Saturday, June 22, 2013

Warm Water at Utah's Yuba Reservoir

A friend and I were invited to take the scouts out sailing on Friday. We took two Hobie Getaways down to the west beach on Yuba Lake.

We where reminded that we should have thoroughly check our trailers before we left. My friends trailer
fender came loose flew off narrowly missing our car on the drive to the lake. The fender bracket began to dig into the sidewall of the tire. We made it to a gas station just in time. We where missing the proper size lug wrench to change the tire, luckily the wrench from the other tow vehicle fit the lugs on the trailer. It was a close call, but we got the tire changed and made it to the lake around noon.

The water at the beach was 76 degrees, very warm, obviously it was much cooler in the deeper parts of the lake. The wind usually doesn't pick up until the afternoon at Yuba, as was the case on Friday. That gave us time to set up boats, set up camp and eat a quick lunch.

Our first wind measurements were in the mid twenties with gusts up to 33 mph. This made for some good sailing.

Each boat was loaded with 3 or 4, 14 year old scouts, which is a light load for the Getaway. For most of the afternoon we cursed around at speeds of about 6 to 15 mph.

The wind died in the early evening and we stopped for a dutch oven dinner around 7 pm.  At around 9 pm the wind picked up again and we jumped backed on the boats to pick up an evening sail. A strong breeze started blowing with consistent 30+ mph winds. We cruised at 14 to 18 mph until the the last bits of light disappeared over the hills.

With nightfall, the wind completely died and the night was utterly calm. I rolled my sleeping bag out on the tramp of my Hobie and slept under the full moon of the summer solstice.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Understanding Wind Speeds

The Beaufort number is a category that helps one to conceptualize wind and categorize it.

I make a habit of measuring wind speeds when I'm out sailing. I find it help me to know my sailing limits and the limits of my boat. When I began sailing I really had no way to conceive how hard the wind  was blowing other then how it felt or how the water looked. I found myself being more fearful then I needed to be of a strong breeze.  My first wind meter helped me overcome my unwanted insecurity of the wind.

I often would gauge the wind based in the look of the water, wave size, whitecaps and what not. The trouble with this method is that wave size largely depends on the depth of the body of water, the amount of boat chop and how steep the shore is near the beach.  The waves in the ocean are much different than wave on a lake.  I't much better to quantify wind, and lucky for us it has been done.

A 0 (Calm) Beaufort number indicates almost no wind with glassy water. Perfect for water skinning. On Utah Lake you need to get up early in the morning to experience this type of water.

1 (Light Air) indicates wind speed up to 4 miles per hour. This is when you see ripples form on the water.

2 (Light Breeze) indicates a wind speed of just below 7.5 miles per hour. One can see small wavelets with glassy crests.

3 (Gentle Breeze) 7.5 to 12 miles per hour and large wavelets are forming and crests of waves are beginning to break.

4 (Moderate Breeze) From 12.1 to 18.9 miles per hour of wind you will see small waves and white caps.

5 (Fresh Breeze) In wind blowing at 19 to 24.7 miles per hour one expects moderate waves that are well formed lots of white caps and some spray.

6 (Strong Breeze) At 24.8 to 31.6 miles per hour expect large waves, whitecaps, spray.

At this point you may consider heading in, wind over 30 MPH is not impossible to sail riding  Hobie, but it is difficult and potentially dangerous.

7 (Moderate Gale) At 31.7 to 38.5 mph if you are on the ocean at this point you would see the sea heaping up and some spin drift. I've never been out on my Hobie at more than 30 mph.

8 (Fresh Gale) At 38.6 to 46.6 you see some high waves with crests in to spindrift and well marked streaks of foam.

9 (Strong Gale) At 46.7-53.9 you will see huge waves and rolling seas, dense spray and limited visibility due to sea spray.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

First Sailing Trip on Deer Creek Utah

Saturday we took our Hobie Getaway out on Deer Creek Reservoir, one of many great State Parks in Utah. We launched the boat at the Island Beach boat ramp and day use area.

 Island Beach doesn't have a great beach, but  it does have  very nice shaded grassy area for picnicking and a sandy area above the breakwater.
Since we had our new born with us, this area made a great place for mom and baby to hang out while the older kids and I went out for a sail. The actual beach is a combination of mud and rocks. There where also nice bathrooms and a little store nearby.

The down side to this area is that there isn't much trailer parking. On Saturday there was a sign indicating that the parking lot was full. We lucked out when a parking spot was vacated just after we launched the boat.  I'm not sure what we would have done otherwise.

There is no beach camping on Deer Creek (at least none that I have found) so we normally go to Deer Creek for day trips. This lake is only about an hour drive from our house so day trips work great. There are some great camping spots for RV's on the other side of the  lake, but no place to beach a boat nearby.

There where a few sailboats out on Saturday which ended up being a great day for sailing. Aside from us there was a Prindle 16, a Hobie 16 as well as a couple of keel boats, a wind surfer and lots of kite boarders sailing around.

Wind on Saturday was consistent and strong measuring between 16 and 20 miles per hour all afternoon. The water was quite rough because of the wind and chop from the ski boats. My kids love smashing through the huge white caps created by circling boats.

The water was a warm 69 degrees near the shore. We would normally enjoy some swimming off of the boat in such warm water but the wind never died down enough to permit it. I brought our wet suits along, but with air temperatures in the high 80's we didn't need them.

We got some good practice in tacking in choppy water with good wind. My oldest son Ben, who is 11, got the feel for tacking in the wind and gained confidence sailing in rough water on a windy day. It was a great summer outing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sailing Huntington Reservoir Utah

My wife and I have an old broken down house in Emery Utah that we like to visit in the summer. We go there a few weekends a year and enjoy the desert. There are two little reservoirs near Emery that I would like to take my Hobie Getaway sailing on. They are both very small. One is Huntington Reservoir and the other is Millsite near Ferron Utah. Both are state parks in southern Utah.

On memorial day my wife and I drove down to Huntington to see if it was really big enough to sail on. The water area is about 250 some odd acres that is fairly symmetrical. The water was warming up nicely for the spring and the wind in Emery county is always blowing. I didn't have my wind meter with me that day, but a consistent  (i'm guessing) 15+ mph breeze was blowing.

There is a nice beach area that is right next to a very nice grassy picnic and camping area. The day we went the lake was almost empty, one boat was towing skiers.

We are excited to try this lake out and return with a sail report.