Nopity nope nope- Gale winds in effect!

Not a chance this admiral is going to agree to leaving the shelter of a protected bay today to face Force 8 & 9 winds in the final piece of the Straits of Georgia.  Andrew says that the winds aren’t the problem per se – it’s the waves they kick up. We are considering two reporting stations to make this decision, the Powell River airport (land station), Halibut Bank (buoy in the water), and Centry Shoal (buoy in water). This next leg takes us right by Powell River Airport but the other two reporting stations are equally important because waves propagate and can travel a long way before they lay back down.  The differences in wind speed and wind direction at these buoys can cause confused seas and sometimes that involves one set of waves going one direction and another set of waves going a different direction and your boat becomes nothing more than a tiny and very insignificant obstacle between them.

I thought it would be helpful to put the wind speed in better perspective for those of you who are not boaters and don’t have to decide what to do today based on the wind.  First a little history, the wind scale system that we use today was developed in 1805 by Sir Francis Beaufort, a member of the United Kingdom Royal Navy.  See the Beaufort Wind Scale included below:

Force Wind
Appearance of Wind Effects
On the Water On Land
0 Less than 1 Calm Sea surface smooth and mirror-like Calm, smoke rises vertically
1 1-3 Light Air Scaly ripples, no foam crests Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes
2 4-6 Light Breeze Small wavelets, crests glassy, no breaking Wind felt on face, leaves rustle, vanes begin to move
3 7-10 Gentle Breeze Large wavelets, crests begin to break, scattered whitecaps Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended
4 11-16 Moderate Breeze Small waves 1-4 ft. becoming longer, numerous whitecaps Dust, leaves, and loose paper lifted, small tree branches move
5 17-21 Fresh Breeze Moderate waves 4-8 ft taking longer form, many whitecaps, some spray Small trees in leaf begin to sway
6 22-27 Strong Breeze Larger waves 8-13 ft, whitecaps common, more spray Larger tree branches moving, whistling in wires
7 28-33 Near Gale Sea heaps up, waves 13-19 ft, white foam streaks off breakers Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind
8 34-40 Gale Moderately high (18-25 ft) waves of greater length, edges of crests begin to break into spindrift, foam blown in streaks Twigs breaking off trees, generally impedes progress
9 41-47 Strong Gale High waves (23-32 ft), sea begins to roll, dense streaks of foam, spray may reduce visibility Slight structural damage occurs, slate blows off roofs
10 48-55 Storm Very high waves (29-41 ft) with overhanging crests, sea white with densely blown foam, heavy rolling, lowered visibility Seldom experienced on land, trees broken or uprooted, “considerable structural damage”
11 56-63 Violent Storm Exceptionally high (37-52 ft) waves, foam patches cover sea, visibility more reduced
12 64+ Hurricane Air filled with foam, waves over 45 ft, sea completely white with driving spray, visibility greatly reduced

Our situation today is that we would be headed into Wind force 9 and headed into all the confusion caused from the changing wind direction between Bargain Bay and our next stop.   So let’s talk a minute about why this admiral is not going out in 8 (Gale) or 9 (Strong Gale) winds.  So what does all that look like.  A typical gale wind came through your neighborhood it would more than likely be bending tree tops and breaking off smaller branches from the trees, walking and keeping your balance outside might be difficult up to structure damage, shingles coming off the rood, trees being uplifted and electrical lines breaking. It would be dangerous to go outside altogether.  Now imagine being in a boat during that kind of furry…… NOPE! 

This boat is more sea worthy than most boats and is built for that kind of weather. However, we roll in a beam sea, which means if the waves are hitting us on the side and not in front and back of the boat we are going to roll back and forth, violently sometimes. Wait but that is not the best part, remember the part of confused seas.  If waves are coming from many directions and the wind is in gale force and changing direction ass that to how often the waves are coming at us and the changing direction of those waves and the whole thing can become quite a nightmare for the contents of the boat.   Imagine The craziest rollercoaster ride that you have ever seen that twisted and turned and heaved and dived, etc.  I think you get the picture. The boat would be fine, although it is not unheard of that we could have canvas damage or lose equipment and God forbid that we lose any system like navigation, depth sounding or engine power in the middle of God’s largest commercial washing machine!   I love boating but I am just not into all that!  (Sorry if that take my Bad Ass status down a notch but boating is supposed to be fsafe and fun! )  

We want to stay safe and we don’t need to take chances.  This is why boaters talk about the problem of calendaritis.  Having to run in bad weather is not without risks regardless of the rewards.  This is why this ship has a captain and an admiral.  It takes two votes to go and no one has the right of over ride unless it is a matter of imminent danger.

Admiral Tammy out

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