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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 08-12-2013
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Small craft advisory?

What exactly does that mean? Stay off the water?
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

It depends alot on the person and the area they live in. I often think of a small craft advisory as an alert that there is going to be fun and exciting sailing. In some parts of the country like San Francisco and Hawaii You wouldnt do much sailing if you didnt go in a small craft advisory.

You've just got to take into account some other local conditions. Say you are on the Great Lakes. Is it just supposed to be pretty windy? Or is it windy because of a thunderstorm. If its just a nice sunny small craft, you might go out and have a great time, but if there are other factors too, say where I'm at if there was a small craft AND a strong current opposing it, it might not be weather I would go out in.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

Locally it is wind speed, 21-30 or so knots sustained, with gusts to 35 IIRC. At one time, small craft was/were boats under 65'. Also could be wave heights, duration along with a couple of other issues. Some areas of the world, SC warnings is an ave day, ie tradewind area's.

One will usually in smaller boats, say 35-40' have a 110 and probably a reef in the main, so winds that need to be thought about in some way shape or form. Above this is 2 or 3 different gale winds, then strom winds. Assuming I am remembering the way the winds are done.

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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

A small craft advisory is a type of warning issued by the National Weather Service in the United States, most frequently in coastal areas. It is issued when winds have reached, or are expected to reach within 12 hours, a speed marginally less than gale force.

The term wind advisory is used in place of small craft advisory when winds of the same force occur at, or are forecast for, inland locations. A lake wind advisory is issued for winds just below this range, because unobstructed winds across the open waters of a lake are normally faster than across land.

The wind speed that triggers the advisory has changed over time. Until the late 1960s, the threshold was 32 to 38 miles per hour (or 28 to 33 knots). At some point, the lower limit was reduced to 23 miles per hour (20 knots). Today, however, most places have standardized on 25 to 38 miles per hour (22 to 33 knots), encompassing the combined ranges of forces 6 and 7 on the Beaufort scale.

Occasionally an informal lesser advisory, known as "small craft exercise caution," is issued for wind speeds lighter than those that call for a small craft advisory. Criteria for this vary in different localities; sometimes a range of 19 to 24 miles per hour (17 to 21 knots) is observed, or in some places 17 to 23 miles per hour (15 to 19 knots) may be used.

The insignia that denotes a small craft advisory is one red, triangular flag (two such flags, one placed above the other, signify a gale warning).

The National Weather Service does not specifically identify what constitutes a "small craft," although the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary informally assigns the designation to boats with a total length of less than 65 feet. In reality the length of the boat is only part of what a person should consider when venturing out under such a warning. Weight, displacement and hull design are also important factors and an even more important consideration is the not only the craft, but the experience of the captain.
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Re: Small craft advisory?

Small craft are under 26'. If you are bigger it does not apply. However, sometimes the wind, fetch, etc. spell crap for less than 26' and more than 26' Know what you are getting into, and have fun or stay home.
Both are correct.
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Old 08-12-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

Around here a "Small Craft Warning" meant that you probably wouldn't want to go out fishing in your little aluminum boat! It certainly isn't something I would pay attention to on a sailboat unless you were going to take "tourists" out and didn't want to scare them!
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Old 08-13-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

The guiding advice I have received from this post is the "experience" factor of the captain and crew. This is our first year sailing. The forecast is 4-7 foot waves and 25-30 knot winds on Lake Michigan. We have a 5 hour trip ahead of us under the best of conditions. While I would like an exciting sail, I would prefer to get the experience in a day-sail setting without having to reach a destination under a schedule. I am looking forward to getting the experience and I think it would be thrilling, but not today. Safety first and experience is my limitation. Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregrosine View Post
The guiding advice I have received from this post is the "experience" factor of the captain and crew. This is our first year sailing. The forecast is 4-7 foot waves and 25-30 knot winds on Lake Michigan. We have a 5 hour trip ahead of us under the best of conditions. While I would like an exciting sail, I would prefer to get the experience in a day-sail setting without having to reach a destination under a schedule. I am looking forward to getting the experience and I think it would be thrilling, but not today. Safety first and experience is my limitation. Thanks!
Good choice...you have experience beyond your time on the water obviously.
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Old 08-13-2013
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Re: Small craft advisory?

That is reef weather. If you have never reefed your main, a SCA is not the best time to start scratching your head to figure it out. But, this is a learning opportunity. Take the time at the dock to learn how to reef and then practice it. Get five reefs/shakedowns under your belt at the dock, (just an hour or so of practice) and you'll have the procedure down, so that it is nearly instinctual.
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Re: Small craft advisory?

Not sure where you are sailing out of and where you are going, but a day like today would not be a fun "first time in big stuff" day most anywhere on Lake Michigan. The north bouy and the Milwaukee bouy have been 17-24 knts since last evening. Projected higher winds this morning and starting to settle down late tonight. Projections are for occasional 10 footers.....steep ones!


Tomorrow and Thursday look like they could be perfect sailing days (dependent on where you are going) even though it will be a little cool. Wait until it starts to settle down and then go. If going down wind leave a little earlier, but watch it.
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