Boaters’ Weather

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Wow, next Wednesday is the start of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, and I am already receiving emails inquiring about the weather outlook.  Let me just begin with the ole saying that it never rains on a parade.  The parade has been relatively lucky with the weather in the past three decades that I have either skippered a boat in the parade or, as this year, been the announcer.

Yes, it has rained during the parade, but I can only remember a few nights when the parade was officially cancelled due to the weather conditions.  However, each time it was cancelled I can remember some diehard boaters still sailing the route.  Where they foolish, or good skippers?  I will let you be the judge.

Yet I digress, as I am predicting for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the weather to be pleasant with daytime high temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s and the evening lows in the mid-50s.  The partly cloudy skies will blanket the heavens and retain the heat radiating from the earth.  The evening winds will be light, and the tide change during the parade will be insignificant, which is great news as there will be only a slight tidal current.

Now, returning to this weekend, we will continue with the cool, crisp air in the evenings, with the air temperature around 50 degrees. The daytime temperatures will rise into the 70s along the coast.  I am predicting mostly sunny skies with only patchy fog that can be thick in areas.

The winds today and through the weekend will be under 10 knots from the west-northwest direction, but watch for a possible shift to mild Santa Ana winds with these conditions.  Boaters off our coast will have 3-foot swells along the coast and 4-foot seas mid-San Pedro Channel, with double-digit intervals and 1-foot wind waves.

So, as always, with an eye to the north, we look to the waters off Point Conception that will drop from 12-foot seas to 5-foot swells by Sunday.  However, small-craft warnings will probably continue with the winds blowing 15 to 22 knots and gusting to 30 knots, dying down on Sunday. Essentially, the winds will shut down northbound traffic for small craft and the conditions can create a challenge for those heading southbound until Sunday when a window of opportunity might open up for boaters wanting to round the infamous Point.

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 to join and enjoy the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.  As a reminder, if you are in the parade, please have your boat’s parade number displayed as you pass my announcer’s booth at the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum at the Fun Zone.

Safe Voyages,

Mike Whitehead, Capt.

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