November was interesting, and while we are almost 12 inches ahead for rainfall on the year, November was below average. So what else is new for the Pacific Northwest? We did warn you about the combination of high tides and high winds which could occur and sure enough last weekend there was exactly that combo and there was damage especially on Lake Washington to the docks with exposure to the northeast. Winter is far from over so we can probably expect two or three more high wind events and most likely they will be from the south.
Click on any image to enlarge.
So what about this weekend? Had two requests for forecasts, thank you, so we’ll do both. The first was for the Resurrection Fishing Derby going on today and tomorrow out of Friday Harbor. I think the derby is sold out however I can tell you after fishing up there this last Wednesday there are LOTS of hatchery Chinook and lots of bait (herring) in the water. Fishing was incredible as four of us got eight fish in just under three hours with the big one topping out at just over 14 pounds. It was delicious!
You can see from the charts that another weakening front will pass over the area on Saturday morning. In the San Juan Islands you can expect 20-25 knots of wind from the south-southeast in the morning, easing to 10-20 knots in the afternoon. That’s the bad news; the good news is that there are still plenty of sheltered areas where you can fish. Look for bait at 40-60 feet in about 100 feet of water and drag a green whole herring about five feet off the bottom.
The big fish on Wednesday hit a Kingfisher spoon in the cop car color config in 177’ of water with 170’ of wire out on the downrigger. Overall it was pretty even between the spoon and the herring. To stay out of the breeze look to fish the west side of Orcas, north of Spring Pass in the Cormorant Bay area from the blue turret house to the blue canoe by the Girl Scout camp. Depending on how lumpy it might get out there you could also go over to Waldon Island and fish Cowlitz Bay north of Pt Disney and around Mouatt Reef. Don’t forget to send us your BIG FISH pictures!
The other forecast request was for one of the best and one of our favorite races in Puget Sound; the South Sound Sailing Series opening event, Winter Vashon put on by the Tacoma Yacht Club. The twist this year is that you’ll go counter-clockwise around Vashon so bring your big, fast, and strongest grinders for short tacking up Colvos after you round the top of the island.
The breeze should be post-frontal for the start which means a south-southwesterly slant with the breeze at about 15-knots in the starting area and building to 20-knots from the southwest, north of Point Robinson. So with the ebb tide this means a rhumbline run to the north mark. You really want to anticipate some two-wheeling as you come around Point Robinson and head towards the top mark. To counter that and keep the boat on its feet while still carrying the kite you’ll want to have everyone hiking hard, sitting aft and thinking heavy thoughts. There will also be puffs in the vicinity of Point Robinson, so the crew needs to be calling those as they come towards the boat. You then need to be ready to depower the boat from the back to the front. You know the drill, main out, vang off, dump the sheet, and don’t dump the guy. You can also probably carry the #3 under the kite to help with balance. If you do lose the kite when reaching because the trimmer isn’t concentrating, you need to dump the sheet on the #3 immediately, get the kite refilled and then re-trim the #3. Naturally you need to be able to do all this from the high side.
If you do pre-hoist the #3 right before Pt Robinson, put it up in the port groove. You do this because you’ll probably work the west side of Colvos going south to take advantage of the starboard tack lifting puffs and to get out of the constantly ebbing current in the middle of Colvos. Even the though the tide at the Narrows will turn from ebb to flood around noon, since the southerly will have been blowing for a while there will still be a wind generated surface current flowing north in Colvos. You’ll also want to really watch cog and sog to see when you hit anti-water and then aggressively tack back to the west to get out of the tide.
The other reason to hoist in the port groove is that as the day goes on, the wind from the southwest will start to drop as the gradient eases over the Northwest. You’ll probably change directly to the heavy one so have it ready to go as you go back to the west beach on port tack. When you tack to starboard do the change and once the one is up to its fast settings, tack back, drop and stow the #3. This way in the highly unlikely event that you have a problem hoisting the one you’ve got all the way across Colvos to get it sorted out.
As you get close to the bottom of Vashon make sure you have barber hauler set up on the port side so you can reach efficiently into the finish. Set the barber hauler up when you’re on port tack so you don’t have anyone to leeward for very long.
This is a great race, Tacoma Yacht Club the most gracious of hosts and the Friday night party is not to be missed. Remember, what happens on the slag heap stays on the slag heap! Have a great race, wear your pfd, have a great time, smile and wave at Jan, and I can’t wait to hear all the stories.
We also have a great weather pic for this week in the form of Super Typhoon Hagupit which is about to pummel the Philippines. This is a very nasty and very dangerous storm that is strengthening as it approaches the Islands. Winds at the time of landfall are expected to be in the range of 130-knots sustained with gusts to 160-knots. YIKES! Hagupit in Tagalog means the stroke of a whip or a lash. The Philippines are going to experience much more than that with unfortunately major loss of life and incredible infrastructure and property damage. And to think, our hurricane season ended on Monday.
Have a great weekend.