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Whatever the Weather, the Spring Equinox Has Arrived

Hooray for spring! Yes, it’s still raining, and yes, the snow is still falling, but that’s only temporary. Eventually, the weather will catch up with the season and we’ll start to see more sunny days and higher temperatures (we hope). And with the sunnier, warmer days come more daylight hours, which in turn means more sailing hours. We already “gained” an hour last week, and we’re looking forward to more!

In the meantime, did you know that the actual date of the equinox varies from year to year between March 19 and 21? Of course you did. But here’s something you may not know. According to, the last time the equinox fell on March 21 (yes, we realize today is March 20; bear with us) was 2007. The next time it falls on 3/21 will be in the year 2101. So we hope you enjoyed it last time, because we can be sure none of us here today will be around the next time it happens.

spring equinox
At the equinox, Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays (not to scale).
© 2023

Here’s another fun fact: This experiment, shared by, can only be done on the March or September equinox:

“To do this experiment, you’ll need a straight stick or a long wooden ruler, a protractor and a compass.

“Find an empty space such as a park or a parking lot where there are few tall buildings, trees or hills to obstruct the Sun. Find your location’s latitude. Subtract this number from 90. This will be the angle you will affix the stick in the ground.

“If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, use your compass to find south and point the stick in that direction. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, point the stick or the ruler to the north. Using the protractor fix the stick in the ground at the angle you just calculated — remember to point it in the direction opposite to the hemisphere you are in.

“Wait till noon and see the shadow of the stick disappear. At noon, the stick will have no shadow at all!”

And one more… the precise time of today’s equinox, in the Bay Area, is 2:24 p.m.

By the way, as we’re talking about longer days and more sailing, here’s another fun fact. There are now only three months until the start of summer, and only three months until the annual Summer Sailstice International Celebration of Sailing. This year’s Summer Sailstice falls on June 24, the Saturday closest to the Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice on June 21.

And by the way, if you think three months is a long time and you have plenty of time to get organized for your summer sailing, think again.
© 2023

It’s only 12 weeks. Time flies when you’re having fun, so make sure you’re flying with it and register your Summer Sailstice sailing plans now.

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