That Didn’t Work
1737
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-1737,single-format-standard,bridge-core-2.1.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,qode-theme-ver-19.9,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_top,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.2.0,vc_responsive

That Didn’t Work

That Didn’t Work

That Didn’t Work

Well, that didn’t work. A spectacular failure might be an apt description. After 3 days of laborious effort getting north and east in conditions that ranged from near flat calm to near gales, I’m forced to give all the easting I’ve earned back as I’m blown dead downwind, rolling crazily in steep, dangerous breaking waves and 45 knot winds.

The weather model forecasts had called for SE 15-25 knot winds building gradually over 24 hours. As the front approached and passed over me some 30 hours later, a brief period of 30+ knots and then winds of SExS 25-28 for the following 12 hours. All well and good for getting north. Not easy, but doable.

Expecting the model forecast to get at least one of the either direction, strength, or to timing correct didn’t seem too much ask. I should have known better.

I was finally blown off my intended course last night with winds blowing East at 40-42 knots and gusting close to 50 some 12 hours before the forecast peak winds, Wind waves and swell were over the forecast height of 5 meters, very steep and breaking almost continuously. The secondary and tertiary swell,  both running at 45 degrees to the primary swell but in opposing directions, was also large and breaking. To put it mildly, we were in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

If the above all seems rather academic and mundane, let me put some perspective on it. Hold on to your science hats for a bit:

Most would think to increase the force exerted by a 25 knot wind, the wind would have to blow at 3 times that strength, or 75 knots. Not so. The force exerted by the wind increases as the square of the velocity. A wind blowing at 25 knots exerts a force proportional to 25×25 or 525. A wind of 30 knots exerts a force proportional to 30×30 or 900. If you are still with me, you will see that the 5 knot increase from 25 to to 30 very nearly doubles the force. If the wind is blowing 40, the force exerted is proportional to 40×40 or 1600. That is more than three times the force exerted by a 25 knot wind. A relatively small increase in wind, especially at higher velocities, translates into a much larger force. The difference at sea is that the waves generated by a 25 knot winds cannot overwhelm the boat. At 40 knots, they not only can, but statistically will. Overwhelm is a very polite way of saying ‘turn Seaburban upside down’.

To put some perspective on the above bit of science and the model forecast, imagine if you ask the Minister in charge of the Canadian Department of Highways and Transportation how far is it from Vancouver BC to Calgary AB. You would like to go there over a four day weekend and restrict your travel to the trans-Canada highway. The actual distance is something like 800 kilometres or thereabouts. His official answer is ‘Well, it could be 800. Or 2400 kilometres. It’s either one or the other. But I assure, both are correct.’

If the model output misses the mark by a factor of three, it’s not just wrong, it’s a dangerous, glaring error.  The difference for mariners is very far removed from  academic or trivial. The model output is consistently wrong on all three primary factors (wind strength, direction, timing) and it’s a continual source of aggravation. This time, it has cost us dearly.

Chased most of the way from South Cape north and east by a severe gales and storms  south of me and tracking east, gales are now dropping down on me from the north and, most curiously, parking themselves on top of me.

Not that anything or anybody is conspiring against me, but I feel a complex coming on…

Follow my tracks in real-time:
https://bit.ly/svseaburban

 

26 Comments
  • Claude
    Posted at 20:39h, 29 March Reply

    In weather like today having a fellow partner would make the difference of the world.

    Heavy weather conditions are great only when you have enough energy to enjoy it. I wish you the time of your life.

  • Tony Yanca
    Posted at 02:58h, 06 April Reply

    Hi Bert, I came across your voyage on goodnewsnetwork.org looking for more positive and up-beat news in the world today. As we continue to try to isolate ourselves looking to conquer this extremely serious virus, you’re essentially isolated fighting the elements of Ocean Blue. I’m a surfer in Southern California and I’m always intrigued by extremely passionate individuals who take on these adventures, especially when it involves the ocean. I’m currently listening to some Reggae and enjoying a Pale Ale from our local brewery 🙂 Our Family is healthy and I’ll be working from home tomorrow, but will continue to follow your voyage rooting you on the whole way through. I wish you safe passage and pray that you will utilize all that you’ve learned to help you endure the many obstacles that come your way. You will make complete this voyage and I look forward to your future posts. Take care of yourself.

    Cheers,

  • John T.Rice
    Posted at 04:06h, 06 April Reply

    Be safe..pulling for you!

  • Susan Conway Gray
    Posted at 05:56h, 06 April Reply

    Bert,
    What an incredible journey you have set up for yourself!
    I find your reflection on the coronavirus to be incredibly insightful.
    Self isolation as a time to reflect on what we want to become, what legacy we choose to leave behind.
    To many that level of self introspection will appear daunting and even impossible.
    To truly examine our minds, behaviors, and motivations while holding them into the light through the prism of our souls is an exercise most would not have the courage to do.
    But I hope some will take up that challenge.
    Good luck to you!

  • David
    Posted at 21:30h, 06 April Reply

    Que incrível seu isolamento, optou pelo mais extremado.
    Admiro sua coragem, você está bem conectado com a força que vem de Deus.
    Que Ele proteja você por todo a jornada.
    Deus o abençoe.

  • Barbara Rhyneer
    Posted at 00:25h, 07 April Reply

    Enjoy your solitude!
    -human of the Great Lakes/Lake Superior/transplant from Alaska

  • Elizabeth Higgs
    Posted at 14:37h, 07 April Reply

    Sending luck and love from Southern Oregon and the mighty Rogue River.

  • Len MacDonald
    Posted at 13:22h, 08 April Reply

    Just now picking up on your adventure. Thanks for all the work taking time to give a glimpse into your challenges and triumphs. I’m looking forward to each new post.

    Fair winds.

  • Fernando Solorzano
    Posted at 23:49h, 13 April Reply

    Came across your article and what an adventurer. Lots of time to think about things and catch up with inner self. I can’t imagine, light pollution is non-existent and I bet a great view of the stars and milky way?

    All the best from Tracy California.

  • Robert Schell
    Posted at 00:08h, 14 April Reply

    Captain Bert ter Hart,
    You are truly an inspiration to us all. I look forward to reading your posts and following your journey. Hold fast, and Godspeed.

  • Zach M
    Posted at 06:29h, 14 April Reply

    Thank you for inspiring adventure! I learned of your story this evening and look forward to following your travels and sharing your story with my daughter in hopes she too will be motivated to explore.

    Safe travels.

  • Mary Bertin
    Posted at 09:56h, 14 April Reply

    Just learned tonight of your incredible courageous journey. I look forward to your next blog post to know if you are ok from the bad weather in your way. I’m a former scuba diver and perpetual ocean 🌊 lover. Now a stay at home Mom to a severely disabled 13 year old son recovering from a major surgery. Reading about your adventure has momentarily lifted me out of the daily difficulties of my life. Imagining you sailing ⛵️ once again soon on a beautiful day of calm sea. I’m pulling for you from Round Rock, TX.

  • Dale Bloom
    Posted at 12:10h, 14 April Reply

    Wow, I am speechless! Saw this on the Yahoo Finance website.
    I will be rooting for you and your audacious goal!
    I admire your clairvoyant timing of the trip, brilliant.
    Your description of the 21’ sea swells reminds me how under qualified I am to be even ballast onboard.
    God speed as you round the next 3 capes.
    I now will read more of your adventures in your blog, and take in the cape pictures, trying to piece together your route, I am woefully challenged to where all these capes are located.

  • Stewart
    Posted at 13:16h, 14 April Reply

    Glad to know you are making great progress Bert. Wishing calms seas and fair winds!

  • Cari Gillette
    Posted at 13:26h, 14 April Reply

    Praying to the Creator of the universe, Who has a special interest in us humans He placed on earth, to keep you safe and draw you closer to Him.

  • Daryl R Heiser
    Posted at 21:55h, 14 April Reply

    Read about your journey today on AOL about the safest man on earth…You!! Wow. what an epic adventure. I wish you sincere safety in navigating the weather you are currently facing. Stay strong. You are an inspiration to all of us sheltered in place during COVID 19. Your words of encouragement during periods of isolation are so helpful . I hope everyone gets to read about your adventure. Be well, and may God’s Blessings and Guidance be with you on your journey home.

  • Edward Bamberger
    Posted at 03:26h, 15 April Reply

    Just found your blog, wish I had seen it earlier. Good luck finishing your journey.

  • Bob Morton
    Posted at 14:12h, 15 April Reply

    …..there is always a way

  • Chris Lazzarino
    Posted at 15:07h, 15 April Reply

    Eagerly waiting word of your safe emergence from those terrible storms. The maps are truly frightening. Be safe!!

  • Phil Purkett
    Posted at 04:34h, 17 April Reply

    I pray God be with you and strengthen you sir! #nofear13:6 Hebrews 13:6

  • Gary Peterson
    Posted at 02:43h, 18 April Reply

    Thank you for the BOAT BREAD recipe – it’s great bread and easy to make, Very delicious! Hang in there!

  • James Norwood
    Posted at 04:33h, 19 April Reply

    I too wish I had followed your journey much sooner. I am sure that you were well prepared for this epic journey. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 still lurks in the shadows. Fortunately for us mere mortals it seems that due to new found evidence that humidity and temperature has an affect on this menace to man. Hope your worst weather is about to be over with and that the Pacific is much nicer to you. Hang in there Bert!

  • Gerry Peterson
    Posted at 15:40h, 26 April Reply

    Run Forrest Run…

    You are all by yourself but you are not alone. We await each update on your progress.

    Just one but certainly not done.

    Good luck on your journey Bert!

    .

  • Darrell Wells
    Posted at 21:03h, 28 April Reply

    AYE BERT, YOU ARE AT LAST, HOMEWARD BOUND ..!! FARE THEE WELL.

    https://youtu.be/MaQYQnrPgSM

    In the quiet misty morning
    When the moon has gone to bed,
    When the sparrows stop their singing
    And the sky is clear and red,
    When the summer’s ceased its gleaming
    When the corn is past its prime,
    When adventure’s lost its meaning –
    I’ll be homeward bound in time
    Bind me not to the pasture
    Chain me not to the plow
    Set me free to find my calling
    And I’ll return to you somehow
    If you find it’s me you’re missing
    If you’re hoping I’ll return,
    To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,

    And in the road I’ll stop and turn
    Then the wind will set me racing
    As my journey nears its end
    And the path I’ll be retracing
    When I’m homeward bound again
    Bind me not to the pasture
    Chain me not to the plow
    Set me free to find my calling
    And I’ll return to you somehow
    (softly)
    In the quiet misty morning
    When the moon has gone to bed,
    When the sparrows stop their singing
    I’ll be homeward bound again.

  • Martin Gonzalez
    Posted at 04:31h, 14 May Reply

    Best of luck…!!

  • Douglas Lock
    Posted at 15:49h, 15 May Reply

    What you are doing is amazing. I read your blog daily and live through your adventure vicariously. God’s speed.
    from AD6H, ex-Estevan resident of many years ago.

Post A Comment