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Lightning Awareness Month, Summer Sailstice Rocks


We get our fair share of thunderstorms, associated with lightning, throughout the state, including out on Utah Lake.  Get familiar with a few important
lightning facts to deal with (read, scare the bajeebees out of you) keeping you safe(r) when ONE BILLION VOLTS starts flying through the air.


We need your full name  and e-mail (as you registered) for your FREE Nautic Ed on-line sailing course. let us know:
Please consider using this great resource during the winter months to keep your sailing skills sharp.

Bonneville's Summer Sailstice sponsored event, was maybe a little different than we were hoping for.  Despite strong winds, all participants adapted and had a great time.  Visit our Bonneville Sailor Blog for all the details and a few photos.

Although there was never a discouraging word mentioned during Sailstice,
this would have helped any complainers eat humble pie.

If you thought your boat was a hole in the water, into which
you threw money . . .

a few pointers for upcoming Transpac racers:

There are two important aspects to current in Long Beach. First, there is a shelf that drops off a couple of hundred feet about halfway up the racecourse. The result of this shelf is you will find substantially more current at the weather mark than at the start line and leeward marks.

Second, the current is wind driven. The strength and direction of the current will reflect the wind pattern from the previous couple of days. For example, if we had a strong “gradient sea breeze” (10+ knots out of 240 degrees) for three days, the current will move “down coast”, or flowing from the west to the east. Also, the current will be pretty strong, with the current strength outside the shelf being up to twice as strong as on the shelf. If the next couple of days produce a “Catalina Eddy” breeze (out of about 180 degrees), the current will slowly change from the down coast current to an “up coast” current, or flowing from east to west. The change will occur on the shelf first, then off the shelf.

The typical breeze in Southern California is a gradient sea breeze blowing 8-12 knots, sometimes up to 15 knots, out of 230-240 degrees. If a low-pressure system is present, the wind will typically back toward the south.

Unfortunately, Long Beach is not like the rest of Southern California; its breezes are greatly affected by the “Catalina Eddy”. With the island of Catalina just 18 miles away and directly upwind from the racecourse, it dramatically affects the wind by forcing the wind to go around either end.

When there is a low-pressure system offshore, Long Beach gets the Catalina Eddy. The wind is forced around the backside of Catalina, coming from the east end. The wind direction will be from approximately 150-200 degrees. When this occurs, you will find the left side of the course favored because the left side will get the puffs coming off of Catalina first.

During the transition between the gradient sea breeze and the Catalina Eddy, the wind will blow from 190-210 degrees. Sailing in these conditions is difficult at best. I have heard some people say the best tactic is to stay at the dock or roll the dice! The wind speed ranges between 6-10 knots and the wind will typically be oscillating, so there will not be a favored side. In the lighter side of the wind range, however, playing puffs rather than shifts tends to pay off. Be conservative and go up the middle.

In the typical gradient sea breeze, 220-260 degrees, the best game plan has in the past been to play the right side of the racecourse. As I mentioned in the preview, this game plan has not been so successful in recent years. I have found that there are two good rules to follow. First, if the wind speed is increasing into the 12-15 knot range, the right side of the racecourse will pay because you will find more wind and a right shift. Second, if the wind is not increasing, generally staying in the 5-8 knot range, you will typically see a right shift without any increase in wind speed. The left side will have more wind speed and no right shift; the boats on the left may look like they are lifted, but that is due to the wind strength. Most of the time the boats on the left will have enough wind to overcome any right shift that the boats on the right get.

Many years ago, Long Beach local knowledge was easy; the first boat onto port tack after the start would win the race. Even a few years ago, if you did not know which way to go (left or right), the right side of the course was the default choice. However, this “go right and win rule” has changed. The first boat to go right could face certain death.

As you can tell from the above scenarios, conditions are always changing and have changed drastically over the years. These changes have made almost all local knowledge in Long Beach obsolete. Some of the locals who have refused to accept these changes have even gone from contenders to followers.

Go fast and enjoy Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week!

If you have any further questions or want more info about Long Beach conditions please feel free to contact me. See you on the dock in Long Beach and at the after parties!

Phil Toth

Bonneville School of Sailing
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