Unfortunately, winter is now here in the Pacific NW, and the storms seem to be back to back.
On Friday, we received an update from Bob the weather forecaster advising that we might be seeing a 24 hour window tomorrow. However, in reading it, the window is bookended by ugly weather.
Here’s what I wrote to Jeff, and his response:
Jeff: I definitely am in a hurry to see Sans Souci, BUT … don’t rush on my account. This is a tiny window, and not a particularly great looking one. If you have any hesitancy whatsoever, don’t go. There’ll be sunshine sometime in the next two weeks. No need to beat yourself and the boat up just to save me a few bucks. – Ken W
Ken: I am on board with you on that. Wind will be dropping tomorrow and will keep a close eye on things and if it doesn’t look good we won’t go. I feel like we are so close but yet so far. I know it’s not going to be flat but should at least be travelable and don’t want to beat up the crew and the boat. I want to see that swell drop. Thanks,
Roberta was copied on the emails, and she reminded me that this is winter, and my vision of an uncoming long weather window is a naive one. This time of year, the weather windows are short, and you have to think in terms of small bursts of movement. Jeff may need to start running north, and be prepared to stop again half way. This is certainly true, and 100 miles north of Jeff’s current location is the Columbia River. If Jeff starts running tomorrow morning, and the weather looks good, he can keep running, and if not, he can duck into the Columbia River.
Roberta: That exactly what I am thinking. Every little bit is going to help to get us that much closer. I think that I am going to put a little more fuel on for weight. WE are now down to around 900 gal. More weight will be a better ride. We are leaving this AM to go back and get ready. I will not go if it does not look safe!
Technically, that might be easier said than done. I’ve never been into the Columbia River, but there is a bar you have to cross at the entrance. It’s not a place I’d want to arrive at, in the dark, and in rough weather. Personally, I’d want to arrive at high slack. If Jeff has to hide from the storm, he’ll have all of this working against him. On the positive side, he has been in before, several times, and knows the drill.
This morning I received a new update on the weather from our weather router:
|Tue/04-pm: Westerly 12-18kts, waves 3-4ft. Swells WNW-W 5-7ft, upto 8ft possible closer to midday. Winds tending to ease/back WSW-SW 08-15kts with waves 2-3ft and WSW-SW swells 4-6ft during Tue/night-overnight.
That’s darn good, and should give us the window we need. However, by Wednesday we need to be somewhere safe. Weather Bob goes on to say: “…Winds tending to freshen ESE-SE to SW-ly 20-30kts, gusty 35kts during Wed/eve-night…”
If this is how it plays out, we’re in great shape. Jeff can work with this. Reminding us of the tightness of the window, Weather Bob concludes his weather update with this cheery note: “…If you can’t arrive/pass Cape Flattery by early to late Wed/aftn or are not comfortable with such a tight weather window, you will need to consider a delay until a “possible” weather window Sat/aftn-Sun/aftn. To be honest, the possible window for Sat-Sun may be just as tight as the window develop Tue/aftn-Wed/aftn. Watching/updating. B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI”