Boaters’ Weather

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What will the weather be like on Christmas Day was the email du jour in my inbox last week, but not so many are curious about New Years Eve or day.  I think more people travel longer distances and do more daytime outdoor activities on Christmas Day then for New Year’s.  New Year’s Eve is more of a closer-to-home nighttime party, and New Year’s Day is when you recuperate on the sofa watching the parade and football games on the television.

Normally on New Year’s Day the Rose Parade broadcast to the nation showcases Southern California’s 80 degree air temperature and sunny blue skies. This causes a spike in those moving to California from the Midwest and Eastern states, where many are frozen inside during January.

However, this weekend will be different than past years..

A cold front has moved into our area for today and into the weekend, with cool air temperatures in the 50s for the daytime and low 40s in the wee hours of the mornings.  The weekend should be dry, with only a slight chance of rain on Sunday, so the parade and game will fare better than our local Christmas Boat Parade did.

Boaters will experience 5-foot swells today that will drop a couple of feet this weekend as the midweek storm system clears the area.  The winds will calm to under 10 knots, but I am expecting cold Santa Ana winds from the east for New Year’s Day.  I will explain cold Santa Ana winds in an upcoming weather report, as I have mentioned before that the Santa Anas are warm due to the air compressing as it comes down from the mountain passes into the basin.

If you plan on boating this weekend, then bring along warm clothing, and best to dress in layers.  Do not think that thermal underwear is only for snow skiing – they’re great for boating, too.  Just remember, if you dress in layers it will be harder to take off the layers to float if you fall overboard. Therefore, you should consider wearing a lifejacket or one of the new inflatable lifejackets.  Skippers should have at the helm a throwable ring buoy or lifejacket which is ready to toss to a wayward guest.

So, as always, with an eye to the north, we look to the waters off Point Conception that has had gale warnings all week, with 7-foot seas on Friday and 4- to 5-foot seas this weekend.  The winds will be blowing under 20 knots, creating 2- to 3-foot wind waves.  The passage ’round Conception might be open this weekend, so travel northbound before sun-up.

Remember, to always check the sea and weather conditions before you leave the dock, and give a safely briefing to your guests onboard before you leave your dock.

Safe Voyages,

Mike Whitehead, Capt.

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