• Sailing is all about the Weather.

    Big into the exploration of Atlantic Hurricanes since Katrina came uninvited into his world, James (Jim) Gurley (JamesG161) has followed every Tropical Storm birthed in Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean waters since. Being a boater, he knows that we often need more time to prepare than we get from the TV weather folk. Jim relies on the science of storm development to share early warning info with friends and fellow boaters.

    Early in 2018, Jim and John Shepard, (JSSailem) started to chat about the weather data available. John asked Jim to help forecast Pacific NW storms, and this morphed into discussions on weather forecasting.

    For John, sailing in the PNW is sometimes hit and miss. One day is ugly, then a string of beautiful days but no wind, followed by a series of blue-sky days and 12 knot breezes. Being ready for those great sailing days means you need to look to the Pacific Ocean and what is brewing. John has been into Pacific NW Weather since the 1970’s when his first PNW November storm hit bringing more than 40 days and 40 nights of continual rain.

    Together we want to share information, new APPs, safety, and thoughts about letting the weather help you. Identify some of the resources for sailors and help prepare you for your next sailboat outing.

    It is far better to go out on the water knowing what to expect in weather terms, than to be out on the water and see dark ominous clouds suddenly appear, unprepared.

Approaching decision time ...

Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
That Barnegat Inlet barrier is weighing heavily on my mind. I've yet to pass thru the inlet. We play in the bay. The jeers from Sue are grating on my nerves … "you haven't even gone out the inlet yet" she says. But she won't go with me until I prove my worth. "Take somebody along who knows how to do it" she says. But that's not my style. I tend to challenge myself alone. So this weekend appears to be my opportunity. She's busy … I'm itching to sail after a month absence from the boat.

Weather calls for a high pressure system moving across the mid-Atlantic. NOAA says Saturday winds are N-NE 10-15 knots gusting to 20. Seas are 1' to 3'. Seas are a bit higher right now but westerlies are knocking them down before the weekend. I can pass thru the Barnegat Inlet at 9:00 am Saturday morning at high tide. Current will still be flooding but slacking after the high tide. I'll be bucking about a 2 knot current as I pass thru the inlet.

I'm looking forward to a nice 8-hour romp heading south to Absecon Inlet (Atlantic City). If I arrive around 5 pm, I'll be entering the inlet on a rising tide with the current.

I need to go back to work after the weekend, so I'm uncertain about the return. NOAA says the wind on Sunday will be East 10-15 knots. The course along the coast is NNE. It could be a little bit of a beat with a lee shore. Windyty seems to indicate that the wind is likely to be NE on Sunday. That would not be good for the return. The prevailing swells are from the SE. I suppose I could motor into the wind, but I don't like the idea of bucking through the wind waves.

Monday looks much better. Winds shift to the SE at 10 knots with 2' - 4' seas. This could be a perfect beam or broad reach, likely heading with the prevailing swell. The only trouble is the chance of scattered thunderstorms that NOAA warns about for Monday. They also talk about the potential effect of Dorian, starting Tuesday.

My inclination is to chill on the boat and at the beach Sunday in Brigantine and return on Monday, unless we find the forecast for SE wind on Monday arrives early on Sunday.
 
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JRacer

.
Aug 9, 2011
1,239
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Sounds like Monday is the ticket! Enjoy and learn. Be safe!
 
May 17, 2004
3,469
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Sounds like the trip down is pretty straightforward. For the return, you don't really want to put yourself in a position where you need to rush back to get to work, but it sounds pretty manageable since you have options on both Sunday and Monday. How would you feel about going back on the inside, either all the way or just the sections above or below Little Egg Inlet? If you're comfortable with trying the ICW and possibly that inlet it will give you more flexibility in case the waves are too large to bash into on the way back. You could also spend Sunday night in Beach Haven to split the trip up if it's getting too windy Sunday afternoon. Especially if the Monday t-storms are forecast to be late in the day leaving from Beach Haven might get you home before they arrive. My gut is also that if the Sunday forecast is for winds E at 10-15, the prevailing sea breeze might skew that to SE at 15-20, which is higher speed but a more manageable direction.
 
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Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
How would you feel about going back on the inside, either all the way or just the sections above or below Little Egg Inlet? If you're comfortable with trying the ICW and possibly that inlet it will give you more flexibility in case the waves are too large to bash into on the way back. You could also spend Sunday night in Beach Haven to split the trip up if it's getting too windy Sunday afternoon. Especially if the Monday t-storms are forecast to be late in the day leaving from Beach Haven might get you home before they arrive. My gut is also that if the Sunday forecast is for winds E at 10-15, the prevailing sea breeze might skew that to SE at 15-20, which is higher speed but a more manageable direction.
Yes, I figured that the ICW is always a bail-out option and I like the idea of spending a night at Beach Haven rather than 2 nights in Brigantine. I've heard variable opinions about Little Egg Inlet. I'm not sure if I prefer to use it going out on Monday morning or coming in on Sunday afternoon. If the wind direction improves on Sunday afternoon as you say, I'd probably continue to Barnegat.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,704
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
If you are fighting the winds, a falling tides and a uncomfortable sea state...

Not so much fun...

It would be a challenge for sure
Jim...
 
May 17, 2004
3,469
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
I've heard variable opinions about Little Egg Inlet. I'm not sure if I prefer to use it going out on Monday morning or coming in on Sunday afternoon.
I used to go through it on a little powerboat with my grandfather when I was a kid, but that's the extent of my personal knowledge. Navionics and Active Captain seem to say it was pretty much shoaled over in 2017, but dredged and completely navigable after that, FWIW.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
There was a lot of dredging performed in our area last fall. I'd not be surprised if they did Tuckerton, too! My dock neighbor spends a lot of time in that area. He will probably have the best current information.
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,704
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
Try this link to see the Little Egg inlet forecast....
National Weather Service

But Dorian is not to worry for NJ now.
You are experiencing the east moving HIGH that pushed TS Erin away from you.
Jim...
 
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May 17, 2004
3,469
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
There was a lot of dredging performed in our area last fall. I'd not be surprised if they did Tuckerton, too! My dock neighbor spends a lot of time in that area. He will probably have the best current information.
If you have someone there with local knowledge then yeah definitely find out their impressions of how navigable the area currently is. The USCG Notice to Mariners also lists potential shoaling along the ICW at several places along that route.

One other consideration is the tides on Sunday and Monday. Low tide Sunday is 4:20 PM and Monday is 5:07 PM. If you're coming in Sunday with that easterly wind I would try not to do it before the tide turns and stops flowing out of the inlet against the wind. Might be less of an issue Monday if the wind is more southerly, but still something to keep in mind.
 

DaveJ

.
Apr 2, 2013
378
Catalina 310 Niagara-on-the-Lake
Weather projections are projections. Far too many times I have looked at the weather a week in advance, and have been either excited or disappointed. Then a few days later there are significant changes and I think 'why did I bother'. I have been excited about all day spinnaker runs, then when the day comes it is motoring into the wind.
I think the real issue is that you need to return by a certain time, and deadlines are always a problem when sailing. I don't think the wind can be accurately predicted, but the tides can. Leave yourself lots of time.

Sorry for the negative post, just be safe.
Cheers
dj
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,082
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Scott. How did you become comfortable with your boat in Barnegat Bay. Did you go out and just sail from one end to the other or did yo do it in steps?

You want to become familiar with going out side the inlet into the ocean. So why not do just that. Cruise out and back into the inlet a couple of times day sailing. Sneak back inside and spend the night anchored in the shelter of the breakwater near the light. Then in the AM go out and go for a day sail in the Ocean.

In one weekend you could get a wealth of knowledge of your sailing area and the inlet. I know when skiing or racing I would repeat and test my skills against a particular stretch of the course that was complex.

It feels like there will be enough weather changes going on over the next couple of days that going in and out of the inlet a few times over a 6 hour period would give you a lot of experience with the inlet, the currents and the weather. It affects the inlet differently in different tidal conditions and breezes.

I’ll take look at the conditions. And a chart.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Scott. How did you become comfortable with your boat in Barnegat Bay. Did you go out and just sail from one end to the other or did yo do it in steps?
Barnegat Bay is a giant shallow bath tub. I sailed all over it for a decade on a sailboard before we owned our boat. I've been out through a few inlets (Corson's & Tuckerton) on my sailboard, too. I was just being a bit melodramatic for entertainment. :waycool: But I have to admit that the thought of the current turning my keel broadside to a breaking wave and/or bottoming out does give me the willies until I actually feel how this boat maneuvers in current and waves.

I want to sail to a destination and the weather forecast looks favorable for a run to AC and back over the weekend. It should be about 8 hours each way. That's how I was thinking about this thread and why I posted in the Weather Forum!

@DaveJ , I hear you but I'm a bit more optimistic. :biggrin:
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
One other consideration is the tides on Sunday and Monday. Low tide Sunday is 4:20 PM and Monday is 5:07 PM. If you're coming in Sunday with that easterly wind I would try not to do it before the tide turns and stops flowing out of the inlet against the wind. Might be less of an issue Monday if the wind is more southerly, but still something to keep in mind.
At Barnegat Inlet, slack current lags behind high tide by about 2.5 hours and behind low tide 3 hours. It doesn't work so well to try to time slack current with the low and high tides. The current is actually ripping along at both low and high tide. It may work out best to leave Beach Haven on Monday morning and time slack current at about1:20 pm on Monday. The only other options for slack current on Sunday or Monday are too late in the day (darkness). Any way I look at it on Sunday or Monday, I'll be coming in on an ebb current after 12:30 on Sunday or 1:20 pm on Monday. The closer to slack tide, the better. The peak currents are projected at 3 to 3.5 knots during those times.

That's a pretty long lag, I think. The slack currents at Absecon are much closer to high & low tides.
 
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Oct 26, 2008
5,011
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I think we've had this discussion about tides and currents. It seems odd but at Barnegat Inlet, the current is flooding the bay for up to 2.5 hours after the tide at the inlet starts to fall. The tide is rising for 3 hours as water is flowing out the inlet. :what::what: It's ripping right along at low and high tide!
 
May 17, 2004
3,469
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
It may work out best to leave Beach Haven on Monday morning and time slack current at about1:20 pm on Monday
I like that idea. Right now Wunderground shows just 20% chance of rain on Monday. If that goes up you have options to leave earlier or later depending on what part of the day looks better. If the timing works out with the current on Monday that's great, but even if you have to fight the ebb on Monday I think that's better than fighting it on Sunday when the easterly wind is blowing over it.

That's a pretty long lag, I think. The slack currents at Absecon are much closer to high & low tides.
There's much less bay behind Absecon than Barnegat. So much less surface area to fill means it won't lag behind as far.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,082
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Looking at Windy and trying to understand what is and will be happening that would affect my sailing out of Barnegat Inlet,
Current Conditions.
View attachment 169045
Has the High over West Virginia urging the Low up off of main onward to the East. This means variable winds in the area off the NJ coast. First out of the North then changing to the South Friday as the high fills in.
1567111892957.png


Further swinging around the Compass from the NE on Saturday
1567111777645.png


And final out of the East on Sunday.
1567111960580.png


This is all a result of the High Moving through.

Wave and Swell info is also in Windy

1567112225278.png
1567112255007.png
1567112284517.png
1567112337161.png


The influence of Dorian with swells coming out of the SE is (in my opinion) starting to make it's presence known.

With the High Pressure present and forecast to continue for the next couple of days, I would not be concerned taking my 35 ft boat out the inlet and down the coast to AC. I would have a back up plan that included parking the boat in AC if the conditions changed. Especially if I had a commitment to be back home by a certain time frame.

As always I would have a Float Plan prepared and in the hands of my wife and a close friend. You can use the PDF or the CG App is available to prepare a float plan. Floating Plan

Happy Sailing.