The “Go – No Go” decision…

For cruisers, every open ocean passage requires a “Go – No Go” analysis. Our next hop is only 33 nautical miles from East Rockaway Inlet NY to Manasquan Inlet NJ.

It isn’t going to be a long passage… maybe 4 to 5 hours, but that can be a grueling amount of time if the sea state is not compatible with the boat and the crew.

Predict Wind is one of the tools we use to analyze the conditions before any open water passage.

Our normal criteria is < 15 mph winds, and < 2.5 foot seas if on the bow or stern, even less if on the beam… for the whole geographical length of the passage. The “period” timing / distance between the waves should be 5 seconds or more meaning they are swells, not actual waves. Looking at the predictions (above) for tomorrow, the wind is “OK” but the 4 foot seas coming out of the East means we’d be taking them broadside for the whole passage. Not very comfortable. The 7 second period is GOOD, but not for 4-footers broadside all day.

Some cruisers say, “For New Jersey, if the word ‘East’ is anywhere in the forecast, it’s a NO GO!”

Here is another APP’s forecast for tomorrow. “Windy” is the name of this one. The seas are predicted to be 4.8 ft with a 5.7 second period. They also show the winds to be 20-15 mph during our cruising time. A bit higher than the other APP.

So, tomorrow is a No Go.

Note that a “normal” weather forecast for the area looks pretty benign. (Below).

But we need to incorporate other forecasts and modeling tools when heading out for open ocean passages.

Each boat and each boat’s crew should establish its own Go-No Go Criteria, it’ll vary by boat and crew’s comfort level. Each boat should then use multiple information tools to analyze the conditions they are likely to find once they are out there in open ocean.

NOAA also has weather buoys out there who can tell us what the wind and wave conditions are.

This area is where we want to go next.
This buoy chart shows 6 foot seas pretty consistently all day today just a bit offshore from our next desired passage to NJ.

So there is “real data” available to substantiate and compare to the forecasts.

Using this information is how one stacks the odds in one’s favor when cruising on open water… to keep safe and to keep pleasure boating able to live up to it’s name!

So, WHY is it that the wave heights are so high when the wind speeds are so mild / low?

Answer: Hurricane Earl 2022

Even though he is hundreds of miles away, this hurricane is causing rip current warnings all across the northeast beaches for an otherwise great beach day tomorrow.

This hurricane has been forcing us to stay in-port for days, beautiful cruising days for every metric but wave height (and direction!) for our next passage across to NJ.

Fortunately, we are spending these days (for free) in a wonderful, protected cove on-the-hook! Bannister Cove Boat Basin, Lawrence NY. Bonus: it is very close to Far Rockaway Inlet (aka East Rockaway Inlet). Perfect for when when we are ready to say Go4it!

Never discount the “chit chat” on the dock or VHF. Intel from others who were actually “out there” is very valuable! I dinghy’d in today to take care of some shoreside business items (more to follow), and the firsthand chatter on the dock about sea conditions matched up perfectly with the NOAA weather buoys. The weather has been beautiful… except for Six foot seas.

We are staying put, and like the Dixie Chick’s song goes, “Earl has to die!” LOL


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s