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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last few years weather events at the turn of the seasons has had major impact on my sailing. From missing the window for safe passage to the eastern Caribbean last fall to lying hove to for a full week to allow a system to clear the spring before on return.
The defined hurricane season seems to no longer exist. Nor does the defined hurricane zone. Although I’m used to the New England attitude “if you don’t like the weather wait a minute” even squall behavior seems different. I was used to line squalls passing through with a few bad hours not to the days you experience now.
This is starting to change my thinking. I find myself obsessing about the west coast of Africa. I have increasingly low confidence that GRIBs, 500mb, or any model will predict the weather in my immediate vicinity. I have increasing trepidation which has caused me to change my behavior. In the past the boat was set up two different ways. Coastal or offshore. Now unless it’s a day sail she’s in offshore mode.
I wonder if others have changed the way they think and act in response to the weather impacts of climate change?
 

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Old soul
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It’s a question I’ve pondered. To be honest, I haven’t cruising long enough to know anything but what I’ve experienced. I do wonder about the reliability of various historic-based tools like pilot charts or sailing directions. Blue water routes (and timing) seem less certain now.

Seasons up north (where I’ve spent my entire sailing life so far) actually seem to be extending, but established seasonal weather patterns appear to be getting more erratic.

So far, I can’t say any of this has directly changed my cruising pattern, but it certainly makes me view traditional knowledge tools far more skeptically.
 

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It was June too soon. July standby. August come they must. September remember and October all over was the mantra for the hurricane season when I worked in the Caribbean in the late 70's and early 80's. It had been for several hundred years. Even when we knew there was a storm headed our way, we did not know if it would hit us directly, until it hit the windward side of the island.
Then Klaus slammed into St Thomas in November 1984 and it seemed things were changing even before someone coined the phrase climate change.
However, on the other side of the coin, I now have exactly the same information available to me that the weather forecasters do, from the web. So, as long as I have an internet connection, I have the information I need to make an informed forecast of my own, giving me a freedom to cruise around during hurricane season I never had before.
The last time I set sail for the Caribbean from Newport, I did so on October 8th, more than a month before it is now recommended to do so, and I had the best trip I have ever had between Newport and Bermuda. I was confident in doing this because of the weather information available to me on the internet.
It isn't about day to day forecasting for me but in the big picture. Three to five days of travel with a reasonable certainty that I won't have any unexpected weather systems is a huge improvement over my past. And though I have yet to use the phone/grib thing, I'm confident that when I do it will be an immense improvement over the old WWV/WWVH 5 minutes of weather info updated every 12 hours.
I guess that leaves me better off now than in the past, even with climate change in the mix.
 

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Like Mike above I’m relatively new to sailing. I’s not hard to listen to folks with extensive outdoor experience, especially in the North, to know things are changing.

I was reading a story from the 1890’s of folks going North through the Straights of Bell Isle in late June and being delayed due to the ice pack, which was normal and expected. I’ve personally sailed those same waters at that same time and met the odd iceberg, which is the current normal.

In his Introduction to his new improved pilot chats Cornell cites climate change as one of the reason the charts need updating. And that was a few years ago.

IMHO it’s hard to blame any one storm on CC. But the long term statistical data (ie ice data) along with personal historic knowledge of the North makes a most compelling story.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Capta I’ve done the weather briefings, listened and read Lee Chesneau, subscripted to Chris, get my NOAA, and do my own collection of data. I’m convinced any predictions more than 5 days out are a crap shoot. I’ve experienced vicious winds when all predictions suggested benign conditions. Predictions are excellent for a large field of view but not as good for hyper local conditions. Believe this is true both for coastal and off shore. Saw high 40s inside L.I. Sound in face of 10-15 predicted. Predictions are excellent for a day sail but not for a passage as you know.
However, in the past seasonal assumptions tended to hold with few outliers. Perhaps there’s no increase in named storms but intensity and duration seemed to have increased. My impression is inspite of of advances in prediction technology and ability to get daily emails and bidaily SSB chats you are much more uncertain as to what you will face on any long coastal jump or a ocean passage. I still head out. I do so with more trepidation. How about you? Do you think this is making for less people engaging in ocean sailing?
 

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. How about you? Do you think this is making for less people engaging in ocean sailing?
I can't speak for others with any accuracy, but my feeling is that way too many people rely on weather forecasts and routers instead of taking the information available and forecasting for themselves.
A prime example is Brett, last year. It was headed south of Grenada and with a double, very strong Atlantic High rather far south in the Atlantic, there was no likelihood that the storm could slide north.
When we arrived in Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou all but a handful of the 100+ boats moored there had fled to the safety of the lagoon. After setting our anchor, a local came over and asked us if we wanted help moving into the lagoon. I said no thank you, confident that since the storm was passing to our south, there was no possibility that we would get westerlies, the only wind which would make that anchorage dangerous.
Brett did exactly as expected, remaining south of Grenada and dashed itself to death on the mountains of Venezuela, giving us no more than 40 knots of wind from the east.
It just wasn't all that difficult to see what Brett would/could do if one had a very basic understanding of hurricanes and weather in general.
But weather services have a responsibility to issue warnings when the situation meets certain criteria, not even on what the forecasters themselves believe will happen, so those who rely on those warnings alone can end up either unprepared for an unforeseen weather change or prepared for something that is so unlikely as to be impossible, not necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of hard, unnecessary and possibly expensive effort.
I think Mark's (Sealife) tale of his voyage to Europe last year is a good example of using the real-time weather information available, rather than forecasts, to make a safe crossing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Capta we do that as well and think most do. Have gone to the right side of a system be it depression or invest or TS figuring regardless of deviation from predicted tract I want to be on the side with less wind and more options. Yes, I agree predictors are constrained by certain “rules” and you should do your own homework. Still, I’m focused not on available tools at your disposal but rather the weather itself and the apparent breakdown of the prior pre CC assumptions. Biggest is having some reliance that there’s a period after hurricane season and before winter gales that is fairly safe to set sail for the Caribbean. Or if in subtropical US there’s a defined thunderstorm season. Or if in northern New England/ southern eastern Canada there’s a period you will see less fog or cold rain. Or.....fill in the blank.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Capta should mention I’m pretty old school. Have a metereoman recording barometer. Have frequently reefed in response to that not any prediction. To date it hasn’t let me down.
Oh. And still look at the clouds.
 

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Biggest is having some reliance that there’s a period after hurricane season and before winter gales that is fairly safe to set sail for the Caribbean. .
For southbound, the US to the Carib, my feeling is that it's not about a "safer period" but more info that allows an earlier voyage, avoiding the harsher weather of the later season, early October versus late November.
Northbound, I'd guess it's more of a gamble, but I've done a lot of hurricane season deliveries, long before the internet, and got away with them all. It just seems easier now with the weather info available.
The rest I really can't comment about as I haven't had to give it any thought or pay attention to the seasonal weather outside of the tropics in a long time.
 

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The bigger boat to entertain guests is my climate change move. A beach house is at too much risk. It's not a question of when the ocean level rises and floods, it's when every bank and insurance company begin to believe it will happen. When funding and insurance become unavailable, the values will disappear. This will happen long in advance of the actual event.

Society is being idiotic in not trying to adapt or relocate our shoreline. I'm no sky is falling tree hugger. The shoreline was not always there and won't always be there. I also don't believe there is much any of us can do about it. Spend money on adapting, not useless things there is zero evidence will matter.
 

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How accurate is your local weatherman on long rage forecasts? Don't sweat it. The world is full enough of nay sayers and doom forecasters.

You repeat anything true or false long enough and everyone believes you.
 

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Where the hell is Mark of Sea Life?? I wonder?? He would say the boat must be kept in offshore ready condition at all times. In a sense we are all dodging storms and expecting more extreme weather.

I don't even want to imagine the terror of being stuck on a Caribbean island with a 180 mph monster storm coming. And yet millions live in the hurricane zone.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We don’t drink underway. But never want to deploy the storm jib let alone the JSD. Biggest positive has has been to finally get to retire. Every day is Saturday so waiting for a window isn’t a biggie. But still others try to influence my decisions due to their schedules. Of course Mark is right one should be always prepared.
This year have arranged to leave the boat on the hard during hurricane season in Grenada. Taking a summer off to enjoy family and maybe travel a bit. Once this was considered quite safe but they’ve been hit recently enough it’s reflected in my insurance.
I know Disraeli said “lies, lies and statistics “. However, both on land and at sea there have been too many hundred year events to ignore. More importantly in the day to day the lack of seasonal cohesiveness is troublesome.
 

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I still know a lot of people sailing back and forth from New England to the Caribbean each year. All the bareboat fleets are still doing it too. I think there is some truth to the weather pattern change, but I don't think it's cataclysmic.
 
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Well, from my perspective, climate change does exist, and it has existed since time began on this planet. Latest data I've read shows we may now be into a major cooling trend, which would be right in line with all the historic data collected from core samples at the south pole. Not gonna worry about it, mainly because there is absolutely nothing that we puny humans can do about it.

Gary :cool:
 

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I stumbled across this one evening when watching some sailing vids on You Tube,

This is only one of hundreds of vids on the subject.

 
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