Picking a Weather Window

Looks like tomorrow is a go for the passage around Cape Blanco to Crescent City, CA.  We may even continue on past Crescent City to Eureka, since weather windows of more than 24-hrs have been in pretty short supply and as they say on Game of Thrones, “winter is coming”!

I thought everyone might like to see how we select a weather window.  The figure below is taken from a free site called Passage Weather and shows the current conditions with respect to UTC time. The site provides a snapshot of wind and sea conditions in three hour increments out one week from the current time.   We like Passage Weather as it provides quite a bit of detail and allows you to scroll quickly through the figures to see how conditions change with time, and there are numerous similar sites available.


Cape Blanco is the bulge in southern Oregon near the California border.  Cape Mendicino, which is just south of Eureka, is the next one down.  The figure shows areas of green near both capes, which indicates average winds in the 20-25 knot range, although higher gusts should be expected.  The arrows also show wind direction and speed.  Two full feathers means 20 knots, three means 30 knots, and so on.  The corresponding wave height figure which is shown below, indicates average seas of 3 m , with the swell from the NW.  As with the wind speeds, higher swell heights may be encountered, particularly in the vicinity of the capes.


We also listen to the voice forecasts produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as view the surface analysis, wind and wave forecast, and swell height and direction graphics that they produce.  For the conditions shown above, NOAA has issued a small craft advisory.  We don’t go if there is a small craft advisory, although sometimes it develops while you are underway.

The figure below shows the wind forecast for tomorrow morning, which indicates a decrease in wind.  The wind will be light and from the south, so we will be motoring, but at least we will make progress south without getting pounded.


We will be leaving with “the group”.  We traveled from Newport with two Canadian boats and a boat from Seattle – we will all head out together at dawn tomorrow. We have become fast friends – sundowners on Tenacity (Seattle) on Sunday, potluck on Halcyon 1 (Victoria, BC) on Monday, and a trip to the local bar last night along with crews from Halcyon 1, and Buenaventura 1 (Victoria, BC) for burgers, pool, and shots of Malibu rum to celebrate the 60th birthday of Marshall, captain of Tenacity.  Life is good!


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