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Monday, June 23, 2014

CRUISING BY PWC

Personal watercraft are a great way to see Georgian Bay. Increasingly we see large groups of jet skiers that tour together just the same way that motorcyclists tour the countryside in packs. Jet ski tourism is catching on. It has some real advantages. You can cover great distances in a hurry when you want to ... and you can also tuck into very shallow remote places to explore. Come night time the group can plan stopover points with accommodation or you can bring a waterproof pack and camp over if the group is so inclined. The advantage of travelling in group is there is safety in numbers and usually someone familiar with the cruising area will play mother goose and lead the pack. Because of the speed and unsinkable nature of PWC’s the group can get out to some very remote islands and pull ashore for a visit. Wetsuits are the normal comfortable attire for a day of jet skiing. For overnighters where only rock landings are available, it’s best to drop a small anchor in a sheltered area and let the jet skis rest in the shallow water. It’s also easy to stage a jet ski event so that every night there is a fuel and accommodation stop along the cruise if the pack want's all the creature comforts of home. Recently coming through Honey Harbour midweek we saw over twenty PWC’s in one group heading out for a cruise.

Posted by at 10:13 AM
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

72 YEAR OLD CIRCUMNAVIGATES GLOBE ABOARD DAY SAILER

Webb Chiles at 72 years of age and with five circumnavigations already behind him has commenced his sixth circumnavigation of the world on a daysailer.

His 24‘ boat called Gannet is a Moore 24, a small club racing day sailer boat design never designed for circumnavigation. The Californian-designed Moore 24 is the first ultra-light displacement class built in the United States. Moore 24s have been successfully raced from California to Hawaii, but no one has ever before attempted to circumnavigate one.

Webb holds the record for the first American sailor to round Cape Horn solo. He also broke Sir Francis Chichester’s record for the fastest solo circumnavigation in a mono hull by more than three weeks.

His escapades include the sinking of his 36' sloop Resurgam resulting in a day and night of floating and swimming to survive where he was carried more than 125 miles by the Gulf Stream before latching on to an anchored fishing vessel. Webb is also known for sailing small boats including an 18’ open yawl with no deck which he sailed around the world.

This circumnavigation he started from San Diego headed for Hawaii and then New Zealand. From New Zealand he will decide whether to continue west or go back east in the southern hemisphere to round Cape Horn for the second time. There is no stopping this guy.

Posted by at 9:05 AM
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Monday, June 02, 2014

THE OLD WAYS WORK TOO!

I just got a marine barometer from Trintec and now that I have it installed in the boat I can’t help but look at it every few hours and set the markers to observe pressure drops and rises. It works very well and in addition to other weather resources it can be an excellent diagnostic for determining really bad weather coming your way.

Measurements of barometric pressure and the pressure tendency has been used to forecast since the 19th century. The larger the change in pressure, especially if more than 3.5 hPa the larger the change in weather can be expected. A barometer measures air pressure. A rising barometer indicates increas¬ing air pressure; a falling barometer indicates decreasing air pressure.

In space, there is a vacuum so the air pressure is zero. On Earth, because there are miles of air molecules stacked up and exerting pressure due to the force of gravity, the pressure is about 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level. Air pressure is different at different points on the planet and it changes over time. You probably know that hot air is less dense (lighter) than cooler air. On any given day you would expect the air over a desert to¬ have a lower pressure than the air over an ice cap. The same sort of pressure differences occur all over the planet for various reasons.

These pressure differences have a big effect on the weather, so if you know the current air pressure at your boat location, as well as the pressure trend, you are able to predict a lot about the weather. Moving to a high-pressure area will be clear, and moving to a low-pressure area will be cloudy and rainy ... and maybe stormy if the pressure is falling fast.

A barometer measures air pressure just as a tire gauge measures the pressure in your tires--except a barometer is measuring the pressure of the atmosphere. High air pressure relative to average levels is associated with calm and sunny weather. Low air pressure is associated with bad weather, high winds and rain. So you could tell whether it is warm and sunny by looking at your barometer and seeing if the air pressure is high. Just as high pressure means warm and sunny, rising pressure means that it will be becoming warmer and sunnier. The same principle holds true for falling temperatures and colder, windier and wetter. To measure which direction things are moving, take your watch and mark the time. Observe the air pressure on the barometer. Come back at some predetermined time later (an hour perhaps) and observe the air pressure again. If the pressure has risen, the weather will be getting better. If it has fallen it will be getting worse. Almost all barometers will have one or more small markers that allows you to set the position of your observations. After you have measured which direction the air pressure is moving, you have to interpret the results. The faster the pressure is changing, the faster the weather will change and the worse or better, dependent upon the direction of change. Weather does not change in an instant: Falling pressure now is almost certain to continue for many hours, perhaps a day or two, meaning that we can predict that the weather will be bad later today and tomorrow from our barometer observations. However, pressure does not fall or rise all the time. So a barometer cannot be used with any accuracy to predict more than a few days into the future.

Posted by at 4:08 PM
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