Re: Weather Forecasts (Chesapeake in this case)
Thank you all again for the valuable information provided. I am adding it all to my repertoire of pre-sail research sources.
Gary, I think you hit the nail on the head. Here is my experience from Monday afternoon:
Left the slip at 3pm, winds were very light (no windspeed indicator on the boat) out of the NW. We expected some more winds and waves once past the jetties, but were disappointed. Once past G1 out of Herrington Harbor North we turned toward shore to raise the reefed main, followed by the jib, fully unfurled.
We made at most 3 knots and barely a hair on our heads would have been disturbed (we were wearing hats) by the sorry excuse for wind. As this was going on for a good 30 minutes we decided to let out the reef.
By the time we turned E out of Herring Bay at R2, winds had increased slightly, and we sailed very comfortably and relaxed on a reach toward G1 in the middle of Herring Bay without a destination in mind.
Eventually, we decided to turn around and get back to watch the hockey game. At this point the winds had picked up further with gusts that prompted the boat to point upwind, which is fine, but it was beginning to feel uncomfortable for my crew every time a gust hit and made us heel unexpectedly.
By the time we tacked our way back around R2, trying to sail 0 True, the wind was now constantly blowing to the point where I wish I could have reefed again. Plus it was changing direction mostly to the NNW, which quickly made us decide to take down the sails and motor back.
By the time we got to the jetties, we were heeling a bit even without any sails up at all.
Yeah, that's about it. 1/3 creeping along with nary a whisp, 1/3 of perfect sailing, and 1/3 of really working and at times freaking out my crew a bit.
1) The Chesapeake is, indeed, unpredictable.
2) Keep the reef in when sailing during an SCA - you never know when it'll hit.
3) Take it easy. If you wanted to get anywhere fast you would be on a powerboat.
Anywho - thanks again all!