Skipper’s Tip, 11/30/2011 – Winter Weather Patterns

Much to the delight of  one member and the dismay of at least one other, we made a decision to ground the fleet today! (I guess technically the fleet is still floating, not grounded, but you get the point…)

Winter weather forecasts differ from summer forecasts because of how quickly they can change and how unpredictable the conditions can be regardless of the forecast. A small craft advisory is issued almost every day of the summer and means very little to our sturdy fleet of keel boats. In the winter, a small craft advisory is not as common but is much more meaningful.

It is very important that if there is any chance of a winter storm system blowing through, you contact the office and verify that we are letting boats out of the slip before you make a long drive to Tradewinds. The decision to keep all of the boats at home is not one that we make lightly, and we tend to make it the morning of, not the day before. In the case of today’s decision, we had already looked at the forecast yesterday and decided that it looked fine. When we arrived this morning we found a completely different forecast and news that the Highway Patrol was considering shutting down bridges in the area!

Localized gusts coming from unpredictable directions can be very dangerous to vessel and crew. As a company managing a fleet of vessels, many of which we don’t own, it is our responsibility to make these calls. Better safe than sorry is how the old saying goes and when it comes to winter storm systems, we agree 100%!

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2 Responses to Skipper’s Tip, 11/30/2011 – Winter Weather Patterns

  1. Art Phinney says:

    I’m writing to start a “getting to know you all” kind of opener. I’m a McGregor 26M owner (2 years) and though I’ve sailed Hogan, Monterey Bay, New Melones Reservoir
    but I’ve never sailed Folsom. (why?) I’m looking forward to learning the lake and it’s advantages for sailing with my wife and I. When does the Lake open? What are some tips?
    Fair Winds
    Art Phinney

    • TW-Brandy says:

      Hi Art,

      We haven’t had boats on Folsom Lake for a few years now, but we sure used to enjoy the sailing up there. The lake opening is determined by water levels each year, so it can vary greatly. We’ve seen some years where it was open for almost the entire year and others where it was only open for a few weeks. Check with the Park Service up there to see what’s going on this year!

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