Photos of the Day
October 27 - San Diego
One hundred twenty-five boats checked in yesterday at the Cabrillo Isle Marina in San Diego for the tenth annual Baja Ha-Ha rally to Cabo San Lucas, representing a 15% increase over the highest number ever before to sail in the 'nothing serious' event. The smallest boat to sail is a 27-footer, the largest are four 65-ft monohulls.
The start will go forward as planned this morning, although some entries will start late, as they are still waiting for crews to arrive. With many flights canceled over the weekend and I-5 intermittently closed, folks are still scrambling to find a way to get to San Diego. Some are waiting at airports, hoping to get a stand-by seat, hoping no more flights will be canceled; others are arriving by train.
Light winds are expected for the first day or two of sailing. We expect to bring you daily photos, to arrive via Globalstar satellite phone. Unfortunately, due to the evacuation of helicopters normally used for photography, and low visibility, we will not be able to take aerial photos of the start this year.
The crews will be glad to leave the smoke behind as they head out to sea; people are walking around wearing face masks and boats and hotel swimming pools are covered in ash. Schools are closed today, and workers are being asked to stay home to leave streets and highways clear for emergency vehicles.
Smoke on the Water, Fire in the Sky
October 27 - Washington, DC
Storms on the sun
Photo Courtesy NOAA
While we're on the subject of natural disasters, some speculation has been going around that this week's solar storms may affect the electronics sailors have come to rely upon for navigation and communication. Michael Pordes of Favonius in Vallejo points out that "Lots of sailors get lazy (even experienced ones) and do not keep a good running DR [dead reckoning] track going and rely way too much on GPS and charting software driven by GPS. The activity described by NOAA may knock off GPS for a little while and may also affect HF radio."
As NOAA reported last week, "Two very large sun spot regions continue to maintain their size and magnetic intensity. There have been three major flares in the last 24 hours, which caused considerable disruption of high frequency communication. More large flares are expected in the next few days.
"So far this storm is materializing as expected," said NOAA space weather forecaster Bill Murtagh. NOAA forecasters predicted the onset of the magnetic storm to occur midday Friday. The magnitude the of G-3 level storm is also in line with NOAA predictions. NOAA thus far has not received any reports of the storm's effects." Nor have we heard any sailor complain that their gadgets aren't working.
Parks and Rec Tries - Again - to Absorb Dept. of Boating and Waterways
October 27 - Sacramento
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is again pursuing a merger with the Department of Boating and Waterways. There seems to be some feeling that Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger will embrace this plan, even though boaters have rejected it at least 13 bazillion times in the last 10 years. DBW is a well-run organization that uses its budget efficiently. DPR is not. The feeling among boaters is that if Parks and Rec gets the money and the say-so over DBW funds, kiss the great Department of Boating and Waterways, and their many forward-thinking projects, good-bye. As Walt Bilofsky, Commodore of Tiburon YC put it, "The State Parks people are once again eying your boat fuel tax dollars. This time they're hoping to talk The Terminator into terminating boating programs statewide."
To see how you can make your voice heard on this topic, visit watchdog organization Recreational Boaters of California's Web site, www.rboc.org.
October 27 - The Pacific Ocean and Cyberspace
Who is out making passages in the Pacific and what kind of weather are they having? The YOTREPS daily yacht tracking page has moved to www.bitwrangler.com/psn.
October 27 - Pacific Ocean
San Francisco Bay Weather
Check out this guide to San Francisco Bay Navigational Aids: http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/sfports.html.
To see what the winds are like on the Bay and just outside the Gate right now, check out http://sfports.wr.usgs.gov/wind.
The National Weather Service site for San Francisco Bay is at www.wrh.noaa.gov/Monterey.
California Coast Weather
Looking for current as well as recent wind and sea readings from 17 buoys and stations between Pt. Arena and the Mexican border? Here's the place - which has further links to weather buoys and stations all over the U.S.: www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Southwest.shtml.
Pacific Winds and Pressure
The University of Hawaii Dept. of Meteorology page posts a daily map of the NE Pacific Ocean barometric pressure and winds.
Pacific Sea State
The site for the Pacific Ocean sea states
has moved to http://www.mpc.ncep.noaa.gov/shtml/PacRegSSA.shtml.