The cool, crisp air and the mostly sunny skies will change slightly as we advance into the weekend. You will see the cloud layers thicken and a slight chance that rain might sprinkle Saturday night and Sunday along the coast. The nighttime lows are going to be chilly, in the 40s, and daytime highs in the upper 50s, so put an extra blanket on your bed.
Speaking of extra blankets, make sure that you have extra blankets and jackets for your guests aboard your boat for the upcoming Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Your guests are probably not accustomed to being on a boat at night with the damp air and chilly winds when you are underway. As such, I see many people on the water who are underdressed and their enjoyment is lessened as they try to stay warm. Your extra blankets will help kept them warm to enjoy the parade, plus blankets are very useful if someone should fall overboard.
However, I digress.
The morning patchy fog has returned, and it should not be very thick along the coast. The wind conditions today and through the weekend are expected to be 10-knot-or-less onshore breezes, but keep an eye out if a storm system slides through the area increasing the winds.
The Pacific Ocean off our coast is beautiful today and into the weekend with bathtub like swells for excellent coastal cruising. You will experience 1-foot seas along the coast and maybe up to 1-foot wind waves between Newport Harbor entrance and Santa Catalina Island. Just be glad you were not cruising in the Gulf of Alaska where the seas ran more than 21 feet at 8 second intervals with the air temperature averaging in the high 30s and the water temperature in the low 70s – talk about rough and cold.
As always, with an eye to the north, we look to the waters off Point Conception that are actually mild for this time of year. Essentially, a window of opportunity is open for those who need to round the point north- or southbound. Point Conception swells smaller than 4 feet this week, and the swells are expected to reach only 5 or 6 feet this weekend.
The really determining factor for the Point is the wind. The winds can cause the swell intervals to shorten and steepen the swell faces and that has stopped me from going north in only 4 foot swells. But this weekend they’re expected to reach just over 10 knots at the most.
Remember, to always check the sea and weather conditions before you leave the dock, and check the extra blankets aboard your boat should your guests under dress or someone falls overboard.
Mike Whitehead, Capt.