Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PYC - On to our boat on Wednesday, down the coast Saturday?

SwellInfo says go
Saturday is still looking like a possible window for going down the New Jersey coast although all the weather apps still contradict each other. SwellInfo is shown above. With that, we'll go on Fleetwing tomorrow afternoon so we can leave Thursday morning for Haverstraw.

Windy is not as wonderful on a prediction but still doable
That will stage us for a trip down the Hudson River to anchor out at Atlantic Highlands on Friday. I expect a crowd since we've all been waiting for the same weather window. Hopefully, there will be room to anchor somewhere. The weather for the trip down the Hudson is supposed to be nice, at least. We have a ton of stuff to do before leaving the house for a couple of months and that will take up most of the morning. Then it's off to PYC and onto Fleetwing for the night.

I like this picture!
It seems that every year there's something different to worry us about for the trip south. I do have to say that the Atlantic has calmed down for the last couple of weeks. Everybody needs the time to recover from Florence. Now, if only we can find a window down the coast, then we can start to make progress and relax.

Monday, September 17, 2018

PYC - Planning to leave Thursday - Oh those forecasts

Well, what forecast would you like?  How about light winds out of the north for the trip south to Atlantic City? No problem. Just look at the PredictWind forecast using the US model (GFS)

Looks pretty good does it? Nice ride down the coast with light winds out of the north. Would you rather have more of a push southward with stronger north winds? We can do that too! Just look at the Euro forecast from Windy.

Well, not as nice but kinda okay. Would you rather have some wind in your face to cool the temperature, no problem. Look at the PredictWind tweak on the Euro model.

Perhaps that's not enough wind to cool your face, how about a little more? Here's the PredictWind tweak on the GFS model.

Confused? How about SwellInfo?

No surprise here since it's based on the GFS (US) model without any tweaks. Lastly, let's look at the NOAA coastal forecast.

It's based on the GFS model so it follows the forecasts based on that model. So take your pick, light winds out of the north, a little heavier winds out of the north, light winds out of the southwest, or heavier winds out of the southwest. All bases are covered! Something is going to be right. It reminds me of the stock trader that claims to have predicted every downturn in the market - which sounds impressive until you learn that he predicted a downturn on every single day!  Can't miss with that strategy. No matter what happens Saturday, one forecast or the other has it right! 

Regardless, we're leaving PYC on Thursday to make Atlantic Highlands on Friday. We are hoping that our version of the forecast (light north winds) turns out to be the one the Gods favor. Let's roll the dice and find out!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Poughkeepsie YC - Waiting for Florence Remnants to Pass

Come and visit
I started a Facebook page that has become the go-to place for the latest ICW status on marinas and general ICW conditions. It's called, ICW Cruising Guide by Bob423. If you want to keep abreast of the latest conditions of the ICW after Hurricane Florence, it's the place to be.

Meanwhile, the remnants of Florence will pass over us on Tuesday with rain so we will hang around until an opening appears for a shoot down the New Jersey coast.
From PredictWind for Saturday morning using Euro model with PredictWind tweaks

That opening appears now to be Saturday. If that holds through multiple forecast revisions (unlikely but possible), then we'll leave PYC on Thursday, overnight in Haverstraw Bay, reach Atlantic Highlands by Friday and then weigh anchor at 6:00 am Saturday morning for the trip to Atlantic City. Wish us luck. The only trouble with these predictions is that when it's that far out, they seem to default to "time of the year" type projections. I'm sure it will change and we will adjust.

The Atlantic seems to be calming down.

Nothing has come off the African coast for a while and we all hope it stays that way! Once Florence clears out, we're out of here!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Poughkeepsie YC - Waiting for weather

Waiting for weather we like, not yet
Welcome back to the sailing adventures of Fleetwing as we head south to Key West for the winter. Unfortunately, we haven't left yet. The weather is just not cooperating, especially the remnants of Florence which will pass directly over the Poughkeepsie YC on its way out to sea and eventually Ireland (have you ever wondered how Ireland gets the equivalent of a rainforest's worth of rain every year?) We have the boat packed and ready to go. There appeared to be a window on Wednesday for a passage down the New Jersey coast but the various weather apps and Coast Guard are all over the place. For us to reach our starting point at Atlantic Highlands would involve us transiting New York Harbor in a downpour, not something I want to do. It's due to rain all day Tuesday on the Hudson River.

We'll enjoy the view at PYC for a while.

Given all that, we'll take a pass on starting out Monday morning (it's a two day trip to the Atlantic Highlands for us) and look for better weather later on. For entertainment, just look at some of the weather predictions.

PocketGrib, 15 to 20 kts
PocketGrib has been my old standby until it was unseated by PredictWind but I still use it occasionally. What's not shown here is the southern swell from Florence with the 20 kt winds out of the northeast.

Here's PredictWind, not too bad using their twist on the Euro model.

Windy is the most benign of all, only 11 kts?

I've always used SwellInfo in the past. Looks more windy in the morning but you're going into a 2.8 to 2.4 ft southern swell which is not too bad with the 7 sec period.

So the wind will be either 20 kts, or 15 kts, or 11 kts - take your pick.

Our real problem is getting down to our launching point at the Atlantic Highlands and braving rain on Tuesday down the Hudson and through NY Harbor so we'll wait it out. It does look like the weather appears a little unstable.

Monday, September 10, 2018

PYC (Still!) - My tracks and routes will be available for downloading in fall of 2018

Here you see my track north in May of 2018 from Coinjock to Hampton
You can download it by clicking on the download icon
If I ever get going south, there will be a new feature available for members of this blog page. Aqua Map has written a new interface where I will post my day's track and route and the site has a download button for loading them into your app or PC.

If you have Aqua Map and an iPad, you can open the webpage with Safari and it will place the track or route (your choice) directly into Aqua Map, ready for navigation.

I will load my daily track and route each evening into the webpage. You can then follow along the exact path I took for the depths I report on this Facebook page each day. The track will be a dotted red line overlayed on the Aqua Map chart, suitable for navigation. The route is what I had planned to do the previous day - the track is what I actually did. With the route, you can use the ETA to each waypoint function in Aqua Map to time bridge openings.

With all the disruptions to be expected from Florence, I can be the guinea pig for those following behind me. It ought to be fun.

Now for the details. The webpage URL is:

If you used the Facebook link, you will have to tap on the upper, right corner with the three dots
and choose "Open in Safari". Other browsers may not work.

Chose your app
If you clicked on the link in Facebook, you have to "Open in Safari" next. Look at the upper, right corner. There are three dots there. Click on the dots and an option will appear to "Open in Safari". Click (or tap) on that option and then proceed.

You will see my most recent tracks and route at the left. Select one or the other and it will appear on the chart above. At the bottom of the display, you will see a download button. Be sure you're in Safari, other browsers may have a problem. On a PC, Chrome works fine. Click on the download button and select the app you want to use. If you chose Aqua Map, then the route or track will appear in Aqua Map, ready for navigation.

Aqua Map will ask if you want to upload the file
If you're using a PC, just save the download (usually that's automatic by default to "Downloads") and then load it into your PC navigation program. I've tested it with the Chrome browser.

I've loaded two files for testing:
BTHamptoCoin.kmz  which is a track from Coinjock to Hampton, VA, that I took in May of 2018

BAtlHi-PYC.kmz is the route I took from Atlantic Highlands to PYC in May of 2018.

If you have any problems, let me know. There are further improvements coming to the download site but this is a start.

Here's the track as displayed in Aqua Map

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hurricane Problems

Florence is just not looking good. The first graph shows all the various predictions all at once where each plot is the best guess for that particular model (listed at the top). The orange triangle is the ECMF model, a European output that has a good track record. The red plot is the NHC predicted track but doesn't go out as far as the others. The purple tracks are from the GFS model, the US model. The reason for all the spread is a low-pressure trough north of Florence that may (or may not) attract Florence northward, away from the US. If that doesn't happen over the next few days, then right behind the low-pressure trough is a high-pressure ridge that will push Florence westward into the coastal US. The track of Florence is on a knife-edge, it could go either way. The US models predict that the low-pressure trough will win out, the European models predict it will fail to attract Florence north and the high-pressure ridge due to come off the coast after the low-pressure trough will win out. There are two graphs shown. The first one is the central prediction of each model. The second one (with all the faint lines) shows the ensembles (the same models but will slight plus and minus on various starting conditions). You'll see a lot of faint lines, anyone of each could be the real track. Each faint line is a potential track from the ensemble from all the models.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Shoaling in the ICW - Browns Inlet, Masonboro, Snows Cut

Browns Inlet is an active shoaling area. 
Although there has been lots of dredging this summer in the ICW, there are still areas that haven't been touched yet. One famous area is Browns Inlet. The path through for the deepest water is starting to look strange as of 8/20/2018. It's a giant "W" and it's getting more extreme. I've updated the GPX route for the area (see GPX Routes at left) and it's handy since you can't take a direct route through the buoys unless you're close to high tide. Full details are at Waterway Guide Browns Inlet complete with a download link for the GPX Route.

Here you see the Mason Inlet new route as of 8/3/2018. It's more of a swing than before. More detail is at the Waterway Guide page for the hazard. The GPX route for the passage has been revised too.

How's this for a zigzag course. You really need to load the GPX route for the best path, hard to eyeball although I try that in the WG page. This hazard is south of Mason Inlet by Masonboro G137. The entire stretch is shallow. 

Snows Cut is doable but you have to know to take the extreme green side route. Details on the WG page. 

All of these alerts will be available for both browser access and also on the Waterway Guide icons in Aqua Map which I will keep up to date as the season progresses. We know that Lockwoods Folly is due to be dredged in September, let's hope they get done by the time the crowd arrives.