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• December, 2015
LATITUDE / RICHARD
⇑⇓ DOWNWIND — GOING NORTH I saw Wendy Rybicki's letter asking about marine weather forecasts for California's Central Coast. After the SoCal Ta-Ta, we lingered on Catalina for about a week, then jumped over to Marina del Rey for a long weekend in L.A. with friends and family. Heading north, we waited in Santa Barbara for five days before attempting to round Point Conception. After all, NOAA was predicting gusts of 30-35 knots, and the waves were projected to be 'square'. By square they mean the wave period was going to be about the same as the height of the wave in feet. Such as eight-foot waves at a period of eight seconds. That's not good at all. All the while we were monitoring a small low-pressure system moving down the coast. We hoped this system would finally disrupt the strong northwesterlies that had been blowing for a week. And there was even a chance it would bring southerlies. We got our post Ta-Ta weather window on Sunday, After the SoCal Ta-Ta, John and October 4. We even sailed Michelle used the WeatherTrack downwind — going north! — app to ﬁnd a good weather winaround Point Conception in dow for their return to the Bay. lumpy leftover seas and heavy rain. When the low passed, the wind died and the sun came out. We fired up the engine and hightailed it north. We made it from Santa Barbara to Sausalito in 44 hours — an average speed of over six knots. By the way, fellow Ta-Ta'ers Kurt and Katie Braun on the Deerfoot 74 Interlude chose the same window that we did. They caught up with us and passed us late the first night. To answer Wendy's question, we relied on two weather sources in Santa Barbara and underway. First were NOAA's zone forecasts, which gave us a general idea of what to expect. But it was the GRIB files — using the new NAVGEM model, and downloaded with the WeatherTrack app on iPad — that amazed us. Heading north, we repeatedly checked actual conditions against the GRIBs we had downloaded days before, and they were spot-on. We will definitely use these GRIBs on our next passage. For what it's worth, www.passageweather.com is essentially a web-based GRIB viewer. It's a great site for quick glances, but the WeatherTrack app is much more powerful — it allows you to choose from multiple models (including NAVGEM, which we found to be much more accurate than GFS), is optimized for low-bandwidth connections, and offers route-planning tools. John and Michelle Zeratsky Aegea, Sabre 38 Sausalito John and Michelle — Thanks for the information. The WeatherTrack GRIB app is available for Apple and Android for $9.99. It gets good reviews. ⇑⇓ BOUND FOR THE ARCTIC ICE PACK Congratulations on another successful Baja Ha-Ha. Way to go! As for ourselves, we're just back home on San Juan Island from Sweden, after sailing Mahina Tiare III there from Victoria, BC, having started in March of this year. We'll return to her next April to head to the North Pole. Well, at least to
The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.