Wednesday, April 25, 2018

St Augustine - at a dock

Ann's looking over the paintings by students at the St Augustine Art Association
Today was our first day of serious shallows. We transited all of them at dead, low tide. The most famous was Ft Matanzas which was dredged just last year but has already filled in. The USACE has been moving buoys around and there is an 8.6 MLLW path through but you have to pay particular attention to the new buoy placements. You pass 50 ft off the greens and 30 ft off the reds and you'll be okay. The red buoys are amazingly close to shore but have faith and honor them for good water. When we were there, a USACE speedboat went by down the marked route which I assume was checking out the depths.

The Art Association was having a paint out and naturally, Ann had to talk to the artists
So with our second day of good weather, we had a smooth ride to St Augustine and I took Ann out to dinner at OC White's Restaurant which was fine. We had intended dining at La Herencia but it was closed after 4:00 on Wednesdays. We met up with Gorden and Eta for wine on the boat before going to dinner.

A nice  Bird of Paradise was growing outside the art association main building
My article on weather apps was published by Waterway Guide. Let me know what you think. We are all interested in the weather and what app does the best job (short of a dedicated weather person). The article covers only one instance of a prediction but more will follow as I make my way north from Key West.

Coming into our slip was exciting with a 2 kt current behind us and a wind pushing us away from our dock, a double whammy! The docks here have still not been repaired and there's no electricity for the boats. I asked if the marina was offering a discount due to the lack of electric and I received a reply, "Yes, we won't charge for electrical hook up!"  Some discount... Ann took a tour of the art galleries in St Augustine and found the St Augustine Art Association which has been around since 1924 but we had never seen the building and the exhibit inside. Somehow we missed it every time! Now we will never miss it again! Ann had a grand time talking shop.

We will leave in the morning for Fernandina and anchor. Ann has a hair appointment on Friday morning, after which we'll move on to Jekyll Island to catch the Saturday high tide to move north.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
What was your average speed today? We did our first leg from Melbourne to Titusville, and it was a nice ride, but after 12 pm wind gusts were in the range of 25-27 knots, so we took the head sail down, to make it more comfortable. After that, we only averaged 5 knots.

Bob423 said...

Anonymous, we cruise at 7.3 kts but today we had a 1 to 1.5 kt current with us the entire way. We flew. We covered the 43 Nm in 7 hours which included a stop for fuel of about 45 min and big slowdowns for a few shallow spots like Ft Matanzas and waiting for a few bridges.

Anonymous said...


We just read your article on Wind Apps. Good write up. As much as I hate the thought, we might have to break down and buy an iPad for the boat. Take care and keep well. Hopefully you'll have deep water and favorable winds

/s/ Scott'n Kitt
s/v HyLyte

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
I liked the App article. I have been casually comparing model performance over the years. Easy to do with Windy TV on a laptop as there is a "compare" option that stacks many of the models. (except PWE/G). Not sure one can do that compare on the Windy App.
Best I can tell, the US and Euro models break differently between gradient and gust wind speeds. So often the Euro model has a higher gradient wind than the US model, while both have the same gust speed. On gusty days, the Euro model feels more "accurate" to me.
I notice that the NOAA coastal forecasts often just predict gradient, so on gusty days appear to underestimate. Like you mentioned, NOAA seems to be a little late to catch conditions that are changing rapidly, so report changes in forecast later than what shows up in the GRIB apps.
All that said, and after years of "observing" much of it offshore, my #1 vote for accuracy goes to Chris Parker. Next, I go with NOAA. There are times when the models just get it wrong and the human at NOAA is able to add the experience. Especially when NOAA predicts weather worse than the models. Unfortunately, when NOAA is predicting conditions worse than the models, they are right.
Hopefully some real meteorologists will come on line and enlighten us.
We are in Stuart till 9 May. Kids graduation to attend down here, then N to Newport. As much outside as possible, so lets hope I can get a good forecast. I will go with whichever forecast looks the most promising!
Greg MV Privateer

Bob423 said...

Scott'n Kitt, the new iPad is a great buy at $325, I will be buying one for Ann to replace her aging iPad 4 which doesn’t even support split screen. I’ll upgrade to the 128GB model and also the GPS chip.

Greg, I do not know Chrisi Parker but it would be great if he participated. My experience in 8 years of trying to get from Cape May to New York where I have to go up the coast, is that the NOAA coastal forecast always seems to be exaggerated. Perhaps that’s due to having to cover 20 Nm out instead of just along the coast. Many times I’ve seem PocketGrib give a calmer forecast than NOAA only to see NOAA cone around to the grid forecast a few hours later. I haven’t used PredictWind that much yet but it looks intriguing. You can set the map and then switch between GFS, ECWMF, PWE and PWG and see the changes in the forecast.

We tell ourselves we need a human in the loop but then look at the Go and Chess self learning programs that play the game so even the best in the world don’t understand the moves - except the human loses. Then there’s the self taught program that’s finding exoplanets the astronomers missed, except the program can’t tell the logic used to find them since it's buried in the self taught routines. You can be sure the same approach is being used right now for weather prediction. The data is there for the using and the self learning orograms are advancing all the time. There are many more examples. None of this is used in the simple apps, yet, but there’s no reason it can’t be.

Thanks for the education on gradients. I have no training in weather forecasting. I just wanted to see which app (or person) can best tell the future!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob- We’re excited about your weather app comparison as this is an issue we wrestle with a lot. On Tuesday we left St Augustine and sailed off shore to Winyah Bay Inlet/Georgetown. In deciding go or no go, we were pleased to see all models including PWE in general agreement and real conditions matched the forecasts until we got to Winyah Bay Inlet in an unexpected increasing SSW wind which whipped up the inlet. We saw a gust of 26 at one point. But though choppy it was doable and we were soon safely inside. I guess there will always be weather surprises but out of our 33 hour passage, only the last hour was a bit unexpected. So yes, these apps are pretty good and we rely on them. Your study may help us make more informed choices.

I recently purchased Aqua Maps app to replace Garmin Blue Chart based upon your comparison of navigation apps. So far I like the new app and find it more useful than Garmin Blue Chart. For example, the real time current indicators right on the chart screen are great. Thanks for your observations and thanks for taking on weather apps.
SV Fancy Free

Bob423 said...

Laura, I received a lot of suggestions on additional apps and services to include in future comparisons. I will expand the range of choices. I am in direct communication with the Aqua Map developers in Italy so if you think of a feature that’s needed, let me know. By the way I think they did an outstanding job on tides and currents.

StevenHWicker said...

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