Monday, June 07, 2010

Weather Wise
Ever since becoming a sailor (decades ago) I have constantly been aware of the weather. In fact, it is one of the few things in my environment that I do notice (I will write about senility another time). From the moment I wake and look out my window, I am aware of the clouds present, the trees being blown or not and what is out in the western skies (from where our weather comes).

I notice smoke stacks and whether or not the smoke is going straight up or being bent by the wind. If I pass any river or puddle I notice if ripples are present, or white caps. If I pass the big lake and sailboats are out, I notice if hulls are heeling over, if mains are reefed or if a rail is under the water. I notice all these things, but most of all I notice flags.

Are they just hanging, twitching, fluttering or standing straight out? And what do they tell me about the direction of the wind? I watch all these things, and I watch for them to change when I am out on the big lake. Is the wind steady, gusting, clocking, feeling cold then warm, and so on.
One thing I've learned in my years on the water is to be careful when making a passage going down wind. With the wind at one's back, there can be rather dramatic changes in wind velocity without one being aware until the boat turns abeam or into the wind. Unless one actually goes a bit off course to "feel" the wind or is very aware of how the following seas are changing, the weather can produce harsh surprises to the unaware.

Paddle safe...


Anonymous said...

is there anything you DON'T do?

Silbs said...

Sure...Illegal drugs, bad coffee and opera :)