- NWS says there is a small craft advisory in effect through late tonight from Sandy Point to North Beach. To my recollection, an SMA is triggered between 22-33 knot winds...
As you can see, there is a good degree of contradiction here. Which model should I trust?
There is no contradiction. The NOAA weather radio Small Craft Advisory is issued in advance of the SCA conditions and does not necessarily reflect current conditions. The weather synopsis portion of the forecast informs us that high pressure is steadily moving into this area through tonight. The wind speed range is predicted to increase another 5 knots this afternoon and evening from 10-15 knots to 15 to 20 knots - that is the basis for the SCA.
Also, given the circumstances, would you go out with a reef on a 30' O'Day 302 or just go full canvas?
I would not head out with a reef in the main in those conditions, but I would be more conservative in my jib choice with predicted increase in wind speed.
I head out plannng to use a full main, usually, then I judge the headsail by the conditions. You can always ease the main to reef once the jib is up. I usually rig everything in the marina for ease of possible use: jib sheets, whisker pole, spinnaker pole, spin sheets, turning blocks, unless I am only going for a short sail. On a number of occasions, it gets stowed without being used that day.