Bio: Capt. Andrew R Sadock
Halfway through medical school, while studying to be a pediatric psychiatrist,I decided to switch direction to journey and study holistic healing with indigenous healers from Tibet, India, China and Ecuador. Eventually, I worked as a holistic healing practitioner at Esalen Institute (Big Sur, California) and was fortunate to have 3 books published (Wisdom Moon Publishing). I inadvertently learned how to sail while living aboard a sailboat (Sausalito, California). I served as a captain aboard architectural tour boats at Chicago’s Navy Pier, safely carrying 300,000 passengers on 3,500 trips. I bought “tall ship” Red Witch in 2011, sailing in Chicago until moving Red Witch to Kenosha in 2016. I serve as captain aboard commercial tour boats in Santa Barbara, California during winter months. And I created Kenosha Affordable Storage in 2021.
HOW TRADITIONAL SAILORS FORECASTEDWEATHER
Aboard 1930-design (America’s Cup “12-Meter” racing yacht)Red Witch II we try to honor and preserve centuries-old traditions regarding operation of the vessel. One such seafaring tradition is meteorology.
Obviously it is important for us to closely monitor and predict weather – to assure passenger safety and comfort. In the 1930’s only two tools were available to monitor weather – a barometer and the vessel’s flag (“colors”). A barometer measures ever-changing local patterns of low-pressure (storms) and high-pressure (clear) zones. This provides general information (but not specific information) regarding location and timing of storm systems. The vessel’s colors (again, flag), positioned atop one of Red Witch’s lower shrouds, provides more specific intelregarding location and timing of storms (including wind shifts and precipitation).
Believe it or not, local weather patterns frequently act like mini-hurricanes – wherein a counter-clockwise wind precedes the center (“eye”) of the weather pattern. Note that storm systems (including hurricanes) in the northern hemisphere develop counter-clockwise wind flow whereas southern hemispheres storm systems develop a clockwise spin. As clouds develop in a prior clear sky they grow in size and begin to create an organized nucleus that creates a counter-clockwise wind flow that may radiate one hundred fifty miles (or more) ahead of the organizing clouds in a circular (again, counter-clockwise)direction. As an example, a developing weather pattern (i.e. an area of relatively lower barometric pressure) nearing Rockford, Illinois, approximately 65 miles westsouthwest of Kenosha, may create and power a sustained, light-to-moderate wind from the northeast at Kenosha; this is a counterclockwise wind relative to the westsouthwest direction of the Rockford weather pattern. As the Rockford storm pattern heads eastnortheast toward Kenosha (or even simply eastward toward Evanston, Illinois), the northeast wind near Kenosha may grow a bit in intensity. Then the northeast wind will begin to “clock” (move in a clockwise direction) so that as the storm pattern intensifies and/or nears Kenosha, wind direction at Kenosha will gradually move from northeast to east to southeast to south, ever-intensifying in wind speed. When the storm is within a few miles of Kenosha, the wind direction will likely “clock” yet again to southwest and finally westsouthwest (the source direction of the storm) when the storm is within minutes of hitting us. This is known as “clocking” – as the wind source direction shifts in a clockwise manner. Patterns of clocking and increased wind velocity provide reliable intel that weather (i.e., precipitation and wind) are imminent.
When low-pressure systems are nearby, as indicated by clocking and visual cues, we must quickly (understatement) reduce sail area – i.e., strike the sails – to protect passengers, crew and vessel. To this avail the Red Witch II crew practices striking all sails in under 60 seconds.
In this manner we maintain awareness of weather patterns within fifty to one hundred fifty miles and have up-to-the-minute information that is not atypically more accurate than intel attainable from weather.com’s radar and written forecasts (which are typically updated every 15-ish minutes so are not real-time). As small storms travel at 30 to 35 miles per hour and severe storms travel at 40 to 45 miles per hour, we frequentlyhave at least a couple hours of notice regarding timing and placement of imminent weather patterns.
Tall Ship Red Witch offers private events and public sails in Kenosha (since 2016). I also offer holistic healing and counseling services (and play in a band that offers musical concerts).
BLOG: JANUARY 23, 2023
ARE SAILBOATS PUSHED AND/OR PULLED BY THE WIND? HINT … SAILING = FLYING
On its face, it seems impossible for a sailboat to be pulled by the wind, right? Yet, indeed, sailboats in certain situations are pulled by the wind. How is this possible?
Here’s a hint … how is it that a 100-ton aluminum tube (aka airplane) can fly (be lifted off the ground)? An airplane’s wings create “lift” as the top of a (typical) wing is longer than the underside. Thus, if two molecules of air hit the forward aspect of a wing at the same time – one molecule of air above the wing and the other molecule of air below the wind – the molecule of air above the wing must travel farther than the molecule beneath the wing, and hence a greater relative density of air molecules exists beneath a wing (with a relative vacuum above a wing). This phenomenon is defined as “lift” (Bernoulli Principle). So the foils (wings) of an aircraft create lift, causing the 100-ton cylinder to fly.
Sailboat Sails = Airplane Wings
Similar to an airplane’s wings, the sails of a sailboat are foils (with a curved surface) wherein the outer (convex) aspect of a sail creates a relative vacuum (decreased density of air molecules) – aka “life”, which pulls the sailboat toward the wind (source direction). So similar to the lift created by an airplane’s wings (foils) that life the airplane to flight, a sailboat’s sails (foils) create lift that pulls the sailboat toward the source of the wind.
The good news – whether or not this explanation makes sense – all you need to do to enjoy a sail (aka flight!) aboard Red Witch is to show up! You need not know how to sail, need not know the theoretic math and physics underlying the fundamentals of sailing. All you need to know is how to relax and view the profound beauty of Lake Michigan, sky and Kenosha’s shoreline. Leave the flying to us!
Capt. Andrew R Sadock