West Coast Vancouver Island

How Inaccurate Weather Forecasts Plagued My Week.

Scream traveled the west coast of Vancouver Island this week. We were careful to study the weather and picked a window of opportunity with favourable winds: Northwest winds from 20 to 35 knots were predicted for the entire duration of our trip. Thirty-five knots is a lot of wind energy, but Scream is a big boat and we’re more than capable of handling that energy when it comes from the right direction.

Bull Harbour Pillar

So we departed Bull Harbour Monday afternoon and sailed overnight to Hot Springs cove. Everything went well until we came south of the brooks peninsula where the wind died. This also happened on our previous circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, so we weren’t shocked, despite the fact that Environment Canada makes a big deal of “south of brooks peninsula” having the strongest winds on the south coast. So we motored almost 12 hours to hot springs cove.

Hot Springs Cove is wonderful. Absolutely a must for any west coast Vancouver Island trip. We carved Scream’s name into the boardwalk.

Our Planks

We departed Hotsprings cove with a forecast of “Northwest 10 building to 20 to 30 except light near shore”. I’ll pause to take exception with this garbage. That prediction covers essentially all possible conditions: it is the equivalent to a temperature forecast of “minus 15 to plus 30”. We started at the shore and motored in light winds for five hours to Tofino, where we bought a thousand dollars of biodiesel. We then got clear of the shore, where we briefly had 10 knots north westerly. But we spent the night in very light easterly winds about 10 miles off shore. Please notice that the forecast didn’t allow for either light winds off shore or easterlies. The light easterlies continued the next day, so we motored about 6 hours into Port Renfrew.

We departed Port Renfrew without bothering to check the forecast. We later learned it was westerly 1o-15 building to 20-25. We had very light easterlies until 11 am, but did enjoy 15-25 knot westerlies in the afternoon.

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