Monday, December 8, 2014

Seaford (12/7/2014)

One advantage of having a (sail)boat is that I am even more intimately in-tuned with the weather.  There isn't a day that goes by that I do not check what is going on out there.  This is somewhat amazing, having a wife who is a micro-meteorologist by training.  However, like a lot of generations in the past, for me weather was something that happened; something you had to live with and could not do anything about.  When we lived in Cincinnati you were aware of large thunderstorm complexes.  Cincinnati was kind of at the far end of "Tornado Alley", so always something to be aware off.  However getting a boat, you have to keep an eye out for hurricanes in the summer and nor'easter in the winter.  On top of that you need to know if it is good sailing weather.

This weekend the wind was 30 to 40 knots (1 knot is 1.15 miles per hour) from the north and north-north-east.  A wind coming straight down the Chesapeake Bay at that force forces the water to pile up on the southern shore of the bay and in the little creeks that jot into the shore in the area.  Currently the actual tide is running 1.5 to 2 feet above the astronomic (predicted without the wind) tide (see here for the website).  I just learned that the storm is redeveloping and moving back towards us.  It seems that is will pile even more water up in our creeks,

I went to the boat on Sunday, just to check it and to get a little water out of the bilge and the front locker.  Water always seem to accumulate in these areas.  While my ports (windows) are relatively water tight, I do have a leaky anchor locker and leaky stanchions.  Moreover, my companionway hatch is not waterproof, so yes I will have to dry the boat out after a rainstorm.  On top of that, winter time also means condensation time for my boat and water will drip anywhere and from every thing on a cold day in winter.  I wonder if I can turn my boat into a whiskey still.

It was mid-tide when I got to the boat, and the water was higher than an ordinary high tide.  The wind was whipping.  Two friends of mine arrived just after me, announcing they were going for a sail (remember 30 to 40 knot winds).  They later told me they made it out to the mouth of the creek, but waves were 5 to 7 feet and they decided not to chance it.  Waves can be the general problem where we sail.  Our part of the bay is very exposed to winds from the north to the east and the waves can build pretty high when it blows out of that direction; there is nothing to stop them between us and the eastern shore.  Even in summer there are days we feel uncomfortable going out; when the wind is from the northeast waves can easily top 2 to 3 feet, and that is not much fun in a 25 foot Catalina.

Anyway here is a photo of my slip; you can see how high the water is; and this is mid-tide.  At least our marina is very sheltered and the water is relatively calm.

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