait of Georgia getting nasty from 0100 hrs on Monday until 1200 on Monday. By nasty, I mean 25-30 knots from the west-northwest. Remember this is only one model.

The rest of the models still have it light for the start and staying that way until around 2300 hours tomorrow (Sunday) night when a light west-northwesterly will fill down Trincomali Channel first and then into the Straits. By 0200 hrs Monday this could build to 20 knots in the Straits before it starts to back off around 0800 hrs. As the next front approaches, the breeze will continue to drop before it gets really light and variable starting on late Tuesday afternoon.

By noon on Wednesday, as the front get closer, a light southeasterly will fill in over the race area.

So the question remains, which way to go when? For the rowers and paddleboarders, it’s still the shortest possible course. For the sailors, it’s going to be a question of when you get the breeze and when you are going to hit the tide gates. You will need to monitor the VHF and track the wind reports at Halibut Bank, Entrance Island, Ballenas, Sisters, and Sentry Shoals. After that, it’s going to get light and the tides at Seymour Narrows will be critical. Johnstone Strait won’t be horrible but the question will be if the rowers and paddleboarders can build enough of a lead getting around Cape Caution before the sailors get into the southeasterly in Queen Charlotte Sound. That southerly/southeasterly will likely carry everyone to Bella Bella and then to Ketchikan.

Bruce’s Brief’s: 10 & 11 June 2017, Leukemia Cup Saturday, & Start of R2AK from Victoria on Sunday

Bruce’s Brief’s: 10 & 11 June 2017, Leukemia Cup Saturday, & Start of R2AK from Victoria on Sunday

The Proving Grounds section of the R2AK was certainly that yesterday as the front passed over the course from Pt. Townsend to Victoria. If you were still out in the Straits when the post-frontal westerly filled in, you got hammered as the breeze built to 40+knots with gusts to near 50 knots. The front slowed as it hit the coast and was about 45 minutes to an hour later than we had expected however we tend to err on the side of caution especially when there are small vessels like paddleboards involved in an open water crossing where there will be nowhere to hide or duck into.

As you look at the surface charts for the weekend you see an evolving and complex weather picture, especially for the folks going to Ketchikan.The bad news for Leukemia Cup is that unless you’re willing to stay on the water until late Saturday afternoon, there isn’t going to be much wind. However, since it’s part of the Downtown Sailing Series and for a really important cause, who cares, plus you can use your engine to complete the course.

For the rest of Puget Sound, it’s not going to be much different. Light air, partly cloudy conditions, an occasional light rain squall, really more like the spring we never had. The only place where there will be wind will be the central and eastern Straits of Juan de Fuca and it will be cranking up there especially in the late afternoon.

As I mentioned, this is a complex weather picture that will provide the racers going to Alaska with some unique challenges and not of the high wind variety. The key to this is yet another pesky upper-level low-pressure system just off our coast and north of the jet stream which is keeping the Pacific High from setting up in its usual position. This could be the year that rowers and paddleboarders give the sailing crowd fits. There simply isn’t going to be a lot of wind for the first three to five days except for maybe a 12 hour period from midnight Sunday until noon on Monday and then pretty much only in the area from Campbell River south to the mid-Gulf Islands. In that time frame expect the breeze to be from the northwest in the 10-20-knot range. After that, it’s going to stay light as another weak frontal system lazily approaches coastal BC. By light, I mean 0 gusting to 5-knots from Campbell River to Port Hardy. As the front brushes the coast, the race course will start to see a light southeasterly on Thursday morning, 5-8-knots.

The start on Sunday will be a challenge for everyone because max ebb is one hour before the start with the slack before the flood being at around 1500 hours. There will also be very little breeze. The wind will fill down from the northwest in the early evening and when it does, there will be wind in Trincomali Channel. Sailors will then have to calculate if they can hit the flood at Porlier Pass to get out to the Strait of Georgia where the wind will be slightly stronger and last longer.

Currents at Porlier Pass

Of course, in a light air scenario, the key for the rowers and paddleboarders will be traveling the shortest possible course and hitting the tidal gates at the right time at Dodd Narrows and Seymour Narrows. If they can get through there and slam a tide door on the sailors they will be able to get all the way out Johnstone Strait fighting only the tide.

Currents at Dodd Narrows

They will also have the ability to work the back eddies along the beach to avoid the worst of the tide. If they can do that and then get out and around Cape Caution in a southerly breeze for the rest of the trip past Bella Bella and onto Ketchikan, they could finally take one from the sailors.

I will try to get another update done late on Saturday because this weather picture is by no means stable.

Stay safe and have a great weekend.

Editor’s Note We are all very lucky to have Bruce’s analysis on the weather scene and guidance on the race course. While Bruce eagerly provides these Briefs on sailish.com, he is also available for more specific weather analysis and routing. You can learn more about Bruce here. Email him if you would like to see him tackle a particular weather issue here on sailish.com or tackle a weather challenge privately. 

Bruce’s Brief’s: Special for R2AK, The Proving Ground Will Show No Mercy for the Slow

Bruce’s Brief’s: Special for R2AK, The Proving Ground Will Show No Mercy for the Slow
Tides at Point Wilson

What a difference a day will make. Today in the Straits is a very nice, light westerly of 5-10-knots with the air temp at 55⁰F. By this time tomorrow, it will be a very different scenario. As you can see from the surface charts we definitely have a front coming towards us and the only question will be when will it pass over the race course. Which right now is projected to be between 1000hrs and 1300hrs. If you’re a fast boat and can make it across to Victoria before 1000hrs that will be a great thing because the post frontal breeze in the Straits is going to make that crossing nothing to take lightly.

 

June 7 Surface Forecast

From a tidal current perspective, this is just about perfect with a moderate ebb really starting roll around 0400 hrs at Pt. Wilson. With the start at 0500 hrs, all Teams should be well on their way into the Straits with the next slack at 1025. The other good news is that the pre-frontal breeze will be southeasterly at Pt Townsend and will be in the 10-15 knots range. By mid-Straits at 0700-0900 you could have 15-25 knots from the southeast.

If you’re wearing your Garmin Quatix watch, at around 0900 start watching the barometric pressure to be bottoming out. The wind will drop and start to get flukey while the puffs start coming in from the west. If you’re in the mid-Straits or near the ½ way point, that will be your signal to batten down the hatches because it’s about to get gnarley.

How gnarly? By 1200 hours you could be in 25-30 knots of westerly and in the middle of the Straits there is nowhere to hide. This breeze will start to back off around 2000 hrs becoming 15 knots from the west by 2300 hours and then just sort of go away by 0200 hours Friday morning. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be out there on a paddleboard or small rowboat when the westerly first fills down the Straits, so plan accordingly.

June 8 Surface Forecast

By that I mean if you are making 5-knots or less, think about the going the great circle route inside of Protection Island and up behind Dungeness Spit and then wait for the breeze to drop before you go across. Remember also that with this breeze the wind chill will be in the upper 30’s and low 40’s so don’t ignore the possibility of hypothermia.

Travel safely and have a great race.

Click on the images to enlarge.

 

Bruce’s Brief’s: 3 & 4 June, SYC Blake Island Race

Bruce’s Brief’s: 3 & 4 June, SYC Blake Island Race

After Swiftsure, this week certainly went by fast and now we’re racing again tomorrow. No wonder the Mrs isn’t exactly pleased. I guess I might be a bit behind on my lawn and garden maintenance program… I don’t know why however I think tomorrow on the water, any water, will still be a lot more fun than getting dirty in the garden.

Speaking of Swiftsure, last weekend was certainly proof that when there is little to no gradient just about anything can happen. This weekend in the Straits will be much different as we’ll have an onshore flow and as the ridge of high pressure builds on Sunday by the evening it will be really cranking from the west.

For the last of the Tri-Island Series, not so much. There will be wind, and there will be the sunshine so it will still be a great day on the water. Just don’t forget the sunblock before you leave the house! The other plus is the tides which will be favorable and there won’t be much of them.

Tidal Currents at West Point

0654      Slack

1036      Max Flood            .71 knots

1321      Slack

1500      Max Ebb                 .17 knots

1818      Slack

 

The first gun is supposed to be around 0900 hours however if you look at the surface charts you’ll notice the remains of a trough moving to the east and unfortunately that will leave a large gap in the pressure gradient. This will result in a light downslope, drainage breeze from the east in the morning. With some clearing and no gradient, this could be the perfect set-up for the Swihart Effect which says the northerly will start down the Sound once the flood tide gets rolling. If the clearing continues, look for the northerly to continue to build through the day.

 

As is typical for the Blake Island Race, you can pick your poison deciding which way you are going to go around the Island. In almost all cases it’s best to leave the Island to starboard especially when you have a flood tide. This is because of the ebb that continues to roll up Colvos and the back side of the Island. The flood may not get all the way to the bottom of the Island, however, there will be more wind on the east side of the Island.

If the breeze is northerly in the starting area, you’ll probably do a starboard set just don’t go west too long. Before the start watch the flag at the West Point lighthouse and if it’s showing any easterly at all plan a gybe to port to be at the West Point Buoy. If on port you’re aiming at Alki, hold that gybe until you get lifted to Spuds Fish and Chips, then gybe and aim at the Island. Just don’t get too close to the Island especially at the south end. See the picture. If you swing wide enough at the south end you’ll carry the northerly into the light zone. Just be ready to smoothly transition into what little breeze there will be on the backside of the Island. Headsail up, in the starboard groove, spinnaker down, all without changing course and hopefully without slowing much.

Since you’ll be swept along with the ebb up the backside of the Island, sail the favored tack, usually starboard and don’t get too close to the Island. By the same token don’t too far over to the Manchester shore as it will get light in there as well. Work your way up to Bainbridge Island since the current tends to set from west to east along that south shore. Once you get to Restoration hold on to port tack. If you are aimed at Four Mile Rock, just keep going right up to Magnolia Bluff. If you end up being headed below(east of) Four Mile, take a short hitch until you can once again be above Four Mile. Really watch your depth sounder coming into there as it gets very shallow, very quickly. If the breeze has built as you’ve come across you’ll want to do your tack change here going from the light #1 to the heavy #1going from port to starboard tack. You should be right under the Bluff and it will be puffy so the mainsheet/ traveler person is going to be working very hard to keep the boat on its feet.

Once you clear West Point hold on to starboard tack until you can lay the entrance to the Ship Canal. Of course, this also depends on where the finish line is located. You’d like to get close to the entrance so it will be easier to call the tack to the finish, finishing on starboard and probably in more breeze than the boats on the outside. There will also be a nice push from the current coming out of the Ship Canal.

Be safe, use lots of sunblock, and have a great time.

Bruce’s Weather Brief for May 27-29 and Swiftsure Classic!

Bruce’s Weather Brief for May 27-29 and Swiftsure Classic!

What a week it has been in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Tuesday saw a steady 40 at Race Rocks and Smith Island had a gust to 59. Yikes. That is not fun sailing, that is survival or better yet, just stay at the dock and don’t put yourself or your vessel in harms way. How things can change. Yesterday, for the delivery up to Victoria, it was for the most part a mill pond across the Straits with even a light, warm easterly in places.

As usual, the most predictable part of this weekend will be the tidal currents in Race Passage and they won’t be insignificant.

Tidal Current Race Passage

Saturday

0749    Max Ebb         6.7 knots

1151    Slack

1436    Max Flood       6.1 knots

1818    Slack

2146    Max Ebb         4.9 knots

Sunday

0110    Slack

0253    Max Flood       1.8 knots

0433    Slack

0843    Max Ebb         6.6 knots

1237    Slack

1527    Max Flood       5.9 knots

1912    Slack

2042    Max Ebb         5.0 knots

Kudos to the Race Committee for changing the start order because the JdF and Flattery fleets are going to need all the help they can get to make it to the Race before the flood starts. As you can see from the surface charts there is simply no gradient over the Pacific Northwest, nor will there be until later this coming week. We are caught between two relatively weak high pressure systems and with the jet stream (see 500MB charts) well north of us, there’s nothing to move this situation along.

This is also reflected in the fact that the models used for forecasting are not very much in agreement especially after tomorrow afternoon. This is where being your own weather forecaster will be helpful and that’s going to start by logging the pressure readings, wind direction and wind strength over the race course. This mornings readings showed the pressure at Forks at 1015.1 with the pressure at Bellingham at 1015.5 which tells us a couple of things. 1. The wind will be light in the Straits and from the east, never a very stable situation. And 2, sure enough 2 knots from the East at Race Rocks, 2 knots from WNW at Sheringham, and 4 knots from ESE at the JA Buoy at the mouth of the Straits. As the land masses heat up over the course of the day, this will draw a westerly down the Straits with the most wind (15-20 knots) being in the eastern part of the Straits, Race Rocks to Smith Island. This pattern may repeat itself tomorrow. Generally speaking, the first day of this pattern is the best chance of good breeze. Each day in succession, the breeze will fill later and not be as strong.

Most models show light air over the starting area tomorrow morning which will make getting through the Race before the flood starts at 1130-1200hrs a challenge. The flood starts first on the Vancouver Island side so if you get through the Race with the last of the ebb, get to the US side as fast as you can. If the pattern holds, we’ll start in a drainage or downslope ENE which will probably be less than 5 knots. Clearly with all that ebb tide you will not want to swept over the start line early as getting back might be next to impossible.

The other part about getting to the US side of the Straits is that when the westerly does fill, it comes down the US side first, with Canadian side staying light. Two of the models show the westerly filling between 1500-1800 hrs. This will make this a long race.

How long you might ask? If we run the GFS model for Crossfire, certainly one of the fastest boats out there, it shows them completing the Hein Bank course in 42 hours. Don’t kill the messenger……

Around the rest of the Northwest it will simply be a great weekend to be on the water so load the family, the BBQ, and enjoy yourselves.

Ed. Note: Bruce is giving a weather presentation at 16:30 this afternoon. We’re trying to find the location right now, when we do we’ll update this post. UPDATE: The in-person brief at 16:30 is at the Strathcona Hotel!