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A couple weeks ago...
Barbara and I sponsor a midshipman at the naval academy, and we took our mid and her roommate out sailing to celebrate the end of their exams for the year. It was a positively wonderful sail, with winds around 10 knots gusting into the mid-teens at times. We sailed through Annapolis Harbor and showed them the Academy from a different angle, buzzed the tourists on the City dock, and then sailed out and under the Bay Bridge, and then south half way between Tolley Point and Thomas Point. A great time was had by all.

Jeft
Wow! I did not know this was something that was done! What a great thing for volunteers to be able to do. I wish we were closer to be able to do something like that.
 

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Next week is Commissioning Week for the Academy. Blue Angels do a demonstration on Wednesday, May 26 at 2:00. For those in the area, the Navy Bridge (Rt. 450) will be closed to traffic at 1:45 for the duration of the demonstration.

Graduation is Friday, May 28. Blue Angles fly over the stadium around 10:00 am.
 

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We anchor off Greenbury pt and do brunch most years for the show- one of the few times I deploy the day-glo anchor float that (usually) helps keep others from getting 'too" close- I can point to where my anchor is and that scares off would-be encroachers. Even still, you're lucky to get a 2:1 swing circle. It's not as bad as July 4th fireworks but still gets kinda sporty. We wait an hour or so afterwards for the masses to depart with their wakes, then go for an afternoon sail.
It's such a big deal here that the schools within ~15mi of Annapolis treat it as an excused absence, and have special procedures for early dismissal to go watch.
 

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A pretty great weekend just went by! We took care of a bunch of items on the To-Do list Saturday but eventually got out there. We anchored just a few miles away to go eat, it was later in the afternoon when we realized we'd forgotten to eat. Spent the night at anchor, ah 'boat-sleep' is nice. Sunday was a great sail, once again we thought it would be a light wind and as soon as we got out of the river it steady kicked up harder. Not complaining! We just really want to test out the spinnaker! I mentioned that later, in August probably, we'll feel the opposite hoping for more wind so we can fly the genny again.
Wish we could make it down for the Blue Angels but doesn't look like it'll happen. Our weekend guests aren't able to get to our place until afternoon. Bummer, I like watching the planes.
 

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Spent the last two weeks on the boat doing some remote work, got out both weekends. First for a quick overnight in the Carrotoman right around the bend from the marina, followed by a beautiful few hours of sailing on the Rappahannock. This past weekend we went out to Little Bay just North of the Rap entrance to the bay. Beautiful days on the water, even if I sucked some mud into the dinghy engine and got my share of rowing. Luckily that was on the final return to the mothership before heading back, but this weekend I know what project I will tackle!
 

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Saturday I raced in the Chesapeake Shorthanded Sailing Society (CHESSS) Poplar Island race. This is one of those races where you can go around the course either way. I have to say, kudos to the race committee for pulling off a very well administered race.

The weather conditions on the course were absolute crazy, with massive wind shifts, large holes, and the most erratic gradient winds that I have ever seen.
Some examples:
At one point I had the bottom of the jib full and pulling on starboard tack with the mainsail full and pulling on port and the boat accelerating essentially straight up wind.
At one point there was a 120 degree wind shift ending up with the port tack broad spinnaker reach turning into a starboard tack beam reach, blowing the spinnaker through the foretriangle to the new leeward and catching the previous leeward leech of the spinnaker on the new leeward spreader
At the finish the boat was moving very slowly on a port tack spinnaker broad reach in almost no wind to a starboard tack beat in 3-4 knots of wind. (Who says you can't do a windward spinnaker drop shorthand?) I was able to do a quick spinnaker drop and douse the pole, and get the jib up and pulling before we drifted with the current into the pin.

But as challenging as it was, it was a fun day with a lot of tough decisions to make. I sailed with Bonnie Urban who is a long time friend. Until 3 years ago, I crewed for Bonnie for nearly 20 years on her J-22 then her J-70. It made a particularly special day to sail with her again.

Yesterday, I removed the last of the masking tape from painting the deck. Woo-hoo it all came off.

Jeff
 

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Posting this here instead of starting a new thread...it sort of belongs.

I've been using predictwind for the wind forecast, with mixed success. I'm curious which model most people find to be most accurate? GFS or ECMWF or for other predictwind users, their special sauce variants based on those?

Asking here for experiences specific to the bay.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I normally think that ECMWF generally is more reliable at predicting hurricane paths, ECMWF doesn't seem to be especially accurate in predictions for the Chesapeake Bay. WeatherBug does a half way decent job, but the problem is their predictions are land focused and are more than a little less accurate on the water.

Saturday was a mess. There was no convergence in the various weather sources. And oddly no source really got it right.

Jeff
 
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Saturday was a mess. There was no convergence in the various weather sources. And oddly no source really got it right.

Jeff
I was enjoying reading about your race tribulations!

I'm just thinking about where to maybe head to from Deltaville this coming weekend. Seems like plenty of wind in the forecast, maybe enough to make staying in the river attractive, or just a jump to little bay or Milford Haven.

I don't feel like any of the forecasts are good enough until the day of anyway.

On a related note, has anyone been to Onancock this spring?
 

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Posting this here instead of starting a new thread...it sort of belongs.

I've been using predictwind for the wind forecast, with mixed success. I'm curious which model most people find to be most accurate? GFS or ECMWF or for other predictwind users, their special sauce variants based on those?

Asking here for experiences specific to the bay.
Models are designed for larger pattern weather predictions, and will never be as good for inland or even coastal type of use as they are for open passage making. They make some accommodation for land effects in general, but will not be highly predictive for a place like the Chesapeake. The resolution required for the Chesapeake isn't even present in open ocean.

The best you can hope for is to use them to understand the general expected weather, then develop local knowledge as to how these types of patterns usually present themselves to your area. There are too many variables such as land/sea temperature differentials, currents, geography, etc to accurately model. Acquired local knowledge is how the good racers win consistently in short local races.

If the models diverge, then all bets are off without using other meteorological data. If they are similar, then the general pattern will be within their combined ranges.

I've found Predictwind's proprietary models to be complete crap. In the past, the GFS was better, then the ECMWF became better in the past couple of years, now the GFS seems to be getting better again. This is likely because the model algorithms dynamically improve over time as they are individually updated.

Mark
 

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Posting this here instead of starting a new thread...it sort of belongs.

I've been using predictwind for the wind forecast, with mixed success. I'm curious which model most people find to be most accurate? GFS or ECMWF or for other predictwind users, their special sauce variants based on those?

Asking here for experiences specific to the bay.
We use Predictwind only to get "an idea" of what might happen that day. Which I think is actually the likely best that will happen, I don't think Mother Nature likes to be predictable. I usually cycle through all three models to see how varied they are. The more varied the less I believe any of them, when they align somewhat I feel more confident. (shrug)
 

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It looks like winds will be northerly this weekend. A good opportunity for sailors on the Rappahanock to head south for Milford Haven, Fishing Bay, or even Mobjack if you have the time.

I think we'll be taking a cruise south and heading for Cape Charles, Kiptopeak, and maybe Yorktown. I have earned this cruise because while some of you were enjoying last weekend I was dismantling the galley and replacing a leaky water heater.
 

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no models seem to handle the short-lived seabreeze particularly well- to colemj's point. The big model timescales and geographical granularity are nowhere near tight enough to catch those few hours of "build then die." Especially if the current weather system's wind is counter to what late-afternoon convection causes. Cue local knowledge requirement.
 

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I usually cycle through all three models to see how varied they are. The more varied the less I believe any of them, when they align somewhat I feel more confident.
This is what I've been doing a bit of...good to know I'm not alone!

It looks like winds will be northerly this weekend. A good opportunity for sailors on the Rappahanock to head south for Milford Haven, Fishing Bay, or even Mobjack if you have the time.
They are moving around quite a bit, and Sat. looks like thunderstorms and SCA, so I think - if we head out - we'll likely head for Urbanna (maybe enough wind in the river for a good sail!).
 

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I like the Table view on Predictwind because it gives me a sense of the variance in the forecasts. Like others have noted, the forecasts should mostly converge on the day of and when they really don't that is a good indication the weather is unsettled and any one forecast might be wrong. If I have to pick one forecast only, the one I trust the most is NOAA's marine forecast.

I also really like the wind map in Predictwind, the visualizations help me understand how the wind might shift from one part of the bay to another, and useful for indicating when wind shifts might occur while anchoring overnight.
 

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I was really looking forward to getting the boat over to the Eastern Shore this weekend but with the weather forecast, my still-broken headsail furler and improvements to reefing lines undone I'm starting to feel a little downcast about my chances. Anyone planning any trips that I can live through vicariously?
 

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We are planing on Thursday taking the new to us boat out for the first time since we bought her.
 
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