Weather | PassageMaker


Weather is often the biggest factor determining whether we enjoy our time on the water. Despite advances in forecasting technology it remains one of the more mysterious forces that we must deal with. The stories filed here are intended to remove some of that mystery and provide the knowledge for sound decision-making.

Have You Ever Seen the Green Flash?

The big sun. This cropped image shows the size of the sun five minutes before sunset.

Don’t stare at the sun. That being said, if you go against that advice, or better yet take simple precautions, you might see the green flash. Not many people know about this phenomena and fewer still have really seen it. I can tell you how…

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Trawlering During Hurricane Season

My wife and I left Los Angeles on November 3, 1996, to begin a five-year cruise aboard our trawler, Gracias. She is a 38-foot wood DeFever, built in Japan in 1970. Gracias is powered by a single Ford diesel. We spent the winter months in…

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Fine Romance

On the way to her first Seattle Boat Show, Fine Romance, a new 57-foot full displacement pilothouse trawler,was pummeled by 50-knot January winds as she left Victoria, British Columbia, and set a course across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The strait is not a friendly…

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Getting Ready For The Big Blow

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I’ve had my share of storms since I got my first boat 53 years ago. I’ve looked up into the maw of a tornado while at anchor. I’ve ridden out hurricanes and tropical storms at anchor, at dock, and on a mooring. I clung for…

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Bar Hopping


One of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s more well-known poems uses a bar crossing as a metaphor for the process of dying-passing fromone world to another. Tennyson’s choice of comparisons in “Crossing the Bar” is fitting, because transiting a bar between an ocean and a river or…

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Letter To The Editor

Handling Tsunamis At Sea We’ve got a question about tsunamis. Here’s the background: We were on board during the tsunami scare after the earthquake that struck Chile in late February. We were in San Carlos, in the state of Sonora, Mexico, securely tied to a slip…

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Piercing The Veil

There are several reasons that one might want to know how to navigate in the fog. Fog is sometimes confined to a short stretch across a strait or channel. A half-hour trip in quarter-mile visibility might save a whole day waiting for fog to lift….

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Fog Tales

Dense fog surrounded us as we pulled out of the Kona Kai Marina on Shelter Island in San Diego, bound for Ensenada New Years’ Day 2012. Visibility was zero, and as soon as we got out there I promised myself I would never get talked…

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The Domino Effect: A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Through the ages the responsibility to keep vessel and crew safe has fallen squarely on the captain’s shoulders. Keeping the dominos standing is my burdensome obligation aboard Pegasus, our 44-foot power catamaran. Most of my decisions are benign, such as turn the wheel this or…

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