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Board » Sailonline Race Committee » Races » GRAY WHALE MIGRATION RACE

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Wild Whales.org

Alaska Fisheries - Gray Whale management

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-26 16:06:53 ---
One of the lesser known advantages of Southern California living is the ability to go to local headlands [Point Dume, Palos Verdes] at certain times of the year and watch gray whales swim by.

Yes, it helps if you bring a 'soccer' chair, binoculars, and patience. But there are parks on both headlands with picnic areas and great ocean views. It's hard to beat that kind of serenity.

Where are these headlands?

Note that NOAA publishes free marine charts of US Coastal waters.
For those of you with mapping software like CPN, I recommend downloading charts for the areas the Gray Whales will cover.

Here are links to RNC charts by USCG District:

-- 17th USCG District, Alaska

-- 11th USCG District, Washington and Oregon

-- 13th USCG District, California

Note that each of these links take you to an 'agreement' page. That's a hoop you have to jump through before you get the charts.

edited to make links out of urls

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-29 22:30:06 ---
First Waypoint S - Mount Westdahl

On Unimak island - this is a choke point for Gray Whales coming south (or going north in autumn) and an area where killer whales take every opportunity to predate on the Grays :-(
Take a tip from Financial Portfolio Managers to make it through the Blue Goo!

Financial writer George Appel, starting the second paragraph of his book, "Technical Analysis: Power tools for Active Investors", makes this very simple statement:

"It's not how much you make that counts; it's how much you manage not to lose."

That, in a nutshell, is the best strategy for dealing with Blue Goo.
The key is to keep the boat moving in the general direction you want to go.
Letting the boat stop -- or even worse, go backwards -- carries a heavy penalty.

OK, great, but how do you do that ... actually?

Here are five things I did to get javakeda through the Blue Goo south-west of Middleton Island:

1) Forget about routers!
The True Wind Speeds are too slow.
The changes in True Wind Direction are too numerous.
The interpolation errors are too significant.
Under these conditions, router output is simply garbage with three decimal points.

2) Forget about setting DCs with TWAs.
Indeed, forget about DCs at all!
The wind direction is changing too rapidly to make TWAs useful
And the wind is changing too randomly to set a DC and hold any hope of accuracy.
Hand-sailing pays big rewards.

3) Pick out where you want to go and set a COG for that target's Rhumbline.
With Middleton, where I wanted to go was obvious. It was Middleton Island itself. That was the mark I needed to round.
And it was on the other side of that blob of blue in front of me.

4) Use the Wx Inspector's VMC tool to refine the COG course.
By using the VMC to the next mark, I was able to maximize progress toward that mark as the wind shifted.
At first I was on a starboard gybe, and the VMC course took me to the left of the Rhumbline to the mark.
Then, I flopped to the port gybe, and the VMC course took me the the right of the Rhumbline to the mark.
The deviations, left and right, averaged out and produced a total progress toward the mark that was greater than if I had just held on the Rhumbline.
[Not surprisingly, the gybe point was when the wind crossed the Rhumbline.]

Note that the stars were perfectly aligned for using these techniques.
They don't always work as well as they did here.

5) Use hand-routing to improve on Wx Inspectors VMC courses.
Note that I did NOT say to use a router for this. The observations in '1)', above are still valid. Routing software is useless here.
But before there was routing software, navigators routed by hand.
In Blue Goo, conditions are changing too rapidly for a 'rigorous' hand-routing.
But it is still possible to do some SOTP hand-routing and gain a little more.

In the Middleton blob, I found myself with very light airs to port and more pressure to starboard. The VMC course was taking me more to port that seemed best. I made a SOTP 'routing' decision to head directly for the 3kt wind line, and THEN figure out how to round the mark.
Actually, I spent some time with the 12hr time-slider and the polar working out when to stop heading for more pressure and start heading for the mark. That's the hand-routing part.

The result was that javekeda rounded Middleton well ahead of the rest of the fleet. The lead that rounding produced allowed me to hold off the charges of rumskib and garagiste and eke out a win.

--- Last Edited by javakeda at 2013-11-14 14:04:17 ---

--- Last Edited by javakeda at 2013-11-14 14:06:03 ---

--- Last Edited by javakeda at 2013-11-14 19:35:57 ---
Because I am a subscriber, not sure if this link will work for the non-subscribers:
Ventura County Star

If it doesn't, I'll try to post an alternative.

This is to an article in the Ventura County Star [a 'stellar' local newspaper] covering the trip back north for the Gray Whales.

As this article indicates, the GW migration is important to many of us here in SoCal.

I truly appreciate SOL honoring this migration with a race.
Hope that race will be run again in future years.

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2014-03-16 23:40:56 ---
Hiya javakeda - that link only loads the paper's index... doesn't go to an article. I can't see anything about Gray whales in the index shown, either.

We have two windows for the race this year, early October or mid November. I'm planning early October at the moment, but let me know if you think mid November is better.
Kevin (NZL Scotsman)
SRC Member
The N-S migration starts around the end of October so perhaps November would be better but... with climate change a SOL start from Bering earlier in October would not be unreasonable :-D

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2014-08-11 11:50:11 ---
Well is is August here in central Cal, but we have both Grays and Humpbacks here around Monterey Bay. You'd think the Grays would be up north now, but there is a huge amount of small fish and krill here now.

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