Monday, April 22, 2024
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Weather Wimps!

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I hate to admit it but I’m a weather wimp. Every time the wind gusts to 30 knots, the temperature falls below 80 degrees and/or the seas build to a foot or so——well, I burst into tears. That’s right: I’m a coward. Completely. Don’t tell anybody but I spend a lot of time screaming at my wife, “I want my mommy!”

It has gotten so bad that most international ‘weather routers’ won’t work with me. They just refuse. Can I help it if my standards are high——and, well, me too?

“Help!” I emailed the last one frantically, “the wind just gusted scarily to over 14 knots..! And, worst, I see a cloud on the horizon… and I have a horrible feeling it COULD contain moisture!”

This rattles them. They don’t seem to know their place. I mean, I AM THE ONE PAYING, right? I mean, I could get bad weather reports for free, right? Let’s face it… on some passages I’m just too tired to put up with the ‘wind-thisa-way, wind-data-way,’ crap! So, I hire an expensive weather router AND EXPECT THEM TO DELIVER!

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…one guy tried to wiggle out of his forecasting responsibilities with, “Hey, pal, I don’t make the weather…” but I snapped backed with, “YOU took the money so YOU’RE responsible!”

Of course, I’m happy that marine electro-technology has advanced. Example: Josh Slocum didn’t have his anemometer wired directly his EPIRB like I do… so that my Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon gets automatically switched on if winds builds to ‘The Perfect Storm’ level or 20 knots… whichever comes first.

Modern technology isn’t fool-proof, however. Sometimes it frustrates me. I guess I have a short fuse. In any event, my weather fax often spits out pieces of paper which are blacker than a politician’s heart… unreadable, to say the least. Usually I can handle this… paying thousands of dollars for equipment darker than Chris Rock… but not always. Sometimes I snap.

Recently, I head-butted my weather fax in frustration. Unfortunately, my wife Carolyn happened to be passing by… a woman with almost NO understanding of how to be a ‘macho-manly-man!’

“Whatchadoing?” she asked.

“Interfacing our electronics,” I relied calmly as I dabbed my bleeding nose with a paper towel.

Needless to say, I pour over my GRIB files. These are generated by ‘computer models,’ those sexily, scantily-clad young girls who do ‘laptop dancing’ in nightclubs. (Why they don’t use weathermen, I dunno… too radical and 1960s, perhaps?)

Anyway, GRIB stands for Goofy and Ridiculous Information for Boaters. Of course, the jokers at NOAA (Not Often Accurate ***holes) attach a disclaimer to each forecast which reads something like, “This should not be used for anything by anyone. Wind predictions can-and-will vary… but can generally be relied upon to be within 50 knots, plus or minus. Remember, wave heights are ‘average’ and can also vary 50 feet or so…”

I mean, is this really the best America can do?

Don’t even get me started on weather charts. Damn, are they TRYING to confuse us? What’s a front? Trough? Low? Ridge? Who is Hector and/or Pascal? Why are some fronts… occult ones? (Could these wx charts be made by… like, GOTH forecasters?)

I don’t know nor care.

Nor am I enamored with infrared images.

I almost died in a purple splotch and never want to go through another magenta area again!

Yesterday I was advised to visit a weather web page with ‘animated’ products… what, Donald Duck reads the forecast? Daffy? Popeye?

It used to be, back in the early days, it was hard to get any marine weather forecast, let alone a bad one. Now NOAA broadcasts bad ones continuously on VHF!

That’s progress.

I guess.

Nothing seems to make sense anymore. Why is it that, along the coast of Puerto Rico, NOAA keeps warning boaters about the flash floods every few seconds when it is the poor saps who can’t afford yachts who keep drowning in them?

Sick, eh?

If there is one thing I hate it is ‘pretenders’ who try to impress their fellow boaters by saying stuff on their SSB radios like, “…three levels of Q” or “…upper atmosphere shear” or “…scattered stratocumulus!”

I can’t even tell if they’re putting me on. One forecaster mentioned that while ‘raising humility’ might cause a super-saturation of the dewpoint… it is best not to worry about it too much. Huh?

I mean, I bolted my barometer to the bulkhead with four large stainless steel machine screws just so it WOULDN’T drop!

They’re even messing with the tides now: suddenly there is a diurnal one. (I thought this was a prostrate condition?!?)

And it is all getting more personal and touchy-feelie as well. I mean, I know hurricanes are depressing… why mention it so often on the Weather Channel? And who buys all those tornado videos they’re always hawking… some pervert who likes to munch popcorn while watching trailer parks explode?

There are times I think I might be losing my mind. If hail stones are usually the size of golf balls, what size are the vegetables in squash zones? Am I right? I’ve never even SEEN an isobar——let alone a compressed one. What sort of climo-deviant labels a weather chart used for prognosis and analysis ANAL PROG? Why do stupid sailors always seem to get caught in the doldrums? Can anyone tell me why sea level is so mean? If it is ‘raining cats and dogs’ will you step in a poodle?

Nor do I put much stock in that stupid ‘Rhyming Simon’ weather folklore. I learned most of my ‘weather-wisdom’ sayings in the 1960s and, alas, they haven’t held me in good steed. While ‘red sky at night, druggies delight’ might be accurate, “red sky in morning, heads take warning’ is too ambiguous to be useful.

Of course, the whole world is shocked by El Nino and El Nina years——whose bright idea was it to put a Spaniard in charge of global climate control anyway?

…and, yeah, scientists DO seemed divided whether global warning is caused by political hot air or not.

Even the Japanese are getting into the act: when two hurricanes hit you while bumping into each other this is known as the Fujiwhara effect… because it has decimated more tropical islands than WWII, I guess.

I believe, however I should begin to temper my criticism. Even Nicholas Cage didn’t like to be humidity-ated in that movie. And, I hate to admit it, but my wife Carolyn wasn’t exactly impressed with this column when she proofed it.

“Surely this piece has the worst puns ever,” she grimaced as she read.

“Don’t rain on my parade,” I snapped back.

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Cap'n Fatty Goodlander
Cap'n Fatty Goodlanderhttp://fattygoodlander.com/
Cap’n Fatty Goodlander has lived aboard for 53 of his 60 years, and has circumnavigated twice. He is the author of Chasing the Horizon and numerous other marine books. His latest, Buy, Outfit, and Sail is out now. Visit: fattygoodlander.com

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