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post #9 of Old 08-07-2012
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Re: Don Street in his own words

Originally Posted by blowinstink View Post
Might as well take a look at what Don Street has to say as well (since eevryone is commenting on him). Here is one distillation of his ideas
With all due respect (a lot) to Mr. Street I think some of his opinions (and note the article is almost ten years old) are dated:

Originally Posted by Don Street
The major problem on this long passage to the islands is that the weather window is very short. Many sailors believe that October is the best time to leave and are quite happy making passages then. However, if you leave in October, thereís sufficient risk of getting caught in a late-season hurricane that I donít recommend leaving before November 1.
That just isn't the way the weather patterns are running. We have years when things settle down in September and years when nasty systems with circulation run to Thanksgiving or beyond. Give Steve Black a call and get his perspective, or call Hank Schmitt. Those guys have dealt with this over and over. Selling books is one thing, running a rally is something else.

There is nothing magic about November 1 that isn't a product of the insurance companies. I firmly believe that a big part of the success of the Annapolis Boat Show is the November 1 insurance date. A mid-October show just a day above the November 1 line? Perfect. It will only take one really big late season storm for the insurance company actuaries to move either the date or the line.

But those storms aren't a surprise to anyone that pays attention. You can watch the systems develop off the Cape Verde Islands and make your choices. You'll have plenty of time to get out of the way if 1. you have good weather information on the boat and 2. you understand what it means.

Originally Posted by Don Street
Further, when leaving from southern New England, you can get very cold weather. I remember leaving Norwalk, Connecticut, with my wife one November with 8 inches of snow on the deck. By the time December 1 arrives, I wouldnít consider embarking on an offshore passage to the Caribbean from the Northeast. Better to wait until next year.
It gets cold in the winter. Dress for it.

If you have time and are only limited by insurance make the run from New England to Chesapeake and stage in Little Creek. I've left the Bay in February and been wearing shorts and t-shirts in two days. The sea and air temperature across the Gulf Stream is amazing. Launching from New England is going to mean being cold longer (five or six days instead of two). Mr. Street's assessment of temperature doesn't match mine: the temperature difference between Boston and Beaufort just isn't significant in November and December. I've been out there. It's just cold. *grin* In fact, I'd rather launch from Little Creek than Beaufort -- I'll be across the Gulf Stream faster.

Two things I do agree with Mr. Street about are staging from Little Creek (I like Vinings Landing Marina) and getting off the beach. I run 135T (weather permitting) and hit the Gulf Stream perpendicularly to get across as quickly as possibly. Watch the sea water temperature. You'll know when you are there.

Originally Posted by Don Street
In years past, sailors thought that the Gulf Stream flowed steadily northeast in this region. We now know this isnít true. Often thereís a southeasterly meander, and boats that find it usually finish near the top of the fleet in the Newport-Bermuda Race. In addition to the meander, rotating warm and cold eddies also can work in your favor. Play these eddies right and they can literally slingshot you toward your destination.
True. Prof Bohen at UConn is the expert on this. See his stuff on the Newport-Bermuda Race web site.

The availability of US sources for Gulf Stream information has pretty well dried up. Dutch sources are about the best you can get today without having to pay a lot of money for it.

Originally Posted by Don Street
The subject of weather routers often comes up these days. If you have a big boat (70 feet long or longer), a weather router is certainly worthwhile because youíll be fast enough to position yourself on the correct side of the highs and the lows. But for the average 40-foot boat, you basically have to pick a favorable weather window for departure, then make the best of whatever weather intersects your route.
I agree with Mr. Street about the realities of 40(ish) foot boats. I don't agree with the use of routers. You should be your own router. There are so many good sources of information available today that some training will turn you into your own best router. Lee Chesneau gives some great courses. Money and time well spent.

Originally Posted by Don Street
If you buy an all-band receiver, you can listen to both government and amateur weather forecasts as well as to the various ham nets. This will give you a very good idea of the current weather conditions in your region.
True. Do this. Do not pass GO do not collect $200 get set up for voice weather on shortwave and weather fax. Do not kid yourself that GRIBs are a substitute. They are pablum.

Have a good watch.

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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