Two months ago I wrote a post regarding the
urgency importance of leaving the Pacific Northwest area ASAP with the approach of Fall.
Two weeks after that post, we pointed Pesto’s bow south. And approximately one month later we had gained over 5 degrees of latitude and were out of the “Roaring Fourties”. Those who followed our posts as we sailed down this portion of the coast know that most of our passages were in nice to almost-nice conditions.
Well, I took advantage of the kids’ recess during homeschool this morning and looked at passageweather.com just to check how things are up there. Boy, I’m glad we left when we had to. Here’s why:
During summer, conditions are such that the wind almost always blows from the North along the PNW coast. We got some of it. However, when Fall settles in, conditions change, and strong Southwesterly winds start to blast the coast.
Take Cape Blanco, for instance. We crossed it a month ago, at night, with a nice 15-20kt wind blowing from the North, pushing us along the coast. Weather conditions were so consistent that we even chose to make that passage overnight. This week, there are four hazardous weather notices in effect for that area, with winds expected to blow as high as 50 knots from the Southwest:
And what about the Columbia River Bar? We crossed it twice, when we went to Astoria between September 7th and September 1oth. We got almost no wind on the way in, and a great 20 knot wind coming from the North on the way out, which granted us a fantastic sailing down to Coos Bay. Conditions there will be a little different this week. Winds of up to 50 knots – from the Southwest again – and waves between 15 and 19 feet. BREAKING!
We are glad to be south of that area by now !
This is not to say that we are on easy-sailing waters already. In fact, we will still have to be very careful at least until we cross Cape Conception, some 230 miles south of here, which is referred to as “the Cape Horn of the North Pacific”. That means we will have to be alert to pick the right weather window to cross.
Anyway, having left the grunt of the Southwesterly-plagged coast behind, we can now step off the throttle a bit. And that’s what we are doing already. There is still much to do while we are based in the Bay Area.