Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 48 Times in 45 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Worst forecast, best lessons..
This past weekend's forecast for SE La. and the Lake was for a passing tropical wave to make it wet and stormy, 70% chance of tstorms Saturday afternoon, 60% Sunday.
I'm a cautious guy, especially with students, but to me, radar trumps forecast, at least short-term. Both days it showed bad weather just to the east and west, and north, but kind of an open 'trail' to the south where the systems were coming from.
Turns out that trail was *just* wide enough for us to get in two excellent lessons (these were folks with at least one prior lesson, so not totally new sailors).
Excellent because we had to actually use some of the drills in real-life and not just in theory. Like taking in and shaking out a reef, putting on lifejackets and foulies in a hurry, and feathering the boat upwind in 18-22 knot "dry (almost wet, but not quite) minimal squall" conditions. Also lots of weatherbird stuff, watching the clouds and reacting accordingly, dropping the traveler down, "rail meat" all to windward, that kind of stuff. And how to scramble quickly to the new windward side after a tack (lightweight boat), and get her moving again.
Then unreefing and beating home as the wind let up and sky brightened.
Somehow we were "in" (though just barely) with the weather Gods this weekend, I can't explain it but we were. Dontcha just love it when that happens? The students sure did, did a good job, and i think learned a lot.