Another Pirate attack

Well, pirates have again made the news. This time a brazen bunch approaches a cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden over the last few days. They approached the vessel, but never got as close as a few hundred yards. This time they did shots at the vessel. The cruise ship was able to take evasive action and manuever out of harms way.

This vessel was cruising in the designated area established a few months ago as sort of a “safe haven” where military vessels will cruise. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a military vessel will be in the area when ships are the area. There are many more commercial ships than there are military vessels there is no way that every one can get an escort.

The NE monsoon pattern has still not increased to the point where the wind and sea conditions are too rough for these smaller vessels to travel. Once these conditions develop there should be at least a decrease once these conditions develop since the monsoon pattern tends to be pretty steady once it’s established.

Gulf of Tehuantepec season

Now that cold air is making its way south across the central/US, the Gulf of Tehuantepec season has begun. The peak of the season will occur during January and February with lingering conditions during March. However, a good cold air surge moving south across the central/US and Bay of Campeche could bring a quick burst of strong winds along the Gulf of Tehuantepec with little if any warning.

There does appear to be a Gulf of Tehuantepec Gale developing during the coming week, most likely during Dec 5-6. Winds may increase abit in this region during late Thursday, but strongest winds should be felt during Fri-Sat. In addition the northerly winds of 25-30kts, gusty 35kts should extend at least 120nm off the coast and maybe as much as 180nm offshore on Saturday/am.

The gales of the Gulf of Tehuantepec are directly associated with two things; wind direction and cold air. When the right combination occurs, you get the strongest winds. You can have either one (cold air or northerly winds) and still have a Gulf of Tehuantepec gale and it is usually not as intense when both pieces of the puzzle are working together.

With cold air moving southward during the coming weeks, the Gulf of Tehuantepec season has just begun and these conditions could develop every few days, at least once a week, for the the next few months. Bob/OMNI

Long Range forecast sample…

Below is a forecast that was prepared for a client earlier. You’ll see even though today is Nov 26th, we provided a fairly detailed forecast for Dec 1-5, a good 4-5 days away. Why would we do this you might ask….. Well, we do this to give you, the yacht owner/captain as much information as possible when you need to know and if you need to know today what is happening Dec 1-5 or even later, we will generate a foreast. This is part of our normal procedure and not something special we do for an additional charge. Will the forecast verify? Only time will tell. However, the best way to see how a pattern is changing is to watch it every day and if desired provide a daily update so you, the end user can see those changes as they occur.

If you get a forecast today, then wait until Nov 30 or Dec 01st to get the next update, any changes that have occurred in the forecast of wind/sea or swell conditions will seem “significant”, which may turn you off to your transit or worse yet, to our services.

Most of our current clients understand this, but those who are new to our site, may not. You may not be used to getting daily updates or receiving an unschedule update if there was a significant change.

Low pressure moving south/east from Ireland to the Bay of Biscay through Nov 28-30 will remain stationary over the Bay of Biscay through Mon/01st with a cold front (or two) moving across the Gib area Mon/01st and Tue/02nd. The low should move north/east across western France to the north Sea region from 02nd/night into Wed/03rd, but a new low center and trailing low should develop SW of this low as the first low exits. This low should not be as intense as the previous low, but strong enough to maintain the fresh WSW-NW wind/sea pattern from Palma to Gib and the NW-ly wind/sea/swells from Gib seaward toward 30W.

A stationary, strong high pressure ridge pattern across the eastern Atlantic will see the high cell gradually work its way south to the Azores through Wed/03rd where it will tend to remain stationary through Dec 6-7. As this high cell gradually weakens, its ridge should also begin to extend more SE-ESE toward the coast of Morocco during Dec 5-6. As this ridge develops the low pressure pattern will move north/east across western and central Europe. This will allow for a more favorable wind/sea pattern to develop from Palma westward to the Gib straits and onward across the western Atlantic beginning Dec 05th and continuing Dec 06th.

As of now, expect for the waters between Palma and Gibraltar:

Dec 01: Veering SW-WSW to NW-NNW 20-30kts, Waves 2.5-3.0mtrs. Swells WSW to W 2.0-3.0mtrs.

Dec/02: NW-N 20-30kts, gusty at times especially nearing the Gib Straits. Waves 2.0-3.0mtrs with the lowest seas along the south coast of Spain where seas under 2.0mtrs will tend to develop closest to the coast. Swells NW 1.0-1.5mtrs, but as high as 2.0mtrs possible outside Palma.

Dec/03: NW-ly 22-33kt with intervals/gusts 35-40kts very likely. Waves 2.5-3.5mtrs. Swells WNW-NW 1.5-2.5mtrs, upto 3.0mtrs more likely closer to the Balearic Islands.

Dec/04: WNW-NW 22-30kt, gusty. Waves 2.0-3.0mtrs. Swells WNW-NW 1.5-2.5mtrs.

Dec/05: Easing during the course of the day, NW-ly 20-27kt, gusty 30-33kt during the early morning, then lowering from the south coast of Spain westward toward Gibraltar, 15-22kt thru 05th/night. Waves 2.0-3.0mtrs 05th/am, then subsiding to 1.5-2.5mtrs during 05th/aftn-eve, then NW 1.0-1.5mtrs nearing/off the coast of southern Spain during 05th/eve-night and into 06th/am.

For the exposed waters from Gibraltar along the direct rhumbline toward the NE Caribbean (between Gibraltar and 15W:

Dec/01: WNW-NW 20-28kt, gusty 30-32kts. Waves/swells NW-NNW 2.5-3.0mtrs, period 8-10sec.

Dec/02: NW-ly 17-27kts, gusty at times. Waves/swells NW-ly 2.0-2.5mtrs, period 8-10sec.

Dec/03: NW-WNW 17-25kt, gusty at times. Waves: 2.0-2.5mtrs. Swells NW-WNW 2.0-3.0mtrs, swell period 10-12sec.

Dec 04: WNW-NW to even NNW 22-30kt, gusty/35kt at times. Waves: build 2.0-3.0mtrs. Swells NW 2.5-3.5mtrs. Combined sea/swells of 4.0mtrs are very possible/likely. Swells periods 10-12sec, may be closer to 10-11sec during the pm/hrs.

Dec 05: Conditions easing during the day, NW-ly 20-27kts 05th/am to13-20kts 05th/pm. Waves subside from 2.0-2.5mtrs early 05/am to 1.5-2.0mtrs 05/pm. Waves should be closer to 1.0-1.5mtrs during 05th/night-06th/am. Swells take a bit longer to subside, but will also come down during the day, NW-WNW 2.0-3.0mtrs 05th/am, then 1.5-2.5mtrs 05th/pm with swells 1.5-2.0mtrs more likely near 15W during 05th/night-overnight.

I’m not saying that our forecasts are 100% accurate all of the time. No one can say that and if they are, they are saying anything they can to get your business. The important thing to remember here is that we will get you as much information to you when you need a forecast or want to get an idea of what to expect if you left a few days from now. Maybe knowing this information will help you sleep better at night or you’ll enjoy dinner a little bit more tonight….. but this service is available to you.

Looking forward to working with you…… B/Rgds, Bob/OMNI

verbal vs hard copy updates

Hi Rod, not that is not true.With our service, you can receive verbal and/or hard copy updates and you don’t pay extra to for the additional updates. For example, if we provide you with a verbal update this morning, send you are text/hard copy forecast this afternoon, then you call for another update this evening, you are charged only once for the hard copy update. If we provide you with 3 verbal updates in one day. You are not charged for each call, you are charged only once for that first advisory which will be under $50.00 for the day. If we send you an hard copy forecast this morning followed by another hard copy forecast later that same day, you are not charged for the two forecasts, only once for the day.

Sample Forecast

Below is a forecast that was recently prepared for a client. For those who are new to our site, here is a sample of what we can provide for you. We can also include a forecast weather chart(s) if so desired. We can also adjust the format to meet your needs. This is a relatively short forecast, but you will see in future samples that we forecast out at least 5 days on longer transits and normally will provide extended outlook forecast information.

Observations across the NE Caribbean including Anegada Pass indicates NE-ly winds 25-30kts with sea/swells 6-9ft.

High pressure ridging extends SSW-SW across the western Atlantic and during the day this ridge will weaken as a cold front that has moved off the USEC moves seaward through Wed. Meanwhile, low pressure is located near 33N 50W and during the next 36-48hrs, the low center is expected the slowly weaken and drift southward across 30N 50W through Thur/morning, then should begin to move NW-ward on Fri/28th.

The high pressure ridge across the western Atlantic is expected to drift eastward during the day with a new high cell developing within the weak ridge near 27N 65W by Wed/am. This new high cell should move slowly ESE across 23N 60W through Wed/night-Thur/am as the cold front moving off the USEC this morning nears the Dominican Republic by Thur/am.

We continue to expect the fresh winds across the region this morning to begin subsiding during Tue/pm and continue to subside during Wed with ligher winds on Thur. In fact, if for whatever reason you needed to make this transit on Thur/27, the light winds and more comfortable seas/swells would prevail. We still expect the northerly swell pattern for most of Wed. Swells heights will gradually come down during Wed/pm into Thur/am, so the highest swells you experience will tend to be during the morning hours.

Expect between St. Maarten and St. Thomas on Tue/25 or Wed/26, expect:

Tue/25: NE-ly 20-27kts, upto 30kts/gusty through the afternoon. Winds tend to ease NE-ly 15-22kts during Tue/eve-night then 12-18kts during Tue/overnight. Waves 7-9ft through the afternoon, tending to lower to 5-7ft toward the evening then 4-6ft to 3-5ft during Tue/night-overnight. Northerly swells should remain on the rmod/rough side thru the day, 7-9ft. Swell periods will be relatively short 8-10sec. Northerly swells could lower to 6-8ft during Tue/overnight. Skies tend to remain clear to partly cloudy.

Wed/26: Winds NE-ENE 10-17kts, waves 3-4ft, swells NNE-NNW 6-8ft during Wed/am. Winds tend to ease NE-E 08-14kts with waves 2-3ft and swells NNE-NNW tending to gradually subside to 5-7ft then 4-6ft through Wed/eve-night. Swell periods 8-10sec through the afternoon then upto 10-11sec during Wed/night. Skies: Clear to partly cloudy.

Thur/27: ENE-NE 08-15kts, waves 2-4ft. Swells NNE-NNW 4-6ft. Skies: clear to partly cloudy.

More on Hurricane season

As the 2008 Hurricane Season winds down (at least on the calender), don’t be surprised if the NHC makes a stationary area of low pressure area in the mid to lower latitudes a named sub-tropical low during December or even in January 2009. It won’t be the first time this occurs and likely won’t be the last. Is it global warming, I don’t think so. I think we are in a cycle of increased activity and stronger storms and we may see a shift in this cycle in several years.

However, if we continue to see named sub-tropical storms named “after” the recognized end of the Hurricane season, then it may be worth considering to either; extend the Hurricane Season beyond Nov 30th or not to name these sub-tropical storms and not add them to the tally sheet for the years Hurricane total. I have answered many questions from Captains during the late fall and winter when the NHC issues those sub-tropical storm advisories and if needed, perhaps adjusting the season to later would allow them to be called tropical cyclones. If not, leave then as “mesoscale cylones or sub-tropical cyclones” with no names. Bob/OMNI

Hurricane Season continues

The calender says November 24th, but the Hurricane season still has at least one more week left. Hurricane Season officially ends on Sunday, Nov 30th and the chances of something developing between now and then is not that good. In fact anything that develops would tend to be weak, at best. The best chance is a disturbance in the western Caribbean. Fortunately, we have some cold air moving south across the central/US so the chances of this system developing into something major are slim.

This time of the year and as we going into December, the best chances for tropical cyclone development are from low pressure areas that develop along stationary weather fronts and stationary low centers that develop in the mid to lower latitudes…..Wait a minute, did I say into December…….well during the last 10years or so, there has been an increase in the development of sub-tropical lows that ultimately become tropical lows. These sub-tropical lows are given names as they are typically already tropical storms and beyond the tropical depression stage. Regardless, these are still strong low pressure areas and can cause just as much grief to a route or local cruising across the NE Caribbean as any tropical storm or Hurricane can produce.

Pirates are still a REAL threat

I recently received my edition of CruisingWworld magazine and the first story I turned to was about Pirates. Then I thought, what a great way to start blogging, talking about something that is timely and can affect yacht cruising throughout the world.

There has been alot of media play recently about the pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia and rightfully so. Pirate activity in this area is on the rise and something and EVERY vessel that travels in this region or plans to travel in this region in the future needs to be painfully aware of the pirate activity.

We all know that Pirate attacks are occurring off the coast of Somalia, but there are also Pirate attacks occurring throughout the world including the throughout Indonesia and the Caribbean Sea….. yes the Caribbean Sea. According to the International Maritime Bureau’s web site, Pirate attacks have been reported within the last 6 months off the coast of Venezuela and in/around Haiti. These attacks impacted larger bulkers and car carrying vessels, but if a pirate is willing and able to take on a 10,000-30,000 ton (or more) vessel, why wouldn’t they try taking a nice pleasure yacht, especially if they know the chances of getting aboard a yacht would be easier than a commercial vessel.

Vessels are current being strongly advised to remain at least 250nm off the coast of Somalia because of pirate attacks had been limited because the range of the pirates and their speed boats fuel limitations. Now, mother ships have been reported in the more offshore waters off the coast of Somalia and can now attack ships as far as 450-500nm off the coast. As long as the NE monsoon pattern remains relatively weak, these attacks will continue. With mother ships providing support attacks could continue through the monsoon season.

The point is, if you’re cruising along/off coastal sections in regions of the world that have the potential for pirate activity, it is very wise to keep around the clock watches while passing through these waters and make your way through these areas as fast and as safe as possible. Bob/OMNI

Web site is finally ready

Well, well, well. It took some, longer than I would have expected, but thanks to Ken Williams and Chad with Designing Edge for getting this web site up and running. The hope in the future is to put useful weather and yacht related information here for all to enjoy, and hopefully learn. Forgive me as I learn the world of “blogging” but now that pathway has been opened, who knows what will happen.