From The Boathouse: Watch that tricky weather

August 23, 2012|By Mike Whitehead


My column last week generated a number of emails regarding my French translation of "topic of the week," being either "topic de la semaine" or "topic du semaine." I find it very interesting that even those who said that they are fluent in French contradicted each other. I will inquire more the next time I am in France, usually in a marina, and please let it be Cannes.

Speaking of traveling, recently while delivering a yacht to Ventura Harbor, my crew member and I had a very rough ride out in the Pacific Ocean.


We had changed to an earlier than expected departure of 4:30 a.m. after I noticed the seas were building fast, according to buoy information I was reading online. Ventura is south of Point Conception but the Conception buoy is a good indicator of how the seas will be once you are north of Point Fermin.

The day before the buoys recorded seas of 4 feet and no wind at noon, so I didn't worry about our departure. However, the predictions changed with an approaching front, and on our trip, we encountered 8-foot seas at 10-second intervals with wind gusts up to 25 knots, slowing our progress to only 10 knots with water going over the Flybridge, making it a wet trip with a couple of crew barfing.

We were glad not to be out the next day as the seas were recorded at 11 feet and wind gusts to 30+ knots. Those conditions would have postponed the voyage.

Studying a harbor before you enter is a wise decision.

As those of you who have been to Ventura know, you always approach the harbor entrance from the Red Entrance Buoy. Skimming the beach while approaching from the south and under cutting the buoy for the entrance can leave you high and dry, especially in the size of yachts that I deliver. It was low tide when we approached at noon, so we followed a local boat into the harbor. We were not certain on the depths and breaking bar.

We docked at 12:15 p.m., about 15 minutes later than the estimated arrival I had listed on the float plan, and gave the new owners the keys to their new condo on the water.

Tip of the week is join us for the live remote radio broadcast from the Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club, a mile high in the San Bernardino Mountains. Thanks to my "other wife," Susie Smith, for helping to set up the live remote.

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